HyperScan

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HyperScan
ManufacturerMattel
TypeVideo game console
GenerationSeventh
Release dateOctober 23, 2006 (2006-10-23)
Introductory price$69.99
Discontinued2007 (2007)
Units sold~30,000[1]
MediaCD-ROM
System on a chipSunplus SPG290 @ 108Mhz[2]
Memory16MB DDR DRAM
StorageRFID cards
Controller inputGamepad
Best-selling gameX-Men (Pack-In)

The HyperScan is a home video game console from the toy company Mattel. Marketed towards tweens, the console is unique in that it includes a 13.56 MHz radio-frequency identification (RFID) scanner that reads and writes to special cards called "IntelliCards" which, in turn, activate features in and save data from the game. Players are able to enhance the abilities of their characters by scanning cards.[3][4]

Games retailed for $19.99 and the console itself for $69.99 at launch, but at the end of its very short lifespan, prices of the system were down to $9.99, the games $1.99, and booster packs $0.99. There were only five titles known to have been released, with two canceled games.

The HyperScan became critically panned upon its release for having outdated 2D-only graphics, a weak game library, and being less capable then other similar consoles such as the VTech V.Flash, which released the month prior. Critics also raised concerns about the amount of IntelliCards needed to complete a set, and the potential financial burden towards its target audience. Following disappointing sales, Mattel discontinued the HyperScan the following year, and canceled all upcoming game and card releases.[5]

Hardware[edit]

The HyperScan is based on the Sunplus SPG290A system-on-a-chip.
  • Sunplus SPG290 SoC[6][7] implementing the S+core 32-bit microarchitecture designed by Sunplus Technology. The S+core instruction set architecture allows use of a 32/16-bit hybrid instruction mode, features Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture (AMBA) support and includes SJTAG for In-circuit emulation.[8]
  • UART, I²C, SPI etc.
  • Composite video output (SoC supports TFT displays, but the system does not implement it)
  • 16 MB SDRAM system RAM
  • 640×480 native resolution
  • 65,535 colors (RGB 565 mode)
  • 1 USB port
  • RFID scanner (13.56 MHz)
  • RFID storage: 96 bytes of user memory + 8 bytes unique ID + 6 bytes of one time programmable memory. The HyperScan's RFID systems were provided by Innovision Research and Technology plc, a fabless semiconductor design house based in the UK which specializes in RFID systems and chip design.[9]

The console uses UDF format CD-ROMs and has two controller ports.

Software[edit]

A partly disassembled HyperScan, showing the RFID scanner

Only five games were ever released, with two games having been canceled due to the system’s poor sales and reception.

The games for the system were sold as $20 "Game Packs", which consisted of a game disc accompanied by six game cards (seven for Spider-Man). Additional cards which contained characters, abilities, moves and levels when scanned were part of a six-card "Booster Pack", available for $10/pack. As with most trading card packs, the cards were randomized.[citation needed]

Multiple booster packs were intended for certain games. X-Men intended to have 102 cards to unlock parts of the game in separate "red" and "black" series; the latter went unreleased due to the console's cancellation.[citation needed]

Title Description Total cards Booster packs for complete set and minimum price
Ben 10 Side-scrolling platform game. The only Cartoon Network-exclusive video game for the system. 80 Released (6 included + 74) 13 Packs $150 ($20 Game + $130 Packs)
Interstellar Wrestling League 2v2 fighting game similar to ClayFighter, but with alien-like characters. 54 Released (6 included + 48), 51 unreleased 8 Packs $100 ($20 Game + $80 Packs)
Marvel Heroes Side-scrolling platform game including some X-Men characters. 70 Released (6 included + 64) 11 Packs $130 ($20 Game + $110 Packs)
Spider-Man Side-scrolling platform game 59 Released (7 included + 52) 1 unreleased 9 Packs $110 ($20 Game + $90 Packs)
X-Men Fighting game in which two characters face off against each other in self-contained matches similar to Street Fighter. The only game on the console to be rated T for "Teen". 56 Released (6 included + 50), 46 unreleased 9 Packs $159.99 ($69.99 Console and Game + $90 Packs)
Avatar: The Last Air Bender (cancelled) - - -
Nick Extreme Sports (cancelled) - - -

Though not much development for homebrew games was done on the console, several programmers have created demos and proofs-of-concepts. Some of the programs include a CD-Door demo, 3D wireframe demo, and a Bluescale demo.[10]

Retail[edit]

The system was sold in two varieties: a cube and a 2-player value pack. The cube box version was the version sold in stores. It included the system, controller, an X-Men game disc, and 6 X-Men cards. Two-player value packs were sold online (but may have been liquidated in stores)[original research?] and included an extra controller and 12 additional X-Men cards.[11]

The included game was rated "T" and the remaining titles were rated "E10+" by the ESRB.

Reception[edit]

The system was universally panned by critics for its clunky design, broken controls, poor library, long loading screens, and the unnecessary usage of cards to select characters, and was officially discontinued in 2007.[12] It is featured as one of the ten worst systems ever by PC World magazine.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amos, Evan (2021). The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox (published September 8, 2021). p. 236. ISBN 9781718500617.
  2. ^ "HYPERSCAN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT". Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  3. ^ Contributor, GamesIndustry International (July 21, 2006). "Industry First Hybrid Video Gaming System Launches for Tweens". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved January 18, 2024. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ "HyperScan – RFID Game System from Mattel". About.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  5. ^ Amos, Evan (2021). The Game Console 2.0: A Photographic History from Atari to Xbox (published September 8, 2021). p. 236. ISBN 9781718500617.
  6. ^ "HyperScan Software Development". Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "SunPlus: The biggest chip company you've never heard of". Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  8. ^ "Sunplus – Products – Sunplus 32-bit CPU – S+core™". January 22, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Mattel Makes Contactless RFID Connection with Innovision R&T for Innovative HyperScan™ Games Platform". Innovision-Group. October 18, 2006. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2015.Site archived by Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Mattel HyperScan – News". PDRoms. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  11. ^ "Mattel and Fisher-Price Customer Service". Service.mattel.com. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "Mattel Consumer Relations Answer Center – Product Detail >> Radica >> Radica Electronic Games". Service.mattel.com. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  13. ^ Edwards, Benj (July 14, 2009). "The 10 Worst Video Game Systems of All Time – Slide 5:7. Mattel Hyperscan". PCWorld. Retrieved July 31, 2011.

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