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What do you like about the Atari Jaguar?

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I've been on the fence about buying a Jaguar for the last year or so, and after countless back and forths of "Should I or shouldn't I?" I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase a Jag next week. Even after pondering the matter for a year though I'm still pretty uncertain about whether or not this system will be a worthwhile investment that I'll enjoy playing (and "investment" is definitely the right term, given the price tag on these things) or if I'll find myself frustrated by the small game library and high costs of said games.

 

With those latter points in mind I think I'm actually feeling more apprehensive than I am excited about the purchase, so I'm hoping that I might be able to get some feedback from other Jaguar owners regarding what they enjoy about the system and what makes it worth owning and playing. With any luck it'll reduce my apprehension and raise my excitement for getting a Jag to read what other people find compelling about the system, so I'd love to hear you guys and gals' thoughts on it. :)

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Congratulations! It's indeed unfortunate that Jaguar prices have skyrocketed so much. I bought my Jaguar and most of my games in the early 2000s, when everything was still relatively cheap (about $60 for a console and $20-$45 for most games, as I recall). The Jaguar is a good investment at that price point, but as you say, its limited library makes it much harder to get your money's worth at today's prices. That's not to say that it can't be done; you just have to be selective.

 

I've said before that about 25% of the games in the Jaguar library are "great to good," 30% are "average," and 45% are "mediocre to awful." The good news is that, for the most part, there is general agreement about what the "great to good" games are. To me, these are the games that make the Jaguar worth owning. The Jaguar library is very interesting in its own way; it's an eclectic mix of computer conversions, European imports, and some really good mid-90s classic arcade updates, and it gives the system a unique personality. Several of the best games were exclusive to the Jaguar, and the games that were also available on other contemporary systems tended to be better in some way on the Jaguar (smoother animation, more colors, etc). There's fun to be had even with the games that can't exactly be considered "great", and of course, there's lots of quality work still being done today by independent publishers like Songbird Productions and by homebrew developers.

 

If you're looking to pick up a Jaguar system now, it seems that you'll pay at least $150 regardless of where you get it ... even a "untested", filthy, used one from eBay that comes with no power supply or video cables. If you've decided to invest in a system, I'd highly recommend spending just a little more and getting one from an Atari vendor who still supports the Jaguar, like B&C ComputerVisions; they currently offer like-new boxed consoles for $195 (see here). If you want to see the games in action, I'd highly recommend The Jag Bar, a fun video series by BTB Films which highlights most of the best games that the Jaguar has to offer. There's also review sites like The Video Game Critic.

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I liked that it was able to pull off games like Wolfenstein, Doom and AvP in the early to mid-90s that just weren't possible on the 16-bit systems no matter how many fancy chips they put into their cartridges.

Edited by BillyHW
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Great replies Jaybird and BillyHW! The Jaguar exclusives were definitely a big selling point for me and the main reason I've wanted one for so long. I remember begging my parents for a Jaguar to play Alien vs. Predator when I was 10 back in 1995 (the Alien and Predator series have both been my favorite sci-fi franchises for as long as I can remember), but alas they ended up getting me a Sega Genesis instead. I still had a ton of fun with the Genesis and have always been happy to have grown up with it, but it did mean that I've spent the last 22 years wanting to play Alien vs. Predator and never getting the chance to.

So AvP was definitely the main selling point of the Jag for me, along with a few other exclusives like Wolfenstein 3D with flamethrowers and rocket launchers as well as Towers II. Towers: Lord Baniff's Deceit on the Game Boy Color has long been one of my favorite GBC games and I was both amazed and thrilled to find out that such an obscure and little known RPG got a sequel on the Jaguar.

