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Nathan Wind

Philips CDi Appreciation Thread

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I think so, for a while at least. I kind of like it in an odd way. A few of the games are pretty decent, load times are good for an early CD system, and there's enough there for me to have a go at and quite a few more games I'd like to try. I mean, it's obviously quite a shit system but it's not a dead loss in the same way that something like a Tiger Game.com or Nuon (yeah, I wouldn't really go that far) would be. At least it's something to explore for a little while.

Anyway, who the fuck in their right mind would actually buy the damn thing off me even if I wanted to sell it? I'm guessing I'm stuck with it forever.

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Don't underestimate the number of people who'd be willing to take almost anything off your hands. I recently cleared out a load of untested CDi stuff and made well over £50 out of it. Of everything, third party controllers seem to be the easiest sell. I barely had mine up for five minutes before it went.

One man's trash and all that.

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Don't underestimate the number of people who'd be willing to take almost anything off your hands. I recently cleared out a load of untested CDi stuff and made well over £50 out of it. Of everything, third party controllers seem to be the easiest sell. I barely had mine up for five minutes before it went.

One man's trash and all that.

Gamepads for them seem to command silly money. I paid £25 for a boxed one which, for a retro console controller, is quite a lot of money but it's the cheapest I've seen one go for so far.

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Challenge accepted! I'd love to play Iron Soldier 3.

Get the PSone version. I did.

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I keep turning up in these terrible system threads like a bad penny :lol: I've never owned one of these before, I'm curious as to what they are like. Anyone recommend one? What are the best games?

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14 hours ago, Lorfarius said:

I keep turning up in these terrible system threads like a bad penny :lol: I've never owned one of these before, I'm curious as to what they are like. Anyone recommend one? What are the best games?

 

I've owned a few overs the years. It's an irredeemable piece of crap honestly. Borderline unplayable games without a wired controller.

 

As for games, Apprentice is supposed to be one of its best and the Nintendo licensed games are curios. It's got no copy protection so burn away. No games on it are worth their money

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I don't think I'll bother buying any games, found a torrent packed full of around 80 games so will just download and burn a big pile of CDs. Intrigued by more than just games though so think I'll explore the multimedia junk it has as well.

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Apprentice has the dodgy pics in it with the code! It's one of those games that is decent enough but wouldn't be mentioned if it was on another system. 

 

Funnily enough I've been clearing my shed this weekend due to the glorious sunshine meaning I could re-felt the roof and found a box of CDi games and a bunch of films for the system. Also 3 loose Game Gear carts and a Commodore CDTV :)

 

I have a couple of systems in my loft. A 220 and a 350 (the "portable" one which is kinda cool - like a massive GameBoy)

 

There are a few decent games and much maligned stuff like Hotel Mario is playable enough. The FMV quality is decent too. Stuff like 7th Guest etc shows the system off well and there are a few quite interesting titles. It's a system that massively benefits from a proper controller. 

 

People always think that Philips crashed and burned in the console market but the tech was pretty successful and used in all sorts of Retail Displays and things like Interactive Tourist information etc So they probably did alright with it overall

 

In fact one day around maybe 8-10 years ago I was in Boots and the screen for something like "Pick the exact right Blusher/Concealer for your skin tone" unit had crashed revealing the CDi start up screens. Good times!

 

 

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Just as an aside the 3DO was an awesome machine at the time. The step up from 16 bit to the 3D it could do was astonishing at the time and ahead of most PC's at the time. There's a reason there was a lot of hype and why Trip Hawkins got the Key Note speech at trade shows etc It has a lot of decent games (in context - many of them were the first in now long running franchises or at least the first properly 3D iteration)

 

32X also gets a bad press. It's a capable machine but just released at the wrong time and in conflict with its own stablemates. My favourite thing about it is that it meant the Megadrive wasn't only backwards compatible with the Master System but also forwards compatible with 32bit gaming. When pushed it was a capable bit of kit - stuff like Stellar Assault and Metal Head were pretty impressive and I spent hours playing Virtua Racing Deluxe. It just needed to either come out earlier, be more supported or even better be compatible with the Saturn so Sega gamers had an upgrade path e.g. Upgrade your Megadrive with a 32X then when you are ready but a Saturn (and still play your 32X games on it)

 

GX4000 was always a flawed idea - too little too late and not powerful to compete with the 16bit power houses.

 

CD32 was likewise. It got caught by being a stripped down A1200 and receiving barely upgraded A500 ports. Funnily enough now though it is probably the most convenient way to play Amiga games.

