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CD-i in Japan - Philips Artspace and Japan Interactive Media

>> Saturday, July 7, 2007

We only know CD-i being released in the western continents like Europe and the United States. The videogames business boosted in a whole other area: Japan! That's the place where companies like Sony and Nintendo got their names bigger than ever, and it's unfortunate Microsoft has a lot of problems introducing their Xbox format in Japan with success: apparently the asian people prefer asian videogames, and the western like Xbox is too unfamilar. You could ask yourself whatever happened with Philips and CD-i. This is also a format from the West and I've hardly found any names or material related to a japanese introduction of the CD-i system. However, we found a few links to some japanese CD-i productions which sound very promising: CD-i was released in Japan!

There is a great story from the guy behind Philips Artspace Studio who was responsible for all translations Philips made about CD-i software in Japan. So yes the CD-i was released in Japan although quite limited. Translations I'm aware of are all edutainment like paint-galleries, stamp-galleries, and early kids titles like Sandy's Circus. "I was the writer/director/producer on 'Harvest of the Sun,' 'Renaissance of Florence, The Renaissance Gallery, The French Impressionists, The World of Impressionism, Prélude (the first of hybrid Cd-i/CD Audio discs); The Art of the Czars (featuring the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the first time a major American orchestra recorded music for a multimedia carrier, exclusively), and Rembrandt: The Art and the Music of his Time (as writer/co-producer) (featuring Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra).

After I left Philips and started Pantheon, I also produced The Bertelsmann Lexikon CD-i (the first German-language multimedia encyclopedia with video clips) and the Standaard Encyclopedie (the first Dutch-language encyclopedia). After I was promoted to Managing Director of PIME in London, H. took over as head of my studio ArtSpace. They produced 'Flight: The Universal Dream' but I'm not sure if this was ever completed/released.

The focus of ArtSpace, when I started it, was to produce a platform to develop CD-i titles very quickly. 'Harvest of the Sun, the biography of Vincent van Gogh, was produced in 9 weeks, which was an absolute record at the time (most titles took over a year to produce). Subsequent titles took a little longer but never more than 3 months. AS MD of PIME, I also oversaw the language conversions of US based titles. As part of that effort, all the art titles were translated, produced and released in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese."

Japanese language CD-i versions! The picture above on the right is an original cover of "Renaissance of Florida", released by Philips Artspace in Japan.

The internet revealed some people who were working at Denshi Media, which I only know from an unknown CD-i title called "The Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle". I wonder if they ever got the Internet kit working in Japan also! "Mr Aoyagi was the president of Denshi Media Service, the multimedia subsidiary of Japan's second-largest printing company, Toppan Printing. DMS made multimedia software for many settop platforms in Japan including CD-I and 3DO. Denshi Media was originally a joint venture between Toppan and Philips (Magnavox), although Toppan had acquired 100% in the years since its founding. When Philips was developing Internet browsing with the CD-I player, prior to joining with WebTV, they asked Mr Aoyagi and DMS to create the service and browser software for Japan."

Last but not least, in 1994, Friso presented us a japan-only game going strong with the movie-title "Golgo 13", produced by Japan Interactive Media. For a CD-i game to be dated back to 1992 and remain unknown to the wider community for such a length of time marks this one out as a true collectable. The game Golgo 13 is best described as a comic book adventure depicted by still drawn images where you can follow multiple paths to out smart the assassin Golgo 13. Designed for NTSC systems this was a Japanese only title featuring a few bits of English for the in game menu screens but the vast majority of the game is in Japanese. Alongside the main story mode of the game there is also a database which is a quiz designed to test your knowledge of Golgo 13.

These are worth further investigation if only for the terrible Japanese to English translations which is all the trend even to this day in the east. The CD-i is not without it's own take on "all your base belong to us" it seems. It's not yet clear if this game was ever brought to a full retail product as the only version ever found was this sample.

The press also revealed the original introduction of CD-i in Japan on April 25, 1992. "TOKYO, JAPAN, 1992 APR 17 (NB) -- Philips Japan has announced that it will release a first CD-Interactive (CD-I) player in Japan on April 25. A variety of subjects are to be released: games, music, educational programs, databases, and dictionaries. Philips Japan has organized a CD-I software association, which is supported by about 200 members, including such big names as Matsushita Electric and Sony. The software is expected to debut this fall. Japan's first CD-I player will be manufactured at Philips' Belgium plant and will be shipped to Japan. It will be marketed by Marantz Japan, which is a subsidiary of Philips. The retail price will be 140,000 yen ($1,050). Japanese electronics makers are taking a wait-and-see attitude at present concerning production and sales of CD-I players. There is no word yet on Philips' worldwide distribution plans for the device."

The image on the top left of this article shows a part of the credits of "The Apprentice", stating Japanese translations by Akiko Yatsura. By now we know that name was a made-up name, so this just some typical SPC Vision humour!

So, if there's anything more about CD-i happening in the history of videogames in Japan or other parts in Asia, I would certainly like to know. Thanks to all of you for bringing this info to Interactive Dreams.

1 reacties:

tom,  July 8, 2007 at 9:57 AM  

thats what i call rare, you think the letters of compact disc interactive were also printed in japanese? that would be so cool!

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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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