Micro Genius

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Micro Genius
IndustryVideo games
FoundedLate 1980s
ProductsFamiclones (late 1980s–mid 1990s)
Video games (1991–1994)

Micro Genius (Chinese: 小天才; pinyin: Xiǎo Tiān Cái; lit. 'Small Genius') is a brand name used for Famicom clone consoles marketed in several countries around the world, particularly in areas where Nintendo consoles were not readily available, including the Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America, Eastern Europe, South Africa and East Asian countries excluding Japan and South Korea. The name was initially and most famously used by TXC Corporation for its range of Taiwanese-made Famicom clones, software and accessories, but later passed to other companies and remains in use today on rebranded Chinese Famicom clones and LCD games.

In some countries - such as Malaysia - during the early 1990s, Micro Genius Famicom clones were the most popular game consoles,[1] mirroring the popularity enjoyed several years earlier by Nintendo's official Famicom and NES in Japan and North America. In Russia certain models of Micro Genius were sold under the Dendy brand, and in Poland one version, the IQ-502, was released as a Pegasus console - both of which were also the most popular consoles in their respective countries - while in Colombia and certain other Latin American countries they were sold as Nichi-Man. Micro Genius consoles were also sighted being played by children in a North Korean children's camp in 2008,[2] a country which few other video games have reached. However, they rarely reached markets where Nintendo was more recognisable, as they often infringed on Nintendo's patents in those regions.[3]

Consoles and accessories[edit]

The IQ201, an early Micro Genius console.

There are several models of the Micro Genius, but the Micro Genius IQ-501 was particularly popular until the official introduction of competitors like Sega and Nintendo in the regions where it was sold. The games came in form of 60-pin cartridges, identical to those of the Japanese Famicom, which were inserted from the top into a cartridge port. A standard Micro Genius console package came with two wired controllers and sometimes a light gun. Some models also used an RF antenna to transmit signals wirelessly to a receiver inserted in the TV. Later incarnations came with IR wireless controllers.

Micro Genius consoles include:

  • IQ-201 - an early model resembling the Famicom, with hard-wired controllers
  • IQ-301 - similar to the IQ-201, with the addition of turbo switches
  • IQ-501 - introduces detachable controllers, sold as Dendy Classic in Russia
  • IQ-502 - sold as Dendy Classic II in Russia and Pegasus IQ-502 in Poland
  • IQ-701 - resembles the international Nintendo Entertainment System
  • IQ-901 - an early handheld TV game
  • IQ-1000 - built-in infra-red receiver, comes with one wireless controller and one wired
  • IQ-2000 - similar to the IQ-1000 but comes with two wireless controllers

Accessories for other consoles were also sold under the Micro Genius brand, including lightguns and controllers for the original NES, and wireless controllers for the Mega Drive and SNES.


Most versions of Micro Genius are compatible with Famicom cartridges but require a 72-pin to 60-pin adapter to play NES games, although certain models were produced in both 60-pin Famicom and 72-pin NES versions. It was often sold with cartridges containing multiple games. The 60-pin Famicom versions also generally supported expansion audio chips such as Konami's VRC6 and VRC7 making them a more affordable alternative for those in Europe wanting to play Famicom games with expansion audio without making modifications to the console as long as they don't mind 50 Hz slowdown.

A series of original Micro Genius games, such as Chinese Chess and Thunder Warrior, was produced in both Famicom and NES format, but unlicensed copies of Japanese games remained more popular in the countries where the console was sold.

List of games[edit]

On the list, all Idea-Tek games were later re-released by the same TXC/Micro Genius.[4][5]

No. Title Original
1 F-15 City War 1990 Released by Idea-Tek.
2 Puzzle 1990 Released by Idea-Tek.
3 Chinese Chess 1991 1) Also known as Zhōngguó Xiàngqí.
2) In some versions the game is misspelled, credited as "Chinese Chese".
4 Creatom 1991
5 Enjoyable Horse Racing[6] 1991 1) Also known as 1991 Du Ma Racing (1991 Dǔ Mǎ Dàsài).
2) Released by Idea-Tek.
6 Mahjong Block 1991 1) Released by Idea-Tek; a Mahjong theme version of Poke Block.
2) The game was also released and published (with the addition of nudity) by Hacker International as AV Dragon Mahjang.
7 Poke Block 1991 1) Released by Idea-Tek.
2) In 1992, was re-released by TXC and published by American Video Entertainment as Stakk'M.
8 Rad Racket: Deluxe Tennis II 1991 Released by Idea-Tek.
9 Venice Beach Volleyball 1991 Released by Idea-Tek.
10 Xiǎo Mǎ Lì 1991 1) Released by Nei-Hu Electronics and distributed by Idea-Tek.
2) Re-released by TXC as Bingo.
11 Policeman 1992[7] Game similar to Bonanza Bros. by Sega.
12 Strike Wolf 1992
13 Thunder Warrior 1992 1) Also known as Hōng Tiān Zhìzūn.
2) An adapted version was released by Gluk Video as Gluk: The Thunder Warrior.
14 3-in-1 Super Gun 1993 3 games in 1: Clowr, Snake Charmer, and Shooter.
15 Journey to the West 1994 1) Also known as Western Heaven (Xītiān Qǔjīng).
2) Developed by Chengdu Tai Jing Da Dong Computer Co.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ariff, Syed Umar (15 April 2009). "The un-consoled". Johor Streets. NST Online. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  2. ^ Sheffield, Brandon (25 September 2008). "More North Korean games - Micro Genius". Insert Credit. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  3. ^ Radakrishnan, G (1991). "Nintendo takes action against infringers". IP Asia. Shomei Ltd. 4.
  4. ^ Idea-Tek and TXC Corp.
  5. ^ Gluk: Los Juegos del Naranjito
  6. ^ Enjoyable Horse Racing << Famicom World
  7. ^ Gluk: Los Juegos del Naranjito

External links[edit]