3DO Interactive Multiplayer is the name of a number of video game consoles released in 1993 and 1994 by Panasonic, Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company which were originally designed at the New Technology Group (which later became part of the 3DO Company) by Dave Needle and RJ Mical. After leaving EA Games, Trip Hawkins originally came up with the idea of the 3DO Multiplayer system.
The consoles had very advanced hardware features at the time: an ARM60 32-bit RISC CPU, two custom video co-processors, a custom 16-bit DSP and a custom math coprocessor. They also featured 2 megabytes of DRAM, 1 megabyte of VRAM, and a double speed CD-ROM drive for main storage, Up to 8 controllers could be daisy-chained on the system at once. In addition to special 3DO software, the system was able to play audio CDs (including support for CD+G), view Photo CDs, and Video CDs with an add-on MPEG video card (released in Japan only). However, few titles utilized the console's full potential, which, along with its high price (699.95 USD at release) and the inability of the console market to sustain multiple platforms, put it in an early grave. The final nail in the coffin was the scuttling of the project after the expensive development of the successor console, the M2.
It can be said that the 3DO software library exhibits some of the worst aspects of home video games at the time, even if there are a few gems. This was the dawn of CD-ROM gaming, so cutscenes of pixelated video footage dominated many titles at the expense of good gameplay. The best titles were usually ports of games from other systems--including Alone in the Dark,Myst, Out of This World, and Star Control II. Other notable titles include Need For Speed, Cannon Fodder, Slayer, Killing Time, and the first console port of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, which exceeded the original with its CD-quality audio. Game series that started on 3DO by Electronic Arts, Studio 3D0 and Crystal Dynamics established themselves on other 32-bit consoles.
In addition to the consoles, a 3DO Blaster ISA peripheral card for PCs which offered all the features of the home console was manufactured by Creative Technology.
The 3DO Company also designed a next-generation console called the M2, which was to use a PowerPC 602 processor, but the company abandoned the console business and sold the technology to Matsushita who never brought the system to the market.
The Goldstar 3DO console was released in the US and Korea at a MSRP of
$399. Goldstar expanded distribution of the 3DO system by making it
available through mass merchandisers and toy stores.
It has been noted that a few games seem to have a problem with the
early model Goldstar units. Cyberia, PO'ed, and The Horde lock up during
certain sections of the game. This is most likely due to the fact that early
model Goldstar units could not handle files over a certain size.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article which can be found here and the 3DO FAQ.