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Obscure 90’s CD based consoles

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Looks like it's possible to run VIS software under plain-vanilla Windows 98SE, if you add the right DLLs to the mix:

 

You just need the right DLLs. Wine on Linux runs VIS with the VIS DLLs added. Wine is better at running old Windows applications than any modern Windows OS. Also modern OS/2 derivatives with Windows 3.1 environment built in run VIS with the DLLs. For most people a Windows 9X OS is easier.

Edited by thetick1

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Ive recently become very interested in these lesser known and obscure 90s CD based consoles, particularly the:

 

Apple Pippin

Bandai Playdia

CDTV

Memorex VIS

 

Was wondering if anyone grew up with one or more of these or collects for any of them now? Theres always YouTube review videos and wiki articles but Im more interested in personal experiences with the systems and games for them, maybe advice or suggestions for aspiring collectors, any info will do! Hope theres others that share my same interest in these consoles!

 

I remember hearing about the Pippin in the '90s. It was, so my friends and I thought in our 10-year-old heads, one of those bleeding-edge luxury consoles that we saw advertised which seemed mindblowingly cool (the ads did their jobs, I guess!...) but nobody actually bought or owned (...or maybe not, lol), like the 3DO and Jaguar, which were already on their way out. I want to say I saw one at Software Etc. once but I can't remember. In any case, it was a real blink-and-you-missed-it. It dropped off our radar practically as soon as it popped on. And at that age, I didn't really know anything about computers or the inner workings of game consoles; "consolized Mac" would have meant nothing to me. I never did get to play one at the time, but I'm sure I would have liked it well enough...for a little while...before I got tired of Shockwave and Marathon and then found out that's all there would ever be for it. :P ;)

 

As far as collecting this kind of stuff, leave it to the John Hancocks and Gamester81s. Get your fix on YouTube or emulation. However you want to wrap them up, these things are purely just to be able to say you have them items. Neat for museum curators, but abject wastes of money for gamers. I guess the Pippin could be kind of neat to the extent that it can theoretically run Macintosh games of the era (correct me if I'm wrong on that), but a console that plays mid-'90s Mac games is so niche it's almost spiteful.

Edited by BassGuitari
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I remember hearing about the Pippin in the '90s. It was, so my friends and I thought in our 10-year-old heads, one of those bleeding-edge luxury consoles that we saw advertised which seemed mindblowingly cool (the ads did their jobs, I guess!...) but nobody actually bought or owned (...or maybe not, lol), like the 3DO and Jaguar, which were already on their way out. I want to say I saw one at Software Etc. once but I can't remember. In any case, it was a real blink-and-you-missed-it. It dropped off our radar practically as soon as it popped on. And at that age, I didn't really know anything about computers or the inner workings of game consoles; "consolized Mac" would have meant nothing to me. I never did get to play one at the time, but I'm sure I would have liked it well enough...for a little while...before I got tired of Shockwave and Marathon and then found out that's all there would ever be for it. :P ;)

 

As far as collecting this kind of stuff, leave it to the John Hancocks and Gamester81s. Get your fix on YouTube or emulation. However you want to wrap them up, these things are purely just to be able to say you have them items. Neat for museum curators, but abject wastes of money for gamers. I guess the Pippin could be kind of neat to the extent that it can theoretically run Macintosh games of the era (correct me if I'm wrong on that), but a console that plays mid-'90s Mac games is so niche it's almost spiteful.

 

The Pippin was more a Bandai issue though Apple gets a bad rap. The hardware was extremely low end even for the time using IBM 66 Mhz PPC microcontroller 603 (not 603e) and the existing Apple computer chipset and video.

 

Bandai only does Space Invaders and Godzilla products right. Most Bandai products are crap.

Edited by thetick1

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The Pippin was more a Bandai issue though Apple gets a bad rap. The hardware was extremely low end even for the time using IBM 66 Mhz PPC microcontroller 603 (not 603e) and the existing Apple computer chipset and video.

 

Bandai only does Space Invaders and Godzilla products right. Most Bandai products are crap.

So you can only imagine my utter thrill when Bandai bought Namco. :/

 

Anyway. Freaky weird CD based systems. I have a 3DO and a CD32, and that is as deep as the rabbit hole goes. The CD32 is aggravating because it uses so many proprietary parts... the power supply and the controllers specifically. The 3DO has its own controller but at least the power supply is built in, so the cable is no big deal. I had a Neo-Geo CD once upon a time, but that machine is not at all practical. I'm pretty sure the Dreamcast runs its games better if that tells you anything.

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BassGuitari -- you saw ads for Pippin? Or just stories in magazines like EGM?

 

I was a mid 90s Mac gamer. Everything was in nice high resolution and matched the OS aesthetics decently. The very best stuff from PC usually got ported, but it was always a year late and at least twice the price. Kinda sucked, in retrospect. Today is way better!

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I would almost argue that every CD-based game system from the '90s that wasn't made by Sony or Sega was an obscure system, 3DO and CD-i boxes included. Sure, maybe those had more of a marketing push to begin wtih, but in the end they were just as pan-flashy as the rest of them.

