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.
Incredibly long loading times (over one minute), rivaled only by the 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. This is a bad design choice as it makes it impossible to replace the wires when they get damaged. And when they do, your console becomes nothing more than a paperweight unless you know how to solder.
A whopping 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) or their predecessors (Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube) and only about comparable to the Game Boy Advance, which explains why the games had substandard graphics reminiscent of the original PlayStation and Sega Saturn. 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 and games to bypass the in-game locks.
While nearly every console manufacturer uses/used the razor and blades business model, losing money on consoles but making up for it in the sale of games and accessories, the HyperScan takes it to its extreme. The system and games themselves were relatively inexpensive (US$70 for the system and US$20 for games), the 6-card booster packs at US$10 each pushed the games' effective 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 a mainstream console. 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.
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.
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, despite barely getting any new Amiibo in today's climate.