pc-engine-cd

  • Super Real Mahjong PII PIII - Computer Disc
  • Naxat Soft / SETA
  • Super Real Mahjong PII PIII
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Super Real Mahjong PII & PIII - PC Engine
‘This is not a computer disc’ audio track

Most PC Engine CD games have the first audio track as a message saying 'this is a PC Engine disc, not a computer/audio disc’ if you try to play it in a stereo or something.

While trying to find a particular BGM in the audio tracks of the games, I ended up finding that Super Real Mahjong PII & PIII actually has the three girls (Shoko, Miki and Kasumi) actually sing the message to you.

Console CD player apps

And now for something totally irrelevant…

That’s the CD player for the TurboGrafx-CD/PC Engine. In 1990, I used that to listen to the very first music CDs that I bought. It was the only CD player we had. CD players… were not cheap, back then. And I was the only one in the family who really cared to listen to music, too.

It’s a simple interface, due to the system’s constraints, but it also is fully-featured – they were trying to replicate the functions of a high-end CD player of the time. 

This came up thanks to a question from Frank Cifaldi on Twitter

Of course, the Sega-CD (aka Mega-CD in Japan and Europe) had a CD app, too.

This is the Japanese (and European?) app. It’s similarly usable and fully featured.

The US system had a redesigned interface. This is the earliest example of skeuomoprhic design (in the context of computers, digital applications that mimic physical objects) I can think of, and the app suffers for it. Since it’s supposed to look like a piece of audio equipment, features are hidden or missing. It’s stupid.

Skeuomorphism became somewhat controversial a few years ago when Apple went crazy for it on iOS, but that changed with iOS 7.

I am not a big fan of it, though I think in a limited way, in games, it can actually enhance the experience by making it more thematically congruent. In other words, it’s immersive to see an interface that is thematically relevant to the game’s content. Just don’t try too hard, because above all game interfaces should be useable. 

There’s another purpose to this post: I have friends in their 20s who never actually owned a CD. I mean, I still own a bunch, but I don’t use them anymore. They’re in boxes. If I need the data on them, I rip them into iTunes – itself almost an anachronistic act, as Apple removed the CD from the icon of the app several years ago given that CDs no longer are key to the music acquisition experience. Hell, do their computers even have CD drives anymore?

And now, a bonus…

That’s the CD player app for the Sega Saturn. I used this a bit, too, because it was so cool – those green cubes change color and move in time to the music, and the starfield moves, too. It was nice to use in the dark. 

It’s funny. CDs were so important back then and so irrelevant now. Really, CDs were everything to me – they were my connection to music. And to people just a bit younger than me, they’re just bizarre artifacts.