 

And yes, I did kinda-sorta include the Jaguar CD in that statement. :)

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BassGuitari -- you saw ads for Pippin? Or just stories in magazines like EGM?

 

It might have been an article in some magazine or something, rather than a proper ad. Pretty sure I remember some guys at Software Etc. talking about it once, but my memory is pretty hazy on this. Which is strange because I vividly remember ads for Jaguar, 3DO, and even the CD32. Probably says something about just how quickly the Pippin came and went. :lol:

 

I will say this about the Pippin, though: I got to play one at Midwest Gaming Classic the last couple of years (Marathon one year, Shockwave last year), and I could see the potential it had. I think it could have been a pretty cool platform with better software support, though I also think it still would have gone the way of the Saturn within a year or two of its release as the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 hit their strides. And I actually like the controller, with the little trackball in it--it fits nicely in my hands and has very nice tactile response. Too bad Apple/Bandai/whoever didn't repurpose or rebrand the controller for use with other systems after they killed off the Pippin.

 

For an actual gaming machine in this category of consoles (obscure '90s CD systems), I'd definitely go with the PC Engine CD. Or, if that's not obscure enough, the FM Towns.

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I would almost argue that every CD-based game system from the '90s that wasn't made by Sony or Sega was an obscure system, 3DO and CD-i boxes included. Sure, maybe those had more of a marketing push to begin wtih, but in the end they were just as pan-flashy as the rest of them.

 

And yes, I did kinda-sorta include the Jaguar CD in that statement. :)

I would agree with this. Personally, I would even put the SegaCD right on the fence. If the others were unicorns, it was at least a horse with fabulous hair.

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@Bass

Cool. I have never set eyes nor laid hands on a Pippin. I had a friend who got a deeply discounted 20th anniversary Mac soon after its release, though. Even at half price it was wicked expensive. http://lowendmac.com/2018/the-20th-anniversary-mac-21-years-later/

 

That's how I feel about a lot of the early CD era stuff. It was so amazing at the time, but would soon be obsolete and outclassed by the next generation of things. I'm grateful that such "progress" seems to have slowed down; I can't afford to forever be chasing the latest gadget.

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Regular viewers of the channel may remember the Fujitsu FM Towns I bought a few months back. Well, that unit has been sitting there waiting for some TLC and in this video it finally gets some.

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Yes, I should qualify that I mean, obscure in the States. I can't vouch for Japan or elsewhere.

The PC engine was never sold officially in Europe (Save for the Turbografx (sans 16) test-market units in Spain or Germany depending on the sources) so you'd need to hunt for sales units of different resellers. France, the UK and Germany had more-or-less "Big sellers" that channelled most of the sales - Sodipeng in France, who sold PC-Engine, Telegames in the UK who imported TG-16, and in Germany? Never found a name, but apparently they went as deep as replacing or adding a PAL output to the machines (not sure if they made them 50 htz, if it was a replacement or an added NTSC to PAL converter). I don't knot about the UK but due to the SCART presence in France, Sodipend modded the PC -engine by adding RGB out on the DIN output and selling the console with a Sodipeng RGB cable.

Sodipeng sold the CD expansion but I'm not sure many people acquired it, and Sodipeng stopped selling the PC-engine line in 1993.

 

In Japan, there is do questionning about the PCEngine : the console war was Famicom then Super Famicom VS PC-Engine, and the Megadrive was lingering far away in the 3rd place.

Sales figures in 1995 indicate that half of PC-Engine system sold had been CD systems (including expansions and all-in-one consoles) certainly making the PCEngine the first successfull CD-add-on and CD-based system.

 

Given the success of the system, the PC-Engine CD is certainly one you can collect for, with several great games released on it - And with RAM expansions (provided as Hu-cards) late games are mind-blowing, almost equaling Neo Geo lovels of detail.

 

 

PC-Engine Arcade Card CD :

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That's how I feel about a lot of the early CD era stuff. It was so amazing at the time, but would soon be obsolete and outclassed by the next generation of things. I'm grateful that such "progress" seems to have slowed down; I can't afford to forever be chasing the latest gadget.

This. When floppies proved unfeasible for consoles and the leap from carts to CD had been made things went so goddamn fast it was unbelievable. I took us a decade to go from Pong to NES, and what? 2 years or something to get from the first CD based systems to Sony stepping in and stomping everyoneflat with PlayStation.

 

I for one feel that the 3DO, CD32, Cd-i, Jag & Sega CD and others of its ilk was made obsolete almost the instant they hit the market, and being among the first of their kind they had to make all the bad experiments and choices that made them age really poorly mainly in the software department. Those super-blocky 3D graphics and the blurry pixelfest that was their "full motion video" isnt something i remember fondly.

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It was agony to be in the middle of it back then, though.

 

Everything was super promising, but there were few "killer apps" (Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Rebel Assault, and MYST did not qualify) and the prices were sky high. This went on for years.

 

Now when I look back at PSOne (thanks Classic Mini!) it almost seems closer to SNES than it does to modern 3D games.

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Now when I look back at PSOne (thanks Classic Mini!) it almost seems closer to SNES than it does to modern 3D games.

