Review: The FFVII Toshiba DVD

– Article author: Shademp
– Published on: Nov 11, 2012 –

To showcase the splendor of the brand new DVD format, and to take advantage of the ubiquitous FFVII hype at the time, the Toshiba Corporation released the “Vision Connect P130” home computer along with the ”FINAL FANTASY VII” Original DVD High Quality CG Collection in June 1997.

The DVD contains a portion of the game’s FMVs and presents them in a DVD-resolution format. The PlayStation showed these sequences in 320×224 pixels, while the DVD standard of 720×480 is used for these higher quality versions. A great improvement.

It also features interviews with the creators behind FFVII, taken from the “Making of FFVII” TV spot that was aired on PerfecTV! in Japan on January 24th 1997, one week before the first release of the game. Footage from these interviews were later used for the Squaresoft Collector’s Video VHS, released in the US to promote the game’s English release.

The existence of this DVD has largely gone by even the most hardcore FFVII fans and collectors. I write this review now after having spent $1,499.95 to acquire it and in the hopes of making this a more well known item.

Apart from this review, you can read our extensive article “PlayStation versus Toshiba DVD: FMV Analysis” to learn all the differences between the CG sequences of the final game and the DVD.

Content Index
History & Pricing
DVD & FMV Stats
Content Summary
– – Intro & Menus
– – “CG MOVIE”: Montage Video
– – “CG CLIP”: Titled FMVs
– – “INTERVIEW”: ‘Making Of’ Feature
Credits & Sources


The DVD format was invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic in 1995. In 1997, Toshiba began marketing their new home computer Vision Connect P130, which would be their first PC to include a DVD-ROM.

Added incentive to purchase this computer was given by selling it together with a software package. Among other things this package included:
– Microsoft Works95
– “Scorcher“, a 3D racing game
Final Fantasy VII Original DVD” Original DVD-High Quality CG Collection

The Vision Connect P130 hit the Japanese market on June 10, 1997 for the cost of 248,000 yen. What would this represent in USD both then and now? Qhimm member Luksy provided his two yens on this question in the original Qhimm thread about the DVD.

250,000 yen in 1998 was around $1,800. Adjusted for inflation means around $2,400 in today’s money (2012). According to Wikipedia, the average PC price was under $1,000 in 1998, so the price of $1,800 for a computer with one of the first DVD drive sounds like a decent price.

So, if you were to buy the Vision Connect P130 with its entire package, you would have to spend approximately $2,400 in 2012’s money. Accounting for inflation when translating between currencies is no exact science, however. TLS member Flintlock made an estimation of the Vision Connect’s present-day (2012) cost, and got approximately $2,700 as his result.

Due to none of the additional items ever being intended to be sold separately (the FFVII DVD cover even has the label “Not For Sale”), we can only roughly estimate the price at which the DVD should be sold at. Most estimates will bring the tag to above $1,000, though, by subtracting the total price of the Vision Connect with that of an average PC, then taking into account the FFVII DVD’s value as a collectible.

Among the FFVII fan community, both this computer and the DVD that came along with it has remained largely unknown. My friend Kusabi who has spent over a decade browsing both Japanese and English FFVII forums, claims to not have seen even a single mention of the high quality CG collection during this time.

To speculate, perhaps the item’s obscurity is owed to PC fans and game console fans being two different demographics that rarely cross. The computer was probably only ever advertised to PC fanatics who were interested in the very newest technology.

In 2005, we see on the Assembler Games forums that a package with the FFVII DVD, the Japanese FFVII demo and an FFXI beta was sold for a total of $1,400 to a game magazine editor situated in the US. It was deemed that the FFVII DVD largely overshadowed the value of both the FFVII demo and the FFXI beta.

One poster in this thread claimed that the FFVII DVD was only for the first 500 buyers of the Vision Connect, but this has not been confirmed elsewhere and is so far only a rumor.

On June 9th, 2011 the item appeared on eBay with the price tag of $1,499.95, by seller qualitydisc. Bidding was closed and opened multiple times in a short period, until it finally closed later that summer. The item article still remained, though, and when Qhimm forum member SpooX stumbled upon it in early January 2012, he made a thread about it on Qhimm.

