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The Best of CD-i 2007: *2D Puzzle Games*

>> Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I guess it was no surprise that the all-time classic The Apprentice won the contest last week in voting for the best platform game on CD-i. Although all other entries have its qualities, the fun-packed disc of The Apprentice really shines through, and after playing it again for a few hours, I think it is a deserved first place. This week again we welcome you to vote for the best cd-i title. You can vote for 1 or more favourites! Every week we'll spawn a new poll in the left column of this blog: Look at the left column to find the current poll! Be quick as the vote limit is only seven days! After the closing day we'll post the results in each catagory post and in the end of December 2007 we'll be back with the final decision to mark "The Best CD-i Game of 2007". I hope you'll all have fun and enjoy CD-i as much as we do! Read on for this weeks nominees:

Starting Date: October 31 End Date: November 7

This week we'll continue with all puzzle games released on CD-i. The nominees for "Best Game" are:

Mega Maze
Prepare to be aMAZED! 164 mazes await you, loaded with obstacles certain to test you skill and challenge your brain power in this unique game of strategy and mind bending fun. Your mission is to maneuver a ball to it's destination, avoiding laser pulses, spark generators, mine fields and pits of doom that devour your ball, just to name a few of the obstacles that you will meet along the way. Earn the highly coveted rank of Mazemaster. But be aware that this game is highly addictive and will provide you hours upon hours of puzzling, problem solving maze mania. Proceed at your own risk!

Pac Panic
Much more than the return of the ghost-chompin' legend, PAC-PANIC is a think-fast challenge and a puzzle game, too. As the blocks fall, you gotta think quick and move quicker, to line 'em up and make 'em vanish.

Tetris
Tetris... a classic game in a class of its own. Originally conceived by Alexey Pazhitnov and designed by Vadim Gerasimov of the former USSR, Tetris is recognised all over the world for its elegant simplicity and challenging game play. Tetris CD-i is the ultimate Tetris experience. Spectacular video nature scenes and an original CD score by Jim Andron, complement classic Tetris game play and elevate this phenomenon to new heights. In CD-i, the classic becomes a legend. You'll find Tetris CD-i irresistibly addicting as you try to rotate and flip moving pieces to fit into a solid line at the bottom of the playing field. Remove ten lines and you move on to the next level! Discover what game players all over the world have learned... This is one addiction you can't live without.

Big Bang Show
Big Bang Show is an exciting and challenging game of skills featuring Albertus the mad scientist and his latest discovery, Sparkie, a bouncing ball of energy. For 1 to 2 players, Big Bang Show is a 2-module game package: - The "main module" is an arcade action game, with 100 screens and a rising level of challenge; - The "question module" is the Time Quizz, comprising 1000 questions on the historical periods the player travels through: - Big Bang - Prehistory - Middle age - 20th century - Future. Only when the player collects the right items, avoids the traps and answers Albertus' questions, can he hyper-space jump into another period. This requires reflexes, speed, knowledge and memory. More than just a game, the host Albertus adds warmth, humour and personality, presenting realistic adventure for the participants to experience.

Whack a Bubble
Get set for over 100 levels of sheer gaming pleasure and brainteasing fun! Beat the clock or your friends. This action/puzzle calls for skill, quick thinking and a couple of secret special moves.

Lemmings
Lemmings is another classic game for CD-i. It's an intriguing +100 level game in which you help hordes of mindless but loveable creatures, known as lemmings to escape hostile worlds.

Dimo's Quest
So you call yourself a real game freak, do you? Go ahead then, sharpen up those steel nerves, fine-tune your incredible reflexes and get to show just how cool you really are. For in this heroic game you will face countless challenes... Become Dimo and find your way through 51 levels of full action and adventure!

Merlin's Apprentice
Leap into a magical fully animated world of medieval sorcery, where you must solve puzzles at every turn - mastering secret codes, capturing elusive enchantments, conjuring spells and matching wits with demons in your quest to find Merlin and win his trust. Thirty mind-boggling puzzles await you, with eight types of tricky sorcerer's challenges, three daring levels of difficulty and countless variations. Solve a puzzle and the tale builds with dazzling animation, plunging you deeper into Merlin's marvellous world. Your quest is about to begin. Be brave. Be shrewd. Be worthy.

Labyrinth of Crete
Being developed during the same period as Merlin's Apprentice, Labyrinth was more of an updated version using enhancements of the digital video cartridge. The theme was changed, and a few additional concepts were added, but merely this is the same game. It was finished in 1995 and saw the light of day on CD-ROM first. Actually, this title was first developed on the cd-i platform, but due to hectic problems at Funhouse caused by the departure of Cliff Johnson (to Activision), somehow the project got shelved for a while. In 1997, after re-organizations of the whole Philips Media structure, this title was released eventually.

Interactive Dreams thanks everyone from the CD-i Community to keep CD-i alive!

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Dutch CD-i Wiki Update

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The dutch Wikipedia entry for CD-i has always been very small and without any knowledge about the system and I'm glad to see some action in the CD-i entry today. Ofcourse this is all in dutch but the english part of the CD-i Wiki page was already featured pretty large. I hope this will trigger more people to add valuable information to the wikipedia page of CD-i! The dutch entry now features parts about the history of CD-i, the Nintendo license and ofcourse about the games and Internet add-ons. Below you'll find the full dutch text in case of it rapidly change by other wikipedia enthusiasts ;)

Geschiedenis

In 1985 startte de gesprekken tussen Philips, Sony en Matsushita voor het oprichten van een gezamenlijk multimedia platform wat een concurrent zou worden van de ook in deze tijd opkomende CD-ROM standaard. In 1986 werd de standaard CD-i grotendeels door Philips vastgelegd in het zogeheten "Green Book", op dezelfde wijze als hoe de audio CD standaard is vastgelegd in het "Red Book". Matsushita en later Sony waren het echter niet eens met Philips en stapten beiden uit het CD-i project. Het platform was toen reeds gelanceerd in 1991. Van de betrokkenheid van Sony en Matsushita in het CD-i project zijn nog tekenen zichtbaar als het door Sony geproduceerde Jigsaw spel en de draagbare CD-i speler van Sony genaamd "Intelligent Discman". Verhalen doen ook de rondte over prototypes van CD-i spelers van Pioneer maar tot dusver zijn hier geen bewijzen van.

