During the early 90’s, Sega was in heavy competion with Nintendo. It was Sega Megadrive/ Genesis versus the Super Nintendo Entertainment system also known as SNES. Sega was the first company who came with a 16 bit game console in 1989. Nintendo launched its SNES in 1990 in Japan a year later. The “bit wars” were started. Consumers became more interested in graphics then in gameplay. Game companies wanted to show thier technical specifications on their consoles. For instance, the Sega Megadrive has 16-bit all written over it. Back in the day I was really wondering what happend to Atari. After the failure of the 5200 and the 7800, Atari launched their handheld the lynx. But I wanted to see a next generation home console from Atari.
And then it hit the stores: The Atari Jaguar! The Atari Jaguar was the first 64 bit home console. On the system is the text: 64-bit Interactive Multimedia system. Even on the cartridges it said: Interactive multimedia cartridge. I didn’t had a clue what that meant, but the only thing I thought about were the bits. I had a Megadrive back in the day and I thought: this console has 64 bit so those graphics must be really awesome! So in 1993 when the Jaguar launched I was one of the lucky people that could afford a Jaguar. As you can imagine I wasn’t blown away by the graphics. This was really not 64 bit. It was slightly better then 16 bit. The Jaguar has two 32 bit processors someway added up to 64 bit. This was for developpers really hard to program for. So most of the third party games didn’t use the full capabilities of the system. The majority of the titles were conversions of PC games like: Doom, Wolfenstein etc. These games were good but not new to the consumers.
So what else went wrong you might ask. Atari marketed their console really wrong. Atari refused to give the press free demonstration models. Atari thought that the press had to buy their own consoles to review it. And that is one of the most hostile marketing campaigns ever!! What were they thinking! Atari’s marketing campaign said: Do the math! so a lot of people wanted to try and review the system and wanted to see its capabilities.
The Jaguar was ahead of its time but couldn’t compete with Nintendo and Sega. In 1993 Sega launched the Sega Mega CD/ Sega CD. And Atari launched an add-on aswell: The Atari Jaguar CD. Unfortunately I don’t own the Atari Jaguar CD because its really rare and expensive. The rumor is that they hardly ever work and the games aren’t much better.
And now my opinion. Do I like the system? Yes I do, It has nostalgic value to me because I still own the system. As a collector its a system you should have. These are the games I like the most:
-Alien v.s. Predator
The Jaguar was the last system Atari ever launched. I still can’t understand how a great game company like Atari got blown of the console market. In this review I didn’t gave you the full specs or how the system works but just my honest opinion and a bit of history on the Jaguar. The Jaguar was the last nail in the coffin of Atari. Two years after this disaster the company was sold several times and is now owned by Hasbro Interactive who had renamed themselves “Atari Games”. So the name will live on! the name of the company who really misjudged that bits are not everything 😉