March 14th, 2019

Celine: Pixel

Let's get physical, physical

It's been a while since we had news on the Interlight front, because as tantalizingly close as we came, we just were not making progress on the input issue. It got to the point where I gave up on the obviously dire state of CD-i emulation and looked into getting a physical console, but even those efforts were thwarted by eBay's terrible rules and framework. (Protip: If you snipe an auction at the literal last second, you are a bad person.)

I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such loving and supportive friends and companions who believe in this project as strongly as I do, and so I actually had several people working on this from various angles (seeing if they could fix the emulator, seeing if they could find a physical console, etc.) I could make a thank-you list that would leave us here all day. That said, the first person to make a breakthrough and crack the case was [personal profile] xyzzysqrl, who just happened to have a friend who happened to have an old console and games in the back of their closet somewhere, and so she hooked us up with each other.

The console I ended up with (which just arrived last night--thank you!) is somewhat off-brand (it's a Magnavox CD-i player, not Philips) with the main drawbacks being only one controller port (you know, because I was totally planning to couch co-op CD-i edutainment titles) and no A/V output options besides composite (okay, the lack of s-vid hurts a little.) It's also very much in not-great condition, with quirks and nuances like "maybe try taping the CD tray lid down so it stays closed enough to register as closed and actually play." However, the good news is that meant the console itself was a fairly deep discount value-wise. This in turn meant that I was also able to afford yet another bundle of games, including one valuable collector's item (I now yes-really own Wand of Gamelon) for roughly the same budget I was looking at for a console alone earlier. The local retro game store might be able to repair the CD tray lid (and possibly one or two of the other issues as well?) if I bring it in, and in the meantime, it still runs perfectly with the proper workarounds.

I spent most of last night going on a major shopping spree that included a RetroTINK, capture card, and a new boom arm-style microphone stand that will hopefully allow me to use my microphone from the couch (further testing and fussing with setups required.) I think I might need to get some HDMI extension cables tonight just in case, but other than that, that... should be everything for the capture setup? We'll see what I'm forgetting as packages start to roll in.

In the meantime, I don't have the means of capturing and showing footage yet (ordered and on the way!) but I of course had to test The Story of Jonah with the console now that I have it. Some quick observations:

  • Even though it looks like it's in visibly flawless condition and should run perfectly, I was unable to get my roller controller to work or register at all. Meanwhile, even though it looks visibly gnarled and untrustworthy, the regular controller that came with the console works flawlessly. I might see if the retro shop has another one just in case when I'm there to get the console looked at anyway, but it should hold regardless.
  • Whoof, the animation and voice acting in the Story of Jonah have not aged well. Young me remembers it being... okay, not outstanding but not YouTube Poop-tier, you know? No, this is absolutely poopable.
  • On the other hand, other than the pixels being chunkier on a modern display (I really need that RetroTINK, it's kind of urgent,) Lost Sheep is exactly as batshit as I remember it being. God, you have no idea how much I'm looking forward to showing you. It is MAGICAL. The world needs to see this.
  • There are five songs in the sing-a-long room (I think--I only briefly skimmed the menu,) which surprised me. I thought there were three (one of which I can remember.) I picked one of the other ones out of curiosity, and it all came flooding back. And I... look. I'm not going to make the usual stand-up comedy observations about how I can't even remember my goddamn water bottle when I'm going to work, yet a decades-old CD-i children's bible edutainment sing-a-long is burned in memory forever, because those observations have been made before. Instead, I will boggle over where in the absolute hell my brain was hiding that memory for over twenty years. I had zero recollection of that song. None. It was gone. If you'd shown me the title of the song and offered me a million dollars if I could sing even a single word from it while threatening to murder my entire family if I couldn't... I couldn't do it. There was nothing, not even the slightest hint of a thread to go on. But as soon as it started playing, there it was, like it'd never left. By the end of the first verse, I already had the entire chorus (lyrics and all) cued up in my mind and ready to go. And the Lord (And the Lord) in His mercy and grace, put an end to Jonah's chase, and let him fall~

So, after having stalled out so long, things seem to be coming together... remarkably quickly, actually. The idle pipe dream of "man, if I were a gaming YouTuber, my show would be about..." is happening. And all I can say is... aaaaAAA??

Thank you, everyone who helped and even just the people believing in us from the sidelines. This wouldn't have happened without your support and encouragement.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.