CD-i spelers

Philips heeft diverse soorten CD-i spelers op de markt gebracht. Als eerste consumentenmodel is de CD-i 205 gelanceerd. Dit type is in Amerika uitgekomen onder de naam CD-i 910. Het bekendst zijn de CD-i 210 en CD-i 220. Later zijn ook draagbare modellen gekomen van Philips (CD-i 350, 360 en 370) en zijn CD-i spelers geintegreerd in televisie en stereo sets van Philips. Het laatste CD-i model van Philips is de CD-i 740. Ook andere bedrijven hebben CD-i spelers op de markt gebracht, waaronder Grundig, LG, Kyocera, Bang & Olufsen, Goldstar en Sony.

De eerste professionele CD-i bedoeld voor ontwikkelaars werd door Philips ontwikkeld in samenwerking met Kyocera. Dit was de CD-i 180/181/182, een CD-i speler bestaande uit drie componenten. In het professionele vlak is Philips later verder gegaan met de CD-i 6xx serie, welke meerdere types voortbracht bedoeld voor het professionele segment.

Edutainment

Op consumentengebied werd de CD-i vooral ingezet als tegenhanger van CD-ROM, wat betekende dat edutainment hoog in het vaandel stond. CD-i werd niet neergezet als videoconsole en bij de launch in 1991 waren slechts simpele spelletjes beschikbaar als Vier-op-een-rij (Connect Four) en Zeeslag (Battleship). Al gauw kwam hier verandering in door de toetreding van het Eindhovense SPC Vision welke arcade achtige spellen voor CD-i maakte die voorheen onmogelijk leken op CD-i: Hun spellen zoals Alien Gate (schieten) en The Apprentice (platform) zijn nu nog de bekendste en populairste spellen op CD-i.

Natuurlijk waren er ook populaire spellen op CD-i, zoals een exclusieve console versie van The 7th Guest, conversies van het populaire Dragon's Lair en ook heuse interactive films zoals het onbekende "De Zaak van Sam" waar nog bekende nederlanders als Isa Hoes in meespelen. Philips kwam ook met eigen materiaal, zoals het originele Burn:Cycle en Chaos Control, welke zelf geconverteerd werden naar de Sega Saturn en de PC CD-ROM.

Nintendo karakters op CD-i

Philips had een rijke geschiedenis in het videospellen verleden met oa de Magnavox (Odyssey) en de betrokkenheid bij de MSX standaard. Dit heeft geresulteerd in veel patenten waar Philips veel aan verdiend heeft. Tijdens gesprekken met Nintendo om een CD-ROM add-on te produceren voor de opkomende Super Nintendo, is Nintendo uiteindelijk afgehaakt maar kon het niet onderuit licentie-gelden waardoor Philips de mogelijkheid benutte om Nintendo karakters te gebruiken in CD-i spellen. Zo werd producent Animation Magic aangewezen om officiele Zelda spellen voor CD-i te maken: "Link: De Gezichten van het Kwaad" en "Zelda: De Toverstaf van Gamelon". Deze spellen zijn geheel vertaald in het Nederlands. Deze spellen waren echter ontworpen als platform avontuurspellen, iets wat de trouwe Zelda fans nog altijd niet hebben kunnen waarderen. Samen met de simpele tekenstijl maakte deze spellen niet populair. In 1995 probeerde producent Viridis het nog eens met Zelda's Adventure, wat een traditioneel Zelda perspectief kende. Dit is nu een van de hoogst gewaardeerde spellen op de tweedehandsmarkt waar gemiddeld 100 dollar voor betaald wordt.

Ook Super Mario zelf speelde de hoofrol in het CD-i spel Hotel Mario. Dit was het enige spel met Nintendo karakters geproduceerd door Philips zelf. Een van de bekendste prototype spellen op CD-i blijft Super Mario's Wacky Worlds, een officiele kloon van Super Mario World op CD-i. Dit spel is nooit officieel uitgebracht door interne problemen maar op internet is het een geliefd onderwerp.

CD-i als games console

Ondanks de aanwezigheid van Nintendo karakters in CD-i spellen heeft CD-i nooit de populariteit gekend waar Philips op hoopte. Rond 1994 zag Philips duidelijk in dat de spellen het beste verkochtte en dat er enkel verlies werd gemaakt op referentie-titels en cursus-titels op CD-i. Philips ontwikkelde de CD-i 4xx serie, goedkopere versies van de CD-i speler en zette CD-i opnieuw in de markt maar nu meer gefocust als video-console. Dit waren ook de hoogtij dagen van de "Full Motion Video" spellen, zoals Mad Dog McCree. Hiermee was CD-i nog enigzins populair en de CD-i versies werden ook gezien als de beste van alle console versies.

Internet en Video On Demand

In 1995 was Philips nog volop bezig met ontwikkelingen aan de CD-i standaard en werden vele experimenten uitgevoerd met Video On Demand (VOD) en Internet. VOD is niet verder gekomen dan deze experimenten maar Philips heeft wel gezorgd dat je met CD-i kon internetten vanuit je huiskamer met het "CD-i Internet Pakket" wat in 1996 uitgebracht werd voor 200 gulden. Hierin zat een 14K4 modem wat helaas toen al niet snel was. De traagheid de hoge prijs hebben er waarschijnlijk voor gezorgd dat ook dit niet succesvol bleek.

Het einde van CD-i

In 1996 besloot Philips definitief te stoppen met CD-i. Plannen voor de "CD-i 2" waren zeker aanwezig en Argonaut was zelfs aangewezen voor het ontwerpen van chip-sets voor de opvolger van CD-i. Echter, de toenmalige president Boonstra zag geen heil meer in het media gebied voor Philips en zo heeft Philips alles verkocht, inclusief de media dochter Polygram. Het Nederlandse stukje van Philips Media werd verkocht aan Softmachine, wat als laatste product "The Lost Ride" op CD-i uitbracht. Het Franse deel werd verkocht aan Infogrames samen met het hele CD-i archief. Het allerlaatse CD-i spel is dan ook van de hand van Infogrames: Solar Crusade in 1999.

CD-i is dus nooit een succes geworden, mede door de hoge prijs (CD-i kostte tijdens de launch in Nederland 1300 gulden (CD-i 220) of 1000 gulden (CD-i 210)), de slechte software support door de opkomst van o.a de Sony Playstation.

Na het opdoeken van CD-i door Philips groeide er langzaam een community welke CD-i in leven probeert te houden. Zo zijn overgebleven prototype-spellen in 2002 door het amerikaanse Oldergames alsnog uitgebracht en is CD-i 1 van de platforms waar retro-programmeur Charles Doty zijn spel "Frog Feast" voor heeft ontwikkeld in 2007 als eerste homebrew project.

