While doing some research on Doubutsu no Mori, I came across a nice little post on The Bell Tree Forums entitled “A Guide to: ALL Animal Crossing Games EVER.” Please click here to check it out, it’s very informative! Anyway, I started reading and was of course familiar with every iteration of Animal Crossing until I came across “Doubutsu no Mori: iQue.” What? How had I never heard of this before? I read what the author had written on it, and I became intrigued. I decided to dig a little deeper and see what I could learn about the iQue player!
Apparently, the iQue Player was released in China in 2003 as a collaboration between Nintendo and a Chinese-American scientist. In 2000, China banned home video game consoles, fearing they had a negative effect on the mental and physical development of children. PC games were still allowed, however! (By the way, China just recently lifted that ban- awesome news for gamers over there!) As you can imagine, because of the ban, there was a booming black market for video games.
This is where the iQue Player comes in. It looks sort of like a number of Plug and Play devices you can buy that have a bunch of games on them- and in fact, that’s sort of what the idea was with it. The console itself plugs directly into the television, and games were downloaded to a flash card. This was a loophole that allowed Nintendo to skirt around both the ban and the black market.
Originally, owners had to go to an iQue Depot to download their games, but later, Fugue Online was released. This allowed users to download games at home. All in all, only 14 games were released for the system, and they were all Nintendo 64 games. These games included Super Mario 64, Dr. Mario 64, and Yoshi’s Story. In 2006, the last game was released, and that game was… you guessed it, Doubutsu no Mori!
It has been so interesting learning about a gaming system that I never even knew existed. A quick search for the iQue Player on Amazon gave me only one hit back, and it was pretty expensive, so it’s not something that’s widely available. It is set up to work on NTSC televisions though, which means it would work on my TV if I were ever able to purchase one! Downloading the games themselves might be a different story, unless I was somehow able to purchase a system with some games already downloaded onto the flash card. Games only work with the iQue player that they were first downloaded for, though, so no buying “used” flash cards with games on them! Still, it would be neat to own this system!