Once people figured out how to put video files onto CDs, it wasn’t long before companies tried to take advantage of this in order to supplant VHS as the format of choice. CD Video failed miserably and VCDs never really took off in the states. More specifically, several software companies decided that they wanted to break into the home video business. Sometimes these titles used the same codecs that were used for the companies’ FMV games and others were simply .avi files on a disc. In many cases, the video quality suffered due to ghastly frame rates and small screen size necessary to cram a single film onto a single disc. Both that and people wondering “Why watch movies on my computer when I have a perfectly good VCR?” after the novelty quickly wore off led to a drop in sales. Some tried refining their quality and promoting that watching movies on the computer freed up the TV for other members of your family while others started working to make such titles less of a novelty item and more of an actual piece of software. Sure, some had previously tried throwing in asides about using samples as startup sounds or in presentations in an attempt to make their products seem more less like a simple video, but they weren’t fooling anyone. Drastic changes had to be made.
Medio Multimedia tried this when they released Midnight Movie Madness. Although the box made sure to stress you could watch a bunch of crazy movie clips, it also played up its inclusion of quizzes and trivia. There was even an attempt a (very loose) plot, as shown in the video below:
Despite being top–billed on the packaging, Gilbert Gottfried only appears in the above scene and the rest of the “game” apparently involves you interacting with the ghostly greaser between clips from various movie trailers. I can see why they hired Gilbert, seeing as how he had been a host on USA’s “Up All Night” block, but the cameo nature of his appearance is admittedly disappointing. It was probably a money issue, but I like to think he was too busy recording material for the Sportz Freaks series…
Medio Multimedia seems to have long since vanished, along with video CD-ROM titles in general. When DVDs came along, some were able to capitalize on the public’s confusion of DVDs with CD-ROM video titles, but eventually people wised up and these titles were banished to used bookstores and the discount sections of computer supply chains.