CD-i in de 21e eeuw

In 2005 is ook de eerste werkende CD-i Emulator ontwikkeld. Deze emuleert enkel de hardware waardoor de originele BIOS nog wel nodig is van de CD-i speler (dit in verband met copyright). In de komende jaren zal hier nog flink aan gesleuteld worden en dus is CD-i nog lang niet afgeschreven bij het publiek.

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Network and programming possibilities with a CD-i 604 (professional)

>> Monday, October 29, 2007

The Philips CD-i 6xx series marked the professional side of CD-i. The CD-i 601 was the first stand-alone CD-i player for professional applications. Available with a floppy disk drive as CDI 602. The system could not be extended with a Digital Video cartridge. Next was the CD-i 602, identical to the CDI 601, but equiped with a floppy disk drive for additional storage capabilities. The system could also not be extended with a Digital Video cartridge. In essence, the CDI 604 is a CDI 602 with a CD-drawer, but this player was based upon a different PCB, and as such offers upgradability for Digital Video by a modified 9141 cartridge (removed from cartridge housing and with a different ROM). Finally, the CD-i 605 was designed for CD-i authoring puposes, this player featured 5 MB of RAM, SCSI, ethernet and parallel ports and additional diagnostic tools in the player shell. There were two versions, the first of which was not capable of Digital Video upgradability, the second one could be upgraded like the CDI 604. Now, a few CD-i members share some memories about the possibilities of the CD-i 604.



"You should be able to use the network kit by dialing into a PC and using internet connection sharing. I know some people have done this with the Dreamcast, but personally I never got it to work. The original CD-i internet software dialed to a modembank connected to a SGI indy system. CD-i 604, It won't run MediaMogul. It's just a CD-i player in a different color. Or did this one have network and scsi connectors? You should be able to compile programs and run them from the floppy drive though."

To make your own CD-i title (like with Mogulike), you need to know "C", but you can also program at a lower level directly in assembly (with the Green Book as help) or at a higher level with MediaMogul (this uses scripting, I think there's also a manual for that on blackmoonproject). But don't think it's easy to just develop a CD-i program (and you'd better get a CDI605T, the floppy disk space is going to run out pretty fast).



"Trying the CD-i 604, MediaMogul (2.2.1) does the same as on my 220. It runs, shows the main menu and the mousepointer stays an hourglass, I can click on everything but it doesn't work at all. Although, it takes a long time before MediaMogul has loaded. You will see a hourglass for a very long time and then the screen goes black for a short moment, and then you 're in MediaMogul. (2.2.1) In the main menu do not click on 'CDRTOS' unless you have a CDi keyboard attached to your player. Otherwise the only alternative that's left is restart te player."

The 604 is not an authoring system, take a look at ICDIA. Only the CDI180 (and then only with the third module installed), the 605T and the I2M card are authoring systems AFAIK. I do have a second CDI605T authoring player, but IIRC the cd-mechanism is was not working properly. You can use the networking connection on the 604 via RTOS and there are probably disks that use this.

The video and network cartridge are two seperate cartidges. There is also some sort of video overlay cartridge, but I've never had one of those in my hands so I'm only speculating that it would do video overlay....

CDi media storage of the 604 was typical, or , "How to make something 4000 times more expensive than a normal CD tray" 1.) press two contact points and pull out CD holder. 2.) mount CD, then insert into clear case. The CD mechanism is strange. Push the cart into the unit,then pull it out. The Cd remains in the unit, and the case is now empty. Great huh? Unless the Cd is in jammed, or you try to put two CDs in by mistake ... This was later changed. The last model had a Tray drive and supported the Zip 100. There were two versions of the 605: CDI605/00 and CDI605/20 (the latest one has a tray instead of a caddy loader, and it indicated CDI605T (for Tray). Only this later model can be fitted with a (special - not the consumer model) Digital Video cartridge.

"How to connect CD-i to PC through LAN and what software to use?" Thinnet bnc, you can connect CD-i to PC via telnet/ftp and vice-versa. "what kind of diskdrive is in the CD-i (DD or HD?)" Both "are floppy's PC formatted or else?" OS-9 formatted, but there are programs to read pc-formatted disks. "what is the function of the floppydrive, what to put on it, load from it, save to it? and how to?" you can just use it like the hard drive. Read the OS-9 command summary from icdia.

For using OS-9 you don't need a keyboard, but you'll need to attach a serial terminal to the CD-i player. Simply connect the CD-i to a PC and you can use CD-RTOS from there or send the output to the TV-screen.

Mastering OS-9 is not too hard; it's similar to unix with different names for the commands. All the commands with unix/dos equivalents are listed too in the ICDIA iirc. Only thing to remember is that you have to set the execution directory seperatly.



The 604/605 has a menu screen that acts like a basic interface. External controls can be used along with add-ons, like the MPEG card.One cardslot on the 604 is for digital video cartridge, the other is for an expansion card (scsi/par/eth or other (overlay?)). I think I tried using the scsi/par/eth card from a 605 in a 602 or 601 but it didn't work IIRC. So maybe this card will only work with the 605. There is an ethernet port available. However this is not the standard ethernet board nor the other expansion board I remember. The name and layout (looks like it mirrors the DVC in some ways?) suggest to me that it's something for Video-on-demand:

Philips published a dutch article explaining it: "enkele experimenten worden gedaan met het IMAGENET systeem en ze gaat in op de architectuur van het systeem en de voordelen van cd-i als netwerkterminal en ontwikkelomgeving. De presentatie zal bestaan uit een algemene inleiding over het verschil tussen VOD (Video on Demand) en NVOD (Near VOD) en de benadering van Philips Research in het IMAGENET-project."

"Een stap verder gaan de video-on-demand toepassingen die momenteel in ontwikkeling zijn. Zo ontwikkelt Philips het Imagenet-systeem waarmee het mogelijk wordt om multimediale informatie (inclusief complete films) via een netwerk (vanaf ±1,5 Mbit/s) aan te bieden. De apparatuur bij de gebruiker bestaat uit een cd-i-speler met een netwerkinterface. Hiermee kan de gebruiker een film op ieder gewenst tijdstip starten en stoppen of bijvoorbeeld terugspoelen. Een mogelijk gebruikersscherm om films te kiezen. Imagenet is in de praktijk getest op het Roskilde-popfestival. Hierbij werd het gebruikt voor interactieve informatieterminals waarmee achtergrondinformatie kon worden opgezocht over de optredens en de bands in de vorm van foto’s, tekst en video. Ontwerp en implementatie van een TCP/IP interface voor een CD-i player aan een Video On Demand Server met verschillende hardware componenten aan een CD-i player."


