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Paul Clarke shares picture of 1994 from his desk at Philips Research Redhill while working on CD-i

>> Monday, June 17, 2019

Paul Clarke: "[This is] 1994 at Philips Research Labs Redhill, me working on the CD-i debugger "NIRD (Non-Intrusive Realtime Debugger) which we then used on games like 7th Guest, and it helped me write Atlantis and RamRaid. Note CD-i white 605 dev system in background, NIRD board under analysis, and black NIRD metal cartridge to fit in DV [Digital Video Cartridge] slot on desk"

[Thanks, Paul Clarke]


Philips integrated their CD-i technology in the FW380I stereo-set: Crazy or brilliant?

Philips integrated their CD-i technology in different other consumer electronics models, like a television and in a stereo radio. In this setup, your cassettes and FM radio are combined with a CD player that can also handle CD-i and VCD's, thanks to the integrated Digital Video Cartridge. The nice thing is, that in this case the CD's are controlled with the buttons on the system itself, The source button is extended with a CD-i function, the output is positioned at the back of the system. 
The CD-i audio output had different channels than the other audio output. It's pretty unique what Philips did here: I've never seen a console technique built into a stereo set. But Philips invented for you, at that time!

 When you look inside, you see the DVC nicely integrated vertically, it's actually a tight package inside.

I like the fact that they also integrated a seperate microphone 3,5mm jack on the front to be able to enjoy karaoke cdi's. That was definately one of the unique selling points of this stereo set!

[Thanks, Small Mart, Muh Mullet, Lee Storey]


CD-i Classic Advertisement: The CD-i 210 Package

>> Sunday, June 16, 2019


European catalogue number location guide for CD-i titles

CD-i titles that were published by Philips in Europe all had the same type of catalogue number:


In this catalogue number, the C stands for the location, with a '0' in place for a general European (english) version.

The codes are as following: (For example we take Asterix on CD-i as it has been published in various countries:

81001674 (Europe)
8120095 (France) Asterix – Le Défi de César
8130097 (Germany) Asterix – Die Grosse Reise8150058 (Italy) La Sfida di Cesare
8140060 (The Netherland) Asterix – De Uitdaging van Caesar
8160035 (Portugal) Asterix – O Desafio de César8160034 (Spain) El Desafío de César
8160034 (Spain) Asterix El Desafío de César

So, 1=UK, 2=France, 3=Germany, 4=Netherlands, 6=Spain/Portugal


The extra memory in a Digital Video Cartridge was faster memory than what was on the main CD-i PCB

>> Saturday, June 15, 2019

Several CD-i games require the Digital Video Cartridge. It is often that these games show us full screen full motion video by using the MPEG1-hardware that is on the cartridge. Games like Mad Dog McCree, Dragon' s Lair , Who Shot Johnny Rock and Brain Dead 13 would not be possible without it.

Next to that, there are several games that also benefit from the extra memory, besides the possibility to show us full motion video, the extra memory could be used to boost performance and show more action on screen (like moving backgrounds). This is the case in titles like Atlantis: The Last Resort, Mutant Rampage and Litil Divil.  

It was not only *extra* memory, it was also faster memory. As well as decoding digital video, these cartridges also contained extra memory that the CD-i apps could use. Even better it was faster memory than what was on the main player PCB - handy for code that got run a lot, or images/assets that needed fast rendering eg textures or sprite data and associsted code in a game.

[Thanks, Paul]


Watch here the authoring CD-i development player stack 180/181/182 in action

The Philips CDI-180 is an advance-technology CD-I player module that has been purpose designed as part of a sophisticated Philips CD-Interactive System. This user-friendly system fully exploits the tremendous information capacity of the standars 12-cm/5.1/4-inch compact disc format. It will also play CD audio discs and the audio section of CD-video media.

The function of the Philips CDI-180 Player is to accept the CD-I disc, read it out - under the control of the Multi Media Controller (MCC) - then supply an appropriate digital signal output to the MMC for processing. The output from the MMC is displayed on a suitable video/TV monitor which presents the CD-I program under the direct control of the user. The user-friendly design concepts of the CDI-180 maximize the exploitation of the CD-I media but minimize man/machine interfacing. The CD-I player system is intended primarily for use in institutional and professional applications, suc as education, trainig and electronic publishing.

