Limited Run Games CDi Spoon controller
Screenshot by Destructoid

Limited Run Games CD-i Spoon replica controller gives the full agonizing experience

Not for shoveling food.

When I reviewed Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore, Limited Run Games sent me a press kit. It included their, er, “Retro Inspired Switch & PC Controller,” which is a cheeky way of saying it’s a reproduction of the Philips CD-i controller.

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One of them, anyway. The Philips CD-i had a few controllers made for it. The one that Limited Run Games chose was the “spoon” controller. The “22ER9019 CD-i Wired Controller.” It could have been worse, but only barely.

The CD-i Spoon: the controller that makes you ask, “What did I do wrong in life?”

Limited Run Games CDi Spoon Controller and Zoey's hand.
Image by Destructoid

The controller is Dinput. Windows recognizes it as a “6 axis 10 button joystick.” That’s weird for two reasons. It has 9 face buttons, but one of them is a home button, which Windows doesn’t recognize. So, it has 8 Windows-usable buttons, with 5 and 6 being nowhere to be found. There are also only two axes – X and Y. Windows knows this, but it still calls it a 6 axis controller. But those are the facts. 2 axis 8 buttons. Dinput.

With Switch, it works out of the box. The buttons are labelled. However, there is no ZR or ZL, and no capture button either.

It’s not an exact replica of the CD-i Spoon. There’s an extra button on the bottom, as well as one at the top. If you hadn’t seen the controller before, you probably wouldn’t even realize that it hasn’t always been like that. To be honest, I’ve never held an authentic Spoon in my hands. I have about two jillion controllers in my apartment, and a Spoon isn’t one. So, I can’t really confirm how authentic it feels. However, I’ve held plenty of ‘90s controllers, and this one is convincingly ‘90s quality.

None of that matters, however. The controller is a nightmare.

Arzette: Jewels of Faramore This is a very special calendar.
Screenshot by Destructoid

Limited Run Games has such a commendable commitment to the bit. Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is the spiritual sequel to the derided CD-i Zelda games, Link: The Faces of Evil and Zelda: Wand of Gamelon. The developers managed to take the pungent formula of those games and make an actually great game out of it. However, it still looks and smells like a CD-i game.

So, what better way to complete that experience than sticking one of the system’s notorious controllers into your hand?

The quality of the controller is fine. Actually using it sucks out loud. From the looks of it, you might expect that you use it with one hand, but that’s not really a great option, especially in Arzette.

Arzette has a “classic controls” mode which maps jumping to up on the, er, D-ring. That allows you to jump while moving, which is pretty important. Attacking while jumping is possible with one hand, but it’s difficult since you need to take your finger off the directions to hit the attack button. Crouch attacking is essentially impossible with one hand. Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon both locked your character into the crouching position so you could attack low with one hand, but Arzette didn’t borrow that detail for their classic controls, so you need a helping hand.

It feels really weird to play with two hands. Working the d-pad with my left is fine; that’s its normal assigned duty. However, my right hand is then relegated to working, like, one button. My right hand deserves more than respect than that. It puts in a lot of hard work.

Regardless of what hand you use, the D-ring just feels imprecise and awful. It’s like the Neo Geo CD controller had a disappointingly underachieving sibling.

Link Faces of Evil Stretching out. Getting his stuff or something.
Screenshot by Destructoid

The CD-i Spoon can be used with any Switch game, but I’m not sure why you’d want to. In the early ‘90s, there were some one-handed controllers for the SNES, for use with games like Derby Stallions and Mini Yonku Shining Scorpion. So, with that in mind, you could maybe use the Retro Inspired Switch & PC Controller for, say, Pocket Card Jockey on Switch. Or you could download the new Derby Stallion from the Japanese eShop. I don’t know; I’m just spitballing here.

However, if you want to get the CD-i experience on PC while playing, I don’t know, Space Ace, then this is an option. Any program that allows Dinput should be workable on some level.

With that in mind, the Faces of Evil and Wand of Gamelon remasters that Seth Fulkerson worked on don’t seem to support Dinput. I know that there are programs that allow you to map a Dinput controller to Xinput, but out of the box, it doesn’t allow you to set the controls. However, you would be able to map it on alternative ways to access CD-i games.

The controller is still available for pre-order on the store page, with an estimated shipping date of November. Alternatively, if you order the Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore collector’s edition, you can get the controller in pink. Whether or not you’re going to use it, I’m not sure. 

Really, I’m impressed that Limited Run Games’ “Retro Inspired Switch & PC Controller” even exists. Selling torture devices takes guts, but love to see it. Arzette is a fantastic game, but I’m not sure playing it with a Spoon is a superior way of enjoying it. If you really want that CD-i experience, I’m not judging. I, too, endeavor to play things the way the Gods of Thumbs intended, and I always respect the commitment.


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Author
Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.