Amiga CD32

System Overview

The Amiga CD32 is Commodore’s attempt at consolidating the Amiga into a dedicated CD based gaming console. Released in 1993, it was to be Commodore’s final system.

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.

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. Check out RetroArch here 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.
Emulator Description Platform
WinUAE 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. Windows
FS-UAE 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. Windows / Mac / Linux
Amiga Forever 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. Windows
UAE4All 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. Android

Emulating the Amiga CD32 using a Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a compact single board computer which has become very popular for emulating retro computers and consoles. You can buy the Pi very cheaply and has a whole community supporting and building accessories and applications that are compatible with.

Significantly, for Retro Gaming enthusiasts, the Raspberry Pi offers fantastic all round emulation of many systems. It offers the ability to output games on HDTVs via HDMI or older CRT TVs via composite outputs. Combining the Raspberry Pi with Retropie, you have a device capable of emulating anything from the Atari 2600 to the Sony PlayStation.

Check out the different Raspberry Pi packages you can pick up on Amazon using the button below.

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