Lyonsden Blog

Tag - CD32

My New Amiga CD32 Console

Amiga CD32

Introduction

I never owned an Amiga CD32 Console back when they launched in 1993. I remember reading about them in Amiga Format and wanting one desperately but could never justify or afford one at the time. Not long after they launched Commodore went out of business and so the CD32 quickly disappeared from the shelves and from my mind.

Fast-forward some 25 years and I recently found myself pining after one of these mythical beasts again. Reading numerous articles about them in magazines and on the ‘net added further fuel to the fire. So I did the only sensible thing a middle-aged bloke could do and bought my very own Amiga CD32! Here she is in all her 32-bit glory!

 

Amiga CD32

My new Amiga CD32 console

 

For it’s age and what I paid for it I think it’s in great condition. Sure there’s a couple of blemishes and the badge is scratched but for a 26 year old machine I’m more than happy with it. It’s already been fully re-capped so I don’t have to worry about that side of things either.

 

Amiga CD32

Close-up of the Amiga CD32 control panel. From left to right: reset button, power and drive activity LED’s, volume slider and headphone socket.

 

All the ports, buttons and outputs work as they should. However I can’t really see myself using it as a CD player much but at least the option is there should I want to!

 

Connectivity

 

Amiga CD32

Amiga CD32 expansion port

 

Amiga CD32 expansion port

A look inside the CD32 expansion port

 

There’s an expansion port on the back which can be used to install all manner of wonderful contraptions. In the past there were FMV cartridges, floppy drives and the SX-1 which could convert the CD32 into a full blown computer. Nowadays you can hook up a TerribleFire expansion which offers extra RAM, faster CPU’s, IDE interface and more. I’ll definitely be looking to utilise this port soon!

 

Amiga CD32

Amiga CD32 rear connectivity. From left to right: power rocker switch, power socket, RF aerial output, s-video, composite video and right/left audio RCA sockets.

 

There’s plenty of connectivity round the back as standard. No less than 3 video output options, RF, composite and S-video. The latter provides by far the best picture if you have a TV capable of utilising it.

 

Amiga CD32

View of the Amiga CD32 rear – that rusty screw definitely needs sorting…

 

 

Amiga CD32

Amiga CD32 left side. From left to right: controller port 1 (for gamepads), controller port 2 (for gamepads or a mouse), aux port (for an Amiga keyboard).

 

Amiga CD32

Amiga CD32 right side. Not much to see here really.

 

Amiga CD32

Made in 1993 in the Philippines.

 

Amiga CD32

View of the CD tray and laser pickup.

 

The CD mechanism is pretty basic but it gets the job done. My CD32 came with a spare laser pickup assembly but hopefully I won’t need to use it for a long time! Discs don’t click into place like on a lot of modern CD players. Instead they’re held in place by the friction of the lid pressing down on the CD when it closes.

 

Amiga CD32

Inside of the lid. This is what presses down on a CD to grip it.

 

A Few Issues

 

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If there’s one facet of this CD32 console that concerns me, it’s this rear left corner. The rusty screws are an eyesore but also easily rectified. No, the thing that worries me is that it looks like the lid has cracked at some point and been glued back together. The repair actually looks quite effective and from a normal viewing distance isn’t that noticeable (I’ve zoomed in close in the above photo). However there is a spring loaded lever underneath this corner which ‘lifts’ the lid up automatically once you start to raise it and so this area is presumably under a lot of strain. I’m not going to do anything with it for the time being other than keep on eye on it. I will however be keeping my eyes peeled for a replacement lid just in case!

 

A Quick Peek Inside

Because, why not? Had to make sure that it had actually been re-capped as advertised (it had) at the very least! Also wanted to take a look at the Akiko chip which is only found in the CD32. This is the chip that allows it to convert planar to chunky graphics in hardware for 3D games.

 

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CD32 Controller

The controller that came with my Amiga CD32 console is in superb condition. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s in mint condition. It doesn’t look like it has ever been used. Sadly though it actually proved to be faulty – the D-pad ‘up’ just doesn’t work at all. Very disappointing – no idea what is wrong with it so will have to open it up and take a look soon.

 

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Amiga CD32 Competition Pro Controller

 

Luckily I was able to pick up this Amiga CD32 compatible ‘Competition Pro’ gamepad off eBay pretty cheaply. No to be confused with the almost identical ‘honey bee’ which is much more expensive, although I’ve no idea why! Although it doesn’t look as cool as the official controller it works perfectly. At the end of the day that’s all that matters so I can still play with my new toy until I get around to sorting the original controller!

