The CD-i wiki last edited by Homeslice on 11/23/14 09:03PM View full history

The Philips CD-i, released on November 2, 1991, not only boasted games in its library, but also some encyclopedia and "Edutainment" products, as well as feature-length movies (which required an additional video card), providing digital home video releases before DVD entered the market. This device is probably best remembered for the late-night commercials that ran in the early 1990s showing off its awesome power as a hapless man searched for the "meaning of life". The system eventually gives him his answer, after forcing him to play tennis and other video games. The system used compact discs for its software releases, and also featured full motion video content. Philips' attempt to enter the gaming market would be trumped by Sony's PlayStation, which unlike the CD-i, featured 3D-graphics rendering technology and significantly more support from first- and third-party developers.

The system also suffered from a bit of an identity crisis. Upon release, Philips did not wish to compete with the likes of Sega and Nintendo in the home console market; instead, Philips positioned the console as a "multimedia system" that could play videos, run applications, and could act as an educational tool. This led to a swath of educational game releases, which has never been a bestselling niche in the entertainment software market. Philips tried to position the system as a console that could compete with the likes of the Sega CD and 3DO, but by then most consumers did not view the console as a serious contender to incumbents, not to mention its high starting price and underwhelming library of games.

The CD-i also has the notable (and dubious) distinction of being the only non-Nintendo console to have Mario and Zelda titles developed for it, due to a contractual obligation Nintendo had with Philips dating back to the SNES CD project. In total, four such titles existed on the system: Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon, Zelda's Adventures and Hotel Mario. A fifth title, Super Mario Wacky Worlds, was planned but never released. None of the titles were developed by Nintendo themselves, but by third parties or by Philips themselves.

Technical specifications

CPU

  • 16-bit 68070 CISC Chip (68000 core)
  • Clock Speed of 15.5 MHz

Display

  • Resolution: 384×280 to 768×560
  • Colors: 16.7 million w/ 32,768 on screen
  • MPEG 1 Cartridge Plug-In for VideoCD and Digital Video

Operating System

  • CD-RTOS (based on Microware's OS-9)

Other

  • 1.5 MB of main RAM
  • Single-speed CD-ROM drive
  • Weight with DV cart 1.460 kg, without DV 1.210 kg
  • ADPCM eight-channel sound
  • 16-bit stereo sound

CD-i accessories

  • CD-i mouse
  • Roller controller
  • CD-i trackball
  • I/O port splitter
  • Touchpad controller
  • Gamepad controller (Gravis PC GamePad)
  • IR wireless controller
  • S-video cable

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