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Why Jaguar? - The Atari Times

Why Jaguar?

Reasons to consider owning a Jaguar64
by Gregory D. George

May 5, 2001

Atari fans are frequently tasked by those who would choose to berate the Jaguar and it's games simply for the fact that it's an Atari product. Most of these twits have barely even seen a Jaguar let alone played the games. They choose to listen to the falsehoods that are spread around by the media (Jaguar is 16-bit) as the honest gospel about the Jaguar.

True, many of the Jaguar games stink. Probably a higher percentage than on other games systems. But is that reason enough to trash Atari's last system? No. You can still get many good Jaguar games and not buy the bad ones! What a concept!

We're going to refute several of the false claims about the Jaguar. This is not meant to be a FAQ. If you're looking for that go to http://www.electric-escape.net/atari/Jaguar/FAQ. I hope this working document can aid those besieged by Jaguar bashers and enlighten those who have yet to be inspired by the Jaguar.

1. The Jaguar *IS* a 64-bit system.

From the FAQ: "For the record, the opinion of most third party developers and observers is that the Jaguar is indeed a 64-bit system. The emphasis is on the word 'system'; while not every component is 64 bits, the Jaguar architecture, as a COMPLETE SYSTEM, is."

The Jaguar is a 64-bit system with 5 processors (64-bit, 64-bit, 32-bit, 32-bit, and 16-bit. Do the math.) The designers say so as do the programmers. I would think they of all people would know if the Jaguar was 64-bit or not. Not the bozos at the magazines. Not some yahoo on the newsgroups. And certainly not a webmaster looking to finish his story that he spent a good 5 minutes typing.

I lay a lot of the blame on the media for perpetuating the "it's not 64-bit" crap, but ultimately this whole debacle is really Atari's fault. Because the Jaguar has a 68000 chip in it, many of the games were easily ported from the Genesis and other 68000 based machines like the Atari ST. At the time, Atari felt that quantity would sell the system, not necessarily quality. Quality games would arrive too, but the Jaguar was a tricky beast to program for, so many developers took the easy way out. I suppose a lot of this is their fault for not spending the time to design new Jaguar games that pushed the hardware.

2. Games for the Jaguar are fun.

Lists are made every time someone says the Jaguar does not have any worthwhile games. That's totally untrue. Many games are indeed ports from other systems, but wouldn't you agree that Doom is a fun game no matter what system it is on?

For a complete review list, visit The Atari Times Jaguar Review List but here is a smaller list.

Tempest 2000 - Probably on more "good Jaguar games" lists than any other. Only an idiot would debate the quality and fun of Tempest 2000.

Alien vs. Predator - The 2nd most mentioned good Jaguar game. It may be slow by today's standards, but when it was released, 486's were still the fastest computer you could buy! It's NOT an action game like Doom. It's a horror/adventure game. My god, you actually have to THINK for a change!

Doom - The world famous game on the Atari Jaguar. It's missing very little from the original computer game and stands up extremely well against the PSX and Saturn versions. And, it rightfully walks all over the 32X and SNES versions.

BattleSphere - Yes, it's a new game for the Jaguar that should have been released years ago. And it's excellent, setting a new high water mark for Jaguar games. The only trouble is getting a copy.

Skyhammer - It's G-Police before G-Police was released.

NBA Jam: TE - Virtually identical to the arcade game, and the best home version available.

Iron Soldier 1 & 2 - Similar games where you control a large robot, or mech. If you play the game, you'll enjoy it. Quality through and through.

Rayman - Another game that made it to other systems, but that doesn't make it any less fun because it's on the Jag.

Defender 2000- Play it in Plus mode for maximized fun.

BattleMorph - The CD sequel to Cybermorph is fun and addictive with excellent music, control, and graphics.

Breakout 2000 - A unique twist on the Breakout theme. It's great fun for two players.

Power Drive Rally - This is a port of the 16-bit Genesis game, Rage Rally. The Jaguar has better colors, resolution, and effects. This was not meant to be compared to Sega Rally, so don't even try to say it sucks.