The two boards where special made by Imagenet. The top board with T1C1 has a special connector. It's for a T1 telephone line. The C1 stands for the image stream from the server. If on the top board no MPEG decoder is present then the bottom board is a special developed MPEG board. These boards where developed to connect CD-i players to a server. From the server they could get Video on Demand (VOD) or in this case CDi content on demand. This setup was tested on the auto-RAI of 1995. Unfortunately there where instability problems with the TCP/IP connection and the CD-i players had to be reset several times a day. The problem was not solved. Also the CDi-content was poor.

Imagenet was a very important group within Philips. They developed new extentions on present hardware to gain more market. According to my contactperson it was very difficult to make software for the CDi player due to a difficult OS and a really bad authoring package. This made it difficult for external developers to make software quick and easy. Also the choice of the processor was wrong. It was too slow."



From Emulator and Emulation, Philips IMS TSA Technica Note number 6: "The CDI 180/181 player is the original CDI player and can be connected to the optional 182 expansion module which contains 1 MB of expansion (system) memory, SCSI controller, serial port, parallel port, optional thin-wire ethernet interface and two floppy disk drives. The Philips CDI 605 player, which is very similar to the consumer players (CDI 910 and CDI 205) contains a floppy disk drive, two serial ports, 4 MB of expansion memory, SCSI controller, parallel port and a thinwire ethernet interface."

In short: you can develop without the 182, but it's not very easy; I think the basic 180/181 unit does not even have a serial port! The 605 is really a better platform, even without the extension board.



"However, you no longer need a "real" player for development; it's actually easier with CD-i Emulator (shameless plug here). You have debugging facilities that CD-i developers could only dream about in the old days: single-stepping the hardware, full system call trace and memory access trace, memory watch points, arbitrary memory inspection, ... This is all a bit undocumented right now, but that will change, and there is a built-in usage function of the emulator debugger.

Even the time-limited version is useful; it's not crippled in any way except for the time limit and the NVRAM saving, and for development three minutes of running time usually plenty, especially when you have things like level select, etc. I have done very little compatibility testing outside the time limit..."
Read more about CD-i Emulator here.

Thanks to: Cougarcdi, djkoelkast, erronous, cdifan

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Rastersoft leaks info about Frog Feast 3D and next game announcement

>> Sunday, October 28, 2007

While the Atari Jaguar gets a new upcoming release of Frog Feast on October 31, the news that Rastersoft brings to the Frog Feast Release Party is also of interest to the CD-i community as well. Additionally, Charles Doty (The programmer of Frog Feast) leaked some info about a possible 3D version of Frog Feast at the Atari Forum. Charles: "I already have the resources for a 3D Frog Feast. [Below] is a SpriteForge rendering of a 3ds model [of the frog]. I also have the flies and more. The only thing I have for Frog Feast 3D are the 3D models. I haven't started any programming or design on it." Counting the projects of Rastersoft, this must be the 4th game that he is working on. Charles: "The others are only at the design stage." So, what about the new multi-platform new Rastersoft project?

Unfortunately for us, the Jaguar community is much more vivid than the CD-i scene. "Come and join us for the 'official' Frog Feast release event. It will be held on the 30th of October at 11 pm CST (GMT-6); and wiil take place on the #Jaguar_Sector_II channel on irc.sorcery.net. We will be giving away a couple of Frog Feast t-shirts and mouse pads during the event."

Now for the interesting part: "In addition to the release of Frog Feast, we are expecting to have a very early preview of our next game available for download. This will be an early glimpse of the next product we plan to release. We are also looking for feedback on the game to determine the exact direction to take. Here's your chance to influence the next game."

Chaos89 also announced the start of the Rastersoft Store: "Charles is working on his Rastersoft store. It will be ready for the launch on October 31. He will post the link soon. All purchases will be done in his(Charles) store. The money will be sent to Charles. He will get his share of da money, and Charles will send me my share of da money(including manufacture costs). I will do all of the shipping. Oldergames ain't get'n from us!" So it seems Oldergames is permanently & completely out of Rastersoft's business. I'm not sure how this will go for other versions, but we'll hear about that eventually.

Meanwhile, read everything about Frog Feast CD-i here:
The Review,
The Interview,
The Release Info,
Info about a possible sequel,
The Source Code.

More info when it develops on October 31!

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Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon - Surprisingly adequate side-scrolling adventure

>> Saturday, October 27, 2007

OK, first things first -- it's a side-scroller, not a top-view game. Deal with it. If you're still with me, you're not such a Zelda purist that you prefer to see Zelda as the sky-cam view of a poofy round dress and a lock of hair. Good. "Zelda: the Wand of Gamelon" is a side-scroller game, also known as a "platform" game. That means we see the character from a side perspective, as she walks along the ground, walls, tree branches, etc. and jumps over obstacles or enemies. She can also climb ladders or ropes to change levels, and can deliberately fall to move down. It's a simple, familiar system, and that's an advantage in this adventure game. Worth mentioning is the beautiful art by Rob Dunlavey. The options in this game are kept to a minimum, allowing the player to focus on exploration, fighting, and searching.

The game opens with an animated sequence setting up the story: the King, Zelda's father, has travelled to the land of Gamelon to join forces with Duke Onkled against the evil Gannon. A month goes by with no word, so the heroic Link goes after the king... and also disappears. Zelda sets off to find both of them.

The animation is charming and gives the game much more character than the text boxes of the Nintendo versions. Appropriate voice acting helps -- the king's regal, Zelda's innocent but determined, and Link is a complete jerk.



One effect that doesn't work, however, are some zoom-to-close-ups in the animation. The animation is pasted on top of a static background, so the background doesn't move even when the ''camera'' does. The effect is a little disorienting.

The player then gets a map of the land of Gamelon. He or she can move the "triforce" around to select an area of the country to start in. At first, only three will be available, although good play will open up more of the map for exploration.

PROS: Easy to learn, good music and graphics, will keep players interested for a long time.A good place to start (aside from the handy "help" feature, in which Zelda tells you how to move her around) is "Sakado". The enemies on the street of this town are pretty easy to kill with your sword, and the rubies they yield can be used as money at the local shop. It's the first house in Sakado -- simply stand in front of the door and press button 2. Once inside, you can buy lamp oil, ropes, and bombs, for 5, 10, and 20 rubies each.

Hit the shopkeeper with your sword for more info -- hitting friendly characters brings up an animation in which they talk to you, give you information, etc. It's another welcome improvement over the text of the Nintendo versions. As with the other games, you learn more about the story with each person you meet, and it's not as straightforward as you'd initially think (there's a particularly nice twist in the ending!).



