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Nice of Philips to give us a horrible console, 'ay Luigi?
Developer: Philips
Release Date: 1990
Competitors: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Sega CD
3DO Interactive Multiplayer
Generation: Fifth generation

The Compact Disc Interactive (CD-i) is an interactive multimedia CD player hardware platform developed by Netherlands-based Philips in 1990.

Even though it was designed for various media applications such as VCDs, educational software, encyclopedias and museum tour titles, it was largely seen as a gaming console thanks to Phillips marketing (which switched its focus to games when they realized they were the only things selling on it). It's also well known for its infamous CD-i Nintendo games mentioned below, Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: the Wand of Gamelon, Zelda's Adventure, and Hotel Mario.


Initially, Nintendo was working with Sony to develop a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, but the project was cancelled due to disputes over ownership of the add-on. Sony decided to turn the prototype they had developed into the PlayStation while Nintendo turned to Philips to develop the add-on.

Negotiations with Philips also fell through but during those negotiations, Philips was given permission to use Nintendo characters in some of their games resulting in the infamous Hotel Mario and the three Zelda CD-i games (nicknamed the "Unholy Triforce").


Main article: Philips CD-i/Models

A number of both professional- and consumer-grade models of the CD-i were made. Because of how extensive the list is, it is placed on a separate page.

Why It Flopped

  1. Like the 3DO, Some models only had one controller port so you needed an Y-splitter in order to plug in a second one. And even those that had two had one at the front and one at the back for some reason..
  2. Slow start at making games. As mentioned above, The CD-i wasn't originally meant to be a console which made gamers wary of the system and the few games that it did have. And when Philips attempted to rebrand it as one, more powerful systems had already arrived such as the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, effectively dooming the CD-i.
  3. Most of its lineup consisted of mediocre and bland educational games, FMV titles, and stuff like can barely be considered games. Some have even been described as being among one of the worst games of all time, especially the aforementioned Nintendo ones.
  4. Many of the controllers for the system were very poorly designed and look more like TV Remotes than video game controllers.
  5. False advertising: The commercial said the price was $300 when it actually was $700, same price as the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer.
  6. Poor advertising that only aired late at night when many gamers and kids were likely to be asleep.
  7. Some models look too much like a modified VHS player rather than a game console, though this would not be too surprising considering these were designed as multimedia players.
  8. The boot-up screen's sound effects are repetitive and can be really painful. Not a good thing when it was partly marketed as a educational system for young children and their generally sensitive ears.
  9. The console refuses to boot if the timekeeper battery that keeps it's internal clock and battery-backed RAM going is dying. While this is normally a minor hassle on most other electronics, Philips made the baffling decision to not only solder said battery onto the motherboard, but also integrate it inside an IC, thus forcing you to grind away the IC housing (it's fortunately unnecessary as the actual chip is already encased) in order to change the battery and risk permanently damage to the motherboard if you aren't very careful.

Redeeming Qualities

AVGN Enraged.jpg "What were they thinking?"
The Shit Scale
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This game/console belongs to the "Very High Category" category of the AVGN's Shit Scale.
  1. There were a few good games released on the system, such as The 7th Guest, Burn:Cycle, Tetris, Pac-Attack, The Apprentice, and Lemmings.
  2. The startup is very good and memorable. The newer version from 1995 is also surprisingly good and possibly even better than the older version.
  3. It had very good sound quality on par with the 3DO and PlayStation.


The CD-i's various controllers were ranked the fifth worst video game controller by IGN editor Craig Harris. PC World ranked it as fourth on their list of "The 10 Worst Video Game Systems of All Time". also listed the game as number four on their list of The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time. In 2008, CNET also listed the system on its list of The worst game console(s) ever. In 2007, GameTrailers ranked the Philips CD-i as the fourth worst console of all time in its Top 10 Worst Console lineup.


  • Some games for the CD-i, especially the Zelda games and Hotel Mario, became the basis of YouTube Poop videos, and inspired tons of other humorous internet memes.
  • A fourth game was also part of the Nintendo/Phillips deal and was to be a sequel to Super Mario World called "Super Mario's Wacky Worlds". It was cancelled prior to release though and only an unfinished prototype exists today.




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