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Useful Notes / HyperScan

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A broken predecessor to Skylanders.
The HyperScan was a video game console released in 2006 by Mattel. The system made use of an RFID scanner which was able to scan cards used by the player. These cards could load or save game data, power up characters, or do other things. The system itself was aimed at boys from 5-9 years of age, even though the games released for it all had ESRB ratings of "T". The system was notably very poor - much like Mattel's previous foray in the video game industry, the Intellivision. Only five games came out for it and the system, games, and card packs barely sold.

The biggest issue with the console was that the specs were clearly and severely antiquated in relation to its rivals (2006, during the transition between the outgoing 6th-generation consoles and the incoming 7th-generation consoles):

  • For starters, it had a questionable CPU and GPU (an off-brand SoC from Sunplus, a notoriously shady semiconductor company, with an equally obscure architecture called S+Core note ). Whereas other consoles had been supporting full 3D graphics for two generations, this one was purely 2D, which games hid under Digitized Sprites. This left it severely underpowered and at a disadvantage - which was the very same problem that plagued the Intellivision.
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  • The SoC was paired with a paltry 16MB of RAM split between the GPU and CPU, while competing consoles of the era shipped with at least three times as much memory and had separate video and system RAM.
  • The console had a slow CD-ROM drive and lacked memory for caching and a read-ahead buffer, which caused Loads and Loads of Loading that frustrated users, whereas all other consoles used DVD (or in the PS3's case, Blu-ray).
  • The games themselves were very poorly programmed.

However, the HyperScan does have some firsts to its name: It pioneered NFC as a gameplay mechanic five years before Activision spawned the Toys-To-Life Game genre by successfully bringing the same mechanic into the mainstream with the Skylanders series, and it was the first console with a NFC reader built in six years before Nintendo's Wii U and corresponding amiibo line.


Manufacturing and support for the console was discontinued just one year after launch, with Mattel once again leaving the console market in 2007.



  • CPU: Sunplus SPG290 SoC
  • GPU: Sunplus SPG290 SoC


  • 16 MB


  • 640×480 native resolution
  • 65,535 colors


This console and its games contain examples of:

  • Crack is Cheaper: The games only came with a few cards, so boosters were sold with the rest of the cards.
  • Dummied Out: The console has a USB port that is not used by any of the games or controllers.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: None of the games load swiftly.
  • Loot Boxes: The card booster packs for the games act like this.