Hardware Heaven: Amiga CD32
A quick look back at Commodore’s third failed attempt to crack the console market
When the first AGA (Advanced Graphics Architecture) Amiga computers launched in 1992, Commodore realised it had a pretty solid gaming platform on its hands – it could comfortably claim to offer more than Sega or Nintendo. So for the third and final time, Commodore would attempt to enter the console market. Unlike the Commodore 64 Games System, the hardware wasn’t outdated, and unlike the CDTV the price was reasonably affordable to the mass market. With a newly designed joypad and a (relatively) compact grey case, it looked to be a viable contender.
The system launched to a solid reception in Europe in September 1993 and quickly amassed a large software library, though the bulk of this was comprised of legacy Amiga games ported to CD for a quick profit. Although the console dominated UK CD software sales during its short life, overtaking PC CD-ROM and Mega-cd game sales, it wasn’t enough to save Commodore. The company went bankrupt in 1994 and with nobody to manufacture or advertise new units, the CD32 faded into irrelevance. When Escom purchased Commodore and the Amiga technology later that year, it declined to support the CD32 – a sensible move, given the impending arrival of the Playstation and Saturn.