The iQue Player
||16 MB RAM (8MB available)
||64Bit R-4300i (140.625 MHz)
|Can connect with
||iQue Player, Multiplayer Controller
|Backwards compatible with
||November 17, 2003
The iQue Player is a Chinese video game console released by iQue, a joint venture between Nintendo and Dr Wei Yen (a Chinese-American scientist) that later became a fully-owned Nintendo subsidiary. The device is properly known as the Shén Yóu Jī (神游机, literally "Divine Gaming Machine"), and is based on the hardware of the Nintendo 64.
The iQue Player was released exclusively in mainland China in 2003, designed to circumvent both software piracy in China and the Chinese ban on video game consoles that was in place at the time.
For many years, the iQue Player would be the only Nintendo home console to be officially released in the mainland Chinese market; although Satoru Iwata announced that the company planned to release the Wii in China in 2008, the console was ultimately released only in Hong Kong under the Nintendo brand. However, Nintendo would release its handheld devices from the Game Boy Advance onward in China using the iQue branding (i.e. the Nintendo DS was released as the "iQue DS"). Later, as part of its collaboration with Nvidia, the company would start to release some of its Wii and Nintendo GameCube titles in mainland China for the Nvidia Shield TV platform. Finally, Nintendo would partner with Tencent to release the Nintendo Switch console in China in December of 2019.
The iQue Player is a "plug and play"-style console, using a system on a chip architecture based on the Nintendo 64 built into the controller. The device features all the same buttons as the Nintendo 64 Controller, though with an entirely different form factor. The layout of the controller is also different from a Nintendo 64, such as the analog stick being moved above the D-pad (which also has a different design than other Nintendo D-pads), the Z button being placed underneath the L button similar to a Nintendo GameCube Controller, and the addition of a power button above the start button. On the back of the device are two external ports: one which connects to a USB cable to plug into a computer, and another which plugs into the included AV cable. The AV Cable also features a fourth cable which connects to the AC adapter. Finally, on the bottom is the port for the Memory Card.
When the system is turned on, the player is taken to a menu where they can either set the system settings, such as the username or current date and time, or go directly to the menu to select and play one of the games installed on the Memory Card.
The iQue Player plays digitally downloaded versions of Nintendo 64 titles stored on the Memory Card, rather than using changeable cartridges. Games can be downloaded either by taking the Memory Card to an iQue Depot kiosk at select stores, or by connecting the iQue Player to a computer via USB and downloading games from the official website using the "iQue@home" service, powered by "Fugue Online". Most of the games released for the system are newer versions of the games which feature bug fixes and gameplay improvements from the original Nintendo 64 releases, though these releases also removed support for Nintendo 64 controller accessories such as the Rumble Pak due to the system itself lacking support for these devices. However, games can make use of the Controller Pak, which is essentially emulated by the system.
Five games were released at launch for the iQue Player. All iQue Players feature Dr. Mario 64 pre-installed on the Memory Card, alongside demos of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Wave Race 64, and Super Mario 64. Once the time on these demos expires, they cannot be played again without software modification of the console. However, the player could download trial versions of all games released for the system.
In total, 14 titles were released for the system between 2003 and 2006:
- Dr. Mario 64 (November 13, 2003)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (November 13, 2003)
- Star Fox 64 (November 13, 2003)
- Super Mario 64 (November 13, 2003)
- Wave Race 64 (November 13, 2003)
- Mario Kart 64 (December 25, 2003)
- F-Zero X (February 24, 2004)
- Yoshi's Story (March 25, 2004)
- Paper Mario (June 8, 2004)
- Sin & Punishment (September 25, 2004)
- Excitebike 64 (2005)
- Super Smash Bros. (November 15, 2005)
- Custom Robo (May 1, 2006)
- Dōbutsu no Mori (June 1, 2006)
As of December 31, 2016, the Fugue Online service has been discontinued, meaning that games can no longer be purchased for the system.
Controllers and accessories
The iQue Player Memory Card is a 64 MB flash memory card used to store games downloaded for the system. The Memory Card inserts into the bottom of the player. The Memory Card is only compatible with the iQue Player unit it was packaged with.
The Multiplayer Box (often incorrectly translated as Swim Box) is a multitap device allowing for local multiplayer in compatible iQue Player titles. The device uses an included cable to connect to the iQue Player, and has an output on the back for the AV cable. The Multiplayer Box has inputs for a singular iQue Player and up to three additional Multiplayer Controllers.
The Multiplayer Controller (often incorrectly translated as Swim Controller) is a secondary controller for the iQue Player. The controller can only be used by an additional player in conjunction with a Multiplayer Box to play with others locally.
- When revealed at the Tokyo Game Show 2003, it was announced that the iQue Player would also be able to play Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, though none of that system's titles were ever released for the device. It was also announced that ten games would be released for the system at launch, when only five were available.
- Screenshots of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask are among those on the back of the box for the system even though the game was never officially released as an iQue Player title, suggesting that at one point it was planned. Other images from ique.com and iQue's CDS show that the game was almost ready to be released before it was cancelled, even having box art, a poster and some iQue@Home shop icons.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was machine-translated into Traditional Chinese, and was downloadable from iQue's CDS. However, it was never officially released, and cannot be played on an iQue Player without extensive software modification.
iQue Player on other NIWA Wikis:
- ↑ Wii comes to China, South Korea in 2008. Engadget (October 26, 2007). Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- ↑ Release of Nintendo Switch in China. Nintendo (December 4, 2019). Retrieved January 5, 2021
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 iQue Fun Facts. IGN. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- ↑ iQue official website (October 31, 2016). Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Nintendo iQue Announced for China. Nintendo World Report (September 26, 2003). Retrieved November 1, 2016.
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