CD-i or Compact Disc Interactive is the name of an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Royal Philips Electronics N.V. CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard utilized by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was co-developed by Philips and Sony in 1986. The first Philips CD-i player, released in 1991 and initially priced around USD $700, was capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, and VCDs, though the latter required an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1 decoding.


Early software releases in the CD-i format focused heavily on educational, music, and self-improvement titles, with only a handful of video games, many of them adaptations of board games such as "Connect Four". Later attempts to develop a foothold in the games market were rendered irrelevant by the arrival of cheaper and more powerful consoles, such as the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation. CD-i is noted for the release of several spinoffs of popular Nintendo video games featuring characters typically seen only on Nintendo consoles, although those games were not developed by Nintendo. Hotel Mario was a puzzle game that featured Super Mario Bros. characters. Mario Takes America was an unfinished game which involved Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi touring the United States. It was revolutionary at the time, involving real video backgrounds with sprites on top.

Zelda games

Three The Legend of Zelda games were released on the CD-i: Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda's Adventure. The reason for this was that Nintendo and Philips had established an agreement to co-develop a CD-ROM enhancement for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Philips was contractually allowed to continue using Nintendo characters after the deal fell through. The games were made completely outside the influence of Nintendo and as such are considered non-canon.

The story in all three games is largely told through animated FMVs, in an attempt to make best use of the CD-ROM format. The animation style is based on that of the Legend of Zelda animated series. These FMVs, however, are frowned upon by the Zelda community for containing what is considered to be some of the worst scripting, drawing, animation, and voice acting yet seen in a video game. The gameplay was not nearly up to series standards, to the point that the majority of the Zelda community outright rejects the CD-i trilogy as being Zelda games at all. The CD-i games are often featured in lists of the worst games of all time.

The CD-i Zelda games remain a constant point of ridicule with several game-related publications and online series, among them Nintendo Power, of which one issue was released in which the Nintendo Power suggested to a correspondent in a mailbag response that he/she place a picture of CD-i Link on his/her butt. In a later issue however, the staff of Nintendo Power did admit in a reply to a correspondent's query, that they considered the CD-i games to be "genuine" Zelda games, despite their opinion of the games themselves. The titular main character of The Angry Video Game Nerd, played by James Rolfe, has referred to the trilogy of CD-i games as the "Unholy Triforce".

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