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What Is It?

In A Nutshell ...

The Amiga CD32The Amiga CD32 is a CDROM-based 32-Bit strong 2D gaming console that was released in 1993 by Commodore (makers of the C64 and Amiga computers). With tons of colors, rich stereo sound, and huge software library to pick from - it is a great little gaming console. With a little more investment, the CD32 can be made into a full-blown computer - you can even surf the Net with it! An optional FMV card allows you to watch movies from hundreds of existing VideoCDs and CD-I movies. CD32 Screenshot from Super StardustWhile the console boasts great 2D graphics, it doesn't stand up to last generation's Playstation or N64 technology. It falls somewhere between SNES and Playstation for graphics capability. The sound is full four channel stereo sound - and it even has a headphone jack and built-in volume control. A 3D video processor chip (aka AKIKO) is inside the console, but no games to my knowledge ever harnessed its power. The controllers are much like modern controllers with a D-Pad, four arcade buttons, a 'start' button in the middle, plus two finger buttons on top. Without expansion, there are roughly 100 games for the unit, with expansion, you can play almost any game made for the Amiga computer (well over 5000 last I looked).

Technical Specifications

CPU: Motorola 68EC20 clocked at 14Mhz. 32-Bit Data path. 24-Bit address space.
Video System: AGA Chipset - 262144 colors from 16.8 Million Palette 1024x1024 max res.
Audio System: 4-Channel, stereo with 64 levels of volume; wavform or digital playback.
Memory: 1MB ROM, 2MB RAM (expandable to 8MB)
CDROM: Proprietary, multisession, double speed, caddyless, toploading - max xfer ~330K/s
Output: Composite, SVideo, RF (built in) - stereo RCA jacks for audio
Playback: CD32 games, Audio CD, CD+G (i.e. Karaoke Discs), and VideoCDs (w/optional FMV card)

The History of the CD32

The Commodore 64In 1981, a little company called Commodore Business Machines released a computer that would forever change the way the world looked at home computers. The Commodore 64 - which quickly became a household name. Commodore then snuck under Atari's nose and snatched away what would become the ultimate cult computer, the Commodore Amiga. In 1985, the Amiga boasted 4096 colors, rich stereo sound, and better-than-arcade graphics handling. It also introduced (what is still to date) one of the few true multitasking, multithreaded operating systems - and it ran on 512k of memory!

The Amiga computer and imagesThe Amiga became a cult classic - and still today, 15 years later - it has a strong cult following. An estimated 5 million people still use it today, and many more through emulation. However, the world never really got on the Amiga wagon and businesses using PC compatibles started shoving into the home, pushing out the Amiga. Game consoles like the Sega Genesis and Nintendo started taking over the game player's dollar. Commodore hustled to make a set-top, CDROM-based home entertainment device to compete with this growing market. In 1991, Commodore released the sure-to-bomb CDTV - basically an Amiga 500 with a CDROM drive built in. Needless to say, this was too little, too late.

Last frame of the one known CD32 TV ad.In 1993, Commodore released their LAST attempt to get back in the market - the awesome, yet under-touted CD32 game console. The VERY FIRST 32-Bit Game Console, in fact - boasting a dual-speed CDROM drive, AGA chipset, lots of expansion options, and even a few surprises. It sold very well, but not enough to keep the plunging Commodore stock out of the water and in 1994, Commodore filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Frame taken from CD32 advertisement for TV.The Amiga CD32 game console truly had what it would take to hold its own in the then-gamer revolution. There was NO video game console at the time that could hope to compete with its advanced technological architecture and HUGE library of potential AGA games to be ported from the compatible Amiga computer. However with the unerring ability to market some of the best technology in the world into the ground, Commodore failed to get it to take off before the second generation console games came out.

Want to read more about the history of Amiga? Check it out here!

All site-based graphics, scripts, and information is (c) Copyright 1998-2000 By Shane R. Monroe. All rights reserved worldwide. The CD32 Zone is a MonroeWorld Productions website. All information on this website is assumed to be free of copyright infringements. However, should disputed material be found, contact the webmaster immediately. Amiga, the Amiga Ball, and other Amiga elements are recognized trademarks of Amiga, Inc.