>> Friday, December 1, 2006
When Philips internally produced the famous Hotel Mario game for the CD-I, more companies were granted money in order to produce a CD-I game starring Nintendo’s greatest mascotte: Super Mario. This was quite an exclusive opportunity, as Nintendo would never license their characters to a perceived competitor. While The Black Moon Project covered “ The Lost Mario game ” being "Super Mario`s Wacky Worlds" in 2004, less is known about a Digital Video project called ‘Mario Takes America’. A Canadian investor named Howard Greenspan set up Cigam (Magic spelled backwards) Entertainment in Toronto. They talked a great story about Super Mario flying over the Statue of Liberty, travelling with dolphins over the ocean and more which has been highlighted in the UK CD-I Magazine once. The film crew even used a helicopter to shoot some of the more tricky sequences. These were the early days of Full Motion Video, so the development platform was not that stable in their defense. And while the concept was great, the execution was miserable. Other rumours include the mis-use of Nintendo’s Intellectual Property in the way how Mario was treated in the flight over America. The so-called ‘Edutainment’ concept should add a level of teaching about the American culture which should propagate the status of the USA immensely. However, this title was supposed to be the edge of ‘reality’ with a real silicon graphics Mario which should be the first outing of Mario in 3D ever! The game concept was nothing else than impressive but unfortunately none of this came to happening; after the bankruptcy of Cigam in 1994 all the golden plans for Mario were cancelled. Early clips where shown at the CDi 3 Conference in New York in October 1993.
Along with the likes of Viridis (Producer of Zelda’s Adventure on CD-I), Cigam existed of two very young developers who presented their own concept for a cd-i game to Philips Media Games. Philips was pretty excited, and granted them money to start on the project. Normally, companies were granted money after certain deadlines. But in this hard business, when Philips had confidence in a project, money was granted on forehand. Unfortunately, Cigam was one of those who just didn't meet any expectations in the end, and Philips had to cancel the project to prevent more money bleeding...
We will expand on the Nintendo titles on CD-I in one of the next columns or articles on The Black Moon Project .