Over the last year or so while I was flip flopping on whether or not to buy a Jaguar I ended up reading all of the Jag reviews on VideoGameCritic.com, watching almost every episode of the JagBar, and going through all the linked reviews in AtariAge's Jaguar game directory. I used those reviews to come up with a pretty comprehensive list of all the cartridge games for the Jaguar that I think I'd personally enjoy playing (sadly the CD add-on is a bit too pricey for my budget at this point in life), and you can find that list in the spoiler tag below:


Most Wanted Games
Alien vs. Predator
Cannon Fodder
Cybermorph
Doom
Iron Soldier
I-War
NBA Jam: Tournament Edition
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Power Drive Rally
Raiden
Rayman
Ruiner Pinball
Skyhammer
Super Burnout
Tempest 2000
Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer
Trevor McFur In The Crescent Galaxy
Ultra Vortek
Wolfenstein 3D
Worms
Zoop


Other Games To Pick Up Eventually
Atari Karts
Breakout 2000
Brutal Sports Football
Bubsy: Fractured Furry Tails
Defender 2000
Fever Pitch Soccer
Flashback: The Quest for Identity
Flip Out!
Hyper Force
International Sensible Soccer
Iron Soldier 2

Kasumi Ninja
Missile Command 3D
Pinball Fantasies
Protector: Special Edition

Rebooteroids
Syndicate
Theme Park
Total Carnage
Val d'lsere Skiing and Snowboarding
Xenon 2: Megablast
Zool 2



I know there's a few questionable choices on my "Most Wanted" list, but I remember really enjoying Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure on the Genesis back when I was a kid and it looks like the Jaguar version is the same game with a few graphical enhancements. And as far as I-War goes, it looks a lot like one of my favorite early PlayStation games called Assault Rigs so I think I'll dig it in spite of the lukewarm critical reception it got.

Anyway, that's probably enough rambling from me for one post but I did want to mention that I think I've done a pretty decent job of researching the system and have a good idea of what I'm getting into for game selection. And for the system itself I decided to buy a new without box Jaguar system with official composite video cables from Video61 rather than muck around with eBay. Video61 was great to do business with when I bought a new without box Atari 7800 system from them so I decided to return to them for a Jaguar. :)

Edited by Jin
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The Jaguar is awesome and it has a way of sucking you in. Once you have some of those A+ titles you mentioned you will see what I mean. I think you will enjoy it very much. :) And yes I-war is pretty fun. Glitchey sometimes but it's fun. I would bump Defender 2000 up to your first list though. It's a LOT better of a game than people give it credit for.

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All those things the others said are about the past. What I like about the jag is that it still has a live community - not too numerous, I'll give you that, but vibrant. The new games being developed are just cool, and you have ST ports being released now almost hourly :)

 

The "ports" are not just that - they are improved to take advantage of the better hardware the Jag provides. And there's no TOS issues involved, I remember getting all worked up for a game when I had the ST, and frustrated to hell when it didn't work because my TOS was NEWER than my friends. It is pure joy here :)

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Even after pondering the matter for a year though I'm still pretty uncertain about whether or not this system will be a worthwhile investment that I'll enjoy playing (and "investment" is definitely the right term, given the price tag on these things) or if I'll find myself frustrated by the small game library and high costs of said games.

 

Investment and/or luxury consumption... buying one will make you the embarrassing rebel-without-a-cause within the retro video-game community in the eyes of the normative NES/SNES milksops; that's the way of the Jaguar. Provocative yes. Fun yes. Why would playing and collecting NES games not be insane as well? (Don't answer that, I'm not interested.)

---

If you're interested in THAT many games you have on the list, I can't see how you will not enjoy it.

 

Brutal sports is great! Play it with a friend and just ignore the ball for a game or two, just brawling until one team is gone! It's a laughing-my-head-off experience.

 

Yes, Defender 2000 is superb. A must have. Tower II is fun too.

 

Yes, there is something with the Jag that is hard to explain. Some rant its insanity in some of us. I'd say the machine looks cool, having things running from the Amiga/ST era on it is all good in my book. And the pads is fun to use and to get used to. Moving the thumb to the numbers is great!

 

And with that said... what the other guys have said is true.

 

 

Edited by Atlantis

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I've been on the fence about buying a Jaguar for the last year or so, and after countless back and forths of "Should I or shouldn't I?" I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase a Jag next week. Even after pondering the matter for a year though I'm still pretty uncertain about whether or not this system will be a worthwhile investment that I'll enjoy playing (and "investment" is definitely the right term, given the price tag on these things) or if I'll find myself frustrated by the small game library and high costs of said games.

