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Tommywilley84

What could have saved the Jag?

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Some of this may had also helped:

- Debugging the hardware before release

- Support for third-party developers from Atari

- Better marketing push.

- Emphasis on the system's powerful 2D hardware instead of its 3D capabilities.

- Better development kits. The ones they demanded were outdated at the time of release.

 

Even so, as a fan of the system, I say Atari had a steep mountain climb after all the fuck ups they did prior to the release of the Jaguar, which crippled their public perception among consumers.

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Posted (edited)

Slap a Union Jack on it, give it out for free to schools, and rebrand it as the Super Konix Multisystem.

 

 

Edited by NinjaFlicker

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Everyone I knew at the time of the Jag's retail life thought it was an overpriced joke without any games worth buying. It never had a chance and in all reality, probably shouldn't have ever been released at all. The name ATARI was looked at as thing of the past that people openly laughed at. Them deciding to release the Jaguar was a futile effort. All the proof is in the pudding. Hindsight is 20\20 and history tells the whole tale unless you purposely put on the Atari branded rose colored glasses. Even if you do that, odds are the prescription is wrong and you won't see a damn thing clear enough anyhow cause Atari would have surely dropped the ball on that too.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Shawn said:

The name ATARI was looked at as thing of the past that people openly laughed at.

Who knows what could have saved this system, if anything, but this wasn't true in my case.  Atari were the founding fathers to me, the Lynx was something I seriously considered before picking the Game Gear (for some reason the Lynx screen always looked shit in the Sears catalog and I never found one to gaze upon in person, so He Gear it was even though the Lynx games looked rad), and the marketing had me sold.  If it wasn't for the Saturn dropping early, I'd of had a Jaguar back then.

 

So maybe Sega/Sony being a year late would have saved it.  However I'm guessing all this proves is I was not the general public, and me buying a Jag wouldn't have saved shit.  What I think is a more interesting question is, if the console hadn't failed, would this awesome community exist?  Would the encryption keys be public domain?  Would we have badass homebrew to play.

 

Edited by cubanismo
formatting fixes
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16 hours ago, Shawn said:

It never had a chance and in all reality, probably shouldn't have ever been released at all.

As an engineer, I can never get behind this.  I know what you mean.  It may have been the wrong business decision, but fuck that.  Bugs aside, the Jaguar design is amazing.  Prescient even.  It would have been a travesty if it got cancelled.  Every time ideas this amazing get to see the light of day, the world is a little bit better in some small way.  Sure, another 2MB of RAM and a few more MHz might have made things more obvious, but the core of a great design is there for anyone willing to look.

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Well Jack Tramiel's reputation didn't help much either.  He screwed over the dealers, mass marketers, componet suppliers and developers so not many people left were willing to do business with [whatever company he ran]...

 

Atari did run a huge marketing campaign for the Jaguar in the States but the time between the console launch (Nov. '93) and when they had killer app games like Tempest 2000 (April '94), potential buyers had already moved on to the other 4th & 5th generation systems.  It was a victim of the "wait & see" attitude everyone had at the time, especially with so many competing platforms.

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2 hours ago, cubanismo said:

Who knows what could have saved this system, if anything, but this wasn't true in my case.  Atari were the founding fathers to me, the Lynx was something I seriously considered before picking the Game Gear (for some reason the Lynx screen always looked shit in the Sears catalog and I never found one to gaze upon in person, so He Gear it was even though the Lynx games looked rad), and the marketing had me sold.  If it wasn't for the Saturn dropping early, I'd of had a Jaguar back then.

 

So maybe Sega/Sony being a year late would have saved it.  However I'm guessing all this proves is I was not the general public, and me buying a Jag wouldn't have saved shit.  What I think is a more interesting question is, if the console hadn't failed, would this awesome community exist?  Would the encryption keys be public domain?  Would we have badass homebrew to play.

 

 

6 minutes ago, MrMaddog said:

Well Jack Tramiel's reputation didn't help much either.  He screwed over the dealers, mass marketers, componet suppliers and developers so not many people left were willing to do business with [whatever company he ran]...