To use items bought or found in your quest, crouch and hit button 2 for a display of your posessions. Select the item you want to use. Next time you hit button 2, that item will be used -- meaning you'll throw a bomb, hoist a rope, drop the bread, etc.

There are two ways to get out of a land in Zelda. You can hit the "triforce" parchment with your sword -- there are two in each land, one where you started and one hidden somewhere within, usually after you've found a major treasure or defeated a major villain.

You can also bail out when you die -- Zelda has a series of hearts at the upper left representing her strength (the old "hit points" idea from Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games). She starts with 3 hearts, but can gain more as the game goes on. A minor hit will cost half a heart, while some monsters can wipe them all out in one shot. When all the hearts are gone, you get the option to ''continue'' from a nearby point in this land... but you only get three chances in any one land before you're sent back to the map of Gamelon.





Fighting in Zelda is hampered only by somewhat sluggish response from the controls -- the scrolling and movement can be a little choppy, probably because of the CPU firepower required to move the colorful and detailed backgrounds. Fortunately, discovery of a "power sword" early in the game gives Zelda a decided advantage.

Most of the gameplay involves meeting people and finding stuff that'll help you in your quest. For example, one woman wants an Arpagos Egg... find it later in the game, go back and talk to her, and she'll trade you for some object that'll help you open up new areas of the map or fight the nastier bad guys.

CONS: Slightly choppy animation and scrolling, sluggish control. A nice feature of the Zelda games is its non-linearity. You don't just automatically go from a "level one" to a "level two". Instead, you can go anywhere you like in the available regions, any number of times. Sometimes you'll have to, because you're allowed into regions even if you don't yet have all the tools you'll need to prevail in them. Sometimes you'll even find you're absolutely stuck, at which point you need to backtrack through regions you've already traversed to see if you missed something. Here's a tip that would have saved me two hours of hacking and slaying: Sakado has a back street!

The game takes a LONG time to play. Fortunately, there's a save feature which allows up to three players (or three versions of the same quest) to be saved in the CD-i's memory.





While the game isn't gory (bad guys generally just go "poof" and disappear), there are some moments here and there where the animation is thankfully blunt about the violence. One animated evil character, when hit, says "you've killed me!" as he dissolves. Cut to Zelda, who replies "good"!.

In general, the game is a strong mix of arcade hack & slay with just enough searching, second-guessing, experimenting and communicating to keep it interesting. Despite what many people think, this Zelda is a keeper.

Thanks to Chris Adamson, Quebec Games and Rob

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The Best of CD-i 2007: *Platform Games*

>> Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Last week we started with the Best CD-i Games Awards @ Interactive Dreams kicking off with *Sports Games*! The poll was a close call but in the end 'International Tennis Open' won with 50% of the votes. My own vote? Ofcourse I voted but my favourite went to Striker Pro, which is in my view highly underrated but highly playable. Anyway, the audience has spoken and Tennis will continue to the final round. This week again we welcome you to vote for the best cd-i title. You can vote for 1 or more favourites! Every week we'll spawn a new poll in the left column of this blog: Look at the left column to find the current poll! Be quick as the vote limit is only seven days! After the closing day we'll post the results in each catagory post and in the end of December 2007 we'll be back with the final decision to mark "The Best CD-i Game of 2007". I hope you'll all have fun and enjoy CD-i as much as we do! Read on for this weeks nominees:

Starting Date: October 24 End Date: October 31

This week we'll continue with all platform games released on CD-i. The nominees for "Best Game" are:

The Apprentice
As Marvin, the apprentice of the great wizard Gandorf S. Wandburner III, you've not been having a good week. You must undertake all the dangerous tasks that the wizard cannot be bothered to do himself. This platform game is the story of a week in your life.

Lucky Luke: The Video Game
Together with Lucky Luke, you can have lots of fun chasing the Dalton Brothers! Developed by the same team as from The Apprentice, Lucky Luke features rich graphics and lots of action on screen. There are 24 levels of action including walking, horse-riding and mine-train chasing scenes.

Christmas Crisis
"Do you qualify to help Santa work his way through 24 levels, recover the lost reindeer, find the dangerous presents and defeat the evil toys? Surviving is not enough!" Classic platform action with loads of enemies and provided with Digital Video scenes featuring beautiful city fly-overs.

Christmas Country
Finally, a platform game for CD-i with lots of enemies. Play and explore the exciting, long lasting, fun flled, 16 levels of Christmas Country. From the same team as Christmas Crisis, here comes another platform game. This time, it's highly influenced by the classic Super Mario games, which shows in the fluid gameplay and the great level design.

Hotel Mario
Bowser has taken over the Mushroom Kingdom, -He's captured Princess Toadstool and is holding her in one of the seven hotels in the kingdom. Only you and Mario can free the Princess but you'll have to battle Koopas, Parabombs, Banzai Bill, Spiney, Monty, Pat the Bat and other nefarious nasties!

Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
When King Harkinian vanishes on a mission to save Gamelon, Link takes off to rescue him. But soon Link is also missing, and Zelda must free them both from their evil captors. This action adventure arcade-style game features 70 playfields, including palaces, forests, swamps, and a mysterious fairy pool. An awesome array of 90 amazing characters will talk to you in full animation. Confront sword-wielding Stalfos, floating Ghini, dreaded Dodongos, pinching Gohma and much more. You'll have a blast smashing your enemies into utter disgrace!

Link: The Faces of Evil
Ganon and his minions have seized the peaceful island of Koridai and imprisoned Zelda. Only Link can defeat Ganon. To do so, he must conquer the hideous Faces of Evil... Each more diabolic than the one before. Against all odds, Zelda must be freed and Koridai returned to harmony. This fast-paced arcade-style game features 70 playfields. The friendliest and the meanest of 90 astonishing characters will talk to you in full animation. Encouter the spear-throwing Molblin, rock spitting Octoroks and much more.

Dark Castle
Dark Castle looms over the landscape like a plague. It's evil ruler, the Black Knight, must be defeated. And you're the only candidate to od it... First you'll have to make your way throught chambers of nasty hazards. The castle guards are hunting you, plague-infested rats and bats attack, the Dragon breathes scorching fire, Torturer wants to get you, and the Wizard may or may not aid you with a spell. Award-winning Darck Castel is a fast-paced action game with full digital sound, amazing rich resolution and well-crafted animation. As the hero, you will bound throughout the castle, surmounting hair-raising obstacles, eluding death and ultimately becoming the victor!

