A Nutshell ...
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. While
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).
Motorola 68EC20 clocked at 14Mhz. 32-Bit Data path. 24-Bit
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)
History of the CD32
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!
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
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.
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.
to read more about the history of Amiga? Check
it out here!