Philips CDi and a little confusion from the internet

Posted by  on May 21, 2018

I got my hands on a Philips CDi

While browsing a local charity shop a couple of weeks back, amongst the Hi-Fi equipment, something caught my eye. A Philips CDi 210/45.

Philips CDi

A price label was just about visible as I leaned over some TVs to the shelving the CDi was sitting on. I pulled the unit closer and the price label had “£20 -no remote” written on it. I bought it anyway figuring I can get a remote later.

Only vaguely recalling the CDi back in the day I decided to do a little research on the internet. There was a demo model up and running in Heward’s Home Stores I remembered seeing and that there were some really awful Zelda games for it but that was as much as I knew.

This is where the confusion comes in.

Every review I read, every Youtube video I watched, every forum thread I found all spoke of a major irritant with the CDi. Even though there was a controller socket on the front the gamepad didn’t work in there, only the wired remote.

Now, I have no idea what the people on these sites are talking about because I bought both kinds of gamepad on eBay and both work just fine in the front input socket. Unless my Philips CDi is some kind of unique unit there must be a lot of people out there in internet land with broken CDi’s.

Philips CD-i Touchpad & Gamepad

What are the games really like?

During my research I came across a lot of people berating the quality of Philips CDi games. I can’t trust these guys any longer having already failed me with misinformation on the front input socket.

One game that drew my attention was Hotel Mario. Yes, that Mario, of Nintendo fame. The game basically involves Mario jumping on enemies, using lifts, collecting coins and closing doors. To complete a level you have to close all of the doors. I think a better title for the game would be Mario OCD. It’s not a bad game really although it wouldn’t be out of place in an ’80s arcade.

There’s some old favourites such as Dragon’s Lair, Flashback, and a Namco arcade compilation featuring Galaxian, Ms. Pac-man and Galaga. Micro Machines also makes an appearance although not quite as polished as the Sega Mega Drive version I enjoyed in my youth.

Having said that I should point out there’s also a whole heap of crap available for the CDi, at least in my opinion. I’m going to reserve overall judgement until I have a decent selection of games  though.

Contradictions

For anyone looking for information on the Philips CDi here’s what I found that contradicts what the rest of the internet says.

  • Game controllers work fine in the front input
  • Most of the games I tried do have a pause although there are those that do not
  • You don’t need to cycle the power to reset multi-game discs to menu. I found games like Namco Arcade could be reset by pressing down and ●+●●