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I'll back up the CDi honesty trip with another positive post from a former owner in the 90s.

 

For one, it was a smear campaign that went up against it before the internet really was a thing, EGM was centered on it, and I used to know some Philips employee back in that decade who dished some horrible dirt that sent them packing eventually back to Europe where it hung on for a bit longer.

 

It was never made or intended to be made as a gaming centric system. It from the get go was designed as a multimedia device with a centering more on education and media (movies and music.) The system was packaged as such as an encyclopedia (great one for the time) and some other media, not games. It was designed to stream basic media from the disc as it spun, very little memory to dump data into it so it could only go so long before it would have to pause and spin up some more junk into RAM. Game makers in time learned to work that with split up stages (Mutant Rampage Bodyslam) or having sequences (Link Faces of Evil/Hotel Mario) or they did something you could stream like rail shooters (chaos control), dvd movie games(dragon's lair types,) or the games were just small enough of a footprint to work like Namco Museum or Lords of the Rising Sun. It had dozens of actually A down to B- tier good quality games to actually enjoy, some made it onto other formats like the PC even or consoles in select cases.

 

it just is an asinine hanger on of the 90s disinformation campaign that craps all over it, largely sheeple gamer wannabe cool kid losers who bandwagon how awful it is, some being Nintendo butthurts wanting to rag on the 4 games that arrived (of which only 1 was truly broken and awful Zelda's Adventure.) In the era it did and for years even have the best releases of some games (like the Don Bluth titles and Lord's of the Rising Sun for some examples.)

 

If I ever find one locally, and it's not scam priced I'd buy it again to experience the stuff I had and some I never could track down in the pre-internet ebay take off days too.

 

 

Oh, brother. :roll: It was banking off the novelty of the CDrom tech. That's all.

 

It wasn't a great eduntainment device (there's more and better software on PCs) and it wasn't a good game system. Just because something isn't well received, doesn't mean there's a conspiracy against it and people are "sheeple". It could truly be, as in the case with the CDi, not worth the time when better more entertaining options are out there. You sound like a freaking hipster with that rant. And not in the generic, thrown about "hipster". Like the true, trying to drum up and hype something that isn't popular meaning.

Edited by keepdreamin
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No no, there was totally a conspiracy against the little guys in electronic entertainment. I've read the literature. One of the worst was a gang called FEKA and I have a feeling they weren't even human.

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Yeah, I sure remember all those EGM staffers flanking the CD-i kiosk at my local Best Buy circa 1994 and chasing off any interested kids. :ponder: Oh, right. That didn't happen. There was a 3DO around the corner, or you could go see the latest offerings on systems you might already own. Like SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear. Nobody was gathered around the CDi because Space Ace wasn't exactly the bastion of exciting gameplay. :sleep:

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It's pretty easy to imagine the other side of the Tanooki "biased media" story. If Philips wasn't willing to send EGM promo hardware and software, it's hard to expect much coverage, favorable or otherwise.

 

Let's ask the Player One Podcast crew how they remember it.

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They did send them stuff, but it was like enough for the reviewers at 2 per machine and the needed controllers just for that, not one for every single person to touch it. I'm going to ignore some of the dipshittery responses here to what I wrote, but flojo you're at least respectful. I'm passing on just old info, if it can be verified as true or a butthurt pissed off lying philips employee that's fine too. Like I have a stake in it either way not having a system or stock in the company either. :D I just knew the guy was mad, he vented, I didn't queue up the response but I heard it out.

 

As I said it was a multmedia box, not a gaming system, and in the end it was never great at any of it other than maybe as a TV based CD player (if you ran it through a nice stereo.) It did this or that very well, and a lot more of the this or that pretty mediocre due to limitations and no one caring if the VCD format took off or not. They never did get much licensed game software either, at least anything much people cared about at least. Much of the solid games they had were ported to PC or were ports from another system if you go down the list.

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It's pretty easy to imagine the other side of the Tanooki "biased media" story. If Philips wasn't willing to send EGM promo hardware and software, it's hard to expect much coverage, favorable or otherwise.

