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The iQue Player (/ˌ ˈkj/, stylised as iQue PLAYER[2]) is a video game console that was manufactured by iQue, a joint venture between Nintendo and Chinese-American scientist Wei Yen after China had made claims of banning video games. The system's Chinese name was Shén Yóu Ji (神游机), literally "Divine Gaming Machine". Shényóu (神游) serves a double entendre because the term also means "to make a mental journey". Although the console was never released in any English-speaking countries, the name "iQue Player" appears in the console's instruction manual. The console itself takes the form of the controller and plugs directly into the television. A box accessory is available that allows multiplayer gaming.[3] It was only marketed in mainland China, as the console's unusual game distribution method is an attempt to curb game piracy in that region.

iQue Player
Ique logo.svg
Nintendo-N64-iQue-Player-FL.jpg
iQue Player controller
DeveloperNintendo
ManufactureriQue
TypeHome video game console
GenerationFifth generation
Release date
  • CHN: November 17, 2003
Introductory price¥498
MediaFlash card, cartridge
CPUR-4300 64Bit CPU, 93.75 MHz
Memory4 MB
Graphics62.5 MHz Reality Co-Processor
SoundADPCM 64
ConnectivityUSB (iQue@Home)
PowerAC Adapter
Online servicesiQue Depot, iQue@Home[1]
Best-selling gameDr. Mario 64 (pre-installed in bundled memory card)
Related articlesNintendo 64
WebsiteiQue (in Chinese)

Games for the iQue Player are stored on a 64 MB flash card which is contained within a cartridge that plugs directly into the controller/console. Games were purchased at a special "iQue depot", where games may be downloaded onto the cartridge and played later, in a similar manner to the Famicom Disk System, Satellaview, Nintendo 64DD and Nintendo DS Download Play. Games can also be downloaded, by connecting the iQue to a PC. Demo games that come with the iQue include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, and Star Fox 64. These demos are time-limited versions of the games. Full versions of the three titles are available, as are other first party Nintendo titles such as Dr. Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Wave Race 64, and F-Zero X.

Contents

Technical detailsEdit

The iQue Player is based on the Nintendo 64, but uses system-on-a-chip technology to reduce size. It plays Nintendo 64 games specifically ported to the system.

  • Processor: R-4300 64-bit CPU, 140.625 MHz
  • Memory: 16 MB DDR (8 MB available)
  • Graphics: 100,000 polygons/second, 2.09 million colors
  • Sound: ADPCM 64

Main menuEdit

Once the player has turned on the system, the iQue logo will appear. Then, an advertisement for a game will appear and it will say to press the A button to continue. The main menu lists the games on the memory card and info on the games as well. Once the player has selected a game, a message will appear asking if they want to play this game. A loading screen may appear. If the player presses Z on the highlighted game, a description of the game will appear. Like many other consoles, the player can change the system settings such as TV resolution and username. The system settings will also appear when the player first uses the system.

Online servicesEdit

The iQue Player has online services for buying games, cloud storage, game updates, etc. Currently, there is only one online service for the iQue Player, which is broadband based. In the past, some gas stations had a kiosk based service for accessing games.

iQue DepotEdit

The iQue depot is a network of kiosks that allows users to download games, update games, and more. Each game comes with a game code that can be used so the user can download the game. Players can also store their games on the iQue Depot network for free. Users must be a member of the iQue Club and have a special iQue Ticket to download games.

iQue@HomeEdit

iQue@Home (神游在线, iQue Online) was an online service that allowed users to get free access to trial software, update their system, purchase games and more, at home. To connect to the iQue@Home service, players connected the iQue Player to their computer via USB. Games were downloaded onto the computer, in a similar manner to an MP3 player. The user needed an "iQue Ticket", which was similar to a gift card and was used to purchase games. iQue@Home was only compatible with iQue Players that had been upgraded to one of the two most recent firmwares. The drivers for the iQue Player only support 32-bit versions of Windows, and cannot run on 64-bit or non-Windows operating systems.[1]

AccessoriesEdit

iQue CardEdit

The iQue Card (神游卡) is bundled with the system. It is required to start the system and to load the games. The games, the console's operating system and the game saves, as well as various other system files, are stored on the iQue Card.

Multiplayer BoxEdit

The iQue Player Multiplayer Box (共游盒) is a multitap, and is required to play local multiplayer. The Multiplayer Box has four ports; one for the main iQue Player system, and three for Multiplayer Controllers. Due to this design, only one iQue Player system can be used, and the other players must use Multiplayer Controllers. When using the Multiplayer Box, the iQue Player system is Player 1.

Multiplayer ControllerEdit

The Multiplayer Controller (共游机) is used for local multiplayer. The Multiplayer Controller connects to the Multiplayer Box, and can't load games alone. Games have to be loaded on the iQue Player system.

