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Anne Willan Presents the Food of France SEALED Philips CDi


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Something extraordinary, something astounding, just came up on Ebay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Philips-Cd-i-Four-Interactive-Guides-Plus-games-Sampler-Rock-Food-Flowers/154395982577?pageci=9f40ca9e-641f-4e59-987c-8e7e65150e0f

...while the sampler does feature two unreleased games, the grail in the lot is that sealed copy of Anne Willan Presents the Food of France. For those that aren't aware, it is the single rarest US Philips CDi longbox title, and one of the rarest titles ever released for any videogame system. Only 6 or 7 copies are known of the US version, and only one of them (owned by me- the listing is not mine) is still sealed. This is one of very, very few US console releases for any system that has NEVER come up for an open auction- not in 30 years. What few copies are known were found in lots or came from former Philips employees. If this had been on a Nintendo system it would sell for tens of thousands, such is its rarity!

And aside from alerting interested CDi collectors, I wanted to ask if the community can think of any other titles released for US systems that have yet to show up at open auction. Besides one or two other CDi titles, I can't think of any. Does anyone here know of some?

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22 hours ago, goldenpp72 said:

I hope the 2 remaining games I have for the system don't end up being something like this lol. Your name is actually one of the games i'm hunting of the 2!

The name was actually a Sonic Adventure reference, lol. Chaos Control was the last US game to reach retail, though. The only ones after it were catalog exclusives like Bradley Fighting Vehicle, though Europe got games for nuch longer.

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1 minute ago, Chaos Control said:

The name was actually a Sonic Adventure reference, lol. Chaos Control was the last US game to reach retail, though. The only ones after it were catalog exclusives like Bradley Fighting Vehicle, though Europe got games for nuch longer.

Funny, though I do recognize it from SA2 prior to the Cdi game. I picked up Flashback with the slipcover recently and I guess that's tough to find but still have that and one other I haven't picked up before II call it quits 😛

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19 hours ago, fcgamer said:

One of the rarest titles released for any video game system? That's honestly a lofty statement, sadly I got hung up on that bit and it makes the rest hard not to view with scepticism.

It's lofty, and absolutely true. I tell you that as a collector (since '98) who has hundreds of CDis and full sets for several uncommon platforms. Anne Willan PFoF is just beyond rare in its US version, and this is the first ever open auction of a copy. There weren't even any clear pictures of it online until I put some up about a year ago.

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3 minutes ago, goldenpp72 said:

Funny, though I do recognize it from SA2 prior to the Cdi game. I picked up Flashback with the slipcover recently and I guess that's tough to find but still have that and one other I haven't picked up before II call it quits 😛

So you're who outsniped me on that US Flashback with the slipcover! I hope it was really worth $305! 🙂

But yeah, US Flashback is not common, as for some reason most copies lost the slipcover over time. Same for US Chaos Control. Still, it's vastly more common than Anne Willan. You won't see that one by itself for a long time again.

What's the one other game that you're missing?

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41 minutes ago, Chaos Control said:

So you're who outsniped me on that US Flashback with the slipcover! I hope it was really worth $305! 🙂

But yeah, US Flashback is not common, as for some reason most copies lost the slipcover over time. Same for US Chaos Control. Still, it's vastly more common than Anne Willan. You won't see that one by itself for a long time again.

What's the one other game that you're missing?

Thunder in Paradise, though keep in mind my cdi set will only consist of 24 games if I get them. I don't really care for most of the library personally so I just added the slip covers as a requirement to keep it a bit spicy 😛

I will say I was surprised, I put in a high snipe on Flashback but that was to 'ensure' the win, but it def ended higher than I expected it to. Not usually a lot of aggressive cdi people out there lol.

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On 3/31/2021 at 7:21 AM, Chaos Control said:

and one of the rarest titles ever released for any videogame system. 

Thanks for the earlier extra information you posted. While I still find the claim to be a bit unbelievable (I'd venture a guess done obscure Atari games never showed up for auction, or similarly some of the original gen / print Sachen game boy games, if one wants to argue that they were US releases.