 

Atari did run a huge marketing campaign for the Jaguar in the States but the time between the console launch (Nov. '93) and when they had killer app games like Tempest 2000 (April '94), potential buyers had already moved on to the other 4th & 5th generation systems.  It was a victim of the "wait & see" attitude everyone had at the time, especially with so many competing platforms.

Theories like these always sound good, but the truth is that there's wasn't much wrong with such names as Phillips, Casio, Pioneer, and Trip Hawkins in the '90s, and they all dropped their bombs on the gaming market, too. The fundamentals just weren't there for any of these systems, but I doubt that any of these companies could have known that when they were planning or marketing their systems.

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Only thing that could've saved the Jag was not having Ray Kassar hired to run the company way back.  Then Atari wouldnt have folded like a cheap suit and never had the bankroll to release anything at scale.

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17 hours ago, Goochman said:

Only thing that could've saved the Jag was not having Ray Kassar hired to run the company way back.  Then Atari wouldnt have folded like a cheap suit and never had the bankroll to release anything at scale.

Yeah, I watched the documentary on Atari recently where they interviewed him.   I had heard people complain about him before,  but seeing him tell the story in his own words made it clear how he was completely the wrong person for the job and didn't grasp the video game business.   He came from a textile company, a commodity industry,  and wanted to run Atari the same way.  Games were commodities to him,  which is why he though it was dumb to give the programmers credit.   Programmers were 'interchangeable',  they had no special talents.   That kind of attitude explains how they could allow the 2600 Pac Man fiasco to happen.

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IN addition to the things you mentioned another big reason is not creating a path forward as to not kill the cash cow 2600.  Kassar didnt understand you cant design a coat and run with it for 20 years in the video game biz.

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It would take some serious out of the box thinking.  Things like third party developers first strategy.  Also, fostering an indie scene.  Also, paying attention to what worked in the Europe.

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11 hours ago, Gemintronic said:

It would take some serious out of the box thinking.  Things like third party developers first strategy.  Also, fostering an indie scene.  Also, paying attention to what worked in the Europe.

Funny that you mentioned fostering an indie scene, since both Attack of the Mutant Penguins and Zero 5 were projects by Atari UK to do that...

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Posted (edited)

What the Jaguar needed was focus. What I mean by that is that trying to compete with the big players when you simply are not in that league any more is never going to end well. The trick, in my opinion, is realising what Atari did do well and what makes it different. T2K is a perfect example of the sort of thing they should have been doing. A high quality modern re-imagining of a classic arcade games and that style of games. The problem was that other than T2K, they were all shit (the 2000's that is, there were a handful of other good games on the Jag). Games along the lines of Space Invaders Extreme on the PSP and indeed Rebooteroids. This is what appeals to me about Atari and what I want to see on a console bearing that name. Simple, addictive games done well.

Edited by juansolo

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The context is very important. First person shooters were the new big thing and a mean to differenciate Jaguar from Genesis and SNES. Hence a system made for a mix of 2D and 3D (most FPS had 2D sprites at the time) and a controller with a keypad to change weapons like on a PC keyboard. But gamers probably prefered to play these games on a PC anyway...

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, juansolo said:

What the Jaguar needed was focus. What I mean by that is that trying to compete with the big players when you simply are not in that league any more is never going to end well. The trick, in my opinion, is realising what Atari did do well and what makes it different. T2K is a perfect example of the sort of thing they should have been doing. A high quality modern re-imagining of a classic arcade games and that style of games. The problem was that other than T2K, they were all shit (the 2000's that is, there were a handful of other good games on the Jag). Games along the lines of Space Invaders Extreme on the PSP and indeed Rebooteroids. This is what appeals to me about Atari and what I want to see on a console bearing that name. Simple, addictive games done well.