 

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PSU

Sadly my CD32 console didn’t come with an original Commodore PSU but rather this modern one made by LaCie. Although given the ropy nature of some of the official C= PSU’s maybe that’s a good thing?

 

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That Badge – Revisited & Fixed!

OK, I’ll confess that the scratched Amiga CD32 metal badge annoyed me more than I though it would. I started hunting around for a possible replacement. Replacement badges are quite commonplace for the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers so I had planned to replace my scratched up old one with a brand new one. Turns out CD32 badges are quite hard to come by. However I did come across a guy in Switzerland selling vinyl CD32 stickers on eBay that he claimed fitted exactly so I ordered one.

 

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True to his word, the vinyl sticker was indeed a perfect fit in terms of size. It’s also a very close match in colour and tone to the original, certainly close enough for me anyway. It was a little tricky to get it lined up perfectly, but now it’s in place I think it looks fantastic. Sure it’s not quite as glossy as the original, it’s got more of a silk finish, but I’m very happy with the end result.

FYI, I didn’t remove the original badge – I simply stuck the new one on top of the old metal one. The reason I did this was so that if I ever wanted to go back to a 100% original finish I could simply peel the new one off.

 

We have ignition!

Here’s a quick video I did of the awesome CD32 boot-up sequence. This must have been amazing back when it launched, two years before Sony’s original PlayStation in the UK! The quality is a little bit ropy as it’s only connected up to my TV using composite video at the moment.

 

 

Definitely time to dig out my CD32 Scene magazines and see what games I need to buy to start my collection!

CD32 Scene Issue 2 – Out now!

CD32 Scene Issue 2

Nearly six months after its debut, CD32 Scene Issue 2 is finally out. It’s lost the coverdisk, it’s a little thinner but it’s also cheaper too. Best of all I’m happy to report that the quality of the writing has vastly improved. It’s not perfect and there are a few printing errors near the front but it no longer spoils the content of the magazine.

 

CD32 Scene Issue 2

Reviews

 

Speaking of content… Review wise we’ve got Zerosphere, Heroes of Gorluth, Tiger Claw and Power Glove. There’s a look at some of the recent PD releases and the next part of the A-Z of CD32 games.

 

CD32 Scene Issue 2

A look at recent PD releases

 

There’s also an interesting overview of expansion cards available for the CD32 (both old and new), news, an interview with Richard Löwenstein and some game previews.

 

CD32 Scene Issue 2

Expanding the CD32

 

As the author is quick to acknowledge, the CD32 scene is quite small at the moment and there isn’t a massive amount of new content that can be covered. However I enjoyed everything CD32 Scene Issue 2 had to offer and think it was well worth the £3.99 asking price. I feel it’s worth pointing out that most of the games featured work on regular Amigas too, so even if you don’t yet own a CD32, the content is still mostly relevant.

 

If you’d like to get hold of your own copy then take a look here.

CD32 Scene – A Brand new Amiga mag is out!

CD32 Scene

Just in time for the weekend the very first issue of a brand new Amiga CD32 magazine; ‘CD32 Scene’ arrived in the post, complete with a Cover CD and a cool fridge magnet. The cover CD features the full game ‘Lumberjack Reloaded’, demos of ‘Heroes of Gorluth’ and ‘Zerosphere’ plus some PD games and a video from the former editor of Amiga CD! magazine.

CD32 Scene

The magazine along with the cover CD and fridge magnet

According to the blurb on the cover this is the first new physical CD32 magazine there has been in the past 22 years! I don’t even have a CD32 yet but felt an endeavour like this needed to be supported so bought a copy. Besides there is a massive overlap between the Amiga and CD32 – the CD32 basically being a stripped down A1200 with a CD-ROM drive. It’s a system I would like to add to my retro collection at some point in the near future anyway.

CD32 Scene

Worthy Review

Inside the A5 sized magazine there’s plenty to read such as reviews of brand new Amiga games including Worthy, Reshoot and Lumberjack Reloaded. There’s also a look at several Public Domain demos that have been released recently.

CD32 Scene

Article looking into the troubles Commodore experienced before the launch of the CD32

There are plenty of articles about the history of the CD32 itself too alongside an interview with Martyn Brown, co-founder of Team 17 about his experience of making games for the system. There’s also current news and previews of upcoming games and more to get stuck into.

CD32 Scene

A-Z of CD32 Games

Of particular interest to me was the A-Z of CD32 Games. Given that I don’t currently have any games for the system at all this will be a great reference source for me when I inevitably start to build up a collection 😉

If you’d like to find out more or purchase yourself a copy (issue 2 is being worked on now) then head over to the CD32 scene store page.