I was linked to the topic, and was overwhelmed by both the very existence of this collectible and its steep price. It took a week of pondering before I made the decision to contact qualitydisc and place a bet on this item, which was, in fact, not officially listed. I paid full price and got the DVD in my hands on February 9th.


In cooperation with: Square, DigiCube & AFRICA COMPANY
Runtime: 25 Minutes
Format: MPEG-2
Storage Capacity: 2GB
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frames/Second: 30
Resolution: 720×480 (640×448 without black borders)
PS versus DVD: Increased Saturation + Green Shift + Ghosting Removed

Technical Details

At the end of the DVD, special thanks is extended to DigiCube, AFRICA COMPANY and Square. DigiCube was a Square-owned subsidiary that served as their marketing/merchandising side until the merger with Enix. I have not managed to find any solid info about this “AFRICA COMPANY”.

Modern DVDs usually have a storage capacity of 4.7GB or higher, but the FFVII DVD shows its age by having a 2GB storage limitation, which it fills completely. It contains about 15-17 complete FMVs (depending on how you count), plus a dozen smaller excerpts. This is only a moderate selection compared to the total of 98 FMVs found among the three discs of the PlayStation game.

The change from 15 fps to 30 fps (which is DVD NTSC standard) does nothing, as the innate framerate of each FMV is 15 fps. Images have simply been duplicated to fit the DVD standard.

FMV Performance

The standard DVD resolution is 720×480, but the FMVs have not been fully forced to adapt to this resolution. There is a heavy use of black borders to fill out the space that the FMVs do not. In all but two cases, you would get an image size of 640×448 if you cut the black borders. Note that the PS FMVs played at a resolution of 320×224, which makes them “half” the quality of DVD FMVs without borders.

The FFVII opening FMV and the PerfecTV feature are the two videos where the black borders are much smaller. A snapshot from the opening video but with no black walls would be a roughly 717×456 image. With no video segments being cut off, it makes you wonder why black borders were used so heavily for the other videos.

An oddity with the FMV borders is that they have now turned fuzzy, meaning that if you want to cut out only the FMVs you will either have to leave some dark lines or delete a line from the actual sequence.

The saturation appears to have been slightly increased, but the most apparent change, aside from sheer quality, is that the DVD shifts the color tone strongly towards green.

Adding more green creates different effects for every color, such as in the GELNICA sequence, where we see increases in yellow.

The PS FMVs suffer from ghosting as a result of poor video practices. Each frame will have the ghost of its previous frame, no matter what.

This issue does not exist with the DVD clips, and though the ghosting is an issue that would go unnoticed to most people playing the game, this improvement is most welcome.

In summary, there have been improvements in picture quality, but odd choices were made, such as overusing black walls and adding more green to every clip. For perfectionists who wish to make an FFVII mod with high quality CG scenes, this DVD is unlikely to have anything to offer.


Intro & Menus

Upon inserting the DVD we are treated to the Toshiba and Squaresoft logos. The opening FMV sequence of FFVII follows, coupled with the opening music theme. Only one second of the “star sweep” sequence has been left in.

Further observations:
– For some reason Aerith’s footsteps are muted, but all other sound effects are preserved
– The posters and writings on the wall are much clearer, and previously indiscernible text is now readable
– When the camera zooms back and the FFVII logo appears, it is then followed by the subtitle, “Original DVD High Quality CG Collection”
– When we zoom in on the train station, the scene fades out in white before the train makes a full stop. After this, we are finally treated to the menus

The FFVII rendition of the “Prelude” theme plays in each menu screen for sixty seconds. The menus do not loop, so it will begin playing ‘CG MOVIE’ after sixty seconds in the main menu.

“CG MOVIE”: Montage Video

A 4-minute-41-second feature with a number of FMVs randomly edited together. The music track “Bombing Mission” plays first in the background, and is then followed by the “One-Winged Angel” theme.

Only in a few cases are FMVs played in their entirety, and these are sequences that can be viewed in the CG CLIP section anyway. 2 minutes, 8 seconds – less than half of the entire montage – are devoted to special footage that is not seen elsewhere on the DVD.

Here is a list of the partial sequences viewed during the montage which are not in the CG CLIP section, arranged in their in-game order of appearance.