 

Let's ask the Player One Podcast crew how they remember it.

 

anigif_enhanced-buzz-15298-1344610941-1.

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mentions: "asinine hanger on of the 90s disinformation campaign that craps all over it" "largely sheeple gamer wannabe cool kid losers" and "Nintendo butthurts".

 

But then speaks of being respectful.

 

Never change Tanooki, never change. :lol:

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The CDi is not terrible. It unfortunately got touted as one of the worst systems of all time (possibly due to the Zelda and Mario games), and now people seem to like to say it's not worthwhile to own one. Kind of like how E.T. got the reputation of the worst game ever, when it really doesn't even come close.

 

The CDi isn't a great system, but there are some enjoyable games like The Apprentice and Mutant Rampage: Bodyslam that you can't play elsewhere. There just happens to be a lot of shovelware and edutainment titles as well.

 

In the past I have generally been of a similar mindset. That said, the times have changed and these days it's very difficult for me to recommend a CD-I. Prices have gone up considerably and necessary items to get the most out of it are becoming much more scarce (game controllers and other worthwhile input devices, digital video carts, systems with working Timekeepers, etc).

 

If this was the late '90s to early 2000's when you could get a nice, boxed system for under $50 and pretty much any game you wanted cost less than $10 (even the rare ones), I would definitely recommend the CD-I as something to experiment with. There is enjoyable stuff on it, but the cost of entry is too high these days for what you get.

 

It could truly be, as in the case with the CDi, not worth the time when better more entertaining options are out there.

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but even the best that the CD-I has to offer would have been met with a giant "meh" on more popular systems. Funnily, the shame is not necessarily that the CD-I is host to a bunch of average games, but that when things get bad on it, they get really bad (i.e., Pinball, Video Speedway, and Phantom Express, to name a few).

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For a more useful post (unless talking someone out of buying something like this is considered useful), here are a few things for the OP to consider.

 

1. First off, you need a Digital Video cart. Many games will function without it, but others (like the 7th Guest) require it. Some of these are the better games on the system. Different models require different DV carts, so if your model doesn't come with one, you will need to figure out which model of DV cart you need (then hope it comes up for sale at a reasonable price, they aren't as common as they used to be). Ideally, buy a bundle where the cart comes included.

 

2. You want a traditional gamepad as well as a mouse or trackball. The CD-I reads inputs differently from other systems and it's geared towards more analog style control methods. That said, you won't be wanting to use a mouse for platformers or grid-based puzzle games, so have a traditional gamepad on hand for those. Using a gamepad on pointer/cursor controlled games and you will get a sluggish, unresponsive feeling, whereas with a mouse or trackball, things will feel fast and responsive. Any control method works on any game, but if you're not using the right one, things will be much less enjoyable.

 

3. Having a working Timekeeper is absolutely imperative. Try to find a system that's fully working, otherwise be prepared to do a mod yourself. Or, if you aren't capable, be willing to pay to have someone else do it for you. If your Timekeeper doesn't work, then game progress won't save and you can expect to experience a host of other problems (a significant one being games refusing to load at all). If the system is fully working at the time of purchasing and it is stock, be prepared for it to have to be modded very soon.

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Well ... the OP stated he cares to complete his Cinemaware collection.

If memory serves none of their games on CDi required the MPEG card so he can cheap out on it without regret.

Also none of the Cinemaware games were gamepad reliant, on the Amiga you'd use a mouse so the same applies to the CDi, not sure if the "remote" controllers would be fast enough for LOTRS (I doubt DOTC has the same reliance on a mouse but the CDi was not based on the Amiga version so my memory may fail me here as I played the Atari ST version far less), so you may be able to get away with it, the RC6 remotes and compatible players have pressure sensitive buttons not sure if that would help/ruin the LOTRS experience (not the CD220 player you referred to though, that uses the RC5) .

 

So wrt Cinemaware games you may actually get away with a player with no MPEG board and just a remote and enjoy the CDi with those games (and a few point and click games as well without many issues to be fair).

