I remember when I got a second hand Sega CD off a classmate back in freshman year of High School. I was bored in a class and was looking at Sega CDs on eBay, and my friend offered his for $15. It came with the pack-in title Tomcat Alley as well as the abysmal Double Switch, which was a Night Trap-esque game by Digital Pictures starring the late Corey Haim, Blondie’s Deborah Harry, and R. Lee Ermey. It honestly isn’t that great, and can be beaten easily in an hour. Trust me, go watch this longplay of the game instead, it’s better than wasting money on this tripe.
I wonder if Corey Haim was on drugs when he signed up to do this. Hell, everyone involved had to be on drugs if they thought this was a good idea!
While I was perusing for some other Sega CD games when I had stumbled upon this little gem: Rock Paintings, a CD+G sampler featuring a multitude of Warner Records artists — Chris Isaak, Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, Information Society and Little Feat. While it’s advertised as a Sega CD product, any console that supports CD+G — from the Philips CD-i to Sega’s successor CD console the Saturn — can run this. Hell, if you got a karaoke machine lying around, it’ll probably play this disc too.
I originally thought this was just a silly little CD compilation, but it’s so much more.
CD+G is a short-lived media format used to show graphics on your television while listening to music CDs. The concept was that you’d hook up a CD+G enabled device into your television set, insert any supported CD+G disc, then listen to the music with video playing in the background. The only music company that bothered to care about the technology was Warner Records, as a gamut of their offerings from 1989-1992 feature the CD+G tech. The Rock Paintings sampler features two tracks from each artist above, with embedded CD+G tracks for each, plus a blank track for disc information. They looked like tacky screensavers for the most part, except the Information Society portion being somewhat informative and goofy (as seen above), and Hendrix’s Smash Hits, which is amazing in itself:
Alas, the CD+G died a short death but still has this remnant to live on. Warner Records did multiple CD+G sampler compilations, even one for the CD-i, so they thought this was worth a try even if many people didn’t get to use it as intended and looking tacky even by early 90s standards. Rock Paintings also came with a second, non-CD+G disc titled Hot Hits, which featured a sampling of other artists on the Warner label. Most of them are a bunch of unknowns — The Wolfgang Press, Saigon Kick, Throwing Muses — while the rest are artists with minor hits but bizarre track choices. For example, They Might Be Giants is featured on the compilation, but they used a song from Apollo 18 called “Mammal.” Of all the songs from that album they could’ve chose, they chose the worst track of the bunch. (I guess executives wouldn’t have approved of a compilation having a song titled “The Statue Got Me High.”)
While doing my 15 minutes of research, I found out there is actually a site dedicated to chronicling all the CD+G media ever released. It’s called The CD+G Museum, and it’s worth a look into the weird history that was CD+G technology. Now I wanna find those CD+G versions of classic Beethoven and Holst music, as well as Smash Hits so I can Experience Hendrix the way it was meant to be experienced: on a Sega CD in mono audio.