Nintendo iQue Player
Type Console Developer Nintendo \ Dr. Yen
Release Date 2003-Nov-23 Region(s) China
Initial Price $99 USD Games Released 14
DW FACTS
     by Dark Watcher
China has been a piracy plague for videogame manufacturers for years.  Many home consoles have been cloned and sold throughout the streets of Hong Kong.  Why spend more money when you can get a cheaper clone?

Although many of their older consoles have been cloned, Nintendo realized there was still money to be made there. In November of 2003, they announced a low cost system to debut in China.  This new system, called "iQue" (rough translation = God's Toy), was not necessarily a new console from a technological perspective.  Nintendo used nanotechnology on their Nintendo 64 console to create a single chip solution containing CPU, Graphic Engine, etc.  This new design allows doubled operating speed, reduced electronic noises, low power consumption, and most noticeably a reduced size.  The heart of N64 has been built into a single controller.
 
What makes it even more interesting is the fact that the iQue, although essentially an N64 machine, does not use cartridges.  The console uses a 64 MB Flash Card as its game media.  These Flash Cards are used to download and store N64 game ports. The overall concept works similar to Nintendo's efforts with the Famicom Disk System.  Gamers simply purchase a game title and download it onto their Flash Card. This design makes the games cheaper for purchase.
So how will Nintendo discourage piracy?  Each iQue flash card contains a digital signature specific to that unit. So a flash card from one iQue will not work in another. The flash card also stores a download log.  This log records what games have been purchased. This will prevent downloads of games not purchased.  It also works for the gamer.  If a purchased game is deleted simply to make room for another game, it can be downloaded again for free the next time.  This download log system is also used to allow time limited game demos.

The iQue retailed for Yuan 598 (Less then $100 USD).  It comes packaged with the unit, a power supply (220V), and the 64 MB flash card containing 5 pre-downloaded games.  Doctor Mario is a full version title, but Zelda 64: Ocarina of Time (10 hours), Mario 64 (7 hours), Wave Race (1 hour) and Star Fox (1 hour) are time limited demo versions.  The package also contains a serial number and password that allow you to obtain new titles via iQue Depots at locations throughout China.  Games cost approximately $6 USD and include the game manual.  An interesting device that can be imported, but may also appear on other shores.

FACT: The Nintendo iQue uses an operating system called UOS (Updateable Operating System).  This allows Nintendo the ability to apply system updates which are stored onto their flash card.
HANDS ON REVIEW
     by Marriott_Guy
One of the lesser known consoles released by Nintendo, the iQue Player (iQue) debuted in China on November 21, 2003.  The published intention of this system was to allow gamers easy and affordable access to past game releases for the Nintendo 64.  In reality, the truth behind its incarnation seems to lie somewhere in between their attempt to govern the illegal distribution of game ROMs while profiting from the reissuing of past games.  Though plans to release the iQue worldwide were in the works at the time, this console was only sold in China.  Targeting the Chinese audience was not done by accident - digital copyright laws differ significantly from those employed in the US.
 
Strongly resembling a plug-n-play device, the iQue is indeed a stand alone console on all levels.  The iQue does not offer anything new to the gaming world technologically.  Inside this system resides a R-4300 64Bit CPU that is based on the same chip used in the Nintendo 64.  Graphically, games are able to be displayed using 2.09 million colors at a maximum rate of 100,000 polygons per second.  This sturdy, stylistic unit plugs directly into the television AV ports (composite).  Though only one controller interface is provided, an expansion pack (Nintendo iQue Family Pack) is offered, sold separately, allowing multiplayer gaming.  Speaking of software, unfortunately the iQue Player offers absolutely nothing new for the gamer.
The iQue solely uses ports of existing games from the Nintendo 64.  Games are played from and stored on 64 MB flash cards that are inserted into the bottom of the unit.  The system itself comes with time-limited demos of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64 and Star Fox 64 along with the full version of Doctor Mario.  Additional titles are purchased through official iQue distributors (downloaded onto the flash cards).  Games are exactly as they were at the time of their original release (with the exception of some translation), though graphics have been updated slightly.  Game downloads sold for $5-$10 USD.  A nice thing about the system was that the Flash cards are rewritable but retains your download history for purchased games (so you can reinstall them at no charge if you run out of room and need to delete a title).  As of this writing, there are 14 known game ports for this system.

