The HyperScan was Mattel second attempt to enter the video game console after the Intellivision. Released a few weeks before the Sony PlayStation 3 and during the domination of the Nintendo Wii, Mattel tried to surf on the card collecting waves. With the success of the Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon trading card games, Mattel wanted to appeal to this generation and had the licence to entice them. With the rights to the Marvel characters as well to the Cartoon Network’s Ben 10, Mattel had all the cards to make an affordable system that would bridge video games and cards collecting. The idea was simple, use RFID technology embedded in each trading card to affect the games.
The HyperScan was finally released on October 23, 2006, for a price of $69.99, including the X-Men fighting game on a CD and one controller. Two other games were also available at launch: Ben 10 and Interstellar Wrestling League, both priced at $20. Additional cards for each game were available in a booster pack of six cards each for 10$
Marvel Heroes , the 4th game for the console, was released in November 2006 followed by SpiderMan which was exclusively released at a Toys ‘R Us.
It was long before the system was in difficulty. Although the concept was solid, the execution was poor, at best. Although the implementation of the RFID was deficient, but the real problem was the games themselves. The games felt rushed and vary from having a major slowdown to being literally unplayable. The graphics were really dated, but the audience might have overlooked this caveat if the gameplay was good.
It was not long before the games were sold at a clearance price of $9.99 while the games were sold for $1.99 and booster packs $0.99.
The system was finally discontinued less than a year after its release.
- Ben 10
- Interstellar Wrestling League
- Marvel Heroes
Avatar: The Last Airbender was announced at the console launched and was planned to be released in 2007. The game was finished and ready to be distributed, but was ultimately cancelled due to the poor sale of the systems. It’s rumoured that some copy of the games might have been distributed, but there’s nothing to substantiate theses claims at the moment.
Nick Extreme Sports (initially called Nickelodeon Sports) was a title in early stages of development. It was cancelled at the same time as Avatar and for the same reason.
- SunPlus SPG290 SoC
- UART, I2C, SPI etc
- Composite Video Output (SoC supports TFT display, but the HS does not use it)
- 16 MB SDRAM System Ram
- 640×480 Native Resolution
- 65,535 colors (RGB 565 mode)
- RFID Scanner (13.56 MHz)
- RFID Storage: 96 bytes of user memory + 8 bytes unique ID + 6 bytes of one time programmable memory