FMV File Name (PS) Description
ONTRAIN Cloud jumping onto train.
MAINPLR Train circling around Midgar railway.
SMK Mako Reactor #5; bridge exploding.
NVLMK Nibelheim Reactor; pod containing mako monster falls over.
METEOSKY Junon doctor’s office; window curtains roll up to show Meteor outside.
HWINDFLY Highwind flying off from Junon after Tifa is rescued.
NRCRL Train crashes into North Corel.
GELNICA Gelnika takes off from the Junon Airport.
RCKTOFF The rocket successfully launches into space.
CANONH3F Rufus in his office while the energy projectiles from Diamond Weapon fly by.
PARASHOT Party parachuting into Midgar.
HWINDJET Highwind entering into a higher gear before flying off to the Northern Crater.

NRCRL is one of the closest to being a complete FMV, but lacks just above half a second of its intro. Even the sequence showing the Reactor #5 bridge exploding, SMK, is incomplete and lacks fragments of what is already one of the game’s shortest FMVs.

HWINDJET is also close to being complete, but four seconds at the end are missing.

After the montage is over the DVD immediately jumps to the next chapter.

“CG CLIP”: Titled FMVs

Preceding each FMV is a title card that states the name of the sequence and the number of frames it consists of. A date is also included, but the DVD doesn’t state what it represents. Perhaps this states when the FMV file was last tampered with?

Just like in the montage, the native audio of the sequences have been muted and excerpts from the game’s soundtrack are played instead.

FMV Name Frame Count Date FMV/Video Description
weapon0 870 Sep 13 Junon raises its defenses and weapons in preparation for Sapphire Weapon.
goldsaucer1 1350 Oct 16 Introductory FMV on your first visit to Gold Saucer.
goldsaucer2-3 720 Oct 16 Gondola date sequences. 1st: Speed Square. 2nd: Battle Square and Chocobo Jockeys.
goldsaucer4 960 Oct 16 Gondola date sequence. Zoom in on the Dio statue.
goldsaucer5B 330 Oct 16 Gondola date sequence. Balloons rising from Event Square.
goldsaucer7 1366 Oct 16 Firework sequences. This FMV was divided in two for the final game.
phoenix 778 Oct 25 Egg on top of Fort Condor hatches.
canonfire 2310 Aug 27 The Mako Cannon loads and fires.
fallpl 1536 Aug 27 The fall of the Sector 7 plate.
rckthit 1134 Sep 28 The rocket dispatching a capsule then crashing into Meteor. FMV was divided in two for final game.
nivlsfs 600 Sep 28 Sephiroth standing in the flames. Fire effects changed before final result.
greatpit 1000 Oct 25 Overview of the Northern Crater on your first visit there.
nivljnv 1280 Oct 25 Sephiroth unveils Jenova’s pod in the Nibel Reactor.
meteofix 740 Sep 13 Meteor heals itself after the collision with the rocket.
canonon 1340 Sep 28 Overview of Midgar when the Mako Cannon has just been installed.
boogsar 4169 [NO DATE] Gameplay recording of the FMVs in Bugenhagen’s observatory.
bike 384 Aug 27 AVALANCHE, on their respective vehicles, breaks out of the Shinra HQ. FMV length, effects and camera cuts were changed for the final game.
weapon1~5 3010 Sep 13 Gameplay recordings of Sapphire Weapon attacking Junon.

Like the table above mentions, there are differences to be spotted between the FMVs of the final game and those in the DVD. This is because Square, probably unintentionally, handed Toshiba older renditions of the CG sequences. A complete list of these aberrations can be found in the “PlayStation versus Toshiba DVD: FMV Analysis” article mentioned at the beginning of this review.

While these FMVs are a joy for the eye to watch, an eyebrow is raised at the sudden appearance of gameplay recordings with boogsar and weapon1~5 at the end. Not only are the FMVs directly recorded from a game session, but the intermediate non-FMV sequences are also shown. This means that there is, in fact, no increase in quality whatsoever. It boggles the mind why this made it into the DVD’s production, as all it does is fill space.