Pyramid Adventures
It's summer vacation for Dash Daniels... In this integrated and innovative approach to teaching children about nutrition, Dash and his cat Mozart visit Egypt with Dash's Aunt Olivia, an archaeologist. Together they discover the Lost Pyramid, whose treasures hold the secrets of a long and happy life. But then, Olivia is captured by the wicked ANTU! And Dash - with your help - must journey through more than 150 Lost Pyramid rooms to find her. Along the way, You'll learn about the NCI 5-a-day guidelines for daily fruit and vegetable consumption. And you'll learn to make the low-fat, high-fiber food choices that will lead you to Aunt Olivia's rescue. So come join the adventure and learn about nutrition with Dash in a way that is so entertaining you'll hardly know you're learning!

Flashback
2142 AD and Special Agent Conrad Hart is in trouble. Having discovered Earth is being invaded by Aliens, he is captured and his memory erased. Left for dead on a distant planet, as Conrad you must survive and make it back to Earth to stop the invading forces.

Interactive Dreams thanks everyone from the CD-i Community to keep CD-i alive!

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CD-i Fables about Widescreen and Surround Sound

>> Monday, October 22, 2007

DOn a demo disc there's a demo of Chaos Control with Dolby surround on CD-i and also The 7th Guest features Dolby Surround. But is it real Dolby surround, or false (surround in stereo)? The 7th Guest on CD-i is displayed in widescreen, as are more CD-i games. There are several demonstration discs with widescreen and there are players with a widescreen option built into ROM. Although the CD-i could not output 480p seeing as it lacks the necessary outputs (Composite/SVideo cant transfer 480p video). But does CD-i support the 16:9 signal or does it just stretch the 4:3 format?

I have asked myself the same question, because on 'modest' cd-i players the only audio output is analogue in two channels. But some also have digital output, but I thought this was only for audio cd's. Terratron explains the CD-i Surround Sound issue: "All dolby surround is based on stereo or 2 channel input only if you got an amplifier supporting Dolby Surround you will able to hear all input in a false simulated (by the amp) surround sound. I will show you how it works: Dolby surround is based upon the (semi)quadrophonic technique. The left and right channel are divided with each other so the back speaker will only give a sound that's harder on one of the channels. So in my opinion all the games if played on a Dolby Amp will (if they have some kind of stereo effects) give the full Dolby Surround sound.

Maybe the CD-i titles that have the Dolby Surround logo on it were specially designed for use with a Dolby system so the effects are more realistic. Example of a special Dolby Surround effect: when you quickly switch a sound from the left to the right and back repeating you get the idea the sound is on top of you!"

Also ICDIA has some info about this: "Dolby Surround is an analogue encoding technique that allows for the storage or center and rear audio in addition to the normal left and right stereo signal. Every stereo audio carrier that provides for a high frequency audio reproduction can use Dolby Surround encoding. In CD-i, Dolby Surround can only be used for MPEG audio, since ADPCM does not offer the dynamic range that is necesary for the encoding of the additional channels. Most movies use Dolby Surround, as do several games such as Seventh Guest. Please be aware of the fact that Dolby Surround is an analogue matrixing technique, which does not add extra discrete audio channels. Dolby Digital and MPEG Multichannel are audio encoding techniques that allow for discrete surround channels to be encoded individually. Ususally, this includes two front signals, two back signals, a center signal and a low-frequency subwoofer signal. Both techniques are widely used in DVD-Video. CD-i does not support either of them."

Cdifan explains the CD-i widescreen issue: "On CD-i, "wide screen" means "able to drive the 16x9 signal on the SCART (euroconnector) output". This signal causes widescreen TV's to switch into 16x9 display mode, stretching the incoming 4x3 signal horizontally so that it fills the entire screen. The actual video signal never changes, it remains 768x560 interlaced (PAL); due to restrictions on color resolution and vertical filtering this is really just 384x280 with some resolution enhancement in horizontal and vertical direction. It's no better then plugging a CD-i into a modern TV and using the stretch feature to stretch "full screen". But note that the SCART connector provides (analog) component video so it's a better quality then just composite video!"

Thanks to Terratron and cdifan

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The Apprentice CD-i "hot coffee" cheat

>> Saturday, October 20, 2007

On the surface a cute platformer with one too many anime themes, The Apprentice reveals itself to be slightly more than we ever imagined with a host of Game Over manoeuvres from Fatality to Animality and even the controversial Nudality scenes! It's doubtful this would have ever made it passed Philips Media censors if they had prior knowledge but it slipped through undetected and the game was stamped "suitable for all ages" by the voluntary age rating body ELSPA. Here's a little sneak preview of what's on offer...

Truly the defining game for CD-i is found in this cute title from The Vision Factory also known as SPC Vision. The game is brilliantly colourful and has some amazingly detailed levels from the backgrounds to the characters "The Apprentice" shows a high production value throughout. Taking advantage of an upgraded CD-i player with Digital Video Capabilities, the expanded memory provided by the hardware offered extra sound effects to an already very solid game. For some reason the USA version of The Apprentice plays a different soundtrack compared to the European release for the introductory scene.





Unfortunately a sequel to The Apprentice was never developed, however the idea was considered as can be seen from these Artists Impressions courtesy of an ex-employee of SPC Vision who goes by the nickname cdidev and his CD-i Developer home page provides even more tantalising information from this talented yet underrated company. Through this website cdidev also reveals some interesting cheat codes for The Apprentice including Level Select and codes to activate special Game Over endings including one Fatality, two Animality and a selection of five Nudality animations (See "Fatality, Animality and that Nudality" below). A Space Invaders game can also be activated that is in fact an early prototype of the Invaders game featured in Golden Oldies 1 released three years after The Apprentice.





Here are the codes to activate The Apprentice cheats: All codes must be entered by holding down button 2 and moving the CD-i controller as indicated.
Enter the following codes in the Title Screen to activate the following:
Level select: up up down down right right left left
Space Invaders: up right down left up down left right

To watch the Game Over animations, enter the following sequence:
Fatality: down right left left
Animality 1: up right down left
Animality 2: up left down right
Nudality 1: right right down left up up
Nudality 2: left left down right up up
Nudality 3: right left right left down up
Nudality 4: left right left right down up
Nudality 5: down down right up up left

These must be entered before Marvin stops walking, otherwise the normal panda animation starts.





Well past the commerical demise of Philips CD-i, Cheat Codes for The Apprentice have only recently been released on April 24, 2005 by an anonymous developer from SPC Vision that we only know as cdidev. One of these cheat codes opens up a mini game which turns out to be a Space Invaders clone only this time with a typcial SPC Vision twist substituting the alien hordes with cute teddy bears and chicks of the feathered variety! This cute little Space Invaders clone was called "Marvinvaders" by the SPC Vision team and is possibly the cutest classic conversion ever undertaken!



