Emulating CD-I maybe one of the hardest things to do on a computer.
However, luckily, there is only a single emulator that can emulate it so that narrows things down a lot. So lets start, the process maybe slightly tedious but bear with me and I promise you will have a working version of the emulator by the end of it.
Step 1: Download the actual emulator
Go to http://www.cdiemu.org/
Once there you should see the download section on your left. Under Get it!. Click that and you will be navigated to a page where you will be able to download the different available versions of the emulator. The page you should be on right now should look something like this
From here download the cdiemu-0.5.2.zip file, this is the actual emulator. Once downloaded extract all the files in the zip into a folder on your hard drive, lets name the folder CD-I for easier referencing shall we?
Now, the next file you will need is a working BIOS and there are two ways to go about getting it. 1) You can just google it and download it online (which is illegal so do it at your own risk) or 2) You could create your own BIOS from the CD-I player.
The first method is, literally, easier done than said so we aren’t going to get into that and a guide to the second method is mentioned in the CD-I emulator site so you can look it up.
Step 2: Getting the games
Since the emulator does not support (cannot read) data from your CD drive you will need to get ISO’s of the games that you want to play to be able to play them on the emulator. Most of the games that you download can be extracted and saved using a program called CDRWIN. However, you camy come across certain games that will be written in the CD-i Ready format which may cause you some trouble since most programs won’t be able to handle this type of file system You wont be able to create an ISO of these titles. That is where CloneCD comes in. It is can read the “pregap mode 2 data” that is within all CD-i Ready discs. However, you will need a CD-ROM player to read the disc in the first place. Open CloneCD, select the option for copying a “Game CD” and tick the boxes to “Read SubChannel Data” from data and audio tracks. Then begin creating the ISO.
Step 3: Setting up the emulator
Once your done with getting the BIOS rom and the iso for your game file place both of them in the CD-I folder. Then start the emulator by double-clicking on the “wcdieum” file.
Once the emulator is loaded click go to file è emulate and navigate to your ISO. Then, double click the ISO and start playing.
Notes: You might want to fool around with the configurations a bit to check which set of configurations suit your PC.