The thing that I 100% disagree with though is the bolded part. For example, I have only ever seen three pulse line F1 Race carts for Famicom. Then there are tons of obscure stuff for a large array of machines where I've personally only ever seen one or two, ever. Not necessarily US systems, but neither is the claim being made in the bolded text above.

I'm sure the game is super rare, but I honestly don't think the bold statement can be accurately claimed, when there's so many titles that fit into that same category.

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Well, the listing just ended. Almost $450 is a fairly good price for the seller, especially considering the Tuesday afternoon ending time. Now some of the price could be interest in that Sampler title, to be fair. Still, only a few other CDi titles have ever sold for more at open auction (minty copies of Zelda Adventure, Link Faces of Evil, etc- the usual pricey suspects). If anyone here won the lot let us know what's in the Sampler!

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/8/2021 at 4:09 AM, DefaultGen said:

The underbidder was our own VGCollectaholic, who basically typed in a random number, which is how I imagine prices are set for many items like this, lol. He was indeed mostly interested in the sampler. He has a CIB Food of France already.

LOL I just stumbled upon this thread while searching for something else. 

Yeah, I was the underbidder on that lot.  I was bidding for the sampler, which is one of the few US CD-i items I don't have.  The Food of France would have been a nice bonus though, lol.

My Food of France is sealed as well.  It's nice to see it getting some recognition for its rarity.

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On 7/31/2021 at 6:25 PM, VGCollectaholic said:

LOL I just stumbled upon this thread while searching for something else. 

Yeah, I was the underbidder on that lot.  I was bidding for the sampler, which is one of the few US CD-i items I don't have.  The Food of France would have been a nice bonus though, lol.

My Food of France is sealed as well.  It's nice to see it getting some recognition for its rarity.

So there is another copy. Neato! Of course, there's probably a warehouse with boxes of them and other titles somewhere. I can only wonder what happened to all of the unsold stock from Philips...

Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on the rarity of some of the other longbox titles, such as ACT College Search 92, CDi Music Book, Sailing, Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe, etc? When I was putting together the full set those were particularly hard to come by.

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9 hours ago, Chaos Control said:

Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on the rarity of some of the other longbox titles, such as ACT College Search 92, CDi Music Book, Sailing, Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe, etc? When I was putting together the full set those were particularly hard to come by.

I think all of those are some of the harder to find longboxes.   Out of that list, I found Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe to be the least scarce, but that could just be timing of when I was collecting the bulk of my CD-i collection.  CD-i Music Book was the last one from that list that I ended up finding.  Before I found my copy I had never even seen a picture of it.

As far as longboxes go, I would also add to that list Private Lessons: Rock Guitar, More Dark Fables from Aesop, and the longbox variant of Berenstain Bears.  (I'm still trying to upgrade to sealed copies on those last two.)

Some of the standard jewel case variants of games that primarily were released in longbox form are quite hard to come by too - Laser Lords and Richard Scarry's Best Neighborhood Disc Ever both come to mind, but there are others.   It's crazy how much of the library was released in both longbox and standard jewel case variants here in the US.

I've actually found some of the late-release slip covered jewel case releases to be the most elusive (like Mother Nature: Baby Animal Tales, which I finally just found last year).

The Web-i set is the grail though.

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I'm curious what you're using as a list.  I've got a biggish CDi collection, though I know it's not complete.  All I had to go on was the old Digital Press list and I don't use ebay so its been years since I've added any CDi titles to the collection.

Also, since there seem to be a couple of CDi experts here, what's the story behind all the demo discs?  Some of those seem more common than the corresponding retail releases. And why different colors?

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6 hours ago, tbone3969 said:

Can anyone confirm that NFL Instant Replay is one of the rarest US releases?  Good game too.  Might be the only good game on the system.  