By: Devin

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THQ follows Philips-Nintendo deal *update*

>> Friday, October 19, 2007

Producer and publisher THQ signed a deal with Nintendo where it gets the rights to use the characters like Mario and Zelda in their own games. Including the deal is that the games are to be published on Wii, advertised and traded in western half of the world until October 13, 2009. This deal sounds like the Philips-Nintendo deal as was announced in 1991 although you know Philips never signed a deal to use the Nintendo characters. Let me point back to a quote made by a very close source:

"The deal to do the deal with Nintendo was given to us. It was in essence a gift as a result of other negotiations that Philips and Nintendo were having. Philips was to produce a gaming system for Nintendo that was CD based. There were significant discussions on this and in fact, at one point and announcement that there was joint development. Nintendo changed their mind pure and simple and elected to go another no CD based route."

As with the Zelda CD-i titles, Nintendo always kept the veto right for usage of their IP, and even the CD-i got approved by Nintendo, according to another CD-i developer: "I remember that Nintendo had final approval rights over the product, and they did see and approve all the Zelda games, but I think they thought of CD-i as some little niche product that they could safely ignore."

Thanks to: Aart, Tweakers, and our own sources for the quotes.

UPDATE: A THQ representative has since stated that the filing is a standard Wii developer agreement, suggesting that there is no specific Nintendo character/franchise being licensed.

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The Best of CD-i 2007: *Sports Games*

>> Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The last weeks of 2007 are counting and that means we welcome you to vote for the best cd-i title. You can vote for 1 or more favourites! In the end, all the winners will be collected in a poll to fight for the title "Best CD-i Game 2007". Every genre in cd-i games will be in turn for nominees! Every week we'll spawn a new poll in the left column of this blog: Look at the left column to find the current poll! Be quick as the vote limit is only seven days! When the poll doesn't work or you're just too late don't hesitate to comment below your personal favourite and we'll add this to the final count. It's time for a little action in CD-i land! After the closing day we'll post the results in each catagory post and in the end of December 2007 we'll be back with the final decision to mark "The Best CD-i Game of 2007". I hope you'll all have fun and enjoy CD-i as much as we do! Read on for this weeks nominees:

Starting Date: October 17 End Date: October 24

This week we'll kick off with all Sports games released on CD-i. The nominees for "Best Game" are:

The Palm Springs Open (Golf)
Play some of the world's famous Palm Springs holes in this program from ABC Sports. You select the club, position a real golfer, and control his swing. Sportscasters provide lively commentary and advice.

Striker Pro (Soccer)
The best CD-i football game ever, challenges you to put your skills to the test. There's 64 teams worldwide waiting to be chosen for a Friendly, World League or World Cup competition. And remember real rules apply!

Ultra CD-i Soccer
The newest fast-action soccer game covering 72 European teams. Play an Instant Action game against the computer or go Head-to-Head with 2-player mode! You can even create your own Custom League with up to 4 teams and play the total competition.

World Cup Golf: Hyatt Beach
This amazingly accurate simulation re-creates the famous Hyatt Beach Golf Course, your backdrop to the World Cup Golf tournament. Play in one of the four alternative championships or practice on the driving range or hole of your choice. To be the best in the world, play the best in the World - World Cup Golf!

International Tennis Open
Experience all of the thrills of International Tournaments live! Embark on a whirlwind tour of the professional circuit, visiting London, Paris and New York. You'll compete with the world's greatest players. In 2 player mode, you can play against a friend or partner of your choice. Now you and your friends can enjoy all the sensations of first class tennis. - So grab your remotes! Full commentaries on your matches. Player's performances are expertly analyzed... Just like on television.

Caesar's World of Boxing
Your sports fantasy comes true in the boxing arcade/strategy game that puts you in the ring at fabulous Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Behind the scenes, the managers, trainers, reporters, highrollers, and groupies who make up your entourage offer advice, encouragement, and temptation. Under the lights, the world is watching as you tape on the gloves, climb through the ropes, and fight for the heavyweight crown. You're always in the middle of the action (surrounded by the colour and glamour of Las Vegas nightlife) in Caesars World of Boxing.

NFL - Hall of Fame Football
The definitive Football sim on CD-i previously available as a triple-pack by Philips POV featuring a trivia quiz and a video-CD including famous touchdown videos. The game itself was a very playable football game and far underrated by everyone who experienced CD-i. Your time for a second chance?

Power Hitter (Baseball)
Pick the line ups, manage the teams, and dig into the batter's box against two of baseball's greatest pitchers: Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersley (MVP and Cy Young Award winner).

Video Speedway (Racing)
Welcome to life in the fast lane, heart-pounding competition in high performance racing machines! You're at the wheel, advancing through ten of the world's toughest professional race tracks. Jump start your career with kart finals, accelerate to Formula 3000 competition, and take the lead with Formula 1 championships! You and up to three other drivers must sharpen your skills, knowledge and equipment to compete against the eight opponents on each track. Consult with a real pit mechanic for advice on fine-tuning your car. Press the pedal to the metal along to the beat of a hard driving rock score. Then watch the instant replay with live video footage of tyre-screeching action and fiery crashes. Finish in the top three and accept your trophy in the winner's circle! Drivers: start your engines!

Interactive Dreams thanks everyone from the CD-i Community to keep CD-i alive!

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Frog Feast *Special Edition* and a fan art contest for Oldergames CD-i's re-releases

The new version of Frog Feast has just been released on Atari Jaguar and publisher Chaos89.com organised a cover art contest to get a fresh cover. Oldergames is also planning a re-release of the other CD-i titles as well including a re-run of Plunderball and Jack Sprite: The Crimson Ghost. RW Bivins explains: "I've been meaning to do another run of our old CD-i titles but with my current schedule (very time heavy) and our preparations for CGE (launching 10 new products) it was pushed back. I have been in discussions with Devin Shockwell over sponsoring a fan art contest for the new editions of our CD-i titles which I plan to put in motion within the next two months."

Interesting was the rise of the Special Edition of Frog Feast, as you can see here: Do you know what this is about? If you think this is about some enhanced features, you're wrong!



It seems like the original additions to the Frog Feast CD-i game are now transferred in all new other versions of Frog Feast. Charles even puts the individual number in the intro screen of the game, which makes every copy unique. Also our inspiration of a credits screen has evolved in the newer Frog Feast games including the just released Atari Jaguar version. Unfortunately I was only able to grab a low-res screenshot for you. It seems like Oldergames is not in charge for the new Frog Feast game: The Chaos89.com logo prides on front and replaced the Oldergames logo. I guess this is because the cartridge release? The Jaguar version also features a different soundtrack, which also sounds very good!