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It really was - Samurai Shodown and Super Street Fighter 2 X for starters. Starblade as well. Some great PC ports too like Wing Commander and Wing Commander 3. Plus the Panasonic model was a lovely design.

 

The thing was massively amibtious too aiming to become a standard and a mainstay of the living room. Some really fun games on the system and the low licensing costs encouraged experimentation and support (and some terrible MK clones) and I suspect a number of developers dipped their toe into Cd-rom and/or 3D for the first time on the system. 

 

In fact didn't Naughty Dog get their start on the system with Way of the Warrior?

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3DO is still a worthwhile curio now, there are plenty of good games to warrant picking one up for a look. I certainly enjoyed my time with that console. Same with the CD32 especially now the community have put together so many compilations of patched A500 and AGA games to play on it. GX4000 is worth owning if you can get hold of a C4CPC cart because again, the active community has patched up many standard CPC games to work perfectly with it, plus it’s a chunky little delight of a thing. 

 

32X is the only one of those I have currently but I haven’t really used it enough to form an opinion. Metal Head seems fairly impressive.

 

CD-i though...I’d seriously only bother if you have cash to throw away on curiosity.

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19 hours ago, Grey Fox said:

CD32 was likewise. It got caught by being a stripped down A1200 and receiving barely upgraded A500 ports. Funnily enough now though it is probably the most convenient way to play Amiga games.

 

Looking back on the CD32 (and looking at what it is now), I think one of the biggest problems the CD32 had was that the CD medium was still pretty expensive. Games that were derided at the time for being expensive Amiga re-releases. IK+ literally took one disk and plopped it onto a CD, charging £29.99 for it when you could buy it on budget release for £7.99 on disk, Myth took 3 disks and put them on CD - but again they charged £29.99 for it compared to the £7.99 budget re-release. Interestingly, both those games are worth a LOT more now (anywhere up to £100 each), because you've got an easy to play version of the game that doesn't suffer from "bit rot" disk degradation. 

 

What's interesting about the CD32 now is that you've got the ultimate Amiga for modern times. It's got a fairly small footprint, it's easy and convenient to play games due to the many home-brew compilation CDs that have been modded to remove the need for a keyboard, it had some of the best Amiga releases (and having no copy protection makes it easy to burn off your own games) and - if you want - you can expand it up to a full Amiga 1200. Having owned a fully expanded CD32 with SX-32 expansion (with FPU) back in the 90s, it always struck my how that should have been Commodore's new desktop machine. It was nice and compact and would have been at a good price point against the desktop PC. But then Commodore were pretty clueless by that point!

 

But back to today, I think where the CD32 is still valid is that it represents an era of games (home computing games from the late 80s/early 90s) that's both difficult to replicate through retro hardware and was lost in the move to the 32bit home console era. Nintendo and Sega won the 16-bit war, but I still want a bit of my own nostalgia playing Amiga games! 

 

The problem with the 3DO and CD-I is that they were superseded by better consoles that delivered better versions of the games (Need for Speed, Road Rash etc were all better on the PSX or Saturn) or the game format was crap (FMV???? That was supposed to be the future!!!) Unless you had one back in the 90s, and you're looking for a nostalgic hit, I can't see why you'd go back to the 3DO or the CD-I now. 

 

Anyway, back to the CD-I, at my first job, one of my workmates used to go on about how he bought the CD-I for this one game (as he was really into golf) and how disappointed he was spending something like £800 on the console and getting this.

 

 

 

You can see how some features would come into later golf games (like the commentary), but gameplay wise it was turd compared to Leaderboard or PGA Tour.

 

Just watch this oldie (but goldie) from the AVGN to remind you why you probably shouldn't get one (the first bit of it goes into the CD-I itself).

 

 

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If there's one system that gets lambasted on a regular basis it has to be the CDi. I'm not one for holding grudges against consoles (unless is the Atari Jaguar:hat:) and will always give each a good go at proving if they are any good. Sometimes that leads me down dark paths of full sets often given up on when boredom sets in but at times something comes along that is so bad, has such a stinking reputation that I have to wonder if it's even a console at all.

 

I recall going into Curry's in the early 90's and seeing a CDi with the tray on the front (must have been a 220 as I remember pressing the button!) and a golf game in a live display. Felt more like being at the VHS/TV stands as it was set out in a special area that wasn't anywhere near the gaming stuff.  Don't think I really got how big a thing CD's were about to become for home entertainment so I was pretty curious to say the least.  I would have had a Mega Drive with the likes of Altered Beast on it at the time because I remember poking at that golf game and turning my nose up.  It played more like one of those interactive DVD's than an actual console.