 

Wrt the timekeeper chips, all the way excluding the 470/490 players they used a chip that is not serviceable and the "embedded" battery dies on you (you literally have to grind it out to expose the metal pads to solder a replacement on, not pretty) , the 470/490 had a weird SRAM on a "socket PCB" in which the battery and RTC chip were housed so at least the SRAM is separate (they call the kludge NVRAM on the docs) but replacing the batteries still requires desoldering the "socket PCB" and fidget with it or replace it although there may be a way to connect an external battery in parallel to the one buried in the "socket PCB" it's been a while since I looked at the schematics, instead the players based on the MC68341 had the RTC embedded on the CPU so that usually a serviceable battery was housed outside the package and that made replacing it easy (think Sega Saturn save battery but maybe you have to unscrew the metal chassis).

 

Hope all of this info helps. Good luck in your chase for a complete Cinemaware set.

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Well ... the OP stated he cares to complete his Cinemaware collection.

If memory serves none of their games on CDi required the MPEG card so he can cheap out on it without regret.

Right, I was speaking more so from a "getting into the CD-I in general" kind of standpoint. If he wants to dig farther into the library down the road, he's going to want these things. Finding a bundle is the most common and cost-effective way to get some of the things I mentioned (system, DV cart, and controller).

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normal_cdi_from_retro_games_mag.jpg

 

Not a game system

If that's the case, and the line some people are gonna take to defend it, then shouldn't this thread be moved? It's currently in classic gaming. Maybe it would be better suited for "general" or "entertainment".

 

Or maybe an audio/video forum where they discuss Blu-ray and receivers.

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In the past I have generally been of a similar mindset. That said, the times have changed and these days it's very difficult for me to recommend a CD-I. Prices have gone up considerably and necessary items to get the most out of it are becoming much more scarce (game controllers and other worthwhile input devices, digital video carts, systems with working Timekeepers, etc).

 

If this was the late '90s to early 2000's when you could get a nice, boxed system for under $50 and pretty much any game you wanted cost less than $10 (even the rare ones), I would definitely recommend the CD-I as something to experiment with. There is enjoyable stuff on it, but the cost of entry is too high these days for what you get.

 

I haven't checked CD-i prices in a long time, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me that it's become more expensive. I got my CD-i and a collection of games back in 2008. I also was able to purchase new, shrinkwrapped CD-i games for cheap, as well as one of the good controllers.

 

Does anyone know if the 220 came with the DV cart installed? Mine came with it, but since I bought it from the original owner, I'm not sure if that was standard for the 220 or if it was added later.

 

I am going to have to fix the timekeeper in mine. I've had no problems with running games, but nothing gets saved. I'm really not looking forward to grinding down that chip.

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If that's the case, and the line some people are gonna take to defend it, then shouldn't this thread be moved? It's currently in classic gaming. Maybe it would be better suited for "general" or "entertainment".

 

Or maybe an audio/video forum where they discuss Blu-ray and receivers.

We have at least one thread charting the misadventures if the Nuon. If that's a game system, so is the CD-I.

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I haven't checked CD-i prices in a long time, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me that it's become more expensive. I got my CD-i and a collection of games back in 2008. I also was able to purchase new, shrinkwrapped CD-i games for cheap, as well as one of the good controllers.

 

Does anyone know if the 220 came with the DV cart installed? Mine came with it, but since I bought it from the original owner, I'm not sure if that was standard for the 220 or if it was added later.

 

I am going to have to fix the timekeeper in mine. I've had no problems with running games, but nothing gets saved. I'm really not looking forward to grinding down that chip.

 

My 220 was originally my friend's, who bought it secondhand without the DVC included. He had to hit up the internet to buy one of those, and the game controller. He and his dad also ground down the timekeeper IC to replace the battery, and my recommendation from their experience is to practice on another IC first until you're comfortable with doing so. Actually being able to save is such a game-changer on that system!