 

With those latter points in mind I think I'm actually feeling more apprehensive than I am excited about the purchase, so I'm hoping that I might be able to get some feedback from other Jaguar owners regarding what they enjoy about the system and what makes it worth owning and playing. With any luck it'll reduce my apprehension and raise my excitement for getting a Jag to read what other people find compelling about the system, so I'd love to hear you guys and gals' thoughts on it. :)

 

I owned one briefly in the 90s. What I liked it was pretty cutting-edge for the time-- it did things I had never seen on any console or computer up until then, but it didn't take other systems long to surpass it.

 

It had a handful of games that I really enjoyed playing, but at the time I was getting married and had other priorities so I sold it. BTW, what is the price tag on these things today? Just so I can kick myself for not holding onto it :)

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Great replies Jaybird and BillyHW! The Jaguar exclusives were definitely a big selling point for me and the main reason I've wanted one for so long. I remember begging my parents for a Jaguar to play Alien vs. Predator when I was 10 back in 1995 (the Alien and Predator series have both been my favorite sci-fi franchises for as long as I can remember), but alas they ended up getting me a Sega Genesis instead. I still had a ton of fun with the Genesis and have always been happy to have grown up with it, but it did mean that I've spent the last 22 years wanting to play Alien vs. Predator and never getting the chance to.

 

So AvP was definitely the main selling point of the Jag for me, along with a few other exclusives like Wolfenstein 3D with flamethrowers and rocket launchers as well as Towers II. Towers: Lord Baniff's Deceit on the Game Boy Color has long been one of my favorite GBC games and I was both amazed and thrilled to find out that such an obscure and little known RPG got a sequel on the Jaguar.

 

Over the last year or so while I was flip flopping on whether or not to buy a Jaguar I ended up reading all of the Jag reviews on VideoGameCritic.com, watching almost every episode of the JagBar, and going through all the linked reviews in AtariAge's Jaguar game directory. I used those reviews to come up with a pretty comprehensive list of all the cartridge games for the Jaguar that I think I'd personally enjoy playing (sadly the CD add-on is a bit too pricey for my budget at this point in life), and you can find that list in the spoiler tag below:

 

 

 

Most Wanted Games

Alien vs. Predator

Cannon Fodder

Cybermorph

Doom

Iron Soldier

I-War

NBA Jam: Tournament Edition

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure

Power Drive Rally

Raiden

Rayman

Ruiner Pinball

Skyhammer

Super Burnout

Tempest 2000

Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer

Trevor McFur In The Crescent Galaxy

Ultra Vortek

Wolfenstein 3D

Worms

Zoop

 

 

Other Games To Pick Up Eventually

Atari Karts

Breakout 2000

Brutal Sports Football

Bubsy: Fractured Furry Tails

Defender 2000

Fever Pitch Soccer

Flashback: The Quest for Identity

Flip Out!

Hyper Force

International Sensible Soccer

Iron Soldier 2

Kasumi Ninja

Missile Command 3D

Pinball Fantasies

Protector: Special Edition

Rebooteroids

Syndicate

Theme Park

Total Carnage

Val d'lsere Skiing and Snowboarding

Xenon 2: Megablast

Zool 2

 

 

 

I know there's a few questionable choices on my "Most Wanted" list, but I remember really enjoying Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure on the Genesis back when I was a kid and it looks like the Jaguar version is the same game with a few graphical enhancements. And as far as I-War goes, it looks a lot like one of my favorite early PlayStation games called Assault Rigs so I think I'll dig it in spite of the lukewarm critical reception it got.

 

Anyway, that's probably enough rambling from me for one post but I did want to mention that I think I've done a pretty decent job of researching the system and have a good idea of what I'm getting into for game selection. And for the system itself I decided to buy a new without box Jaguar system with official composite video cables from Video61 rather than muck around with eBay. Video61 was great to do business with when I bought a new without box Atari 7800 system from them so I decided to return to them for a Jaguar. :)

 

I thought the Jag version of Pitfall looked more lush or colorful than the Genesis version. Nowadays if I want to play that game, I have to play the Genesis version. The Jag version was the first I played and it definitely feels like the Genesis version is missing something, but they largely play the same.

