CD-i logo
"CD for your TV."

The Philips CD-i is a failed system, best remembered for its peculiar connections to far more successful ones.

Here's how the story goes: Nintendo wanted to make a CD-ROM drive for the SNES to face Sega's upcoming Mega-CD. They had a deal with Sony, realized it was a bad deal, and jumped ship to Philips (which kinda makes sense, as Sony and Philips had invented the CD together). Sony was pissed and decided to make their own console with blackjack and hookers, and so the PlayStation was born. Meanwhile, Nintendo got cold feet again, the new deal went nowhere as well, so Philips also decided to do their own thing, and that was the CD-i.

The less-know part of this story, however, is that Philips actually had been working on the CD-i long before the SNES existed. And it was not even supposed to be a console, but an "interactive multimedia CD player" for educational titles, digital encyclopedias, museum tour kiosks, this sort of boring "rich old man" crap (that's why the original controller was more like a TV remote than a gamepad). The brief almost-partnership with Nintendo just convinced Philips to sell it as a game console, and it also explains how they got the rights to produce some Zelda and Mario games. The fact is, the CD-i was simply not designed for games, and this shows on its modest game library.

Similarly to the 3DO, Philips also licensed the CD-i standard to other hardware manufacturers.

The listEdit

Box Art Title Genre Description
The Apprentice CD-i cover The Apprentice Platformer A vertically scrolling platformer with some pretty good graphics.
Burn Cycle CD-i cover Burn:Cycle Adventure A trippy, futuristic point and click adventure with digitized actors and pre-rendered environments. Even if you dislike the game, the production values were pretty high for the time.
Hotel Mario CD-i Cover Hotel Mario Platformer One of the games that came out from the partnership with Nintendo, this one is actually good, despite the flak from Nintendo Fanboys who jump on the hate bandwagon. This one is a simple platformer in the vein of the classic Mario Bros for arcades, your objective is to close all doors on each stage (don't bother asking why) to proceed to the next, while stomping on Goombas and other Mario baddies.
Link Faces of Evil CDI Cover
Zelda Wand of Gamelon CDI Cover
Link: The Faces of Evil
Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
RPG/Action These two games have gotten quite a bad reputation due to the proliferation of YouTube Poop, and very divisive opinions. While the Zelda fanboys absolutely hate them (even though the vast majority of them never ever played the game and were only exposed to them via YTP), most everyone else simply ignore them while a few will defend them to death. As far as the CD-i goes, however, they are actually nice games that can be fun depending on your mileage, a mix of action-RPG platforming in the vein of Zelda II. They have the most hilariously atrocious cutscenes in the history of gaming, but beyond that the only thing that holds them down is the choppy scrolling. Give them a try if you're not prejudiced.
Mutant Rampage CD-i cover Mutant Rampage: BodySlam Beat 'em Up A competent, well-made brawler with hilariously corny cartoon cutscenes and even some mild nudity. One interesting feature is that you can switch you character at predetermined points in the game, something that could've been done more often in games of this genre.


Fourth Generation
Consoles Philips CD-i - Commodore CDTV - Pioneer LaserActive - Sega Mega Drive - SNK Neo Geo - Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Funtech Super A'Can - NEC TurboGrafx-16
Handhelds Bit Corporation Gamate - Nintendo Game Boy - Sega Game Gear - Hartung Game Master - Atari Lynx - Welback Mega Duck - Watara Supervision
Computers Commodore Amiga - Atari ST - BeOS - Fujitsu FM Towns - Sharp X68000
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