>> Wednesday, August 29, 2007
One of the first belgium CD-i production came in 1992 when the federal government of Belgium decided to create a CD-i disc about the history and events Belgium has to offer. Belgium, home of the CD-i Test Facility in Hasselt, has a rich history in the world of CD-i but this is the first original CD-i disc from this country. Being the capital of Europe, the disc, named "DISCover Belgium" features information about the history of Belgium, as well as about Politics, culture, art, economy and education of Europe in five different languages. Playable without Digital Video Cartridge (not available in 1992), this is some sort of first generation title on CD-i.
After six months without contact, Philipscdi.com's owner Mathias updated the site with the information about "DISCover Belgium". It's nice to see a small update in their CD-i catalogue which was rumoured to become the largest list of all CD-i websites. I'm afraid that will never happen, but at least, with nice updates once a year, at least we get to see some small gems in CD-i land. And, with Philipscdi.com being a belgium CD-i website, he'll certainly be proud of this! I loved the wonderful index art Mathias created for Philipscdi.com two years ago, and I hope in the future he will continue this!
"DISCover Belgium" is a small encyclopedia about Belgium, presented at the world exhibition in Sevilla. Information about this title is scarce, but perhaps Mathias will post his review of the title, including some screenshots. I wonder if this "DISCover" thing indicates a series, maybe there were other local releases about other countries as well. For now, Belgium is the only edition I know of. Mathias: "On the DISCover Belgium disc was printed that it was a demo version and that it wasn't for sale, but it looked pretty complete to me. I think what they meant to say is that it's not a commercially available title. I'd like to know if anyone has the same disc WITHOUT the 'demo' notice." Maybe this disc was only used for promotional activities, and no commercial version was pressed. I don't think this was the first belgium CD-i production however: That one goes to "Rules of Golf" by Telecity NV. Do you remember that story?
Mathias continues about DISCover Belgium: "This title seems to be a very hard to find one and might not have been commerciallised. It was produced for the World Fair of 1992 in Sevilla. When you start this disc, after a short animation of the Atomium, one of Belgium's largest national monuments. The Atomium represents an iron molecule structure and was built for the Brussels World Fair in 1958. The disc is divided into eight subjects: history, country and people, economy, state and politics, arts and culture, education and science, tourism and Belgium in Europe. Some of these subjects are themselves divided into groups, like arts and culture, where you can choose between music, literature, paintings, etc.
Each of the subjects you select actually starts an audio sequence, accompanied by a slideshow, illustrating the subject. There is however no way of 'looking things up', like we have in our traditional Interactive encyclopediae, no index or directory to browse through. This makes it more like a presentation of Belgium than a real encyclopedia, as the publishers call it themselves. A presentation maybe, but a very nice one nonetheless. The sequences are all very interesting and I did learn a few things about my home country!"
Thanks to Philipscdi.com