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Here are a couple of reasons to take a second look at the Jaguar. Homebrews! Lots of interesting homebrews have/are coming out. It's really great to see games like Rebooteroids show up and get ya addicted!

Also, I love the rotary controller. Playing games like Tempest 2000, Rebooteroids, Impulse X, maybe Arkanoid II(fingers tightly crossed), and some other fun homebrews, really add a gaming factor that is difficult to get on other systems.

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If you already have a SNES, Genesis and PC-E a Jag is a good next step. If you're missing any of those 3 systems, better retro gaming experiences are available there for less $$ IMO.

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Only caveat to the above I'll add, is if you're already bored with or are looking for something different. Jaguar has its charms and hallmark games to be sure. But I'd only go for it today if you think you might really be into some of the unique and exclusive games the system has to offer.

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When I bought my Jaguar stuff years ago it was very cheap. You could pick up a console with power supply, AV, a controller or two, and maybe two or three Commons for under $50.... Those days are long gone. I'm not sure I can advise someone to sink the necessary money into a decent Jaguar collection these days.

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I like publishing games for the Jaguar. :D

 

Always wish for more high quality stuff for you to publish these days though! :love: Hopefully something will come of the Ted Talks. :grin:

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Only caveat to the above I'll add, is if you're already bored with or are looking for something different. Jaguar has its charms and hallmark games to be sure. But I'd only go for it today if you think you might really be into some of the unique and exclusive games the system has to offer.

Valid, in that respect I'd definitely recommend the Jag over the 3DO if we're talking niche consoles. In fact all things considered I'd recommend the Jag over the 3DO IMO. It is quite a big pill to swallow getting into the Jag now even compared to 3-4 years ago when things were still somewhat reasonable all things considered.

 

Looks like the OP has already done his homework so it sounds like he's done the legwork. I didn't even realize Video 61 sold consoles. They are indeed good people.

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Thank you to everyone for all the thoughtful replies! It really does help to get a wide variety of perspectives, both positive and not-so-positive, on the Jaguar. I'm still flip flopping every half hour or so between "This is going to be awesome!" and "This is a terrible idea and I should spend this huge chunk of money on other things."

 

I'm definitely excited about the prospect of playing Alien vs. Predator and other Jaguar exclusives, but I also know that due to my limited space and financial constraints if I got a Jaguar it would be replacing my Sega Genesis; which is why I'm still on the fence about it. On one hand I've been playing Genesis for almost as long as I can remember and have kinda grown tired of it and would like something different, and on the other hand I do really enjoy Mortal Kombat and Thunder Force III and I'm not sure Ultra Vortek and Trevor McFur are going to make suitable replacements for them.

 

I know that's not really fair, comparing the Jaguar to the Genesis, but for my personal gaming and collecting prospects that's pretty much what it's come down to. Then there's the fact that I already told Lance over at Video61 that I want to buy one of his few remaining new old stock Jaguars and I really don't want to welch on that; since he's such a nice guy and has been great to do business with.

 

So there's a lot of pros and cons that I'm still weighing. Ultimately I might end up waiting another year and seeing if I still want a Jaguar this time next year, since I'm being darn indecisive about it and if I'm going to make a purchase this big it probably shouldn't be something that I have to second guess, but in the meantime I do really appreciate all of your feedback. I already know that I love playing the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, and A8 computer games so a Jaguar would be the next logical addition to my gaming center, but man does the price of admission (and the prospect of selling my Genesis to make both physical and financial room for the Jaguar) ever make me question it.

Edited by Jin

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Video games and collecting… the endless ride! Are you playing games or are they playing you?? No need to answer that - I *know* they're playing you. :rolling:

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Don't give up the genesis! I own both Jaguar and genesis, and while I love the quirkiness of Jaguar and I love owning one, I find myself playing the genesis/32x more and feeling like (due to the wider variety and quantity of high budget titles) that it is a more polished and altogether more enjoyable experience than Jaguar. At one point, I owned a 3DO and decided to give it up for the Jaguar because, in my thinking, "at least the Jaguar would have real games with sprites/polygons rather than limited interaction FMV stuff due to the cartridge medium." I really wasn't quite prepared for how poor some of the clunkers in the Jaguar's library are - the documented reality is that many Jaguar developers were on very tight deadlines with very limited budgets, having to come up with custom tools to develop for a console that had hardware errors! These developers worked miracles and there is enough cool stuff here to make the Jag a fun and novel experience, but some of the bad games in the library are shockingly bland, unfair and unenjoyable and make many genesis/32x titles look like polished AAA gameplay masterpieces by comparison.

