Bandai Playdia
Type Console Developer Bandai Digital Entertainment
Release Date 1994-Oct-23 Region(s) Japan
Initial Price $249 USD Games Released 33
     by Dark Watcher
The Playdia Quick Interactive System was one of Bandai's next attempt at entering the videogame console industry.  It was released in 1994 in Japan only and marketed as a family oriented system.
Geared toward a younger audience, the Playdia was somewhat smaller then most consoles.  Its blue casing giving it a more "toy" feel.  The Playdia controller used infrared waves instead of cords and was made to be used either on or away from the machine (see images)

Using CD-based games, the Playdia could produce impressive anime style Full Motion Video (FMV).  Most of the games were interactive educational titles.  Bandai did however make a few interactive games based on their franchise series such as Gundam, Sailor Moon, Ultra Man and Dragon Ball Z.  However, the games lacked real game play.  Simply being an interactive cartoon, the player simply instructs the onscreen character by selecting prompted menu choices using the Playdia control pad.
Bandai Playdia
The Playdia did not sell well.  Collectors or fans of the cartoon series may have had slight interest in it, but it was not enough to make an impact.  The console was a failure for Bandai.
FACT:  Bandai, seeing a need to recover losses from this failed system, began publishing Idol CDs in order to sell more Playdia units.  Idol CDs were interactive games featuring young Japanese girls that took off their clothes at the players command.  This tactic seems rather strange since the Playdia was originally marketed as a 'family oriented system'.  Guess daddy needed some fun too.  Funny thing is that it worked.  Bandai sold enough units to make a small profit.
     by Marriott_Guy
During the early mid 1990s, the video game market exploded due to the new technology available to developers, specifically the jump in processor speed and the release of the CD-ROM format.  No longer were game programmers limited by the small canvas standard cartridges provided - the CD-ROM was their dream come true.  With this new media format at their disposal, manufacturers began to truly expand the definition of a video game console.  Computer hybrids (Commodore 64 GS, FM Towns Marty, Amiga CD32, etc.) and all-inclusive multimedia devices (Philips CD-i, Panasonic 3DO, Pioneer LaserActive, etc.) were designed to target a new, and older, audience.  Taking a slightly different approach, popular game developer Bandai decided to enter the foray with their release of the Playdia.  Instead of following the current trends, Bandai marketed the Playdia to children and families.  Would this Japanese-only release hit the mark?  Far from it as you will see.

The Playdia is a rather unsophisticated looking unit.  The rectangular chassis is comprised of medium weight plastics, sporting an indigo-blue top section with a leprechaun-green base.  The design is simple and to the point.  A simple power and reset switch reside on the left top of the console, with a large banana-yellow 'open' button on the right to open the door of top loading CD drive.  There is a rectangular recess directly in front of the unit to park the wireless IR controller (the second system ever to have a wireless controller standard).  The weight of this unit is a bid odd, with most of the weight residing in the back.  A standard composite output and DC 9V power supply jack adorn the rear of the unit.  Though simplistic in appearance, I do have to say it does stand out in a collection due to the unique colors used.  But that is the only reason it stands out.
With a younger audience in its sights, the library of games for the Playdia is comprised of mostly edutainment titles.  All games for this system are interactive FMV movies - there is no real game play with this system with the exception of selecting from an action for your character from a lit of presented options.  The FMV titles are really not that bad.  The anime sequences are presented well with very little frame rate drop off, but this is easy to accomplish since there is no real-time input from the user during the sequences.  Surprising around 33 titles were released for this system.  But not all of these were for the kids.
The Playdia was not succeeding at all and Bandai began feeling the fiscal repercussions of a failed system.  The Sony PlayStation entered the market just months after its debut and sealed this system's fate.  Looking to recoup their losses, Bandai released interactive anime adult titles to stem the negative financial losses incurred in the first two years.  Odd that a system initially tailored to the family would resort to these measures, but it worked.  Bandai was able to get out with minimal losses after all was said and done in 1996.  Plus, Bandai had significant resources devoted to a bigger project - the Bandai Pippin.
The Bandai Playdia was a short lived and unsuccessful system.  Even with devoting their efforts to a rather untapped market (children/families), the Playdia could not survive the release of the Sony PlayStation.  This is definitely not a recommended purchase for the gamer - only for a console collector.  Though unique, the unit is not that pricey but usually requires importing the unit from Japan.  The Playdia is nice to look at in your collection, not so much when you fire it up and experience it.
     Officially licensed releases
Bandai Playdia (Model # BA-001)
Bandai Playdia Bandai Playdia Bandai Playdia
Bandai Playdia Bandai Playdia Bandai Playdia

     Non-licensed hardware releases
No clones were released for this system.
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.

Console Design 07 I happen to like the no-nonsense yet colorful design of the Playdia.  The cradle rest for the controller is a nice touch.  Plus, any system that uses standard RCA cables for its AV connection always gets a +1 from me.
Console Durability 06 Though I have never experienced any issues, the Playdia just feels fragile to me.  The light weight of the system may have something to do with my impression.  Overall, I would highly recommend seeing this console in action prior to purchasing.
Controllers 05 The controller itself if rather rectangular and very uncomfortable.  Button layout is very symmetrical, but this does not equate to ease of use.  The controllers are wireless which bumps this score up a notch.
Graphics 05 This is difficult to gauge, considering the style of most of the games (anime).  The FMV sequences are well executed, but the load times are excruciatingly long.
Audio 08 Overall the Playdia shines in this area, with most games featuring CD quality soundtracks and voice work.
Media 08 Hard to argue with Bandai's decision to utilize the CD-ROM format, but the 1X drive is extremely slow.
Gamer Value 02 The game library of the Playdia primarily consists of anime titles including the Sailor Moon series.  Unless you are en extreme fan of this genre, this console offers very little for the average gamer.
Collector Value 07 Due to its limited run and regional exclusivity, the Playdia is a nice addition to your console collection.  These can be pricey, especially when considering shipping costs.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
Software for the Bandai Playdia was distributed in the CD format.  Most games were distributed in a white, clam-style packaging that were a bit larger (length x width) that the standard jewel case.

The depth of the packaging is approximately 1" and most games included a rectangular stryofoam insert to protect the game and chew up some of this extra space.  Games are not that hard to acquire, though they can be a little pricey compared to the overall quality of the actual title.

Sample Game Play (Ultraman Powered intro)

Bandai Playdia Game Boxes

     Captured in-game images
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon S:
Quiz Taiketsu! Sailor Power Kesshuu
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SS:
Sailor Moon to Hajimete no Eigo
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon SS:
Sailor Moon to Hiragana Lesson!
Dragon Ball Z:
Shin Saiyajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku: Uchuu-Hen
SD Gundam

     First and third party system emulators
No emulators have been developed for this system.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
Toshiba TMP87C800F (8 Bit) 8 MHz NEC PD78214GC (8 Bit) 256 KB \ 512 KB
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
640 x 480 16.7 M Unknown Rohm BU3052BCF - Dual 4 Channel Analogue Multiplexer
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
CD-ROM 700 MB 33 None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
24 KB None Wireless, 6 Button (4 directional, 2 action) None
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
One (1) None None Composite
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
Input: 100V, 50/60Hz, 13VA
Output: DC 9V, 850mA
None Asahi Kasei AK8000 - Audio / Video processor
Bandai Playdia Owners Manual + Game Manuals (PDF) - 5.30 MB

     Peripherals, Promotions, Commercials, Brochures, Etc.
Bandai Playdia Television Commercial (Japan)

     Visitor insights and feedback
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