iQue Player

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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-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 ‹See Tfd›(in Chinese)

The iQue Player (/ˌ ˈkj/, stylised as iQue PLAYER[2]) is a home 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.

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.

Technical details[edit]

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-4300i 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 menu[edit]

Once the player has turned on the system, the iQue logo will appear. Then, an image of a character from a game will appear alongside some options, selectable using the stick, such as “游戏" (games), "管理" (management), and in some cases "俱乐部" (club, referencing iQue Club), and it will say to press the A button to continue. Once the player has entered the games menu, the system lists the games and demos that the player owns and some info on each, such as size, name and status.

iQue Player healthy gaming advice screen
Example info screen, showing ISBN

Once the player has selected a game with the stick, they can press the A button to start it. A warning will appear, the "healthy gaming advice" screen required to be shown by Chinese law, followed by a screen with some more information about the game, such as its ISBN (if it has one). The first time a game is played after having been transferred to the console, a loading bar will also appear as the console 'recrypts' (i.e. applies a second layer of encryption using a randomly-generated key) the game.

If the player instead presses Z on the highlighted game, a menu will appear allowing the player to allocate memory pak files for the game, if this feature is required.

iQue Player settings menu

The console allows parents to set a limit on the usage of the console, similar to parental controls in modern consoles, in the management menu. The first item in the menu, "设置密码" (set password), can be used to enable a 4-digit code that must be entered correctly to access the menu. The second item, "设置时钟" (set time), is used to set the console's RTC (this option only has an effect if the console's internal battery is not depleted). The third item, "设置游戏时间" (set gaming time), allows a parent to set a limit on the amount of time that can be spent playing games, selectable from values starting at 00:00 and increasing in 30-minute increments until 08:00, with one more option for 24:00 (essentially removing the limit). The final item, "密码过期时间" (password expiration date), allows a date to be set for the password and other settings to expire, allowing the console to be used normally.

On older firmware versions, the player can also start the iQue Club application from the main menu, which allows them to set a username, phone number, date of birth, gender and address.

Online services[edit]

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 Depot[edit]

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@Home[edit]

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 firmware versions. 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]

Accessories[edit]

iQue Card[edit]

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 Box[edit]

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 Controller[edit]

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.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

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]

Release[edit]

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 last game for the console, Animal Crossing (动物森林, Animal Forest) was released in 2006.

Discontinuation[edit]

On October 31, 2016, iQue reported that iQue@Home service would be discontinued by the end of December 2016.[6] The service was gradually phased out until the content distribution servers went offline in 2018.

Games[edit]

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] and another - a Traditional Chinese version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - was completed but never announced[8].

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[9]
Star Fox 64[games note 1] 星际火狐 Xīngjì Huǒhú November 17, 2003 41011[10]
Dr. Mario 64[games note 2] 马力欧医生 Mǎlìōu Yīshēng November 17, 2003 61011[11]
Super Mario 64[games note 1] 神游马力欧 Shén Yóu Mǎlìōu November 17, 2003 11011[12][13]
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[14]
Mario Kart 64 马力欧卡丁车 Mǎlìōu Kǎdīngchē December 25, 2003 52011[15]
F-Zero X F-Zero X 未来赛车 F-Zero X Wèilái Sàichē February 25, 2004 52021[16]
Yoshi's Story 耀西故事 Yàoxī Gùshì March 25, 2004 11021[17]
Paper Mario 纸片马力欧 Zhǐpiàn Mǎlìōu June 8, 2004 21021[18]
Sin and Punishment 罪与罚-地球的继承者- Zuì yǔ Fá: Dìqiú de Jìchéng Zhě September 25, 2004 41021[19]
Excitebike 64 越野摩托 Yuèyě Mótuō June 15, 2005[20] 51021[21]
Super Smash Bros. 任天堂明星大乱斗 Rèntiāntáng Míngxīng Dà Luàn Dǒu November 15, 2005 12021[22]
Custom Robo 组合机器人 Zǔhé Jīqìrén May 1, 2006 21051[23]
Animal Crossing 动物森林 Dòngwù Sēnlín June 1, 2006[24] 21041[25]
  1. ^ a b c d A demo was included with the system.
  2. ^ The full version of the game was included with the memory card bundled with the system.

Differences[edit]

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.[26] 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.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Traditional Chinese) - iQueBrew". www.iquebrew.org. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
  9. ^ iQue Ltd
  10. ^ iQue Ltd
  11. ^ iQue Ltd
  12. ^ Given as 11011 in the URL of the game page, 11011 is used in the game's filename, but 10011 is displayed on the game page.
  13. ^ iQue Ltd
  14. ^ iQue Ltd
  15. ^ iQue Ltd
  16. ^ iQue Ltd
  17. ^ iQue Ltd
  18. ^ iQue Ltd
  19. ^ iQue Ltd
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-02-12. Retrieved 2006-02-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ iQue Ltd
  22. ^ iQue Ltd
  23. ^ iQue Ltd
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2007-10-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ iQue Ltd
  26. ^ Gates, Christopher (2015-05-09). "Gamer Sets New World Record for 'Ocarina of Time' Speedrun". Gamerant.
  27. ^ IGN, IGN (2014-08-01). "IQue Fun Facts". IGN.[unreliable source?]

External links[edit]