HyperScan

Mattel's HyperScan allowed players to scan in RFID-equipped cards to bring in new characters, weapons, and powers. It came packaged with X-Men, Spider-Man and Ben 10.

Overview

The Mattel HyperScan is Mattel's only entry into the video game market besides the Intellivision. It is the first and only console to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The console reads UDF-format CDs that contain a proprietary executable file with the game file. The idea of the HyperScan was to combine card collecting with video gaming and target an audience of younger children who are not ready for mainstream consoles. When scanned, cards will activate characters or power them up for the game currently being played.  Only five games were released for the HyperScan out of seven announced, and the system was discontinued by Mattel in 2008.

Hardware

The HyperScan's main feature is an RFID scanner that reads cards and writes data back to them.  It retailed for $69.99, with extra controllers for $19.99.  The system has a 4x CD-ROM drive and only supports composite video.  The 162MHz Sunplus nMedia processor is not very powerful, and the console only has a 2D graphics engine, so none of the five games released have any 3D graphics.  The graphics are frowned upon for being excessively choppy and sluggish, and the load times off of the CD-Rom drive are upwards of 20 seconds in games.  The system supports up to two players.  Each controller is a simple faux analog stick with 4 buttons which is not ergonomically designed at all.  The video in the games is compressed using MPEG4, and the audio using MP3.  Each character has only one line of low-quality spoken dialogue.

Technical Specifications


CPU - SCore (162 MHz Sunplus mMedia 32-bit RISC processor)
Video - Composite, 2D graphic engine, 640x480 resolution, MPEG4 codec
Audio - MP3 codec, 24 PCM sound channels
Memory - 16 MB SDRAM
ODD - 4x CD-Rom drive
IO - 1x USB 1.1 port, RFID Scanner
RFID Scanner - 13.56 MHz
RFID Storage - 110 bytes (96 bytes of user memory 8 bytes unique ID 6 bytes of one time programmable memory)

Software

The HyperScan had seven titles planned but only five were ever released. Games were mostly 2d fighters and platformers. An X-Men 2d fighting game is included with the console and other licensed games available with characters from Marvel Heroes and Ben 10.  Each game requires cards to work, which much be purchased separately for $14.99 per booster pack of 6 cards. Games retailed for $24.99 and included the game disc, a manual, and a booster pack. Avatar: The Last Airbender and Nickelodeon Sports were planned for the HyperScan, but never released.

HyperScan games