- Part of the Philips Modular CD-I system
- Operates with the CDI-181 Multi Media Controller
- User-friendly ergonomic design concepts
- Plays CD-Interactive and CD-audio discs
- Easy disc loading and storage with caddy
- Fully modular configuration

[Thanks, Dutchaudioclassics,, Multiwizard, video by Wim Janssen]


The classic shooter "Scramble" was remade on CD-i by The Vision Factory but never released

>> Friday, June 14, 2019

The SPC Vision crew first mentioned this to us years ago when I rather presumed he'd mistaken it for an already released game on one of the Golden Oldies Volumes. However it turns out that this was dropped from any release. Shame, it looked kinda good! I have to admit they have me at a disadvantage because i'm not familiar with the original Scramble that this would be a clone from. More than the screenshot below is nowhere available anymore, but it's Scramble on CD-i! It never got a fancy name like the others... I guess they knew that the game wouldn't be included. It was a shame, because I remember some people were real enthusiastic about it. I liked Guardian alot and thought the effects of the ship blowing apart were particularly impressive by CD-i standards. With shrapnel rebounding off the planets surface as shards hit the ground. The attention to accuracy was nice as well, when the ship blew up in free space the shards just drifted apart in all directions! Cute little animations all round, it looked like Scramble would get the same kind of treatment and it looks like a perfect alternative for the lost Space Ranger CD-i prototype as well! And do you remember Breaker, another CD-i prototype by The Vision Factory (aka SPC Vision)!

And below you'll find an image of the original Scramble, released in 1981:


SNES2cdi adapter: a practical example and explaining the use of an analog signal (where there is no analog signal)

SNEStoCDi is an Arduino-based project that allows to use a Nintendo SNES (Super NES) / SFC (Super Famicom) gamepad on a Philips CD-i player. SNEStoCDi requires no more electronic than the Arduino itself. It’s a pretty easy project for anyone with basic knowledge about Arduino and soldering.

Jake Allen built one of these and it looks very nice: 

You might be curious about the use of an analog input where there is no analog signal. The reason is that the CD-i and the Arduino have different logical levels: The CD-i asserts the RTS line at about 2.4 volts when the Arduino needs about 3 volts on digital inputs. By reading the RTS line on an analog input, I’ve been able to set manually a lower “Virtual Logical Level”. This allows to use the Arduino alone, without any other electronic component to adapt the levels.

For some reason, all my attemps to use the hardware UART to send data to the CD-i failed. This is why I used NewSoftSerial (called SoftwareSerial in the Arduino IDE) to emulate another UART. As it is only used to send data, the RX interrupt is not really used and this is why the RX pin is not connected. The CD-i doesn’t send anything on its TX, it only communicates on the RTS line, this is the reason why the communication between the Arduino and the CD-i is kind of asymetrical.

[Thanks, Jake Allen]


Awesome CD-i pins with the DVC logo and the CD-i logo. Do you know of any other CD-i pin?

Awesome CD-i pins by Django Kimmer


New-old CD-i merchandise can be bought at Teepublic

It's not only t-shirts they have, but all kind of stuff like mugs and laptop-cases. It's based in USA.

Have a look at their shop here

[Thanks, CD-i Guy]


If CD-i was allowed to live a little longer, CapDisc released Space Pirates on CD-i

>> Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mad Dog McCree, Crime Patrol, Who Shot Johnny Rock, Drug Wars, The Last Bounty Hunter.... CapDisc was pretty happy with the nice digital video quality of these FMV shooters. They fit the CD-i quite nicely. No other version offers the same quality. It is one of the few game catagories that CD-i was actually shining in. It's a pity that CapDisc went bankrupt in 1997, around the same time The Last Bounty Hunter was released on CD-i. It was even a close call that The Last Bounty Hunter would not have been released at all on CD-i. 