Protector - Resurrected by Songbird productions, this game is a fun throwback to classic arcade gameplay.

Atari Karts - A Mario Kart clone that is very fun and rare.

Missile Command 3D - A interesting take on the Missile Command theme. With graphics rivaling those on the Saturn (think Panzer Dragoon.)

And there are many other games for the Jaguar that most would consider mediocre, but others happen to find enjoyable. Such as Cannon Fodder, Primal Rage, Pitfall, Super Burnout, Val d'Isere Skiing & Snowboarding, Brutal Sports Football, Raiden, Flashback, Wolfenstein 3D, Pinball Fantasies, and Theme Park. These are FUN games. Because they are on the Jaguar doesn't make them any less enjoyable.

3. The Jaguar is worthwhile to own.

Ultimately, it's games that make a console fun to play, but here are a few more points about the Jaguar.

  • The VLM. Aside from the new Nuon DVD player, you're not going to find anything like the VLM anywhere. No system has combined graphics and music like the Jaguar CD did. The PSX, Saturn, Dreamcast, and even the PS2 have the most pathetic CD display system. I've literally spent hours upon hours watching the beautiful patterns generated by the VLM. Play some classical on it. You'll thank me.
  • Cheap Games. The Jaguar and it's games are very inexpensive. Most of the games can be purchased for under $10. Even the good games are cheap. In addition, the Jaguar console itself is very inexpensive running around $20. You could easily build a quick Jaguar collection for very little money.
  • Great Controller. The Jaguar has one of the most unique controllers ever. Especially the ProController. It is one of the most comfortable and featured controllers I've even seen. Can you appreciate how much easier it is to be able to select your weapon with a single key press instead of having to navigate through menu after menu like the other systems?
  • Regular Gamer Shows. And how many consoles have annual gamers shows around the world? CGE and PhillyClassic focus primarily on classic game systems including the Jaguar while JagFest and EJagFest are for the Jaguar only! Big deal you say? It just goes to prove that Jaguar owners love the Jaguar. If there were nothing good about it, there would be no shows at all.
  • Shareware Games. The Jaguar has inspired so many individuals from Songbird, to GOAT Store to OMC Games... These people truly love and enjoy the Jaguar and the community that has sprung from its existence. How many recent game consoles have a shareware games community? Sure, the older consoles have a game appear now and then, but the Jaguar has shareware games appearing on a regular basis. And JUGS, BJL, and Songbird's CD Bypass allow shareware and obscure games to be played by hundreds of Jaguar gamers.
  • Community. Lastly, is the Jaguar community itself. A game system is defined by its games as well as the people who play them. There are few systems that have garnered as much loyalty as the Jaguar. Why do you think that is? Crappy games? No. It's because the Jaguar's potential was barely tapped by Atari themselves and we want to prove to the naysayers that they're wrong.

The Jaguar does have several fun and unique games. There really is no excuse for not getting one. And, considering how cheap the Jaguar is now, what's it going to hurt?

If price, fun games, history, and the special Atari community is not enough to convince you that the Jaguar is a worthwhile system, then you'd probably be happier playing with a rock than with a video game.

Universally regarded as the Jaguar's best. Other versions can't compare to Yak's intensity.

Both Iron Soldier games are highly recommended and unlike anything you've seen before.

The most talked about Jaguar game ended up ported to the PC. Crappy games don't get ported.

Battles in space don't get any better than this. Loving crafted by the minds at Scatologic.

Announced on the Jaguar first, Rayman was ported to the other consoles because it was so fun.

The sequel to Cybermorph shows how music, sound, graphic and gameplay combine for a great video game experience.


This Defender derivative has the intensity and speed of a classic.

Another recent release by Telegames. It's just as much fun on the Jag as on any other system.

Almost lost forever, SkyHammer was released by Songbird in 2000.

Jam is on the Jag. And it's one of the best versions ever.

Reader Comments for Why Jaguar?

jaguar v n64 by jason chang on 2008-01-01 00:39:34
look at the games Zelda OFT vs. avsp
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