Even the final title card is lying: What we get to see is a brief look at weapon0 (again!), then weapon2 & weapon3. Were files lost? Did they run out of disc space and had to compensate? We can only speculate.

After the gameplay recording of Sapphire Weapon crashing into Junon ends, the DVD jumps directly to its next segment.

“INTERVIEW”: ‘Making Of’ Feature

This TV spot was aired on the PerfecTV! channel in Japan on January 24th, 1997. The roster of FFVII staff interviewed are:
– Hironobu Sakaguchi: Producer
– Yoshinori Kitase: Director
– Kazushige Nojima: Planner
– Ken Narita: Programmer
– Kazuyuki Hashimoto: CG Supervisor
– Nobuo Uematsu: Music Composer

The transition from the SNES to the PlayStation, the benefits of CD-ROM, the ideas behind the game and how it was made are revealed here. The interviews are coupled with pre-release footage, both normal gameplay and movie sequences. The seasoned FFVII player will notice a few difference between the final game and this pre-release footage. Wall Market briefly shows a different model for the save point. Only when seeing it in motion can you clearly make out that it consists of an orb with a turqoise square spinning around it.

While this Making of FFVII feature is a great addition to the DVD, it is only just below five minutes long. It is, therefore, dwarfed by the almost twelve minutes of interview material in the Squaresoft Collector’s Video VHS. Fortunately, the DVD version has camera shots of the staff and pre-release footage that the VHS tape does not have and vice versa. This appears to tell us that the DVD supplies us with only a fraction of what was aired on PerfecTV!, and that somewhere out there is a “Master Version” of these filmed interviews.


The FFVII Original DVD High Quality CG Collection succeeds in showcasing the DVD format’s power, and it is pure eye candy for anyone who wants to explore FFVII’s CG environments to find details that were previously indistinguishable. To someone like me, who both likes to collect and analyse, I gain a lot from this DVD, since I am able to make commentaries on the making of the FMVs and the various discrepancies with the final game. The enjoyability is also greatly increased with the PerfecTV! clip, which truly seals the deal for me.

The DVD fails with its waste of disc space, though. The desperate use of in-game recordings and the repeated footage between the montage and the titled FMVs prevents this collectible from truly achieving greatness. But then again, the DVD was not made as an effort to archive the game’s sequences, but as a prompt for people to purchase the Vision Connect when Japan was in the middle of its FFVII fever. While the interview feature could be considered a ‘waste’ of space as well, it was probably added as another way to draw the PC enthusiast to the PlayStation console and its new Final Fantasy title.

It is also a pity that the conversion of the (albeit outdated) Master FMVs that Toshiba received was not done perfectly. The green shift was unnecessary, and so was the presence of the huge black walls. Modifiers of the FFVII PC version will feel the greatest defeat by not finding anything here that they might think worthwhile for a mod.

I have not once regretted making this purchase. I will not sell the DVD for any price, nor will I share the original files. It is my hope that with this review, the FFVII High Quality CG Collection will become part of the common knowledge of the FFVII fan community, and that more collectors will be able to get their hands on it. The DVD is rarely sold, and sometimes it will only be sold together with the Vision Connect, thus increasing the price tag greatly, so take the chance when it appears if you are a hardcore collector.

If you’ve read this far into the review, then congratulations! Your reward is to experience the DVD’s main features directly. You can watch all the clips in succession in this YouTube playlist, with the option to watch each clip in HD if you like.

You may also right-click & save the links below to download every video (minus the FMVs recorded straight from gameplay), which have been brought to you without any decrease in quality.

Intro FMV
Montage Clips:
Full CG Clips:

PerfecTV! FFVII Interview Feature

Please credit TheLifestream.Net if you link to the above files and/or re-upload them elsewhere.


Toshiba Press Releases, May 12th 1997:

Computer Stats, Price & Shipping Date:

Other Links:
Assembler Games forums
Wiki Article on the DVD format

Special Thanks:

– SpooX, for informing us about this DVD. Original Qhimm Thread.

– Ebay seller qualitydisc (nowadays under the name “retro*dream”), for allowing me to purchase this gem. See the ended FFVII DVD sales article here.

– Thanks to TLS member Squall_of_SeeD for proofreading and correcting this article.

Discuss this DVD on our forums!