What’s the story?
Panasonic was itching to grab a piece of the games market, and built this 32-bit console to specifications outlined by the The 3DO Company – a firm with the novel idea of getting existing manufacturers to build their machines. Sanyo and Goldstar were to produce 3DO consoles, too. CD-ROM based and far pricier than its rivals of the time – the Mega Drive and SNES – the 3DO was marketed as a “multimedia” device for early adopters rather than a “fun” games console, which is perhaps why it tanked, relatively speaking. Two million were sold, but the 3DO was discontinued in 1998.
Why should I want one?
The 3DO boasted eye-popping graphics for its time, stomping all over the 16-bit Mega Drive and SNES: arcade ports like Samurai Shodown and Super Street Fighter II Turbo were visually identical to the originals – and often with superior CD-quality sound. It also featured arguably the best version of motorbike classic Road Rash ever.
What to look for
There are usually plenty of 3DO consoles for sale on eBay (we saw Panasonic and Goldstar machines) but individual controllers are rare as rocking horse poo – so try to buy one with at least two joypads. Prices vary, but you might pay as much as £150 for a 3DO with a handful of games. Individual games for sale are also common, so you shouldn’t have much trouble picking up the best titles online.
What to play
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
When launched this was the greatest home version of the classic one-on-one beat ‘em up – graphically the equal of the arcade original and sonically its superior. Not bad gameplay-wise either.
Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels
Games Workshop’s sci-fi board game got its best digital outing on the 3DO, with an adaptation that added tactical planning to a first-person shooter template. Scary stuff.
Motorcycle racing with a healthy dash of violence, Road Rash looked the business on 3DO, with its proper 3D environments making the Mega Drive’s cardboard-esque backgrounds look laughable.