Based on an Amiga 1200, the CD32 has some minor differences in its specification. Obviously having a CD-Rom based system as well as a console form factor with no integrated keyboard. The system itself utilised the Motorola 68020 CPU, 2mb of RAM and the AGA chipset, mirroring the Amiga 1200.
The key difference between the CD32 and the Amiga 1200 on the main board is the Akiko chip. The Akiko acts as the CD-Rom controller and facilitated graphics performance. Unfortunately, virtually no games on the CD32 utilised the chip and its features.
Upon the system’s release, there were only a handful of games available. Many more games had been promised by the end of the year, but many did not make it to release.
By this time people were used to Commodore making questionable marketing and product decisions. The CD32s potential was hampered by Commodore deciding to bring its launch forward significantly. This resulted in developers not having sufficient time to fully realise its potential for games development before it’s launch. Inevitably this meant that most games released for the system were just Amiga ports.
The CD32 could be expanded and essentially turned into an Amiga 1200. Much in the same way with the CDTV, users could add floppy/hard drives, mouse and keyboards to the system.
As a concept, Commodore had more right with the CD32 than with the CDTV, but poor product and marketing decisions meant it got off to a slow start. In retrospect, the CD32 was destined to never succeed. The following couple of years saw the likes of the Sony PlayStation released which changed the gaming landscape forever. It seems unlikely now that the system would have been able to compete.
Amiga CD32 Peripherals & Accessories
CD32 peripherals were certainly expensive, even more so today! There were not a huge amount of accessories made for the CD32, the most useful include the Paravision SX-1, ProModule, TF328 and DCE SX-32 which all add the ability to expand the CD32 in to a fully fledged Amiga. These devices allowed the addition of Floppy Drive, Hard Drive and Keyboard as well as some offering further processor enhancements. These expansions would essentially turn the CD32 in to an Amiga 1200.
An MPEG Full Motion Video (FMV) Module was also released. This allowed the CD32 to play Video CD’s.
Fancy splashing out on your CD32 and getting hold of some of some extremely rare peripherals? Then check out the ebay links below and find out just how much it will set you back to own!
MPEG Video Decoder
Best Amiga CD32 Games
Whilst there are some CD32 exclusives, many CD32 games are simply Amiga ports. However, this should not discredit the fact that there are some great games on the system. Some of the best are straight Amiga ports. For example, the CD32 version of Simon the Sorcerer is a ‘talkie’ version of the Amiga original. The voice acting skills of Chris Barrie were employed to bring Simon to life, making this the definitive version of the game.
Check out some of our favourite CD32 games below and the prices they are available at on ebay.
How to Emulate this system?
Amiga CD32 emulation is reasonably well catered for, so it is not that hard to find a good Amiga CD32 emulator. We recommend taking a look at RetroArch if you are seeking an all in one solution. RetroArch emulates a large number of systems including the Amiga CD32. RetroArch is a front end that utilises emulator ‘cores’, it is reasonably easy to use and has lots of good supporting documentation on how to use it. RetroArch is available across a number of platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many consoles. Take a look at our quick start guide for RetroArch which can get you up and running in 5 minutes.
The king of Amiga emulation has long reigned in the form of UAE. UAE provides emulation of all variances of the Commodore Amiga (including the CDTV and CD32). It allows emulation of all original stock hardware, but also of additional hardware such as hard drives and accelerator cards.
It is the most complete, all in one Amiga CD32 emulator you will find.
There are a few flavours of UAE available. Depending upon your platform and also skill level, you will find something that suits your needs.
The most configurable and advanced Amiga emulator. Recommended if you want to play around with depth settings and recreating your old Amiga set up more accurately. Check out WinUAE here.
This package is very much focussed on gaming and has a much more accessible interface. Definitely recommended if you want to primarily play games with minimal fuss. Check out FS-UAE here.
A really good all in one solution to experience the Amiga on your Windows PC. The package contains all you need to get running out of the box. This is the best plug and play Amiga CD32 emulator if you are not confident with setting up emulators. Check out Amiga Forever here.
A UAE port for Android. Provides a very good level of emulation of all stock Amiga hardware. But, can be used on the go on your mobile device. Check out UAE4ALL here.