It was one of the first attempts to combine gaming and multimedia functionality in a single device with Philips' CD-i (Compact Disc Interactive), which was launched in 1991. With the CD-i, you could play interactive games, music CDs, video CDs, and other multimedia content.
Although the CD-i was marketed at launch as a high-end multimedia system capable of competing with other gaming consoles like the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it did not gain mainstream popularity and was eventually discontinued in 1998.
In its day, the CD-i was an innovative gaming console. In addition to having a 16-bit 68000 CPU, it also had a custom graphics chip that could display images in resolutions as high as 768x560 pixels and was powered by the same 16-bit 68000 CPU as the Sega Genesis.
As well as playing audio and video CDs, it also supported CD-i titles. CD-i games were stored on CD-ROMs and were played with a specialized controller with a joystick, trackball, and other input devices, such as a mouse and keyboard.
One of the ultra-cool features of the CD-i was its ability to play interactive multimedia content, like educational titles and encyclopedias. Thus, it was a multi-purpose console, surpassing the "gaming" limits.
Last but not least, it had a built-in digital video cartridge that allowed for seamless playback of full-motion video content.
With only 124 titles released during its lifespan, the CD-i had a relatively small library of games. Almost all of its were either ports of existing games or original games created specifically for the platform.
In 1993, Philips released "The Legend of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon," one of the most notable CD-i games. Gameplay and level design were praised, while level design and controls were criticized. It was a side-scrolling adventure game that followed Princess Zelda as she fought to save her kingdom from the evil wizard Ganon.
The puzzle game "Hotel Mario," released by Philips in 1994, was another popular title. While critics criticized the game's repetitive gameplay and lackluster graphics, it gained cult appeal among CD-i enthusiasts despite its limited graphics and repetitive gameplay.
In an attempt to compete with other gaming consoles of the time, the CD-i attempted to create a multimedia platform. But, despite its unique features, such as its ability to play interactive multimedia content, it never gained widespread popularity.
In spite of being largely forgotten today, it is still an interesting artifact of gaming history. Game enthusiasts and collectors alike will enjoy its small library of games and quirky features.