 

Philips weren't really trying to make a gaming system but a bit of .. well ... jack of all trades. The manuals come across like a DVD player guide and it's more about the music/movie features more than the focus on games. The box is covered in discs that offer reference stuff on art and encyclopedias with games getting very little look in. The whole system feels like it was a push away from that market completely and I've no idea how well it did selling as a multimedia unit in sales.  It's an interesting bit of kit though and mine came boxed with the game controller. That things a must as the remote is meant to be terrible.

 

cdi.jpgscreen.jpg

prelude.jpg

 

At first I was thinking up a nice pile of games with the odd hunt on eBay but the pandemic has shut shop on that idea and was lucky I ordered this just before lockdown. I was curious to see how the interactive stuff works and noticed a musical thingy on eBay for a a few quid. After that I've been burning CD's like a pro and will be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks working my way through the library.

 

I only had around 70 blank CD's and just finished burning the last ones yesterday. I've picked out what I think will be really interesting games to cover, keep in mind this thing only has a library or around 140 games with a mix of random artsy stuff like Prelude.  The one I'm most looking forward to is Discovering Pompei as I've always been a bit of a fan of ancient Roman history. See.. there could be great stuff tucked away on here!

 

I'm hooking it up with component/Scart which seems to be the best picture you can get out of these. The 450 I picked up doesn't have a working clock battery and annoyingly the only way to change that is to crack it open, hack away at a timing chip with a screwdriver and sandpaper to slot a new one. Insane design choice but the biggest problem that causes is you can't set the system time or save games. Very few CD's use the save feature so I should be good to go for the most part! 

 

The 450 is the more expensive unit but with a top loading drawer that means very little moving parts and a packed in digital cartridge to be able to see all the features. With the older units you'd have to buy an extra plug in which can be about £50 on top of a £100 system so it's very hit and miss if you will end up with a cheaper unit at all when compared to the likes of this.

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The cdi is an interesting curio. How powerful was it compared to the consoles of the time especially as they seemed to focus it as a multimedia machine and not a games machine?

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1 hour ago, Ketchup said:

The cdi is an interesting curio. How powerful was it compared to the consoles of the time especially as they seemed to focus it as a multimedia machine and not a games machine?

 

From what I've read it was better in a lot of ways than it's 16 bit counterparts but limited by having an older 68000 chipset or something.

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The 8-Bit Guy has just done a video all about the CDi

 

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You have just reminded me to turn it on and play it :lol: Where are the days going?

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I have a couple of CDi consoles in the loft including the 350 (the portable one - well not really portable but has a screen and controller built in - with built in Video card) I have a load of games and Video CD’s too. Used to convert the Video CD MPEG1 files tic watch them on my GamePark 32 back in the day - good times

 

The thing with CDi was it wasn’t  really designed as an out and out games console. It wasn’t really meant to compete head to head with the other game systems of the day. It was meant to be an all in one multimedia player (the original models were meant to be put in your hifi separates  effectively replacing the cd player - if you even had one - and fit in along with your record player, AM/FM radio and tape deck in your set up)

 

It was clearly meant be a format for pushing the CD format and only one aspect of that’s was gaming. So effectively the idea was - help your kids do their homework by looking stuff up in the interactive encyclopaedia, then put on a music cd while you’ve cooked dinner then when the kids are in bed either play a casual game or watch a Video CD. When viewed like that it makes more sense. The games that tend to work best on it are the sort of experience aimed at someone’s who isn’t so much into gaming but might dabble. So the golf and tennis and Caesars Palace Boxing and the fMv stuff, 7th Guest, Myst etc as well as the reference books and atlases and the like. I don’t think it was initially aimed at appealing to the Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter 2 and Super Mario Kart fanbases. However as time wore on they did try to and changed the design to be less high end hi-fi separate and more traditional console and the games reflected that even though the hardware isn’t not suited to many of the gameplay experiences that were popular at the time among gamers.

 

I’ve mentioned it before but the hardware was also the basis of many “Interactive Kiosks” I.e. in retailers or shopping centres or information kiosks and was very well suited to that function with its media functionality and CD Rom format. Suspect in many ways it was a successful product for Philips - just not a successful game console.

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Think that's true in a lot of ways. They only released 150 or so games yet there was almost 250 interactive style CD's and piles of movies. Quite a big library away from the gaming considering.

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