3DO Interactive Multiplayer

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3DO Interactive Multiplayer
Panasonic FZ-1 3DO Interactive Multiplayer
Manufacturer Panasonic, Sanyo and GoldStar (now LG)
Generation Fifth generation
Release date October 4, 1993 (NA)
March 20, 1994 (JP)
1994 (EU)
Media type CD-ROM
Input controller 1 port (the controller itself had an extra port)
Successor Panasonic M2 (cancelled)
3DO logo

The official title of this console is 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, but 3DO is the accepted abbreviation that the console is most commonly called. The original release date for the 3DO was October 4, 1993 in North America, priced at $699.95 USD. The original version was produced by Matsushita (known as Panasonic outside of Japan), and later versions were produced by Sanyo and Goldstar, though even more companies had rights to produce their own variants. The 3DO was officially discontinued in 1996, after selling only about 2 million units. The 3DO Company eventually went defunct in 2003.

Hardware variations[edit]

Panasonic FZ-1[edit]

The Panasonic FZ-1 was the first 3DO released to the public. It featured a front-loading CD tray, and controllers included headphone jacks and volume controls.

Panasonic FZ-10[edit]

FZ-10 top front angle.jpg

The Panasonic FZ-10 is an updated top-loading version of the FZ-1. The controllers were made smaller and lighter, though the headphone jack was removed.

Panasonic ROBO 3DO[edit]

The Panasonic ROBO 3DO was a Japan-only variant of the FZ-1, with a five disc CD drive. It was meant for installation in hotels.



The Goldstar 3DO looks similar to the Panasonic FZ-1 and featured a similar front-loading try. It even included a certificate to send in with a roll of film for custom-made photo CDs from Goldstar. The Goldstar 3DO Alive II is a South Korean variant of this.

Sanyo TRY[edit]

The Sanyo TRY 3DO was a Japan-only release by Sanyo. It is the rarest 3DO model.

Creative Labs 3DO Blaster[edit]

The 3DO Blaster, from Creative Labs, was a PC compatible ISA compatibility card for use with Windows 3.1, which allowed users to play 3DO games on their PCs. Instead of simply emulating them, it included everything down to the controller ports

Technical specifications[edit]

Technical specifications
CPU ARM60, 32-bit 12.5 MHz RISC CPU, manufactured by ARM Holdings
Memory 2 MB DRAM

32 KB battery backed SRAM

GPU Two accelerated video co-processors with 25 MHz clock rate, able to produce 9-16 million pixels per second
Display 640×480 pixel resolution, with either 16-bit color drawn from 24 bits, or true 24-bit color
Audio 16-bit Stereo Sound, with 44.1 kHz Sound Sampling Rate. Fully supports Dolby Surround Sound
Media CD-ROM drive with 320ms access time, 300 KBps data transfer, and 32 KB RAM buffer
Input ports Two expansion ports built into the console
Output ports RF, Composite, and S-Video


  • Standard peripherals for the 3DO include a light gun, controllers, and even wireless controllers from Logitech and Nakitek.
  • Other controllers included a steering wheel, the 3DO mouse from Panasonic, a six-button controller made by Capcom, and various joysticks.
  • An MPEG add-on that added an extra 256 KB of storage space received an extremely limited release for the console, mainly in Japan.
  • Though Sega Genesis controllers do not work with the console and may damage it, the Genesis extension cables are compatible with the 3DO and its controllers (you have to cut them down a little). FM Towns extension cables work as well.
  • A Super Nintendo controller adapter was released for the 3DO.
  • A digital video cartridge was released by various manufacturers for use with their 3DO models, allowing the 3DO to play Video CDs.  Only the Goldstar version was released in the United States.
  • Other accessories that never made it beyond the prototype stage include a modem designed by AT&T.

Various information[edit]

  • Though the console featured only a single controller port, controllers also had ports built in so they could be daisy-chained together, with up to eight controllers being supported. All controllers were compatible with all controller ports.
  • Was the first 32-bit gaming console on the market, and was entirely CD-ROM-based. Models range from top-loaders to front-loaders, and could hold varying amounts of CDs, up to five at once.
  • The 3DO featured the first CD music visualizer of any game console on the market. It was marketed heavily as an Audio Visual device instead of simply another game console, a strategy that such companies as Sony and Microsoft would later adopt.
  • Was compatible with audio and photo CDs, and could handle video CDs via the use of certain expansion modules.
  • Supported stereo sound, as well as RF, Composite, and S-Video.
  • Featured no region locking, meaning almost any game from any region could be played on any 3DO, regardless of that machine’s region.
  • Capable of playing CD-Rs.
  • Used its own OS for standardization across its products.
  • Featured an internal saving system for games.
  • 32-bit OS specially designed for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer.
  • Featured a wide array of first and third-party peripheral controllers.
  • Certain 3DO units have issues with ribbon cables becoming loose, which can lead to the CD tray not opening properly.
  • A bug in the 3DO OS caused clicking noises while audio tracks were playing in several early games. Despite the problem being resolved, some playback problems still occurred, so game audio can sometimes be accompanied by popping sounds.
  • Internal saves can only be erased by using a disk that features a memory management system. Many 3DO games and demo discs included this feature, though not all.
  • Early 3DO controllers have difficulty performing a roll command on the D-pad, making it difficult to play certain games that require the command.
  • Not all games are compatible across regions, since non-Japanese games lack the required kanji characters. While many games featured these programmed onto the disc, not all do.
  • Because consoles were put out by different companies, certain specialty controllers and a handful of games are not compatible with certain consoles, particularly the Goldstar 3DO models.