 

Funny, I sometimes think sort of the opposite: that the SNES was actually the beginning of the bridge to modern gaming, not the PS1. As much as I love the Genesis, the SNES was where we were introduced to near-photo-quality color palettes, digital audio that didn't sound like something stuttering underwater, and (very) rudimentary hardware 3D support, which could then augmented by cartridge hardware like in Starfox. The Genesis eventually got a cartridge 3D chip too, but the SNES was where the whole modern package was arguably first assembled.

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ok here we go

 

genesis was doing 3d games before snes was a thing at a reasonable framerate

 

kind of sort of at the end of the snes life they farted out a 3d accelerated game or two, only 1 worth playing and the entire affair was quite a poor showing from both sides compared to the fairly reasonable cost computers of the time

 

now moving from facts to opinion, I have always hated the snes sound, it has this air of upper scale k-mart casio from the era of kurzweil, 99% of the time its very simplistic thin and melodically waffles like listening to a used organ salesman at the sad mall in your local city

 

the yamaha system sega used may have had its low points, and the later red box games just sounded like farts and grunts but musically it could put out if one tried

 

both are good systems though

Edited by Osgeld

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ok here we go

 

genesis was doing 3d games before snes was a thing at a reasonable framerate

 

kind of sort of at the end of the snes life they farted out a 3d accelerated game or two, only 1 worth playing and the entire affair was quite a poor showing from both sides compared to the fairly reasonable cost computers of the time

 

now moving from facts to opinion, I have always hated the snes sound, it has this air of upper scale k-mart casio from the era of kurzweil, 99% of the time its very simplistic thin and melodically waffles like listening to a used organ salesman at the sad mall in your local city

 

the yamaha system sega used may have had its low points, and the later red box games just sounded like farts and grunts but musically it could put out if one tried

 

both are good systems though

I do agree that many SNES games have weak sounding music other than the first party Nintendo games but go listen to the SNES Kirby music and you can see just how amazing it can sound. What Nintendo did with Kirby's Dreamland 3 puts the N64 (which had just been released around a year prior) to shame.

 

But in my primary focus on retro gaming, shoot em ups... the Genesis really kicked the crap out of the SNES both is sound and gameplay (no slowdown like the SNES)..

 

In games where you want techno and synth sounds Genesis wins... In RPGS the SNES wins.

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Oh and don't forget all the more or less ridiculous stuff that followed in the wake of CD. Sure, dial up services existed before but now most of the console makers tried some variety of rudimentary internet service. Movies was released for them in absolutely horrible quality. We got digital photo collections in pixelfest quality, and even encyclopedias and the Bible released on CD for some systems.

 

Yeah I imagine living through it was horrible.

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Johnny Turbo comes across as sooooooo desperate.

 

I had the same Sherlock Holmes game in a shovelware pack that came with my very first CD-ROM player, a single-speed clamshell with a SCSI interface to my Mac. I'm pretty sure it was on computers before any console got it, not that "first!" means anything in this industry.

 

Fun fact: that game was a paper dossier "gamebook" first. You had to pore over the clues, including reading a bunch of simulated newspapers, before taking your guess, at which point you'd open a sealed envelope.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/27256117#27256117

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_Holmes:_Consulting_Detective_(gamebook)

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Hehe, I think I touched a nerve. Don't worry, all in the spirit of good healthy debate. And like I said, I love the Genesis. It was my system back in the day and taken as a whole, I like the Genesis library more than the SNES library.

Having said that...

genesis was doing 3d games before snes was a thing at a reasonable framerate


I didn't say otherwise. I just said the SNES was the first system to offer hardware 3D support. It wasn't much, to be sure, but it was more than the Genesis or any prior system had. Of course there were several 3D games for the Genesis and before, but until Virtua Racing came along they had to do all that number-crunching in software.

now moving from facts to opinion, I have always hated the snes sound, it has this air of upper scale k-mart casio from the era of kurzweil, 99% of the time its very simplistic thin and melodically waffles like listening to a used organ salesman at the sad mall in your local city


I actually agree with you. That sampled MOD sound the SNES has roots it squarely in the early '90s, and the SNES's limited storage space, especially in early cartridges, meant being subjected to very short and very low-quality samples sped up and slowed down to the point of ridiculousness. Even so, it was 100% digital audio, which was where the future was headed. The next generation of systems improved on the tech, and consoles haven't had any hardware operators or oscillators since.

the yamaha system sega used may have had its low points


The only real low points the Genesis sound system had were the corners Sega cut in many of the console models to turn the sound into a muffled, muddy mess. When you had a good quality console playing good quality sound programming, you would be hard pressed to come up with any other system then or before, arcade games included, that sounded better. It was the pinnacle of analog (or analog-modeled) synthesized video game music and effects. But it also marked the end of an era, where the SNES's sound hardware represented the beginning of the next era. In that respect, it's no surprise tech based on a decade of acquired knowledge could sound better than tech that was just starting to get cheap enough to put in mass-produced consumer electronics.

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I feel like Biff is shaking his fist at his monitor, not being able to partake in this discussion.

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