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Video Game Uber Fun Fun List: Atari Jaguar

Author: Philippe
Posted: 20 Nov 2005

Welcome, friends, welcome. Welcome to another fine addition of the Video Games Uber Fun Fun List! Before I get to the article at hand, let me just make sure that when people are searching for things on the Internet, they'll find our site.

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Right then. Now that I've got the attention of 98% of Internet users, let's talk about video games. Today we're going to be talking about a failure of a system. To be fair, the system itself was sort of fine. Ahead of its time? Certainly. Powerful? Definitely. Backed by a huge company with nearly unlimited resources? So it appears. Nevertheless, it was a great big money pit.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today we'll be discussing the Atari Jaguar.

At first things seemed very exciting. When Atari announced their plans in 1991, the most high-tech system was the Genesis. The SNES was still a ways off at that point but even the SNES paled in comparison to what Atari had on their hands (or would in two years): the first and only 64-bit video game system on the market. Admittedly, it would turn out to be two 32-bit chips running together. Even so, the Super Nintendo only had one 16-bit chip. Same with the Genesis. A lot of people didn't want to consider it a true 64-bit console, but Atari always has and so have I.

Even the people who refused to admit that it was a 64-bit system were still somewhat impressed, though. All the system specs looked downright scary when you put them up against everyone else. Yes, things were looking very exciting for Atari. Things were also looking good for the game-buying public. However, as we started getting close to the release date, things started going awry.

The price was higher than expected, for starters. No big deal there. Inflation happens. Mainly, though, it all came down to the software. Third-party developers were having tons of problems developing games. The D Kits were kind of buggy and the hardware was buggy. Thus, there were delays in game launches and also some companies just sort of gave up and put out the product as is (as was?). It's a downright shame, actually. As was mentioned earlier, everyone had been excited. It's like getting a puppy on X-mas, but it has a bad heart and you love the stupid dog even though he continually plays in the marsh and for some odd reason keeps finding porcupines and trying to eat them, so the dog is always dirty and you have to pry out quills while he sits there wimpering. Then he has a rabies shot because he tried to eat a raccoon and the medicine fucks up his already-messed-up heart and your dog dies. Like that, except that the Jaguar thing didn't make me cry. Also, the controllers sucked. Big, bulky things with a million buttons and every game came with this cover thing which you kind of put in this slot know what? It's too stupid to describe. Here're some pictures. You'd put that plastic thing over the number pad and voila. It was quite asinine.

A lot of the games were actually fairly comparable to the 16-bit titles that were coming out for Genesis and at that point the SNES. So, you had a 64-bit machine. It was expensive, it came with a shitty controller, and the games weren't any better than the Nintendo or the Genesis.

Why, oh why, did it fail?


The Jaguar didn't sell well at all, and right around the corner was the Sony Playstation to finally kick it into submission and death once and for all. Interestingly, the Jaguar made a brief comeback as the brain for a few kick-ass arcade games, so I'll include them in the list. For what it's worth, the Jaguar sucked but there were some fun things to play on the thing. I seem to recall many a happy memory of shooting aliens with my freshman college roommate, in fact. You know. In between classes, when I wasn't dancing or trying to manipulate people into doing my bidding.

Ermm, right.

Anyway, without further ado...

The Uber Fun Fun List proudly presents the top nine games for the Atari Jaguar.

9. Coming in at the bottom of the top we have Raiden (Imagitek, 1994). Aliens are attacking! This is a fairly repetitive theme in Jaguar games. Actually, now that I think of it, the alien thing goes all the way back to the 2600. Damn Atari is frightened of aliens. It's like Anthony's abnormal fear of robots. Anyway, the game was a side-scrolling shooter with a lot of cool weapons and some fun enemies. It wasn't as good as the arcade version, but what is, really?

8. Coming in next we have what seemed to be a misguided attempt at making a mascot. 1993's Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy (Flare2). Unfortunately, the mascot immediately got into a space ship and the game turned into a brighter and crisper looking Raiden. Though there's nothing wrong with that, per se. The sound was a bit better, as well (though, as general rule, the music sucked for all of these games). Fly the ship, kill aliens.

