The Mattel HyperScan: What, When and Why


(Collab with Oliver)

With bad game consoles like the Phillips CD-i, we can look back and laugh at the past, and wonder: what were they thinking? Sometimes, though, it wasn’t that long ago that a bad console was made. Enter the Mattel HyperScan, one of the worst consoles ever.

How the HyperScan came to be

Mattel makes toys. That’s their business. Generally, consoles end up falling under the category of toys. Mattel produced several consoles in the 20th century under the name Intelivision. The Intelivision was relatively popular back in the day, and lots of people enjoyed it. However, by the 21st century, Mattel was done with the Intelivision. It had a good run, but they wanted to move on to something… different. As you may have guessed, that “something different” was the HyperScan, which came out in 2006. And boy, was it different; and not in a good way, exactly.

The Hardware

Unlike most systems, the HyperScan utilizes Radio Frequency Identification along with regular CD for the games themselves. The Hyperscan’s gimmick was that game content could be added by scanning a card that came with the game CD or was sold separately. Basically, Skylanders before Skylanders was a thing. But this original idea was just bad in execution. The primary problem was the fact that the Scanner was unresponsive half of the time.

The controller looks and feels pretty decent. It’s really nothing special. Which leads us into the games…

The Games

The Hyperscan boasted 5 whole games. Yes. That’s it. Three were platformers and the other 2 were fighting games. They were all terrible. The games were:

  • X-Men- A Street Fighter clone with X Men characters. Notorious for really long load times.
  • Ben 10- 2D Platformer with awful jumping physics. The 2 player mode is also entirely unfinished, which tells you something about the awfulness of the console as a whole.
  • Interstellar Wrestling League- A “funny” fighting game, kind of like Clay Fighter. The humor is mostly unfunny fart and scatological humor.
  • Marvel Heroes- Another 2D platformer, basically the same as the Ben 10 one.
  • Spider-Man- Essentially an exact clone of Ben 10 and Marvel Heroes.

Making an original name for an X-Men game? Nah. How about calling it… wait for it… X-Men. All the games are licensed except for Interstellar Wrestling League. Might I add that the price for these in 2006 was 20 bucks a game, and the console cost $70. I guess that’s not that much now, but in 2006 that was a little more. However, if you were lucky and bought the cosunle near the end of its life (it was discontinued in 2007), you could grab the console for ten dollars, and the games for $2. That would be a deal, if the console was worth $10 (it probably wasn’t).

Card packs were also selling for $1 at this point so you could really get the console and a game with a TON of cards for $15. So yeah, all the console’s games were either platformers or fighting games, and not good ones mind you.

The Cards themselves

It’s worth taking a minute to talk about the cards that the HyperScan used. You didn’t really need more than one to play the game, I guess, but it was super beneficial to the games when you had them.That is, when they worked. Most cards took a very long time to work because they were terrible and the HyperScan was terrible, and plenty didn’t really work at all. 


In conclusion, the HyperScan was bad. Really bad. It was discontinued only a year after it’s release, there were only 5 games, the games didn’t work; you get the point. The HyperScan was an unfortunate stain on the legacy of Mattel.