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iQue Player
Logo of iQue Player.png
Nintendo-N64-iQue-Player-FL.jpg
iQue Player controller
DeveloperNintendo
ManufactureriQue
TypeHome video game console
GenerationFifth generation
Release date
  • CHN: November 17, 2003
Lifespan2003–2016
Introductory price¥498
Discontinued2016
MediaFlash card, cartridge
CPUR-4300i 64Bit CPU @ 140.625 MHz
Memory16 MB (8 MB available)
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)

The iQue Player (/ˌ ˈkj/, stylised as iQue PLAYER[2]) is a handheld TV game version of the Nintendo 64 console that was manufactured by iQue, a joint venture between Nintendo and Taiwanese-American scientist Wei Yen after China had banned the sale of home video games. Its Chinese name is Shén Yóu Ji (神游机), literally "Divine Gaming Machine". Shényóu (神游) is a double entendre as "to make a mental journey". It was never released in any English-speaking countries, but the name "iQue Player" appears in the instruction manual. The console and its controller are one unit, plugging directly into the television. A box accessory allows multiplayer gaming.[3] It was only released in mainland China, as its unusual game distribution method is an attempt to curb game piracy in that region.

Games are stored on a 64 MB flash card within a cartridge that plugs directly into the console. Games could be purchased at retail stores, at the iQue Depot kiosk which downloads content onto the cartridge for later play, in a similar manner to the Famicom Disk Writer Kiosk, Nintendo Power, and Nintendo DS Download Play. Games could also be downloaded by connecting the iQue to a PC. Time-limited demos that come with the iQue include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, and Star Fox 64. Full versions include those and Dr. Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Wave Race 64, and F-Zero X.

History

Development

China has a large 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 copied game files to play via emulator. Nintendo wanted to curb software piracy in China, and bypass the ban that the Chinese government has implemented on home game consoles since 2000. Nintendo partnered with Wei Yen, who had led past Nintendo product development such as the Nintendo 64 console and the Wii Remote. Originally, the system would support games released on Nintendo consoles prior to the GameCube, including the NES, Super NES, and Nintendo 64, but it was decided only to include Nintendo 64 games. Additionally, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was planned and is shown on the back of the box, but was later cancelled.[4]

Release

The iQue Player was released on November 17, 2003 with few launch games. 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 via the iQue Depot, but in 2004, Nintendo released iQue@Home to download at home.[6] The last game, Animal Crossing (动物森林, Animal Forest) was released in 2006.

Discontinuation

On October 31, 2016, iQue reported that iQue@Home service would be discontinued by the end of December 2016.[7] The service was gradually phased out until the content distribution servers went offline in 2018.

Overview

Upon power-on, the iQue logo appears. Then, an image of a character from a game appears alongside some options, such as "游戏" (games), "管理" (management), and in some cases "俱乐部" (club, referencing iQue Club). The games menu lists the purchased games and demos and some information on each, such as size, name, and status. It provides parental controls.

The online service includes buying games, cloud storage, and game updates. In the past, some gas stations had a kiosk based service for accessing games.

The iQue Depot is a network of kiosks that includes game purchase, downloading, updating, and cloud storage. Users must be a member of the iQue Club and have a special iQue Ticket to download games.

iQue@Home (神游在线, iQue Online) was a home-based online service that allowed free access to functions such as trial software, system updates, game purchase. The iQue Player connected to a computer via USB, with each purchase authenticated with an iQue Ticket, similar to a gift card. [1]

Accessories

iQue memory card
iQue memory card

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.

The iQue Player Multiplayer Box (共游盒, "Play-together Box") is a multitap, required for local multiplayer functionality. It has four ports; one for the main iQue Player system as Player 1, 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.

The Multiplayer Controller (共游机, "Play-together Controller") 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. The controller was named such in Chinese, as it refers to swimming alongside fishes, and playing together.

Technical details

The iQue Player is a size-reduced Nintendo 64 console, using system-on-a-chip technology. It plays Nintendo 64 games specifically ported to the system.