7. Now, at number 7, we find something without aliens at all. Brutal Sports Football (Telegames, 1993). The gameplay was a nice mix of regular football and Contra. You had two ways to win. The first way was by scoring the most points. The second way involved killing all the members of the opposing team. They gave you weapons to do this. Swords and whatnot. Blood makes the grass grow, kill! Kill! Kill! They should make more games like this (note, I'm not sure if the lizard team is supposed to be an alien team, but I can guess). Definitely worth a look for the sheer amount of decapitations.

6. Kasumi Ninja (Midway, 1994). This was a fun little Mortal Kombat-style fighting game. You fought your way up through a tournament to kill the evil boss characters. Save the world from a demon, etc. The game did have some neat little features to separate it from Mortal Kombat. The characters you beat became your allies and you could use them in upcoming battles. However, it really was a huge MK clone, deathmoves and blood included. Still, since it was fun and had more ninjas than MK, it gets a nod on the big list.

5. Area 51 (Atari, 1995). This was one of those games released for the arcade instead of the home system. It's a fairly standard "hold a gun and shoot the enemies who appear from behind boxes and things" (in this case...sigh...aliens). It makes the list because they have the actual console at my laundromat. You see, there's free drying at this establishment and since I have extra know. Into the game they go. It's a lot of fun. I'm constantly switching between this and Puzzle Bobble. The Puzzle Bobble joystick is starting to break, though, so Area 51 it is. If ever you see it at an arcade (do they still have those anywhere?), I'd recomend taking it for a spin.

4. And now a game which I'm sure you've all played, though not on the Jaguar. Id Software's excellent Wolfenstein 3D (1994). This game is one of the main reasons we have so many damn FPS. Originally, it was released for the PC. It was then ported to absolutely everything. You were a prisoner who ran around killing as many Nazis as you could find. I think that killing Nazis is a truly noble thing to do. In fact, if we all started doing it on a regular basis, I think the world would smile just a little bit more each day.

3. And, lo, the other reason FPS became a standard. Doom, also by Id Software. The game was the same sort of FPS as Wolfenstein 3D but had a more cartoonish nature to it. Since you were killing aliens instead of people, there seemed to be a lot more blood and gore. There was also a slew of ridiculous yet fun weapons to find. Doom, of course, managed to make it to just about every console on the planet and was quite the killer app. It also caused quite an uproar among video game violence peeps. For some reason, Wolfenstein 3D hadn't made as big a stir. I guess because in Wolfenstein 3D you were shooting actual people instead of cartoonish aliens...wait a minute...

OK, well, we've gotten through seven very fun games. If you owned a Jaguar (granted there's not many of you around), then you know which games will make up the top two. I could have put the rest of the games into almost any order and found happy people willing to agree with me. These next games needed to go 1 and 2 respectively, though, or I'd have gotten some emails from angry gamers I tell you what. (That might not be true. Nobody really cares about the Atari Jaguar anymore but it's the principal of the thing.) So, here we go.

2. Tempest 2000 (Atari, 1994). This was a sequel to the immensely popular arcade game Tempest. The gameplay was similar, as well. You sort of flew around on a rail killing every enemy in your path. The graphics were a huge step up from anything else at the time. The use of polygons and the smoothness of everything just made the mind warp. It was also really trippy and the sound was surprisingly good (a rarity indeed for the Jaguar). Get on some drugs and play this game and you'll be in for a night you won't soon forget.

1. And so we have reached the coveted number one spot. What magical thing do we find here? What could possibly be the best of one of the worst systems ever made? (One of the worst, not THE worst. THE worst system had the words boy and virtual in it.) Why, Alien Vs Predator, of course (Atari, 1994)! If you had the Jaguar, this was probably the reason why. You could choose to play as either human, alien, or predator in an FPS that simply blew away the rest in sheer fun. It had been my favorite FPS for quite some time afterward and simply looked gorgeous and kicked ass on all levels. Each race had a completely different playing style yet seemed extremely balanced. Excellent game and a must-have if you ever get yourself this much-maligned system.

And so we reach the end of another Uber Fun Fun List. Hope you enjoyed the trip. Keep playing video games and listening to that crazy heavy metal music!

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