Overall, this console is nothing more than a compact, glorified N64 port machine aimed at thwarting piracy (ROMs) and attempting to cash in as well.  These systems are somewhat rare, but not entirely. Do not spend a great deal in investing in these systems.  A CIB unit should run you around $100 USD, with about $45 S/H from China.  This console should go up in price in time due to its limited release in China.  If making the purchase, due so for collection purposes only, not for a new gaming experience. 
 
MODELS
     Officially licensed releases
Nintendo iQue Player (model # IQUE 1-2003) - Packaging & Box Contents

 
CLONES
     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.  This system is a clone of the Nintendo 64.
 
CONSOLE RATINGS
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.
CRITERIA RATING NOTES & COMMENTS
Console Design 04 This is an odd device to say the least.  Though the compact design is welcomed, having to wield it around while gaming is a bit unnerving.
Console Durability 06 Surprising, this system has more mass to it than one would think.  The connections to the optional Family Pack are not very tight, but overall I have not had any problems with iQue.
Controllers 07 If you like the "Duke" that was packaged with the original Xbox, then you will dig this controller.  It is a bit girthy for my taste, but overall is very responsive. 
Graphics 03 Since this system is emulating the Nintendo 64, hard to rate the iQue anything higher based on the time of its release.
Audio 03 Ditto on the above.
Media 07 The 64 MB Flash Card was a good choice for this console.  Fast and versatile, anything more would have been a waste.
Game Library 01 There is absolutely nothing new in regards to exclusive titles for this system.  All have been previously released on the Nintendo 64.
Gamer Value 01 When you can pick up a N64 and ALL of the titles for less than the iQue, it is hardly a good value for the gamer.
Collector Value 07 These seem to be readily available for a modest amount of cash for the time being.  With the last game being released in 2006, this might be a pretty solid investment for the collector.

FORMAT, PACKAGING & GENERAL INFO
     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Nintendo iQue Player was distributed on 64 MB Flash Cards.  The console comes with time-limited demos of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64 and Star Fox 64 along with the full version of Doctor Mario.  Games could be purchased in the traditional manner (with the software preinstalled on a Flash Card) or by downloading the software from one of the authorized Nintendo iQue Depots.

Retail packaging for iQue software is basically the same style that is utilized with a deck of playing cards.  A flip-top cover provides access to the Flash Card and one page instruction pamphlet.  Bright, vibrant artwork adorns the front cover with the high-gloss finish adding a bit of class to the design.

The second method of obtaining titles was by downloading them from Nintendo iQue Depots (as previously described in the Reviews section).

Sample Game Play (F-Zero X)


 
SCREENSHOTS
     Captured in-game images
iQue Welcome Screen
iQue Player Info Screen
iQue Game Selection Screen
Animal Crossing
Custom Robo
Dr. Mario
Excitebike 64
F-Zero X
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina
Mario Kart 64
Paper Mario
Sin and Punishment
Star Fox 64
Super Mario 64
Super Smash Bros.
Wave Race 64
Yoshi's Story

 
 
EMULATION
     First and third party system emulators

No emulators have been released thus far.
 

SPECS & MANUALS
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type Processor Speed Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
64-bit R-4300 CPU 93.75 MHz Math Co-Processor 4 MB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
480p, 480i 2.09 million colors 100K polygons\second ADPCM 64
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Flash Card 64 MB 14 None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
1 MB Flash ROM 64 MB Flash Cards 6 Action Buttons, 2-Triggers, D-Pad, Analog thumbstick None
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
N\A (built into console) None None Composite
Power Supply - External Other Outputs Other Details \ Notes
Input: AC 220V, 50Hz
Output: DC 5V, 2A
None With optional Family Pack adaptor, up to 4-way play possible
Manuals
Nintendo iQue Owner's Manuals (PDF) (Chinese) - 1.35 MB
Nintendo iQue Gaming Manuals (PDF) (Chinese) - 1.40 MB

OTHER MEDIA
     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Nintendo iQue Promotional Video (Chinese)

Nintendo iQue Family Pack

Nintendo iQue Depot

Nintendo iQue Promotional Fliers

 
DISCUSS
     Visitor insights and feedback
Please be respectful and abide by our Terms of Use & Policies prior to posting.  Basically be nice, keep it clean and don't spam or be a troll.  Thanks!

comments powered by Disqus