Search Interactive Dreams

Was CD-i designed with games in mind?

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

An interesting view on whether CD-i was designed with games in mind by an ex CD-i developer: "I actually have a near complete set of development documents from Philips going back to 1986 when they first announced the Green Book standard and I was involved in the ICDIA as a developer from almost the beginning, although admittedly I was involved in developing training applications for public agencies in California. Within the introductory section of the specification manuals, there are numerous references to games as a potential application, along with other multimedia applications. It's like making the argument that just because early computers didn't have much besides a processor, some memory and rudimentary display hardware that they weren't intended to play games. That's silly. Games were one of the earliest applications developed for computers going back to the mainframe days.

Philips planned to enter the consumer market much earlier than it did, but manufacturing costs for the CD-i made it difficult. 1988 is when very early prototype developers systems went out to literally a handful of Philips partners, but most developers didn't get anything until 1989 at the earliest with the price dropping to a more reasonable level in 1990 and 1991. Game development funded by Philips actually began as early as 1989. As a result, games were available as soon as consumer units were released in the United States in 1991/92 and continued to be available until Philips bowed out of the market. Contrary to what many people think, most of the games for the system were not FMV titles, but rather board games (Battleship, Chess, Axis & Allies, etc...), family games, some sports and racing titles, as well as some interesting hybrids. I'm not going to claim that most of the games were good, but Philips certainly invested millions of dollars in developing and marketing games and provided a lot of software considering how few units actually were sold.

As early as 1989, Electronic Arts (EA) was developing games for the CD-i and considered it to be a gaming system. Just because a system can do more than one thing has nothing to do with whether or not it can be considered a gaming system. Heck, the original 3DO was used as a training system by Time Warner among other companies and had the capability to be a kiosk system as outlined in the various developer handbooks. Was the 3DO not intended to be a gaming system? Similarly, the Nuon was a DVD substandard that was always intended to be used for gaming, however, it was only built into DVD players. Is that not a gaming system? The CD-i plays games, it was always intended to do so by Philips and more than 150 of them were released. That's more than a lot of other defunct systems. Not half of them [are FMV titles] and I disagree [with every DVC required game being a FMV-game] since they might have some FMV cut screens or backgrounds, but weren't FMV movie games as the term is typically used. The Green Book is not the same as CD-i, but the CD-i systems released by Philips fully comply with the minimum Green Book standards. So, if you claim that the Green Book was not specific to gaming, you're correct, but I disagree that the CD-i was never intended for gaming."

8 reacties:

Anonymous,  January 18, 2009 at 10:10 PM  

I remember Philips was used to their first generation games like Battle Ship and Connect Four when SPC Vision blew them away with the Alien Gate tech demo. That was the start of real videogaming on CD-i. I guess Philips never thought games this good were possible on CD-i!

Anonymous,  January 19, 2009 at 11:12 AM  

I wrote a small article about the CD-i for a book many years ago and I had a similar discussion with one of the other authors of the book. We contacted Philips and they kind of confirmed that the CD-i was indeed never designed for games. Only after the hardware design was final, they thought that games could probably written for it, calling it a potential application. But not designed with games in mind from the outset, it lacked important features such as proper sprite support or hardware scaling/scrolling, etc.

Bas January 19, 2009 at 11:37 AM  

Interesting trivia! I happened to get a few responses from retro games websites that were convinced in their own theory that CD-i was not intended to be a games machine. However, in the past years we at Interactive Dreams have built close contacts with a lot of ex CD-i developers who were there from the very beginning, like with Philips IMS in Eindhoven and the Natlab in Redhill, UK. Based on the very early documents CD-i was set as a multimedia standard, which included Encyclopedias, courses, music, reference titles, children titles, and, important for this view: Games. Games were part of the multimedia experience from the very beginning although Philips was very clear in telling people that CD-i was not just a videogames console. It wanted to expand on the successes its own Odyssey story and conquer against the upsomg CD-ROM format which was kind of developed around the same time. Philips believed PC's were too difficult for the consumer and thought there was a market for a multimedia machine people could hook up in their own livingroom. After 15 years, Insiders realize CD-i was a true innovative product which was the inspiration for the new generation inclusing the Wii and the Playstation 3.
In the end, although games as they were developed were not in the line of expectations of Philips from the very start of CD-i, Philips positioned the CD-i being a family machine which was able to handle board games and game shows like Jeopardy and the Joker's Wild.

Anonymous,  January 19, 2009 at 11:54 AM  

The system itself is a Motorola 68000 based unit running at 15 MHz with 1.5 megs of RAM and 16 bit audio chip. That's very similar of the Amiga and clearly designed for games.

Bas January 19, 2009 at 2:02 PM  

I'd like to get in contact with the guy who posted two comments saying that it's pointless to talk about whether the CD-i was made for games or not. I challenge you to discuss this with me and I'll post your view on the front page. interactive [dot] dreams [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous,  January 19, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

the main thing of cd-i was that is should be the interactive version of the audio cd. that's what philips was planning from the beginning. One thing is for sure: the digital video feature was developed a lot later, so anything that CD-i games made special thanks to the digital video wasn't planned from the beginning!

Bas January 20, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

Some cut discussion about this story can be found on the official Interactive Dreams forum, here:

anna March 29, 2010 at 5:19 PM  

Games were considered second rate while I was there. I was actually told to play down my games background. Then someone must have looked at the money to be made and suddenly...

Post a Comment

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

  © Interactive Dreams Version 5 by The Black Moon Project 2013

Back to TOP