Edited by sirlynxalot
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Video games and collecting… the endless ride! Are you playing games or are they playing you?? No need to answer that - I *know* they're playing you. :rolling:

Why can't it be both? I play them, they play me, it goes both ways. It's an AC/DC sorta thing. :P In all seriousness though I totally get what you mean, collecting games and systems has always been a bit of a rollercoaster for me. I always think "I'll be happy with my console selection when I sell this and buy that.", so I sell something, buy something else, and then a month or so later decide I'm not happy with my console selection once more so I sell something else and buy something else under the assumption that it will finally make me happy. But you know, it never does. I'm not sure if it's just the nature of collecting or a psychological quirk of mine to never be happy with what I have, but it certainly does seem to be a ride that never ends; for me at least.

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If finances are a constraint you can always sell your physical carts and get an, uh, alternative cart that allows you to play Genesis games. One thing to keep in mind is that in a year from now Jag prices will be even crazier than they are today. Ten years from now, who knows.

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I've seen you buying a pristine 7800 with a crapton of games, snazzy edladdin joystick just to sell it not two months in.

I am afraid we'll see a repeat, the Jag is such a niche that unless you have filled everything else (or almost) it's hard to justify .... but I do wish you the best of luck with the purchase.

 

PS: no offense meant.

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I've seen you buying a pristine 7800 with a crapton of games, snazzy edladdin joystick just to sell it not two months in.

I am afraid we'll see a repeat, the Jag is such a niche that unless you have filled everything else (or almost) it's hard to justify .... but I do wish you best of luck with the purchase.

And I bought it all back this week. :lol: The selling of the 7800, Edladdin controller, and games was really a financial SNAFU on my part and I never wanted to sell it in the first place. Fortunately the buyer for the Edladdin controller was fully aware of the situation and was totally cool with selling it back to me, though the 7800 system and games had to be re-bought at full price elsewhere.

 

That all said, I am fully aware of the fact that if I buy a Jaguar I may try it and decide it's not for me and resell it a few weeks or a month later. I won't know how I'll really feel about it until I play it and if I do try it and decide that it isn't all that then I'll have no qualms about reselling it. Money is always way too tight for me to hold onto any systems or games that I don't absolutely love playing, so if I'm lukewarm on the Jag after playing it then it'll find a new home; hopefully with someone who will appreciate it more.

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And I bought it all back this week. :lol: The selling of the 7800, Edladdin controller, and games was really a financial SNAFU on my part and I never wanted to sell it in the first place. Fortunately the buyer for the Edladdin controller was fully aware of the situation and was totally cool with selling it back to me, though the 7800 system and games had to be re-bought at full price elsewhere.

 

That all said, I am fully aware of the fact that if I buy a Jaguar I may try it and decide it's not for me and resell it a few weeks or a month later. I won't know how I'll really feel about it until I play it and if I do try it and decide that it isn't all that then I'll have no qualms about reselling it. Money is always way too tight for me to hold onto any systems or games that I don't absolutely love playing, so if I'm lukewarm on the Jag after playing it then it'll find a new home; hopefully with someone who will appreciate it more.

If the status of the 7800 you wanted is any indication it seems like you want "pristine" conditions almost everything, and that costs a pretty penny for not much in return imho .... I don't say go for the dirty, destroyed, dog chewed option, just noticing that you aim for mint conditions and that plus vintage items plus tight budget do not add up very well.

 

Once more best of luck and I hope you enjoy your purchase, on one hand the truly good games are a handful so there's that (but some do sting if you want no-repro, manual, overlay etc..), on the other end if you want to "experience" more of it there's a long list of underwhelming "junk" that still costs a pretty penny.

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