So Media Station created in 1995 "Haunted House", a CD-i title you might remember. It was published by Reed Interactive in 1997. Again, a delayed project. The CD-i platform is known for its many "delayed projects". Some of them never saw the light of day (Tom & Tim, Discworld), some of them did at the very last moment (The Lost Ride, Creature Shock). We might be lucky that Reed took charge of publishing the title, otherwise Haunted House could easily have been a cancelled project as well.
It seems that Philips Media was only used for the distribution of the title to its channels.
"May 11, 1995--Reaffirming the company's commitment to providing outstanding interactive family entertainment, Media Station Thursday announced that the company is producing "Haunted House," an interactive adventure based on Jan Piekowski's world renowned pop-up book, for Reed Children's Books.
Philips Media will distribute "Haunted House" this fall on CD-ROM for the Windows platform and on the CD-i platform in Spring '96. The title will be demonstrated at Media Station's booth, West Hall No. 3524, and Philips Media booth, South Hall No. 1801 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
"We worked closely with Jan Piekowski to capture the ghoulish surprises featured in the bewitching, interactive world of `Haunted House,'" said David Gregory, chairman and chief creative officer of Media Station. "Media Station has brought to life the full creative vision of Jan Piekowski through lavish music and stunning animation, resulting in a fun-filled interactive experience."
"Jan has been in the forefront of creating involving products for children, long before the computer was a household word," said Sarina Simon, president of Philips Media Home and Family Entertainment. "We are very excited to be associated with Jan as he brings his unique talents to multimedia."
Players wander through the house and they encounter strange and unexpected creatures, fun-filled games and spooky challenges. Children will be captivated as they seek to unlock the dreaded cellar.
Jan Piekowski is one of the world's most famous children's authors and illustrators. Internationally known for his unique and clever children's books, he has written more than 60 books and, with the publishing of "Haunted House," led the resurgence of the pop-up book genre."
>> Friday, December 19, 2014
Interactive Dreams wish you a Happy Christmas! We're actually celebrating our 9 years anniversary this month, starting in December 2005. It's been a quiet year for CD-i, but our workhorse is still around and we have some nice updates for you planned in 2015. We even have our hopes that our CD-i Emulator will be updated again (We've even seen Digital Video compatibility, someday it's coming).
Happy Holidays, and keep CD-i alive!
[Picture: Kotaku (printed characters from the CD-i game Link: Faces of Evil (1993)]
Unfortunately, the campaign was closed in November already (A pity they didn't look for the CD-i sources on the net like Black Moon...) and they only received 910 USD at the time of writing.
What was supposed to happen:
"I'm making this movie because we've never heard the other side of this story: the people who actually made the CD-I, and those weird Mario and Zelda games. What were their hopes, their dreams? Do they know that these games had inspired a devoted following, not the CD-I, but on YouTube? Legacy Code will tell the story of the Philips CD-I, from the people who were there at the beginning. It will also feature interviews with the cast and crew of its three most notorious games: Link: Faces of Evil, Zelda: Wand of Gamelon, and Hotel Mario. It will examine what paths they all took since then, and how they feel about their involvement in one of the most enduring internet memes of the last ten years.
This documentary will ask the people involved in the CD-I, and these games, how they feel about all this. Many of them are being asked for the very first time.
Here is a list of CD-I insiders who have expressed interest in being interviewed:
-Marc Graue (Voice of Mario and Luigi in Hotel Mario)
-Bonnie Jean Wilbur (Voice of Zelda in Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon)
-Jeffrey Rath (Voice of Link in Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon)
-Mark Berry (Voice of Ganon in Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon)
-Tony Trippi (Composer for Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon)
-Kathy Swain (Effects and Animation on Hotel Mario)
-Terry O'Brien (Effects and Animation on Hotel Mario)
-Igor Razboff (Animation producer for the games)
-Bill Havlicek (Audio producer on Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon)
-Keith Lehman (Developer on the "Green Book", the set of standards for all Philips CD-I content)
-Mark Sprague (Spinnaker Software, a key CD-I developer)
-Laura Cohen (President, Philips Interactive, North American Division)
-Dave McElhatten (President, Philips Interactive, Games Division)
-Sarina Simon (President, Philips Interactive, Children's Division)
-Bernard Luskin (President, Philips Interactive, Educational Division)"
Still, it seems some interviews are still going to happen:
"With the campaign over, I would like to update you on the status of Legacy Code.Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who donated to this project. The story of Legacy Code deserves to be shared, and rest assured, I will continue to move forward in telling it. Unfortunately, telling that story as a documentary will not be possible at this time. My funding goal was designed to pay for airfare and local film crews, and without those funds, I cannot be confident that the final product is something I would be comfortable with sharing. That does not, however, mean Legacy Code is over. Far from it. Here's what's going to happen:
This year, I will be teaming up again with a sponsor to interview FOUR voice actors from the CD-I's most notorious games. In Los Angeles, I will sit down with Mark Graue, voice of Mario and Luigi in Hotel Mario, and Mark Berry, voice of Ganon in the Zelda CD-I games. The interview will be live-streamed to YouTube, and we might incorporate a Reddit AMA so you can ask them questions. If that goes well, we'll do it again in Boston with the voice actors for Zelda and Link. As mentioned above, these interviews will be supported by a video game sponsor, the crowdfunding money will not be used for them. I will be interviewing the other Philips CD-I insiders, for a multi-part, in-depth blog on the history of the console. It will have insight from all the people I had hopes to interview for the documentary, sharing their stories. The blog will be hosted on a popular game development website (TBA). "
Maybe we'll see the author, Nicholas Bernhard, back soon next year.