Unfortunately we have to wait until Oldergames has the time to organize the re-run of their CD-i stock and how the homebrew scene will be asked to participate in this. As always with CD-i news, this will take months and months but eventually: It will happen. Some other CD-i projects will take another 'months and months' like Topxicemu's CD-i Repair Guide...

So according to Oldergames we'll see the re-release of some CD-i games which is very good news. Soon people will be able to buy these prototypes again. I won't start about the IP again, but I'll leave you with the comments of Oldergames about this issue: "We are simply making our money back to support the costs of purchasing the prototypes. Consider the expenses. I will not deny that we had made some mistakes in the past, partly due to our inexperience in certain areas of IP law but we are far from a piracy group. How does oldergames get the rights to release these games? IP buyouts, contracts, licensing fee's, cold-calling, reversed write-offs, developing in-house, financing homebrew projects, bulk and advance payments.... you know... the usual."



Meanwhile, read everything about Frog Feast CD-i here:
The Review,
The Interview,
The Release Info,
Info about a possible sequel,
The Source Code.

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The making of Battle Chess CD-i and the Interplay license

>> Sunday, October 14, 2007

You may remember about this deal announced August 1994 between Philips Media and Interplay to develop three games on CD-i, Battle Chess, The Lost Vikings and a third unnamed project. The Black Moon Project came into posession of a prototype for Battle Chess. Following the discovery that the CD-i conversion for Battle Chess actually existed on CD-i in prototype form we at Black Moon have been feverishly writing up an article over the past month gradually piecing together all the resources we could find. This includes some very nice in game screenshots, picture of the prototype disc itself and also some movie clips. We were fortunate enough to find the lead programmer who worked on this project who was willing to submit to a brief interview. Previously available by Black Moon but screaming for a wide audience; Battle Chess was technically very impressive on CD-i! Interactive Dreams collects our favourite bits:



CDi Magazine UK No. 7 : “Interplay to release three games on CDi” - Leading US video games publisher Interplay Productions is to develop and publish three high quality games for CDi. The deal, between Interplay and Philips Media Games, will bring Lost Vikings, Battle Chess and a third (as yet unnamed title) to the CD-i format. They will be distributed by Philips. “This is a terrific endorsement from one of the industry’s finest producers, “ says David McElhatten, president of Philips Media Games. “Interplay’s commitment to publish in the CDi format is yet another significant step in the continuing growth of this publishing platform.”
Lost Vikings, an award-winning puzzle/strategy game is a brain-twisting adventure where players must lead three vikings off a mysterious spaceship back to their homeland in Scandahoovia. The title contains 43 levels and the CDi version will have never seen before Digital Video animation.
Battle Chess brings players of the classic strategy game into the humerous medieval world where the characters jump to life in dramatic 3D animation. The title has 45 minutes of CD quality sound and animated tutorials that teach the player each piece’s movement, history and strategy.



Jeff: "Accent Media was a spinoff of a company I worked for that did computer graphics for television, film, and games. We had done numerous game show television projects and were approached to work on computer game versions of some of those shows. We did several for CD-i including Jeopardy and the Joker’s Wild. From there we did pc and other console game projects until that company closed in 1997 or so. I have continued doing game and television/film projects on my own since then.

Battle Chess was set up to be a quick port to try and get some more mainstream game titles on to CD-i. Interplay at the time was having problems and were not really behind the project. Getting assets and code was pretty difficult and the project was not really well suited to the CD-i machine with its relatively low cpu power. I don’t remember the exact timeframe but we worked on in for quite a few months and got it just about ready to ship. There were some compliance issues and it needed further optimization when the word came down that PIMA (the Santa Monica portion of Philips) was closing down. The project was pretty quickly cancelled.



If I recall correctly, most of the team was on other projects. I did the first pass at getting the game up and running. We had another programmer who worked on the code and a contractor from PIMA helped with low level optimization. There were several artists who worked on asset conversion. But it was a relatively small team. I don’t recall ever seeing the Interplay people. We would get a disc of data (I think it was the 3DO version or perhaps PC). Most of the art assets were converted using our in-house tools.

The main problem was the Battle Chess code had gone through many ports and alterations and was fundamentally based on a public domain chess engine. The code was a mess and thing like memory management (a big issue on CD-i) was handled poorly. The code was not optimized much at all and really played a pretty poor game of chess particularly when you gave it limited time to think. It really just aborted where it was at if you gave it a time limit. A chess engine could have been done well from scratch on the machine, but that engine on that system was tough.



We sent out test masters to have compliance checking and we had a few problems (ui and some hanging crashes). There were issues with the many different configurations of CD-i (always a big issue on the platform). The game wouldn’t play well on one certain model with one memory config for example. Myself and another engineer were set to fly out to the Netherlands to do a optimization pass and fix some last problems on their big simulator or something. I had my passport and ticket and the day of the trip, if I recall right, the project was cancelled. We probably had about two weeks to go before gold master. Not the first or last time that happened for me. But there is always something new to work on. Similar problems happened on the ill-fated Atari-Jaguar, Sega Saturn, 3DO. But that is just part of the business."


So a decade after the first mention of a conversion to CD-i in CD-i Magazine a working prototype of Battle Chess has been found from a specialist collector of the format. Originally purchased from Philips Eindhoven in the Netherlands as a job lot, this prototype was buried under a pile of already commercially released games. It comes on Kodak Writable media typical of the time with version 1.07 and a date of 4/10/96 scribed on the CD which tallies with the time period this game would have been developed. As with previously discovered prototypes from this time like Plunderball, Battle Chess seems to be a fully formed game. Including the Philips CD-i bumper and Interplay logo before entering the title screen where you can even play a tutorial which literally talks you through the basic rules of chess with fully animated pieces. The game offers both 3D animated and a more traditional 2D view which incidently can be changed on the fly mid game if those lengthy animations ever become tiresome. This is a prototype game and as such has some bugs especially in respect to the Artificial Intelligence, it doesn't play a good game of chess. Besides this a few graphical glitches and hangups are all that sets this apart from a fully formed game. It's a base case title and as such doesn't require the extra memory from the Digital Video Cartridge.

Finally, I'll show you some in-game footage, from start to end. In this video, I don't start a game because my 490 happens to crash everytime I do that. Typically on other models including the 370 portable CD-i player it plays without any error. You can see the bugs in the Accent Media bumper but for the rest the game runs flawlessly.



Thanks to Devin, Calypso, Jeff

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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

  © Interactive Dreams Version 5 by The Black Moon Project 2013

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