>> Friday, March 23, 2007
2006 marks the anniversary of an important event in gaming history. One that changed the face of games forever and spawned a brand name that remains recognizable to this day. This milestone proved to be of particular significance to Nintendo, which might well have turned out to be a completely different company than the one we know today were it not for this -- a landmark development that shook the videogame industry to its core. This year is, of course, the 15th anniversary of the Philips CD-i game console. Interactive Dreams reviews the 1up critics.
As some of you already know, the popular gaming website 1up.com published a big article about CD-i in April 2006. We revisit the most important hits and misses summed up from 1up's massive six page article.
Nintendo: The story behind the Philips CD-i actually begins with Nintendo. Back in 1988, Nintendo struck a deal with Sony to manufacture the sound chip for the then-upcoming Super Nintendo Entertainment System. [...] Unfortunately 1up.com follows the same mistakes known from the Philips-Nintendo link!
Compact Disc.......Interactive!: Like many consoles, the CD-i saw a number of wildly different controller accessories released during its lifetime. The console was originally packaged with a thumbstick controller that more closely resembled a TV remote than a gaming peripheral. The following years saw the release of several trackball and mouse-style controllers, all of which were practically useless for most games but worked very well with the system's library of educational software. It wasn't until the CD-i's relaunch as a gaming console that Philips released more conventional controllers -- ones that had actual D-pads and everything! Still, not everyone considers the CD-i's original thumbstick controller an evolutionary dead-end for gaming peripherals....compare it with the Wii remote!
Eat that, San Andreas: It's amazing that this game never generated the controversy that other, milder titles received. Voyeur's spoken dialogue is peppered with multiple uses of the dreaded F-word, long before it became the cool thing to do in today's urban-shooter du jour. The amount of sexual content will shock modern gamers as well; though there's no actual onscreen sex or nudity, there's plenty of innuendo, along with strong pervading themes of lesbianism and incest. Odds are, you'll witness a few mild bondage scenes before the game is over, too. They are right about that!
Welcome to hell: That title just kind of strikes the fear into you, doesn't it? Yes, comedian Eugene Levy voices his own videogame in this, his most obnoxious role of all time. Imagine a golf game in which you can only shoot your ball straight forward, slightly to the left, or slightly to the right. Your swing power is fixed -- as is every other option in the game. This is The Wacky World of Miniature Golf, a title that -- at last! -- successfully combines the unresponsive controls and eye-searing visuals of the CD-i's worst edutainment titles with the star power of Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and American Wedding. - Oops, and it's amazing how fast we forget...
Unreleased wackiness: Though only four Nintendo-licensed games were released for the CD-i, at least two more were in development before getting scrapped. One, Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, was a traditional side-scrolling platformer that used graphics and music ripped directly from the SNES launch title Super Mario World. A prototype version of Super Mario's Wacky Worlds was found and distributed across the Internet a few years ago, and CD-i fans were astounded by the game's quality, even at such an early stage of development. The prototype's buggy, and only a few levels are selectable, but the game looks, sounds, and plays so well that it could easily have become one of the best titles ever released for the CD-i had the project been completed. - And how much would we love to see "Mario Takes America" in action!