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Video Game Connection - Museum : Nintendo iQue

Review Submitted by Terry Herman (marriott_guy)

One of the lesser known consoles released by Nintendo, the iQue debuted in China on November 17, 2003. The published intention of this system was to allow gamers easy and affordable access to past Nintendo game releases for both the Super Nintendo/Famicom and N64. 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. BR>

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 million colors at a maximum rate of 100,000 polygons per second. This sturdy, stylistic unit plugs directly into the television AV ports. Though only one controller interface is provided, an expansion pack is offered, sold separately, allowing multiplayer gaming.

Now to the games. There are no new ones. The iQue solely uses ports of existing games from the Super Nintendo/Famicom and N64. 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, and Star Fox 64. 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, 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). There are 14 known game ports for this system.

Overall, this console is nothing more than a compact, glorified SNES/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.

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