It is indeed one of the very rarest US releases. CDi was on the way out when ESRB ratings came out, but the last releases on CDi in the US did receive them. Replay is one. In order to buy it somebody had to have had one of the Philips catalogs that offered it, or found one of the few independent dealers that stocked CDi. It being a late release US exclusive is also why all the UK and European CDi collectors, who are the majority of the CDi community, didn't know about it for a long time. As for valuing it, well, it's almost always popped up in lots or as a cheap BIN. ReDump sold an incomplete (no slipcover) copy earlier this year at open auction for the first time in many years. It ended at just over $400. 

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7 hours ago, nrslam said:

I'm curious what you're using as a list.  I've got a biggish CDi collection, though I know it's not complete.  All I had to go on was the old Digital Press list and I don't use ebay so its been years since I've added any CDi titles to the collection.

Also, since there seem to be a couple of CDi experts here, what's the story behind all the demo discs?  Some of those seem more common than the corresponding retail releases. And why different colors?

I had to piece a lot of it together from eBay sold listings, pictures of collector collections online, various catalogs and brochures from back in the day, and from the ICDIA lists here:

http://www.icdia.co.uk/archive/index.html

along with the databases at World of CDi:

https://www.theworldofcdi.com/

and the mostly complete checklists here:

https://cdii.blogspot.com/p/cd-i-masterlists-catalogue.html?m=1

Even with all of that, there's still some uncertainty and unknowns even among us collectors and preservationists. 

As for the various demo discs, the vast majority of the ones for the Nintendo titles are fake, fake, fake. The following is a guide to identifying them:

https://preserve-cdi.blogspot.com/2020/11/demonstration-discs-spotting-real-and.html?m=1

 

... there are also various clear demonstration discs that, as with the white-label ones, were used for internal testing, demonstration, and retail purposes. Many unreleased titles have been preserved only because of the demos that are really the full version sans retail packaging. Only copies of the Zelda and Mario discs are likely to be fake. Any other CDi white label disc is probably real. Their rarity does seem to match the rarity of the retail version, from what I've noticed. A demo copy of, say, ACT College Search 92, is as proportionally rare as the retail version. 

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10 hours ago, VGCollectaholic said:

I think all of those are some of the harder to find longboxes.   Out of that list, I found Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe to be the least scarce, but that could just be timing of when I was collecting the bulk of my CD-i collection.  CD-i Music Book was the last one from that list that I ended up finding.  Before I found my copy I had never even seen a picture of it.

As far as longboxes go, I would also add to that list Private Lessons: Rock Guitar, More Dark Fables from Aesop, and the longbox variant of Berenstain Bears.  (I'm still trying to upgrade to sealed copies on those last two.)

Some of the standard jewel case variants of games that primarily were released in longbox form are quite hard to come by too - Laser Lords and Richard Scarry's Best Neighborhood Disc Ever both come to mind, but there are others.   It's crazy how much of the library was released in both longbox and standard jewel case variants here in the US.

I've actually found some of the late-release slip covered jewel case releases to be the most elusive (like Mother Nature: Baby Animal Tales, which I finally just found last year).

The Web-i set is the grail though.

Funny that you mention the jewel-case re-releases of the longbox titles, as I'm actively hunting some, and the preservation community is also working to better document them as many have turned out to have disc ring code variants. There's a few that I've only seen once or twice. Some others don't even make sense, such as why Philips bothered to re-release National Parks Tour in jewel-case format, and a good chunk of the longboxes don't seem to have been given any jewel-case re-release. It gets even worse when the slipcovers are factored in, as not every CDi US jewel-case title was given a slipcover. Most were, but not all, and of course many slipcovers have been lost over time. 

For the longboxes, you're absolutely right in your above observations. When I was putting together the full longbox list, CDi Music Book was one of the discoveries. Flowers is rare but comes up on eBay several times a year. At one point I had 5 copies! 

Baby Animal Tales took me a while, as well. Non-game titles, like Kathy Smith Trainer, Cosmopolitan Interactive Tonetics, and Baby Songs were also very difficult to find, particularly complete with slipcover. The US versions of the Music titles are almost all very scarce. Just try to find complete US versions of say, Dave Grusin Gershwin Connection, Peter Gabriel All About US, and the Three Tenors. 

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