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Philips CD-i Versus The Next Generation

>> Thursday, June 1, 2006

A few month back I was quite surprised to find an online article about the similarities between the Revolution controller and the CD-i controller. As most of the other critics I thought this was just a joke and a pure rubbish similarity. Later I came to mind the coincidence may turn out to have a little more in common with each other than you might think.

This is the thing. On the 1st of June the only other active CD-i community Le Monde du CD-i has published an article about the similarities between the Philips CD-i and the next generation consoles. And that is just after some research I did because of this topic. I think it's a nice thing to review this and comment with my research on at least a small part of the content: The controller. In this case, I finally use the column in its right purpose: criticism...

I started to look out for the manufacturing part of the Philips products and realizing the "Philips Design" department was responsible for the looks of several CD-i models. Because the Matchline range is hot property of Philips Design the lead was simple, although my main interest was about the CD-i 450 console. The story behind this cheaper model was common, although the internet is a little on the contrary about this. Maybe it's part of journalism: talk about it the way you like it :D. However, it is stated the model is derived from the rival consoles, to let it compete with the 'entertainment business' of videogames. As far as I can look back on it the 450 model is frabicated only this way to reduce costs. The top loader is the main part that they changed about it and the cheaper design made it possible within the policy of Philips to use the Magnavox brand name on it. This was marked as a special event because of the reputation Magnavox had with videogames. Although Philips states this had nothing to with it. Do you remember the CD-i controller which was not developed by Philips but it was Logitech who licensed the product to Philips. The portable CD-i 370 was not developed by Philips but was a licensed product of LG Electronics. Because the source of the 450 model remains unsure to me this was partly a dead end. Well, this is one reason the story was 'on hold'. Now, a part two is hopefully coming up.

It turns out more peripherals were licensed products. In the end, only the CD-i mouse and trackball are original Philips products. And ofcourse the thumbstick. It is the thumbstick the story is partly about. (Note the thumbstick is not an analogue stick, like Le Monde du CD-i claims it to be) I showed a close source the article Le Monde du CD-i posted the same day (fast, huh!) to gain his insight on the matter: "It's not totally ridiculous to think like this. Philips licensed and patented CD-i parts and later licensed its products to other companies. Lay-outs are copyrighted but it is easy to get around the design and still implement the core architecture in your product. You noticed the Playstation suddenly offers a moving sensor in its controller. Something that was patented by Nintendo for the Wii console. That's just part of the business. It is possible Nintendo got a draw from the original cd-i controller but I don't think it happened like that."


While I feel there is a lot of discussion possible around these so-called similarities, the article from Le Monde brings up a hilarious one: The case of the Playstation 3. On this level I can show you lots of similarities between all kinds of consoles. But as far as your imagination reaches every console learns from previous mistakes. And true to that I feel the looks of Playstation 3 are outdated and non attractive. Try to convince me otherwise. Don't get me started on the CD-i 360 vs Xbox 360 coincidence. It's good for a laugh, yes.

However, I have been thinking about the variety of possibilities the next gen consoles offer. I think I posted about this on the forum as well, but the ability for you to offer the internet through a game console was a true innovative move of Philips to show the capabilities of CD-i. Obviously this was far ahead of its time, the internet was brand new and very slow. Sony wanted to offer more online content with the Playstation 2 but they wanted to shift this until broadband was widely available. On the other hand, it's just about the multiplayer games. Multiplayer is just the right extension to single players using two controllers on the same console. So it's far from a legal issue rather than the right move to take interactive gaming in. The internet is a small addition when you offer multiplayer games via the internet. When you look at it like this, I feel Philips added the online possiblities to offer the internet to the consumer home market. Sony and Microsoft want you to play online games against eachother, (just like our good old Ram Raid), primarily.

Like the last generation consoles (xbox, ps2) offered dvd playback, it never was the main core reason to buy the system. The DVD player was inferior to the single DVD units but never used for true "interactive movies". However, the platform (DVD) is not a standard from a part of the business. It's THE standard now. That's what makes it a success in my opinion. Playstation Portable now makes the same mistake using the UMD format. And as you may have read here, the UMD Movie format is almost dead just like the ill-fated VideoCD format was doomed to fail. It's not a standard widely used. Now it's part of the Multimedia idea to offer a variety of discs like movies, games and internet. It's a preface to the arrival of the Media Centres. Watch my step when I say Microsoft will finally conquer the console world by offering the Next XBOX with Media Centre possiblities. I feel they're doing the job Philips wanted to do in the Ninetees. The resume of Microsoft is much stronger so it's not even a close call about whose going to win.

OK, let's go back to CD-i. The Philips slogan 'Philips Invents For You" wasn't so bad at all, and Omegalfa from Le Monde du CD-i is right to conclude his article with the fact that they did create a similar product which was criticized a lot in the early ninetees. Philips CD-i wasn't bad at all. It was just ahead of its time.

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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