 

Having played practically everything in the CDi library (thank you, lack of copy protection) I do agree it has some pretty good games, but very few great ones. I still kind of like it for what it was doing and the hardware limitations the developers had to work within, but it's hard to recommend unless you are kind of a gaming masochist who can appreciate it for what it is. On the flip side, it's absolutely not as bad as the reputation its developed would suggest - at least if you've got a good controller and a working battery. I swear 90% of the struggle with the system is that the remote controls are wretched.

 

Personally, my top game list would include Zenith, Voyeur, Plunderball, Wand of Gamelon, Lemmings, Flashback, Hotel Mario, Chaos Control, and Mutant Rampage Body Slam. Those are all worth tracking down or bootlegging.

Edited by ubersaurus
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Yeah I am sort of bummed about the whole Timekeeper fiasco. Bad design. The thing is, I got mine when I had more expendable cash during a collecting phase years ago, only then did I learn about this whole timekeeper nonsense but I am not completely inept, I have managed to do a few things like replace caps in a monitor and install a ModChip in my Sega Saturn, both times I figured I did the worst, but I was successful and both items continue to function to this day. So I looked up tutorials and videos and any info I could find about replacing / repairing the timekeeper battery and to be honest I find it daunting, it is really not something I would look forward to attempting myself. and as I said these days I do not have the funds nor can I justify spending to have it shipped and performed by someone more qualified to do so. The last time I checked (probably a few years ago now :( ) everything seemed to be functioning fine but I am afraid to check it now and either way I just know it is a ticking time bomb. Sucks because I have a nice model along with proper gamepad, adapter to use Sega Pad, several original titles and even the Mpeg module. HONESTLY HAD I BEEN AWARE of the timekeeper issue and what is involved in repairing / replacing before hand I would have never bothered with it and instead either chose something else or allocated the funds into other areas of my collection. Being a fan of FMV games and underdog systems I even defended the CD-i on occasion but that design has me really soured on it.

 

I DO like my 3DO console more and given the choice I am glad this issue is not on the 3DO platform. So as has been advised already keep that in mind and factor this into your final decision, it would be a shame to do all that sourcing and collecting only to have your timekeeper time bomb go off UNLESS you are prepared to fix it yourself or send it to someone to do it.

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The CD-I was a concept that came many years too early. It was supposed to be an all-in-one multi-media device that really did not have the horsepower and technology to accomplish what it set out to do. I remember how the CD-I, and really the CD-ROM format seemed to be the way of the future (my parents were blown away by my TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM capabilities). However, as we see today, devices like smartphones and my Nvidia Shield TV have (more-or-less accomplished) what these early machines have set out to do. Ironically at the same and/or below price point ($699 when it first came out if I am not mistaken).

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The ads for "Burn Cycle" conflict considerably. Seeing those, you'd swear the CDI was a breath away from being the PlayStation.

 

This isn't exactly unusual. Game companies often have conflicting messages for different markets.

Yeah. They finally tried marketing it as a game system in its final push in the US. Those Phil Hartman and Burn Cycle ads worked on my brothers and me. We got a used toploader soon after with Burn Cycle and Mario. My brother went on to get a decent collection of cheap used US releases.

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We have at least one thread charting the misadventures if the Nuon. If that's a game system, so is the CD-I.

 

Yeah, but the Nuon's got Tempest 3000 at least. That one game is more deserving of attention than the combined CDi library.

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The MPEG card is no great shakes, by the way. It works fine, but video playback makes it very clear where compression losses were considered acceptable. Not advising against getting one, necessarily, but there are also other things you could spend the money on. Probably only worth it if you're trying to build out a complete CD-i collection.

Actually, the CDI Digital Video format videos have a slightly higher(!) horizontal resolution compared to the later White Book standard Video CD, and it allowed for real subtitles similar to DVDs ("subtitles" on VCDs, in comparison, are just part of the video stream), although only one subtitle file per disc was supported. You have to take into account that TV sets were much smaller then, they were all 4:3 CRTs and most users were accustomed to VHS "quality", to which the VCD/CDI Digital Video was at least on par with (with the added benefit that it does not deteriorate with repeated use and/or moist storage conditions).