In early '95, CapDisc merged with a company that had most of their staff in St. Petersburg, Russia. The people there got paid a fraction of what we did. Our management figured that we were all pretty interchangeable, and laid off half of us. The first sign that they'd made a mistake was that they had to hire back a bunch of people as contractors to finish the projects they were working on. The second sign was that most of us were immediately hired by their competition. The third was that, a few weeks later, half of the remaining people quit because all of their friends had been fired. They hired a bunch of new people to fill in the gaps, but they had lost a lot of expertise. On top of that, I heard that coordinating with the folks in Russia didn't go quite as smoothly as they had hoped. The company went down the tubes about a year later.

One interesting aspect that we learnt though was that CapDisc had another FMV Shooter on the shelves ready to port to CD-i: If CapDisc and the CD-i platform would have lived a little longer, we would have seen a port of Space Pirates on CD-i. CapDisc had the framework ready, the video files were ready. Unfortunately they didn't finish their projects, and Space Pirates ended just like John Dark: Psychic Eye did.


Philips explored the possibility to develop a "CD-i Game Cartridge" that would go in the DVC slot to boost gaming performance

>> Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Digital Video Cartridge slot in a CD-i player is actually designed as general purpose system bus interface. This means that in principle, Philips would have been able to develop different kind of cartridge updates, with more memory and with more gaming specific capacities. When Philips was exploring its possibilities to continue on CD-i (2), a specific gaming cartridge was one of the possibilites. In this way, a relatively low-cost solution would boost the gaming performance of CD-i and it would match the comopetition a little better. It would give the CD-i sprite facilities and graphics coprocessing. It was a real possibility. The reason behind this was the history of gaming on CD-i. CD-i was originally not a pure game machine and the first games that came out on the platform were games like "Text Tiles", "Backgammon" and 3rd party games like "Dark Castle". The company SPC Vision opened the eyes of Philips on what CD-i could actually do.

When you play games on CD-i like Pinball, Tetris, 7th Guest and The Apprentice, you'll notice that games like The Apprentice are very well fine-tuned and you might wonder why there are so few CD-i games that match the quality of The Apprentice. It feels like Philips just didn't know what CD-i was capable of. That's a wasted opportunity for CD-i: Probably around 80% of the CD-i games do not meet the high standard of The Apprentice.

The Apprentice was made in 1994 yet no further releases that could have tweaked the original and been quite something were ever released. (Of course a sequel was planned but never finished). Philips should have realised the small collection of quality titles and used them as a benchmark and as a platform to greater things.

CD-i games like Atlantis and Litil Divil make clever use of the extra memory of the Digital Video Cartridge. Is was not only 'extra' memory, it was also 'faster' memory. Even without a need to do full motion video, the DVC was already a game-enhancing cartridge that gave a boost to the game performance. So the idea to build upon this fact by creating a new "Game Cartridge" was not a bad idea.

Not many people like Pinball or Tetris on CD-i but again these are very playable games that were released around 1992, but Philips never tried to create any follow-up.

it’s really sad that the Apprentice 2 never got finished. The graphic quality of the Apprentice should have been utilised and by 1996 could have had a catalogue of quality platform games and just imagine if the same team had been given the Mario named projects! It's amazing what The Vision Factory was capable of making!

The funny thing is, that team pushed the boundaries of what the device is capable of. Even Philips thought that the CD-i was incapable of such mechanics. And compared to other consoles of that generation (4th gen) it was a thing of beauty.

The sad truth still remains that 'the internet' only knows of the Mario and Zelda games through YouTubePoop videos. Other games get some light, but they never outshine the darkness of Zelda.
Too bad though, as I think they're pretty decent 'dungeon crawler platformers' in a Legend Of Zelda setting.

If only Philips marketed the dang thing as a game console much much earlier. If The Apprentice 2 would have been finished, it would have been a different team, because the creators (both programmer and graphics designer) of the original Apprentice had long left the company. This was probably the reason that Philips got cold feet, although there could also have been market realities...

