3DO Interactive Multiplayer

From Academic Kids

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.

Missing image
Official 3do console logo

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A 3DO Interactive Multiplayer from Goldstar

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 a add-on MPEG video card (release 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.

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 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.




  • 32-bit 12.5 MHz RISC CPU (ARM60) made by Advanced RISC Machines (roughly equivalent to 25 MHz 68030)
  • Math co-processor
  • 32kb SRAM
  • True color 640x480 pixel resolution (approximately 16.7 million colors)
  • Two accelerated video co-processors capable of producing 9-16 million pixels per second (36-64 megapix/sec interpolated), distorted, scaled, rotated and texture mapped
  • Double-speed (depending on manufacturer) 300 kbit/s data transfer CD-ROM drive with 32 kilobyte RAM buffer
  • Multitasking 32-bit operating system
  • Super-fast bus speed (50 megabytes per second)
  • 36 separate DMA channels for processing data quickly
  • 16-bit stereo sound
  • 44.1 kHz sound sampling rate
  • Fully supports Dolby Surround Sound
  • Custom 16-bit Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
  • 2 megabytes of RAM
  • 1 megabyte of VRAM
  • 2 expansion ports


  • Panasonic 3DO Interactive Multiplayer FZ-1 (Release in Japan, Asia, North America, and Europe) The first 3DO system.
  • Panasonic 3DO Interactive Multiplayer FZ-10 (Release in North America, and Japan) Less costly than the FZ-1, the FZ-10 is smaller compare to the FZ-1.
  • Goldstar 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (North America only) Early models of the Goldstar systems cause some games not to work.
  • Sanyo 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (Japan only) The rarest model of the 3DO systems.

See also

External links

  • The 3DO FAQ (http://www.classicgaming.com/3dotoday/page1/3dofaq.txt)

This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL.


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