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33 Consoles of Christmas
Philips CD-i (1991)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 02, 2006   |   Episode 10 (Show Archive)  

   
It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!


Synopsis: The Philips CD-i was the first console to brave the waters as a multi-functional game system. Not only was it advertised as a game console, but you could also watch movies on it and use it as an educational product. Like the Neo Geo, the CD-i was released for a rather steep asking price (around $700). But to Philip's credit, the CD-i did support a number of different formats, including standard audio CDs, CD+G, Karaoke CDs, VCD, and CD Bridge. Looking back at the system now the CD-i has not held up well, but that doesn't mean it's worth ignoring its importance and design.

Best Games: Burn: Cycle and, um, Burn: Cycle!




There are people out there that already think that we (as in Defunct Games) have something against the Philips CD-i. Unfortunately those people will no doubt see this review has more of the same, emailing the site insisting that we are just haters and wouldn't know a good system if it hit us on the head. That may be true, but I cannot lie ... the Philips CD-i is one of the ugliest consoles ever made. That doesn't mean it's a bad system (that's for you to decide), but when it comes to system designs it's hard to think of even one good thing to say about the CD-i. Here, I'll try. The control was unique. Not Nintendo Wii unique, more like "oh my God, what the hell is that" unique. Another problem I have is that when the system is sitting down it tends to look like a teeny tiny sports arena, only with a control port and legs. The pictures just don't do this system justice, what you can't see is how unbelievably huge the console is. Going for the CD-i is like hitting on the fat girl when you could have the statuesque model. Hate me all you want, but if you think the CD-i is attractive then you may want to get your eyesight checked.

Where do I begin? I would like to know who actually did the designing of this thing, then who gave it the go-ahead, and, finally, who the retailers were that thought this thing was going to sell. I looked into it, and this is actually the biggest you can make a system without violating the Geneva Convention. It's almost criminal is what I'm saying. Donning the visage of four VCRs that play CDs, this is the least like a videogame system of all the poorly designed systems to date. If you aren't turned off by the actual system, how about the fact that the second controller port is ON THE BACK of the console itself! Of all the varying hits and misses in regard to visual appeal, I can nary think of one thing I like about the CD-i. Entertainment Centers of today aren't even big enough to house this colossus, and it instead sits on my floor, taking up the space that should be reserved for an air hockey table, and is a never ending source of stubbed toes and bitter resentment. It does play CD-Rs, which I have to credit it for, but that's about it. Next!
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