 

The main problems of the CDI IMHO were the outrageous price tag for the full system and the weak marketing by Philips of both the video playback capabilities and the gaming qualities (most decent games came out very late in the CDI's lifecycle since Philips initially didn't bother at all and focused on edutainment software instead). It didn't exactly help that owning pre-recorded VHS tapes was not quite "the thing" as it was with CDs and (much later) DVDs, at least most of my VHS stuff was recorded from TV or rented.

Edited by Thorsten Günther
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Agree. The initial price of the CD-i was very off putting. While it had a lot of capability, by the time the price of the machine came down as well as the refocused marketing push, it was too little too late as by then the PS1 was already released (if I am not mistaken) by then as well as reduced prices on the Genesis and SNES (hench better gaming options) and on other electronic equipment like VHS and/or CD players.

The main problems of the CDI IMHO were the outrageous price tag for the full system and the weak marketing by Philips of both the video playback capabilities and the gaming qualities (most decent games came out very late in the CDI's lifecycle since Philips initially didn't bother at all and focused on edutainment software instead). It didn't exactly help that owning pre-recorded VHS tapes was not quite "the thing" as it was with CDs and (much later) DVDs, at least most of my VHS stuff was recorded from TV or rented.

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Agree. The initial price of the CD-i was very off putting. While it had a lot of capability, by the time the price of the machine came down as well as the refocused marketing push, it was too little too late as by then the PS1 was already released (if I am not mistaken) by then as well as reduced prices on the Genesis and SNES (hench better gaming options) and on other electronic equipment like VHS and/or CD players.

And the DVD was revealed and sold in Japan in late 1995, to plant a final nail in the coffin.

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Pretty much. The CD-i, CDTV, and the CD-ROM format in general was an interesting time period that a lot of people thought would be the future. To some (minor) degree, they were right. However, other technologies and advancements quickly put it in its place. For a time though, those machines were quite fascinating and serve as a interesting footnote in history.

And the DVD was revealed and sold in Japan in late 1995, to plant a final nail in the coffin.

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Actually, the CDI Digital Video format videos have a slightly higher(!) horizontal resolution compared to the later White Book standard Video CD, and it allowed for real subtitles similar to DVDs ("subtitles" on VCDs, in comparison, are just part of the video stream), although only one subtitle file per disc was supported.

True, but the main issue that I remember was with how the video was compressed on some titles. What I mean by this was that compression appeared selective in the sense that (in some cases) areas within the same frame that were considered to be of interest received less compression while ones that were not received more.

 

The Naked Gun was where I really picked up on this - I owned it on (original) VHS at the same time as we had it on CD-i. I recall that in one scene, the characters in the middle of the frame (which would have been the camera's focal point) were pin-sharp, but everything around them was horribly pixellated. On VHS, it just looked like a VHS-quality frame.

 

I'm willing to admit that my memory of a system we had over 25 years ago may be flaky... But that particular disappointment sticks in my mind.

 

You have to take into account that TV sets were much smaller then, they were all 4:3 CRTs and most users were accustomed to VHS "quality", to which the VCD/CDI Digital Video was at least on par with (with the added benefit that it does not deteriorate with repeated use and/or moist storage conditions).

At the time, we had two TVs in the house: a 13" and a 27". The CD-i looked about the same on both, only smaller or larger, respectively. It was better than VHS, but not terribly dramatically so.

 

Having said that, neither TV had SCART; both were being fed by RF. The difference was noticeable, but perhaps not as much as if it had been using a better input method.

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I also strongly recommend to getting a model with a builtin MPEG card, you'll save yourself some money in the long run. I had a Tandy model and ended up getting a LG DVS 900 as it was significanlt cheaper than finding a MPEG card. You can actually see what you are shooting at in the CD-I version of Madd Dog McCree compared the 3DO and SegaCD versions, shooting with the sh!tty excuse for a light gun is another matter.

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