It was amazing for CD-i. Most of the relevant CD-i people at The Vision Factory came from the Atari and Amiga demo scenes, where the techniques used were commonplace. However, they were applied "to the limit", on multiple instances these people were not satisfied until the "sustained 90% cpu usage" limit was reached

Compared to "actual" game machines the CD-i platform was underpowered quite a bit (and probably also priced quite a bit higher). At one point there was talk of adding a "game cartridge" with some sprite facilities and graphics coprocessing, not unlike the Digital Video Cartridge (it would have gone in the same slot which is actually a general purpose system bus interface), but this never happened.

[Thanks, Chris, CD-i fan, Eric and Paul]


Back by popular demand, The Kyocera CD-i Pro 1000S player in full glory

>> Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Kyocera Pro 1000S is another very rare CD-i player. It did not have a digital video cartridge and it was released in 1992, we believe for the professional market. 
Without Interactive Dreams this player would almost have been disappeared from the internet! 

CD-i member Austin originally found the pictures on an auction site: "Manufactured in Japan during May 1994 from what the bottom of the system says. Built like a rock from what I can tell, and it uses 1/8" jacks for it's audio and video-out. It also has an I/O port, plus the Mic port for the Karaoke stuff (no karaoke options built into the system though, so I guess this was done through external software or on a karaoke CD). It also has a "video-in" port, which is the most-interesting feature. Doing a little more testing, it seems like they dislike CD-R media as well. It is a NTSC player. I decided to hook this up today again to capture some footage. I ran into some issues though. Trying three games, one wouldn't load at all (Pyramid Adventures). The other two games, Lemmings and Zenith, failed to load certain background elements (usually the main part of the playfield, leaving a mostly black screen on both titles asides from your menu/scores).

I don't know if this is a problem with the player itself (faulty, perhaps?), or if maybe there were cost-cutting measures made and it's not capable of playing standard games (clearly it was designed solely for professional use, so that doesn't seem far-off to me). I am most interested in finding whether my system is damaged in some way, or if perhaps it lacks elements that "normal" CD-i players feature, causing certain games to not display properly."
There's no Digital Video Cartridge in this unit.

"It cleaned up very nicely and it really feels like a tough unit. Games seem to load fine, and the menu interface for the system isn't too bad (although not quite as nice as the Philiips one as I saw some say in older posts). It's also tiny, which is great. The downer: There's no DVC in this thing. It's an interesting little system though. Manufactured in Japan during May 1994 from what the bottom of the system says. Built like a rock from what I can tell, and it uses 1/8" jacks for it's audio and video-out. It also has an I/O port, plus the Mic port for the Karaoke stuff (no karaoke options built into the system though, so I guess this was done through external software or on a karaoke CD). It also has a "video-in" port, which is the most-interesting feature."

[Thanks, Austin]


Phil Hartman starred in two 30 second CD-i ads on tv around 1992-1994

>> Monday, June 10, 2019

One unlikely demonstration of Phil Hartman's amazing knack for playing multiple characters came in a series of commercials for the Entertainment and Gaming Console called "CD-I". These images show him (in order) playing the soft-spoken, sleepy-voiced announcer, you the consumer, your mom, your "babe", the crazy TV Sales Guy, that groovy announcer again (this time in a different sweater), you the (different) consumer, an Awesome kid, a girl who thinks CD-I is "Cute", a late night TV Viewer who likes looking at men and that crazy TV Sales Guy again... And this was in only TWO thirty second ads. 
Want a Closer Look? Click each pic to enlarge. You can of course find these ads on Youtube these days :)

If you experienced CD-i when it was on the market, no doubt you have seen the 30 second ads on television with Phil Hartman. Phil is a famous guy: He was a Canadian-American actor, comedian, screenwriter and graphic artist. Hartman garnered fame in 1986 when he joined the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. He voiced various roles on The Simpsons. Below you see Phil as your CD-i Mother:

And Phil as your CD-i Babe:

Phil as your crazy CD-i sales guy:

CD-i is so awesome:

CD-i is so cute:

Hartman had been divorced twice before he married Brynn Omdahl in 1987. On May 28, 1998, Brynn Hartman shot and killed Hartman while he slept in their Encino.


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

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