Games

The iQue Player's library has 14 games, light conversions from past releases for the Nintendo 64 in Europe, North America, and Japan. One game was canceled, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask[8] and another, a Traditional Chinese version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, was completed but never announced.[9]

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 Sin and Punishment, where the text has been translated but the voices remain in English. 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. Some features were added, and many games that allow the player to enter their name now have the option to use their iQue Player's username.[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.[10] Nintendo had plans to support network multiplayer in games that originally only support local multiplayer, which would work in a similar manner to that of an emulator.[11][unreliable source?]

Original title Simplified Chinese title Pinyin Release date Game code
Wave Race 64[games note 1] 水上摩托 Shuǐ Shàng Mótuō November 17, 2003 51011[12]
Star Fox 64[games note 1] 星际火狐 Xīngjì Huǒhú November 17, 2003 41011[13]
Dr. Mario 64[games note 2] 马力欧医生 Mǎlìōu Yīshēng November 17, 2003 61011[14]
Super Mario 64[games note 1] 神游马力欧 Shén Yóu Mǎlìōu November 17, 2003 11011[15]
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[16]
Mario Kart 64 马力欧卡丁车 Mǎlìōu Kǎdīngchē December 25, 2003 52011[17]
F-Zero X F-Zero X 未来赛车 F-Zero X Wèilái Sàichē February 25, 2004 52021[18]
Yoshi's Story 耀西故事 Yàoxī Gùshì March 25, 2004 11021[19]
Paper Mario 纸片马力欧 Zhǐpiàn Mǎlìōu June 8, 2004 21021[20]
Sin and Punishment 罪与罚-地球的继承者- Zuì yǔ Fá: Dìqiú de Jìchéng Zhě September 25, 2004 41021[21]
Excitebike 64 越野摩托 Yuèyě Mótuō June 15, 2005[22] 51021[23]
Super Smash Bros. 任天堂明星大乱斗 Rèntiāntáng Míngxīng Dà Luàn Dǒu November 15, 2005 12021[24]
Custom Robo 组合机器人 Zǔhé Jīqìrén May 1, 2006 21051[25]
Animal Crossing 动物森林 Dòngwù Sēnlín June 1, 2006[26] 21041[27]
  1. ^ a b c d A demo was included with the system.
  2. ^ The full version was included with the bundled memory card.

See also

References

  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. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Nintendo iQue Player - History and Hardware Overview". YouTube.
  5. ^ "《记录》第17期:神游中国(上) - 触乐". www.chuapp.com. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  6. ^ "再次升级啦". iQue Ltd. Retrieved 2022-02-10.
  7. ^ 神游机服务终止通知 [Notice of Discontinuation]. iQue (in Chinese). 2016-10-31. Archived from the original on 2018-02-24. 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.
  8. ^ Lim, Gabriel (October 16, 2018). "China's iQue Player Was Originally Supposed To Get Zelda: Majora's Mask". NintendoSoup. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Traditional Chinese) - iQueBrew". www.iquebrew.org. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  10. ^ Gates, Christopher (2015-05-09). "Gamer Sets New World Record for 'Ocarina of Time' Speedrun". Gamerant.
  11. ^ IGN IGN (2014-08-01). "IQue Fun Facts". IGN.
  12. ^ iQue Ltd
  13. ^ iQue Ltd
  14. ^ iQue Ltd
  15. ^ iQue Ltd
  16. ^ iQue Ltd
  17. ^ iQue Ltd
  18. ^ iQue Ltd
  19. ^ iQue Ltd
  20. ^ iQue Ltd
  21. ^ iQue Ltd
  22. ^ "iQue". Archived from the original on 2006-02-12. Retrieved 2006-02-12.
  23. ^ iQue Ltd
  24. ^ iQue Ltd
  25. ^ iQue Ltd
  26. ^ "iQue". Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  27. ^ iQue Ltd