The HyperScan is a video game console that was released by Mattel on October 23, 2006 and discontinued in 2007. In an attempt to cash in on the trading card game craze (and possibly also replicate the success of the infamous Barcode Battler), Mattel sold trading cards with an RFID chip for the HyperScan to scan to load new characters and abilities into the game.
It is the third worst-selling console of all time (tied with the LaserActive if the latter is counted), with estimated sales of just 10,000 units, though reportedly most of them had to be returned due to the fact that it was prone to failure.
Why It Flopped
- Incredibly Long loading times (over one minute), rivaled only by Commodore 64 and Neo Geo CD. In fact, some games have multiple loading screens at once between gameplay.
- The system is neither reliable nor well-designed. Shane Luis of Rerez had to go through at least 4 systems before he had a working one for review.
- The RFID reader is unreliable, making it hard to scan cards, and you need to constantly scan cards.
- The bottom of the system does not lay flat on any surface and lacks rubber feet, making the console prone to sliding around; if the console moves while the game disc is spinning, the disc will likely get scratched.
- Like the Atari Jaguar CD, the optical drive of the HyperScan is prone to failure.
- The A/V output cables are hardwired into the system, so if they get damaged, your console becomes a paperweight unless you know how to solder.
- Only five games were released for the system, with the sixth game believed to be in limited quantities and the release of a seventh game canceled.
- This console's gimmick was not well thought out with the concept of having to use cards to play the game.
- All the games were broken, unoriginal, dated-looking, and were poorly designed with awful controls, gameplay, etc.
- It's an inconvenience having to scan cards during gameplay because you usually need three types of cards: one for the characters, one for the characters' abilities, and one to save your progress.
- The controller's buttons were very stiff, not going down much. Also, the controllers use a 6-pin mini-DIN connector, the same connector used for 90s PC keyboards and mice, rather than USB, even though there is a USB port on the backside of the console, which is not used for anything.
- Lackluster specs compared to the main three consoles at the time (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii) their predecessors (Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube), or even the Sega Saturn, and only about comparable to the Game Boy Advance, which explains why the games had substandard graphics. The HyperScan's system architecture is more similar to cheap plug and play systems than to mainstream consoles.
- The cards are a physical form of Loot Boxes and on-disc DLC.
- All of the game content is on the disc but is locked away without the appropriate card. With how short-lived the console was, many card releases were scrapped, meaning that game content was rendered inaccessible, short of reverse engineering the console to bypass the in-game locks.
- The console relied on the razor and blades business model. While the system unit and games/starter packs themselves were relatively inexpensive (US$70 for the console and US$20 for games/starter packs), the 6-card booster packs at US$10 each effectively pushed the games' prices to over US$100 per game at bare minimum (i.e., no duplicate cards) for a complete experience. For a little extra, you could buy two brand new Triple-A games for the Xbox 360 or PS3. What makes this worse compared to RFID-based toys-to-life games like Skylanders or Disney Infinity is that unlike those games, the packs hide what you can get, which eventually results in gambling for specific cards.
- Instead of a character select screen, the game needs the player to scan a character card in order to select a character.
- The controls are very unresponsive.
- The console failed so quickly that half of the cards were never even released, making it impossible to actually experience the complete game. Not like you'd want to, anyway.
- The game features frustrating or just plain awful training levels just to pad out the cards/content.
- The cards can be confusing, as characters will either be a character card or story card. There's also an atmosphere card, which all it does is turn down the brightness and no gameplay changes.
- The game features bad comic book style cutscenes that barely explain the story you're playing.
- Sometimes the layouts will be broken and therefore impossible to beat. The Thing's level has a pitfall that is too wide to jump over.
- You can actually make your own story. Unfortunately, you need multiple cards to make a story of your own.
Interstellar Wrestling League
- The opening cutscene is lazy as it is a crude, unfinished PowerPoint animation that while it does explain the story of the game, it barely does so. Idaho Jones's (the ringmaster and commentator who is an alien potato) cutout is unfinished, and it just feels lazy overall.
- The game feels like a space-themed clone of Clayfighter with its comedic elements, though instead of feeling humorous, it feels just plain weird. This leads to a bizarre dialog like "I like pie, I like to have pie every day" as well as weird moments like one of the fighters turning into a cheeseburger as a victory pose.
- During a match, a blowup referee may interrupt the fight and you have to scan an ability card, or else the opponent will get an attack they can use against you.
- Like X-Men, you need a character card to select your character.
- The game is quieter than the rest of the games. making it inconsistent.
- You need cards to unlock missions. Even after unlocking them, however, you might not have the right power-ups to beat them, resulting in some missions being unbeatable in the player's current state.
- Most of the missions are mundane tasks that aren't really fun anyways even if you can beat them, like delivering pizza.
- One of the missions involves Spider-Man shooting webs at cracks in a building to fix them, which makes no sense whatsoever.
- You can face off against Spider-man's foes, but they are rather lame. Doctor Octopus's scheme is to throw artwork out of a museum that Spider-Man must catch before they break.
- The game came with a 7th card as a Toys "R" Us exclusive, but that didn't mean much since the player would have to buy more cards anyways.
- If the console dies (which is very likely) you have to re-scan all your cards and make up all the lost data.
- Instead of just having cards that change Ben into the 10 aliens, there are also all sorts of mods and a few other types of cards just to pad out the number of cards.
- There are pop up text boxes that completely stop the game and kill all of Ben's momentum, resulting in cheap deaths.
- The card machines need Ben to find a card in-game before they can be used.
- Frustrating input lag.
- In one stage, the card machines are busted and keep changing Ben into XLR8, which isn't needed to beat the stage.
- The concept of scanning cards to interact with the games was pretty innovative even if it was poorly executed or too new for the time or build quality.
- Since there are only 5 games, and half of the X-Men cards were never released, if you want to try and collect all the released cards, and are lucky, then it won't be too bad, though still a pain.
- Interstellar Wrestling League performs the best compared to the other games on the console.
- If you know how to solder, then you can replace the AV cables.
- X-Men (came with the system)
- Ben 10
- Interstellar Wrestling League
- Marvel Heroes
- Spiderman (Toys "R" Us exclusive)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender (believed to be in limited quantities)
- Nick Extreme Sports (cancelled)
- The concept of physical item collecting and video gaming would later influence concepts like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and even Amiibo, which all died out except for Amiibo, which is still standing as of today.