Limited Run Games slips everyone the D

By now you have probably seen the stories, blogs, tweets and Youtube videos about Limited Run Games shipping the 3DO release of D on CD-Rs. Let’s dive into that a bit further.

On May 1st all hell broke loose when it was revealed that Limited Run Games had shipped copies of D for 3DO on CD-R discs. To make matters worse, there were multiple reports of the game not booting on original hardware. I know of several people that bought it and some could get it to boot on their 3DO machines, for others it would just spit the disc out. And nowhere on the Limited Run Games website did it state that the game was a CD-R or that there might be compatibility issues with different consoles. Oddly enough, D is a multi-disc set containing several game CDs and a music CD and comically the only pressed CD being the music disc.


Bottom of one of the D data discs from Limited Run Games with CD-R batch info. Image courtesy of an Anonymous friend.




The Issue

Over the course of a couple years there were multiple 3DO game systems released during its short lifetime. Panasonic and Goldstar both released several models and even Sanyo had one. Plus lets not forget some of the more odd hardware releases like the Creative 3DO Blaster add-in card for PCs to give them 3DO compatibility (side note: I remember seeing this back in the day and almost bought one lol). That’s a whole lot of various hardware with different CD drives to validate a game against. Plus it’s well documented that CD-Rs and the 3DO can be a mixed bag. Ask 10 different 3DO owners their experiences with burned CDs and you will likely get 10 different answers ranging from burn speed, media brand, programs used to burn the disc or even machine specific voodoo like “it’s works on this console, but not on this other one”. And with this hardware at 30 years old, we can’t just rule out things like weak lasers. However one thing that these machines all have in common: They will boot and play original pressed CDs just fine (assuming no hardware issues).

To understand why this is happening is well beyond the scope of this article, however, at its simplest form, pressed CDs are made from a glass master where the new discs are stamped out of it with the data pattern already present.

However CD-R discs use an organic dye and reflective layer that the laser in the CD-R drive burns pits and lands into. Older CD drive tech can have a hard time reading this which leads to all sorts of issues as their error correction was either very basic or non existent. Think skipping CD audio as an example. This is one of the reasons you see a lot of folks recommend burning CDs at the very slowest speed possible (ideally 1x or 2x, but modern burners and media usually don’t allow that).

Besides the ability to simply read the discs, there are other issues at play here too. Pressed CDs will likely last for decades before you start seeing bit rot as an issue. However, CD-R media can be unreadable in as little as a few years depending on media quality due to that organic dye layer gradually decaying over time. This can be resolved by using archival grade CD-R media as it does have a longer lifetime, but that won’t make these discs magically playable on your 3DO console. It just means you will still have a potentially unplayable disc last longer than the console will probably be around. Yay.

And regardless of all of this, at no place on the sales page when people ordered this game did they alert their customers that the game would be produced on CD-R. Anyone who bought it had no reason to believe it would be anything other than a high quality pressed disc set.


The Response

It took all of 24-ish hours of, what I can only imagine was pure panic, before Limited Run Games sent out emails to everyone:

We’ve been made aware that some of our customers have experienced issues when trying to play our release of D: The Collector’s Edition on original 3DO hardware. Firstly, we would like to apologize unreservedly to all who have purchased the game and experienced an issue. At Limited Run Games, the quality of our products is paramount to us, we care deeply about our loyal community, and it is clear on this occasion we have fallen short of the high standards we set for ourselves.

Manufacturing games for hardware that is 30+ years old presents a variety of challenges. We partner with one of the biggest disc replication providers in North America to press our physical discs and despite researching original 3DO hardware and software extensively, we found quality and reliability issues when attempting to press 3DO discs in the traditional manner. In an attempt to offer full compatibility with original hardware, our disc replication partner was able to successfully manufacture the discs using a CD-R format, which we believed would work across all commercially available 3DO systems. This process was professionally done and was used to ensure maximum compatibility rather than serve as a cost-cutting exercise.

We tested the discs on the 3DO consoles in our office and all five discs from the game worked as expected. It was only upon shipping to our customers that we came to realise that some users were experiencing difficulty. We will not be selling or shipping further copies of this game, or any future 3DO titles until the situation has been resolved.

We are currently working with new partners to find a solution for traditionally pressed discs and will offer replacement discs to all customers. We will keep customers updated as this progresses, but in the meantime, any customer who desires can request a full refund at

Please be reassured that D: The Collector’s Edition is the only game affected by this issue. Further 3DO titles will not go into production until this issue has been fully resolved, and we are confident in full compatibility.

Apologies again to our 3DO gamers, we will strive to do better.


The Future

Now that Limited Run Games have announced that they will be replacing the game with a properly pressed cd set, I have 2 questions: When? And why didn’t you get it pressed to begin with?

Surely a company as large as Limited Run Games and with as many releases as they have under their belt can leverage that power and get all their discs pressed. They claim it wasn’t due to cost savings, but I have my doubts.

More than likely had this not blown up as fast as it had, they would have also shipped their 3DO re-release of Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties on CD-R. While there is no way to be 100% sure of that, it’s fair to assume that whoever is producing the D discs are/were also producing the ones for Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. And if they felt CD-R was ok with D…well you get the picture. At $70, I just don’t think it’s fair to charge for what effectively amounts to a fancy box and maybe $2 worth of burned CDs when the consumer was expecting professionally produced pressed discs.

And let’s not think that Limited Run Games are the only ones responsible for these kind of misleading tactics.

The recently released game BioFury, also for the 3DO, was (and still is) advertised as having “Pressed Disc Art” which lead many people including news stories about it being a pressed disc release. Nope.

From Redump:

Comments CD-R


As a matter of fact, they are using the very same CD-R media that the company that was producing D used with a laser etching of “T80-UG-6   19081405”. It’s really easy to spot a CD-R from a pressed disc as there will be a laser etching around the inside of the ring on the bottom of the disc indicating the CD-R batch info. Plus you can actually see where the burn grooves end on a burned disc (if they didn’t use up it’s entire amount). Plus the label is always a dead giveaway.

I would just like to see more companies be transparent about this. If you are producing a game on CD-R, let the consumer know up front so they can make the best informed decision at the time of purchase. Some will have no problem with this, while others would obviously balk at the idea of spending this kind of money on a box and a CD-R set. But they would have that info at hand to make their buying decision from. Rather than a year later when they receive their purchase only to discover it’s in fact a CD-R. Or worse, they find out on twitter the same day their game is to be delivered that it’s in fact a CD-R.



Limited Run Games, you say you will strive to do better. Prove it. 



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