Cat Mantra is the gentleman behind Retro Shack CD-I cinema. He is also a recording artist, a game coder for the TRS-80 and has already released two recent CD-I titles as part of an extensive project. The third in the series is coming on Tuesday 18th July ”Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly”. I recently caught up with him for The World of CD-I about the project, his love for CD-I and future plans.
Alan: Tell us the inspiration behind your project to release 12 CD-I/videocd titles over the next 3 years?
Cat: Well, I have always been a creative person. In fact, sometimes I wish I had an “off” or “sleep” button hahah! This particular project began with me just wanting to see if I could CREATE VCD’s, with no thought to making them available on general release. After a LOT of trial and error I landed on the correct software and formula to do it. And then I thought “Why not?”. I am very experienced with modern video editing software through years of creating music videos, and in fact my first short film “Sailing on 8-mil” was released last year and enjoyed success at film festivals as far afield as California, won in Istanbul, and came 6th at Cannes indie shorts awards 😀
Alan: You mentioned to me that you discovered CD-I about 3 years ago. What sparked the initial interest?
Cat: I have the vintage collectors’ disease. Hahah! I had a 3DO back in the day, and again now; I also have Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, N64, PS2, Wii, Original XBOX. And one day I just thought “Let’s have a look at these CD-i’s.” My first 210 arrived non-functional – the discs wouldn’t spin. A YouTube video taught me how to sort it! I now also have a FABULOUS restored player with new clock battery setup and RGB by my mate in the Netherlands Muh Mullet. He’s a GENIUS with hardware, and I can’t recommend him high enough to anyone who needs work done (and can afford the shipping 😀 ). I very much see the Philips CD-i with respect and for exactly what it is: The first TRUE multimedia device. Epic. The end.
Alan: Tell us a little more about your first 2 releases – for those people thinking of making a purchase – which I previewed on The World of CD-I in mid-March, and your reasons for starting with these particular titles?
Cat: I started with Bond because it was indeed the 60th Anniversary of Dr No hitting the screens at theatres and I am a Bondite so it was a no brainer! I only make videocds/CD-Is that I will want to watch myself, and just hope others will too basically 🙂 I was able to source TOP quality footage for that one from MGM, as I get licensing for these releases through my record label where required. I render in the highest possible definition – however it of course does come down to the source material. “Tales from The Outer Limits” is considerably lower annoyingly. But I think/hope I chose total CLASSICS for that all the same. The idea for this one came when the crypt keeper kept popping into my head!! 😀
Alan: How do you enjoy your own CD-I mainly? I.E. Are you a CD-I gamer, or do you prefer to watch movies, documentaries etc?
Cat: Mainly a gamer. I LOVE FMV-based games – that’s also why I loved 3DO back in the day. And still do! I tried the unreleased CD-I Voyeur 2 a few months back but it had some problems playing on my CD-I, but I look forward to trying that one again.
Alan: Tell us a little about what buyers can expect from your upcoming third title ”Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly”
Cat: Sci-Fi!! And I am going to include on it my new short “Space Trek” 🙂 I am releasing exclusively on VCD in physical terms. Fans of time-travel elements, comedy (Blackadder is featured) and sci-fi will love it 😉
Alan: Have you played the superb Nobelia CD-I game, released by TWBurn in 2022?
Cat: I think it’s FANTASTIC that this new game has been so well received. Incredible. I applaud TWBurn for his work, and dedication to CD-i. Fabulous achievement. For his next project I’d love a decent FPS or a Track and Field game (Alan: We are still hoping that Skyways will be completed 😉 ). Track and Field could use FMV – for example, a view behind a javelin athlete on the run up and launch. Hit that 45 degree angle, get a counter up on distance, and the cd-i then chooses from several FMV clips on the landing of the spear. On races, 100M for example, various start of race FMV possibilities. Speed counter. Time counter. And depending on how good or bad you are, the CD-I would choose the correct finish line FMV. I volunteer to create and supply ALL FMV for the game. And music. From the intro to the medal ceremony 🙂
Alan: We have spoken about the possibility of Retro Shack releasing an interactive CD-I movie game in the future. Could this be a reality?
Cat: Oh yes! And here is a short teaser which I hope will whet everybody’s appetite… https://youtu.be/UI2rIMpCHmM
Alan: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is thinking of releasing a new CD-I title?
Cat: Just go for it. Simple as. Turn your imagination/dream into reality. The process itself is so very rewarding. And in the CD-I community you will get full support.
Thanks ever so much to Cat for his time, and we at The World of CD-I hope you will enjoy all of his CD-I releases 😀