HistoryEdit

DevelopmentEdit

China has an overwhelming black market for video games and usually only a few games officially make it to the Chinese market. Many Chinese gamers tend to purchase pirated cartridge or disc copies or download ROMs and ISOs to play via emulator. Nintendo wanted to curb the software piracy in China, and also by-pass the then-ban that the Chinese government implemented on home game consoles since 2000. Nintendo partnered with Wei Yen, who helped Nintendo in other projects, and together they created a game system to get around China's black market, as well as loophole through the government's ban.[citation needed] Originally, the system would support games released on Nintendo consoles prior to the GameCube, which include the NES, Super NES and Nintendo 64, but later in the system's development, it was resulted to only include Nintendo 64 games. Additionally, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was going to be included in the software library but it was later cancelled; however, the game's promotional picture is still on the back of the box.[4]

ReleaseEdit

The iQue Player was released on November 17, 2003 with a few launch titles. Nintendo's strategy to market games in China was to show how video games can help improve children's mental and social development. However, the launch was not successful. The total estimated sales was between 8,000 and 12,000 units.[5] At first, the only way to get games was to buy them via the iQue Depot, but in 2009, Nintendo released iQue@Home to download games at home. The latest game for the console, Animal Crossing (动物森林, Animal Forest) was released in 2006.

DiscontinuationEdit

On October 31, 2016, iQue reported that iQue@Home service would be discontinued by the end of December 2016.[6]

GamesEdit

The iQue Player's library has 14 games. All these games were released for the Nintendo 64 in North America, Japan, and other regions prior to the iQue Player. One game - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - was cancelled.[7]

Original title Simplified Chinese title Pinyin Release date Game code
Wave Race 64 水上摩托 Shuǐ Shàng Mótuō November 17, 2003 51011[8]
Star Fox 64[games note 1] 星际火狐 Xīngjì Huǒhú November 17, 2003 41011[9]
Dr. Mario 64[games note 2] 马力欧医生 Mǎlìōu Yīshēng November 17, 2003 61011[10]
Super Mario 64[games note 1] 神游马力欧 Shén Yóu Mǎlìōu November 17, 2003 10011[11]
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time[games note 1] 塞尔达传说 时光之笛 Sàiěrdá Chuánshuō: Shíguāng zhī Dí November 17, 2003 21011[12]
Mario Kart 64 马力欧卡丁车 Mǎlìōu Kǎdīngchē December 25, 2003 52011[13]
F-Zero X F-Zero X 未来赛车 F-Zero X Wèilái Sàichē February 25, 2004 52021[14]
Yoshi's Story 耀西故事 Yàoxī Gùshì March 25, 2004 11021[15]
Paper Mario 纸片马力欧 Zhǐpiàn Mǎlìōu June 8, 2004 21021[16]
Sin and Punishment 罪与罚-地球的继承者- Zuì yǔ Fá: Dìqiú de Jìchéng Zhě September 25, 2004 41021[17]
Excitebike 64 越野摩托 Yuèyě Mótuō June 15, 2005[18] 51021[19]
Super Smash Bros. 任天堂明星大乱斗 Rèntiāntáng Míngxīng Dà Luàn Dǒu November 15, 2005 12021[20]
Custom Robo 组合机器人 Zǔhé Jīqìrén May 1, 2006 21051[21]
Animal Crossing 动物森林 Dòngwù Sēnlín June 1, 2006[22] 21041[23]
  1. ^ a b c A demo was included with the system.
  2. ^ The full version of the game was included with the memory card bundled with the system.

DifferencesEdit

iQue Player games differ slightly from their Nintendo 64 counterparts, with the text and voices having been translated to Chinese. The only exceptions are the Mario games and the previously Japan-only title Sin and Punishment, where the text has been translated while the voices remain in English. Additionally, many glitches and errors from the original games have been fixed. Some features were removed due to the system's lack of support for Nintendo 64 controller accessories like the Rumble Pak. Due to this, many games that originally supported the rumble feature no longer support it. Some features were added. Many games that allow the player to enter their name now have the option to use their iQue Player's username, which can be set at the iQue Player's main menu.[citation needed] Speedruns of several games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64, are sometimes carried out on the iQue Player due to quicker loading times and faster scrolling text than the Nintendo 64 versions.[24] Nintendo had plans to support network multiplayer in games that originally only supported local multiplayer, which would work in a similar manner to that of an emulator.[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b iQue Ltd.
  2. ^ "iQue Ltd". www.ique.com. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  3. ^ iQue Ltd Archived 2007-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGT7lRptA3c
  5. ^ "《记录》第17期:神游中国(上) - 触乐". www.chuapp.com. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  6. ^ "神游机服务终止通知" [Notice of Discontinuation]. iQue (in Chinese). 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2016-11-01. The company has decided to formally terminate the service in the end of December 2016 and hereby informing that iQue Depot stations providing the service will be terminated.
  7. ^ Lim, Gabriel (October 16, 2018). "China’s iQue Player Was Originally Supposed To Get Zelda: Majora’s Mask". NintendoSoup. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  8. ^ iQue Ltd
  9. ^ iQue Ltd
  10. ^ iQue Ltd
  11. ^ iQue Ltd
  12. ^ iQue Ltd
  13. ^ iQue Ltd
  14. ^ iQue Ltd
  15. ^ iQue Ltd
  16. ^ iQue Ltd
  17. ^ iQue Ltd
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-12. Retrieved 2006-02-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ iQue Ltd
  20. ^ iQue Ltd
  21. ^ iQue Ltd
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-10-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ iQue Ltd
  24. ^ Gates, Christopher (2015-05-09). "Gamer Sets New World Record for 'Ocarina of Time' Speedrun". Gamerant.
  25. ^ IGN, IGN (2014-08-01). "IQue Fun Facts". IGN.[unreliable source?]

External linksEdit