The Atari Jaguar is a fifth-generation video game console that was first released in North America in 1993, and Europe in 1994, and is infamous for a number of reasons.
The first reason is because it was only supported by its manufacturer – Atari Corporation – for three years (being discontinued in 1996) and only had a limited number of games released for it (50 officially-released cartridge games).
The second reason for its infamy is the debate about whether the console was “a true 64-bit system” or not, which it was heavily marketed as. The Jaguar was pushed as “the world’s first 64-bit game system“, although the twin custom RISC processors inside it were both actually 32-bit CPUs. The bus used by the console’s ‘Blitter‘ chip (the co-processor dedicated to the rapid movement and modification of data), however, was 64-bit. So I guess – technically – the console was “64-bit”.
The Jaguar also had a CD-ROM add-on released for it, that could play games manufactured on CD. Only 13 games were ever released for the Jaguar CD, though.
Other Jaguar peripherals worth mentioning are the JagLink, which allows the connection of two consoles for multiplayer gaming; a redesigned ‘Pro’ controller; a multitap-like adaptor for up to four players, and… Erm, not much else. A VR headset and an MPEG-2 video card were planned but never released.
By the end of 1994 the Atari Jaguar had reportedly sold approximately 100,000 units worldwide, which is a relatively low number when you consider that it was also released in Japan, Australia, Germany, and Spain (and when you compare it to the Super Nintendo‘s 50 million units, and the Sony PlayStation‘s more than 100 million units, it seems like a pretty serious flop). Atari Corporation‘s financial troubles undoubtedly had an impact on how many Jaguars they were able to manufacture too, which probably affected sales.
Games-wise, the Jaguar has a mixture of good titles, and some truly awful releases, and it’s easy to focus on the bad games (some of which I’ve already covered on this website), but in this Atari Jaguar Special I’m concentrating mostly on the good games available for the system.
It’s also worth mentioning that people still make games for the Jaguar nowadays and there are a number of homebrew releases for the system. All the games I’m featuring this week were official releases that came out during the console’s short lifespan – I’m not covering any homebrew. Yet.
All Atari Jaguar games on The King of Grabs (in alphabetical order):
Alien vs Predator (1994)
Atari Karts (1994)
Attack of the Mutant Penguins (1995)
Bubsy in Fractured Fairy Tales (1994)
Cannon Fodder (1995)
Checkered Flag (1994)
Defender 2000 (1995)
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1994)
Fight For Life (1996)
Missile Command 3D (1995)
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (1995)
Tempest 2000 (1994)
Total Carnage (1995)
Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer (1996)
Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy (1993)
Ultra Vortek (1995)
Wolfenstein 3D (1994)
Zool 2 (1993)
The King of Grabs