I disagree here. Atari tried that route and it really worked only with T2K, but it was still a very niche title for a very niche audience. Atari was considered a thing of the past by most gamers and they really needed to modernize and produce new and cutting edge games for their 64 bit system to get the modern audience that grew up with Mario and Sonic. I for myself wanted the Jaguar for new and fresh game expieriences like exploring 3D worlds, or games like Rayman with stellar artwork and animation, not remakes of old 80s styled arcade games, which was not my time anyway. Atari wanted to capture the interest of the SNES and Genesis crowd and kiddies of the 90s could not care less about "Defender" and "Missile Command".   As a grown up, I like Defender 2000, but if you come from games like Parodius or Axelay for the SNES the prospect of a decent update of Defender for a much more powerful platform was rather..... underwhelming. 

 

AvP, Iron Soldier, Doom and Rayman - those titles captured the interest of gamers because they felt fresh and exciting and used the extra power of the system very well. If Atari was capable to produce more of that and less crap like Club Drive, it might have had a little chance to turn things around. But chances were slim from the beginning, Atari already blew their chances with the Atari Lynx, which is an excellent hardware but with a very limited library of games. 

 

So no, 80's Atari could not have saved the Jaguar. 

Edited by agradeneu
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17 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

AvP, Iron Soldier, Doom and Rayman - those titles captured the interest of gamers because they felt fresh and exciting and used the extra power of the system very well. If Atari was capable to produce more of that and less crap like Club Drive, it might have had a little chance to turn things around. But chances were slim from the beginning, Atari already blew their chances with the Atari Lynx, which is an excellent hardware but with a very limited library of games.

Having games that had high expectations of being good like Checkered Flag only to be programmed by inexperienced coders (compounded by the development system issues and system bugs) then released unfinished and crippled, immediately damaged the system's reputation beyond repair. Could you imagine paying the original asking price of $69 for Checkered Flag, Club Drive and Crescent Galaxy all at the same time? I would have been the most depressed kid ever, thankfully my experience didn't play out like that.

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I think i was sold on initial false promise cos I got my first jag new with Tempest 2K, AVP and Wolfenstein, at the time no other titles for the jag came close to matching the quality.

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As someone who was a kid when Jag came out, it was a surprise to me that atari even still existed, as (in those pre internet days) I hadn't been exposed to any marketing or advertisements for their other recent products such as the 7800, atari 8-bit game console, lynx or atari ST and all the tv commercials I'd seen since 1990 were for either nintendo or sega games and systems. 

 

I first found out about it by seeing a demo kiosk at a Kay Bee toys in the early 90s. It was running Pitfall so it didn't make any special impression on me that it might be a cool graphics powerhouse that could do stuff beyond what genesis and snes could do. I never saw any of the TV commercials for the Jag or its games, and I regularly watched hours of kids tv shows on multiple channels at the time... 

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Posted (edited)

Lets say Atari had some extra cash back then, to "buy" a port of a huge game from BITD and have it ready for the Jaguar launch. Which big third party game from that point in time, do you guys think would have had the biggest positive impact on the Jags launch reception? I know it wouldnt really "save the Jag", but put it in more positive perspective.

 

Of course lets imagine the game was ported by a competent team, was given the assets from the original to work with, and had the time and money to make a version that trashed the 16 bit ports. I know...big ifs, but lets imagine.

 

On what game would you put your money into:

Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Wolfenstein 3D, NBA JAM...? Any others?

 

Edited by sd32

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If Atari didn't screw up pretty much anything it touched past the 2600 (well the 800 series was successful and so was the Atari ST) .... to rephrase if Atari would have managed to launch console that were successful/compelling past the 2600 ... maybe the Jag stood a chance as the company would have been able to support it.

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6 hours ago, sd32 said:

Lets say Atari had some extra cash back then, to "buy" a port of a huge game from BITD and have it ready for the Jaguar launch. Which big third party game from that point in time, do you guys think would have had the biggest positive impact on the Jags launch reception? I know it wouldnt really "save the Jag", but put it in more positive perspective.

 

Of course lets imagine the game was ported by a competent team, was given the assets from the original to work with, and had the time and money to make a version that trashed the 16 bit ports. I know...big ifs, but lets imagine.

