Beginner's buying guide/Best Model/Saving Games

Anything relating to CD-i can be discussed in this forum. From the multiple hardware iterations of the system to the sofware including games, reference, music and Video CDs. Maybe you hold an interest in Philips Media and the many development houses set up to cater for CD-i if so then this is the forum.
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Beginner's buying guide/Best Model/Saving Games

Post by ArfredHitchcacku » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:19 pm

I've recently dug up an old list of CD-I titles that interest me, refined it, researched games, watched videos, and I must say, for a system that's gotten such a bad reputation, it impresses me.

So that's 52 games that I would at least get some enjoyment out of. Sure, maybe less than the Super Nintendo or hell 3DO, but I think I'm ready to buy this thing.

Only problem: There's no shortage of models out there, which immediately hearkened to nightmares I had of the Goldstar 3DO lagging some games, and I'm not sure if some CD-I games would have the same issues with some models.

On top of that, I'm not sure if all models come with the proper means to play FMVs in games, as I've heard some concern on the forums about that, and besides batteries breaking down left and right (which, for whatever reason is more infamous on the CD-I than it is on the Sega Saturn which also had a crappy internal save battery) broken units don't seem that uncommon either.

Again, it really depends on the model, and for someone completely new to the CD-I scene I need advice about what model to seek out and how to troubleshoot issues. And of course it has to play burnt CD-R games flawlessly as well.

Finally, as much as I love the thing and its library of games I'm not exactly ready to spend more than 300 bucks on a system where Mario says "All toastahs, TOAST TOAST" so we'll see how pricing works out if there's a great model that's extremely rare. (Although size shouldn't be an issue, I mean my rooms the size of a closet but I have so much crap that at this point I could care less.) On one, LAST note, I'd think I'd be best with a decent controller and was wondering how much this gamepad and this gamepad cost standalone or how often they came with systems, since most other controllers are just flat out ridiculous for playing your average videogame. But hey, for all I know this baby has full-on analog support for on-rail shooters like Maddog Mccree! OR ARE GUNS ALL THAT RARE!?

Wow, I really didn't think this would turn out to such a long post with so many questions, but the CD-I is nothing simple and really is a serious endevor for those who must indulge in it, so I guess I'm serious about getting into it and need some advice.


Arfredu Hitchcacku Desu.

(PS: Damn, I forgot, these things also were heavily produced for Europe, would I run into any 50hz 60hz problems on a modern American TV with those? Does it depend on the region of the game, since I honestly don't want to hunt down exclusively either on eBay, the Internet or otherwise?)
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Post by Jimmy » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:55 am

i would recommend getting a CDi-220 or one of the more common models. you might need to get a DVC to play all the games but they are not expensive. I like the 220 because it has few compatibility issues of the models I've tried (it does not play Family Games 2 which only works on PAL models and it has some bgm looping issues with Mutant rampage) and it also has S-Video output. The 450 model does not play 7th guest nor does it have s-video but it's otherwise a pretty solid model, it plays Mutant Rampage without the BGM issues but the 220 plays Lucky Luke better. I personally do not care for 7th guest as the literal puzzle driven gameplay bores me to death (I do not mind puzzles integrated into the gaming environment like resident evil but 7th guest is table-top puzzles between every FMV segment).

I have had about 6 different models and was surprised to find that many are lacking s-video and compatibility leaves alot to be desired.

I think a touchpad is required if you want to have any fun with the cdi. other controllers are available but i did not like them too much.

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Post by Austin » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:21 am

50 games you can enjoy, eh? Yeeeesh, I'm having trouble finding more than 25 or 30. But still, even that is pretty good if you ask me, all things considered.

So, what model to get? Well, the most reasonably priced are going to be the 220 (big VCR-like thing), and the 400+ series (450, 490, 550). The later are the ones that look a little more like a game console. They generally come in the pink-ish/purple boxes. Regardless of which model you choose, just look out for that have DVC carts built in (I believe the 490 and 550 have them stock--the 450 does not). I also recommend waiting for a normal auction to appear on eBay. BIN prices are ridiculous for the most part (sometimes you CAN find a good deal, but don't hold your breath). Auction end prices though are usually fairly low.

So, the Digital Video Cartridges: They aren't too terribly expensive if you get a unit without one. The standard CD-i units can be upgraded with them. Just make sure to get the DVC appropriate for whatever unit you choose (provided you don't get one with it included already). The larger DVC carts go in the 220, and the smaller ones go in the 400+ series. I'm actually generalizing quite a bit here, as there are a ton of CD-i models, but those seem to be the ones you run into the most. There are specific part numbers for each you can look out for, but I don't know them off the top of my head.

The 450s play burned media. Not very well though, mind you. I'm not sure how well other units work in this regard.

As far as the battery dying, it is NOTHING like with the Saturn. On that system, like the Dreamcast, the annoying date/time select screen would pop up whenever you powered on the system (also, whatever save files were on the system were probably erased). This didn't stop you from playing games, though, and if you had a memory backup card of some sort, you could still backup your files prior to turning off the system. This is *not* the case with the CD-i. When the battery, aka "timekeeper" dies, all sorts of crazy things can happen. Data will be lost (naturally), but games will sometimes fail to boot, the system might go into a "not enough space to save, please clear data" loop that never ends, amongst other things. If I hear correctly, some units will cease to function altogether (Seb, if you're reading, is that what happened to yours?).

If you want to shell out more money, you can go for one of the various portable units. Apparently they have replaceable batteries, so you can somewhat circumvent the timekeeper problem (and boy, is it a problem!). There are ways to get around the timekeeper issue (wire up a lithium battery to take its place, I believe?), but it's not easy from what I can tell. There are tutorials online--if you can't find them on Google, check Bas's blog ("Interactive Dreams"), they might be there.

Regarding controllers, I will recommend the Gravis Philips model. The "Tecno Plus" controller goes for a stupid amount of money. I hear it's the best, but it just doesn't seem worth it to me (kind of like paying $60 - $100 for a Jaguar Pro Controller). The "analog" remote you linked to--avoid that as well. You do not want to play games with it. Trust me. It might be passable for point 'n clicks at best, along with the obligatory educational software, but avoid it for anything else.

One last control method that is a MUST on this system--The rollerball, trackball, or mouse. Most games actually work best with these, and not the controllers. Due to how the system reads inputs, game controllers tend to be laggy, whereas the pseudo-analog devices are super responsive and precise. And every game works with any peripheral, meaning if you have multiple devices, you can figure out what suits your fancy on each game.
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Post by Arethius_RGC » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:49 pm

Soorry but I could even onot take a look at your list can you post it here ? could be interessting to discuss about it. Personnally I hardly find 10 really worthy titlees on CD-I

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