Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
33 Consoles of Christmas
3DO (1993)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 05, 2006   |   Episode 13 (Show Archive)  

It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!

Synopsis: Unlike other game consoles, the 3DO wasn't the name of an actual system. Instead it was the technology used by several different companies. In theory the idea was to have Panasonic, Goldstar and Sanyo competing against each other to make the prices go down and keep everybody on their toes. Unfortunately that's not what happened. With only a few solid games and several models to choose from, game consumers never warmed up to the 3DO. The introduction of educational products didn't help the 3DO convince Sega and Nintendo fans that it was the next evolution of the games market. Few would argue that the idea of the 3DO was good on paper, but in practice the system just couldn't muster enough support to make it a viable contender.

Best Games: D, Flashback: The Quest for Identity, Return Fire, and Way of the Warrior!

The 3DO is a difficult system to review. It's not that the system is too unusual looking for words, instead it's because there were several different incarnations of the 3DO from a bunch of different companies. In its short life the 3DO had one version that was top loading and two that featured a front loading trays. My personal favorite was the Panasonic model with the front loading tray; it had a nice boxy look that felt more like a high priced DVD player than a game console. In fact, I own a Panasonic DVD player that looks almost exactly like the 3DO. The other versions of the system were considerably less attractive. The top loading FZ-10 model is hideous; it's small and thin and doesn't look very sturdy. The Goldstar unit is also rather ugly; it looks more like a child's first VCR than an actual game system. The rest of the units pale in comparison to Panasonic's front loading model (the FZ-1 for those keeping track). If the 3DO was only that Panasonic model then this would score a solid B+, but since all of the other models were so damn ugly I have to give the overall look a C+.

Between the three drastically different designs the 3DO had during its short, pricy life, I have to say I prefer the Panasonic FZ-10 model. The pop-open top for discs still holds up today, as opposed to the FZ-1's front-loading version. The FZ-10 model also plays CD-Rs much better than its rival, making this a great system for damned, dirty software piraters like this guy I know that isn't me. The single controller port was a bizarre decision, opting for the daisy-chain effect rather than multiple ports on the system. I can't argue with that tried-and-true grey color scheme, as nearly every system in history chose that color as well. The FZ-1 looks a little bit too much like an ottoman than a console, and I would use it as such if I didn't have the other version. It feels durable enough as I drop it from this twelve-story window; we'll see how durable it really was when it gets to the ground.


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