 

On what game would you put your money into:

Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Wolfenstein 3D, NBA JAM...? Any others?

 

3 things would've set the Jag up for a bang upon release:

 

Doom (which was delayed way too long), Virtura Racing, Virtua Fighter.  The Virtua Series was pretty hot when the Jag came out and Checkered Flag was billed as a Racing competitor (NOT!).  Follow those titles up with AvP and Tempest 2K and the Jag might've gotten a decent following.

 

Instead the launh titles were crap and underwhelming to say the least.  I bought Club Drive and that was a turd in the punch bowl.

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7 hours ago, sd32 said:

Lets say Atari had some extra cash back then, to "buy" a port of a huge game from BITD and have it ready for the Jaguar launch. Which big third party game from that point in time, do you guys think would have had the biggest positive impact on the Jags launch reception? I know it wouldnt really "save the Jag", but put it in more positive perspective.

 

Of course lets imagine the game was ported by a competent team, was given the assets from the original to work with, and had the time and money to make a version that trashed the 16 bit ports. I know...big ifs, but lets imagine.

 

On what game would you put your money into:

Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Wolfenstein 3D, NBA JAM...? Any others?

 

The biggest game that comes to mind from that era was Doom.   A lot of us bought PCs just to play it.   I know Jaguar got a port, but maybe if it had it closer to launch it would have been better.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/16/2020 at 8:04 PM, Warmsignal said:

Atari not being as close to bankruptcy as they were for one thing, and the Nintendo PlayStation deal actually happening which would in turn have changed the course of console history going forward, there would be no stand alone Sony machine. The Jag's primary competitors would have been a disc based Nintendo 64, the Sega Saturn of course, and the doomed from the start $700 3DO.


The PlayStation stole the market share away from everyone by a long shot during that gen. If that didn't happen, who knows how things might have turned out? Nintendo 64 would have probably been more successful than it was globally, maybe the Saturn as well, and perhaps even the Jaguar to a lesser extent. It would have been the cheapest hardware on the block compared to a $400 Saturn and a likely $300+ Nintendo 64. Even then, I think it probably wouldn't have sold great, but still a hell of a lot better than it did, had Atari the money they actually needed to produce them and fulfill all of those missed pre-orders.

Whilst there were indeed shortages here in the UK due to the very limited number of machines available at launch, the pre-order numbers were not in the arena of being anything like what were needed for the Jaguar to be a commercial success. 

 

The UK shortage meant big chains like Virgin Mega stores only recieved 25-30 machines at best, leaving customers empty handed. 

 

But your not looking at 100's or 1000's of empty handed customers per store. 

Edited by Lost Dragon

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Posted (edited)
On 6/16/2020 at 10:55 PM, Sauron said:

Yes, that came from an interview from the head of Atari UK I believe, but that has since been disputed, as what he said simply didn't line up with the reality of the situation. Chalk that up to someone's faulty memory.

 

 

Nope it supposedly came from Darryl Still, Atari UK Marketing Manager and was told to Kieren Hawken who ran around reporting it as fact. 

 

For such a figure to have any credibility, Kieren would of needed to had it backed up by sources such as:

 

Peter Walker Atari UK Marketing Manager before Darryl Still. 

 

Bob Gleadow Atari UK Boss. 

 

Jean Rechin Atari European Marketing Director), plus key figures from Atari France, Atari Netherlands, Atari Germany etc

 

Sources from NASCR (National Association of Specialist Computer Retailers) 

 

Sources from UK and European Distributors (SDL in case of the UK, ABC Spieispass/Rushware in case of Germany?) 

 

 

 

Also heads of purchasing for likes of:Rumbelows,HMV, Calculus, GAME,Woolworths,Virgin etc in UK, Retour (France), Quelle (Germany) 

 

But he didn't and likes of Retrogamer magazine quoted it, Guru Larry used it in his Fact Hunt book, though I believe it's being removed from his revised edition. 

 

Edited by Lost Dragon
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