>> Monday, October 20, 2014
One of the most ambitious CD-i games is Zelda's Adventure, in my opinion a great mysterious adventure that requires a lot of exploring and thinking (which lots of people do not appreciate); Zelda's Adventure gave me the biggest adventure feeling of all CD-i games I played. A goog overview map was always lacking and I was surprised to see some fellow CD-i gamers made one:
I agree that Zelda's Adventure might be a 'broken' game: Some clues are simply missing and there is quite some 'trial and error' in the game. The atmosphere is great and it's a big adventure you can take. I'd love to make a more detailed version of this, but unfortunately that will be something on the long term...
>> Friday, September 19, 2014
partspitmike: "I worked on this game from 1992 to 1994. Other than the 2 years I worked on this I was never a video game developer. I work doing TV shows and Commercials. Doing the Phillips CD-i game was great the first year when we were creating assets, but the machine could not handle what we wanted to do. At the time I was told Nintendo lost a lawsuit with Phillips and part of the penalty was for Phillips to be allowed to use Mario in a game. They picked a Toronto Company named Cigam who talked a great pitch and promised them the moon and the stars. I was hired on initially as the storyboard illustrator to develop the concepts and they liked what I did so much I was asked to help write and direct the game and run the Art Department.
At the time the brain trust thought that the best way to get realistic backgrounds was to film them. This was before the Quake 3D engine. The advantage to filming was the realism on one layer and the game art (sprites) were on the layer above, drawn to match shadows and lighting. The look was very much like Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Unlike Quake it was not a "sandbox environment" and you could not go anywhere. We compensated by filming strictly defined POV areas like the Niagara River, open channels in the Louisiana Bayou and highways in Monument Valley. That was the best part - filming the background assets all over the US in camera cars, speedboats and helicopters.
The idea was for Mario to cross the US. If I recall the sequences were.. New York Skyline from a Helicopter, Niagara Falls upper rapids to Falls, Niagara Gorge to Whirlpool, a Detroit Auto Factory (never completed) , Carlsbad Caverns, Florida Space Shuttle Ride, Fort Knox, Louisiana Bayou from Speedboat,
Vintage Steam Train fight (on top of travelling boxcar),in Texas, Monument Valley Motorcycle Race on Highway, Las Vegas Neon Race (never completed) Los Angeles Car Race on Highway at Night ... all these would end with a final battle at Graumann's Theatre where Mario had to defeat a combination of all the enemies he had met going across the USA. This final sequence was never completed.
When it came time for the programmers to do the game, the background footage took so much memory to run we were left with very little memory to do the game. The very first programmer quit right after he read the specs on the CD-I player... probably within the first 3 weeks.
I remember he said " the whole foundation is built on quicksand"
The Art Department was soon chopping out animation frames left and right the end result looked iffy -- still better than anything else in 1992 but not what I had hoped for. Eventually after two years in development, I guess Phillips got tired of waiting for delivery. The sales of the CDI player were sucking and without Mario - who was supposed to be the "Killer App" -- they were getting even worse.
Mario Takes America stopped real fast.. i didn't get paid for my final 2 weeks, but all in all I evened out as my first year Christmas Bonus basically covered that.
As far as the gameplay went, the style of game was driven by the footage that was shot. The New York Skyline was a 2D side scrolling game shot out the left side of a helicopter. Most of the footage was shot moving towards the action, behind Mario. This was true for the Niagara Falls scenes, The Bayou, the Monument Valley Highway and the LA Freeway scenes. There was a fight on the top of a train with the camera pointed forward on one of the passenger cars where you could see the Koopas climbing up the side of the car in front of you. They would reach your position and fight with Mario. Each enemy had a different fighting style.
The other video I have is of his "Backup" Video Game. Near the end, things were starting to go bad and he had the art department do a version of Mario Takes America where we replaced all the Mario Sprites with another hero of his own creation called "Metal".
Metal was a Rock & Roll Star who looked like Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. He had a big Roadie Assistant named "Heavy" (I kid you not) who would help out from time to time. As I said we simply renamed all the sprites and had the programming dept plug the new sprites into the code. MRIONY04 became HEVYNY04 and so on.
We also did some sequences with Sonic subbing for Mario. At that point I started sending out resumes again as it sure looked as if the company was grasping at straws.
I believe I also saw the CD-I Zelda Game and played it. It had collision detection issues and was very boring as the CD-I player could not handle too many sprites on the screeen at once. Phillips would send beta versions of their in production games to us to show what other programmers were doing. I guess they may have sent ours out to other companies as well. I only remember a Phillips guy coming out to see us once. They really did not seem to attempt to manage the project at all from what I saw.
I am reluctant to post any of these tapes as the producer was highly litigious and even though I understand he has passed away I am fairly certain the family is as well.
I do have some photos of the filming, which may be interesting... though they do not of course show any game play."