Shrooin's Blog

Posted on Nov 21st 2007 at 08:24:56 AM by (Shrooin)
Posted under Site News, CD Interactive, Philips, Sony, Nintendo, Promoted Articles

The word "CD-i" often invokes fear in the average classic gamer, and because people fear what they don't understand, they hate. Unfortunately the CD-i is probably the single most hated console there is, unbelievable since very few people have even played one. So the reason I'm writing this is to try to persuade people to judge this console without going with the majority of people and just hating it without giving it a fair chance. To better understand the CD-i it is useful to know its history.

The CD-i came about as a result of joint venture between Sony and Philips to develop a new CD format which would incorporate audio, graphics and text. In 1986 Philips announced the Compact Disc Interactive and the 'Green Book' standard a.k.a CD-i was issued. However it wasn't until 1991 that players were finally released on the consumer market and this is when its downfall started. It was meant to be released in the late 80s because new powerful 32 bit systems such as Amiga CD32, 3DO and Sega Saturn weren't that far away. Unfortunately this was not the only factor going against the CD-i. When released, Philips marketed it as a multimedia device rather than a gaming platform. As a result people didn't even know it was a console, but who could blame when there were titles like Lamb Chop's Sing Along and Bernstein Bears. It wasn't until 1994 when low sales started to affect Philips that they decided to finally market it as a games console. A newly designed model of the CD-i, the 450 which was recognizable as a games console, was sold with a pack-in game "Burn: Cycle" to try boost sales. And in 1996 the system was discontinued from the consumer market, and that is the history of the CD-i in a nutshell.

That doesn't mean that that is all there is to it though. During that time many, many models of the CD-i were released. In fact, I don't think people realize this but the CD-i is undoubtedly the gaming console with more different models and manufacturers then any other! To give you an idea here is a list of all of the consumer models.

Philips CDI 205 - The first model released in Europe in 1992, same as the 910 model.
Philips CDI 210 - Cut down and Cheaper version of the 220 model.
Philips CDI 220 - This is the Best model of the 200 series.
Philips CDI 450 - Marketed as a games console, lacks the features of a regular CD-i.
Philips CDI 470 - A mini hi-fi component type looking model was also a high end CD player.
Philips CDI 490 - An improved version of the previous 470 model, both have integrated DVC.
Philips CDI 740 - Cadillac of CD-i's. A high end CD player, integrated DVC and 2 joystick ports.
Philips CDI 910 - The first model released in the USA in 1991, same as the 205 model.
Philips CDI 310/350/360/370 - Philips' range of portable CD-i players.
Philips FW380i - Mini hi-fi sound system with an integrated CD-i player.
Philips 21TCDi30 - TV set with an integrated CD-i player, also has DVC integrated.

Bang & Olufsen Beocenter A/V - A high quality TV with an integrated CD-i player.
Goldstar GDI 750/1000 - This model is Goldstar's version of Philips' CDI 450 model.
Goldstar GPI 1100/1200 - Goldstar's portable models, the 1100 has no LCD screen.
Grundig CDI 100V/110E - Grundig's own versions of the CDI 220 and 470 models respectively.
Kyocera Pro 1000S - A portable CD-i player sold by a Japanese company.
Memorex CDI 2200 - Tandy released its own version of Philips' CDI 205 model.
NBS Lookman ID - This portable player was based on Goldstar's GPI 1100 model.
Vobis Highscreen - This European model is Vobis' version of Philips' CDI 450.

Phew that is some list! There are 25 different CD-i player models in that list and that is not counting the solely profesional marketed models. The effect the CD interactive had on the games industry is very often underestimated. Remember that Sony jointly developed the Green Book standard with Philips and this was important for Sony as they got invaluable experience. They also got more experience with CD based gaming consoles with developing and marketing its own portable CD-i players. Thanks to Philips, Sony was able to 'get it's feet wet' in the games industry, in fact if it weren't for Philips' CD-i the Playstation might have never even existed. But Sony wasn't the only major player in the video games industry that the CD-i would have an effect on.

Nintendo had signed a deal with Philips to develop a CD-ROM addon for the Super NES, but for one reason or another Nintendo backed out and to compensate Philips allowed it to use characters from their popular franchises - Legend of Zelda and Mario Bros. No one can deny that the video games industry would be very different if the Sony Playstation never existed or if a SNES CD-ROM add on was released.

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