• Tag Archives Jaguar
  • The Atari Jaguar


    While 64-bit may have been a bit of an exaggeration (the Jaguar used two 32-bit RISC processors as well as a Motorola 68000), it was still an impressive system, technically speaking, at the time it was introduced. It clearly outclassed the popular 16-bit counterparts of the time. Unfortunately, as with every Atari system after the 2600, it was lack of software that really killed it. Relatively poor 3rd party support plus 1st party support that was often done as cheaply as possible just isn’t a recipe for a successful system.



    It also didn’t help that the Jaguar was a relatively difficult system to program for. The architecture was somewhat complex and included:


    • “Tom”, a 26.59 MHz processor with a 32-bit RISC core used as a GPU, 64-bit Blitter and 64-bit DRAM controller.
    • “Jerry”, a 26.59 MHz processor with a 32-bit RISC core similar to “Tom” but with a larger cache and other components intended for sound processing (two DACs, wavetable synthesis, FM synthesis). It was also responsible for timers and joystick control.
    • A Motorola 68000 running at 13.925 MHz used as a controller


    In addition, there would be a CD-ROM add-on that would add to the complexity of the system.

    While there would be a number of very good games for the Jaguar, there just wasn’t enough. Atari always seemed hesitant to put the marketing and software development resources behind their systems that could have made them more successful.

    This ad is from a little later in the life of the Jaguar and it’s doing somewhat bad math to try to illustrate the superiority of the Jaguar to the new 32-bit systems. It wasn’t superior but it was certainly a bargain by comparison at $149.


    Atari Jaguar


  • Ruiner Pinball (Atari Jaguar)

    Ruiner Pinball, Atari Jaguar.

    Ruiner Pinball is a video pinball game that was exclusive to the Atari Jaguar and released in 1995. This game featured two different tables. The first table is called Ruiner and is obviously where the title of the game comes from. This theme for this table is a cold war setting from 1962. Your goal is to decrease the Defcon level from 5 to 1, launch an attack on your enemy and defend your own country. The second table is simply called Tower and has a fantasy setting in which your goal is to cast three magic spells, destroy the tower and defeat the sorceress. Ruiner consists of two screens while tower has three screens.

    This game received mixed reviews but if you like the video pinball genre and you have an Atari Jaguar then I highly recommend it. Ruiner was criticized for not being much better than video pinball games of the 16-bit era like Dragon’s Revenge but personally I loved those games so that’s not much of a criticism as far as I’m concerned. It would have been nice to see more tables though.

    If you do want to give this one a try, you’ll have to do it on original hardware or try your luck with a Jaguar emulator. Ruiner is exclusive to that system and has never been re-released. Hopefully, these sort of Atari exclusive games will see a release on the new Atari VCS when it arrives.

  • Alien vs. Predator (Atari Jaguar)

    Alien vs. Predator, Atari Jaguar.


    Alien Vs. Predator is a first person shooter video game developed for the Atari Jaguar and released in 1994. Alien Vs. Predator was very well received and became one of the best selling games for that system. Eventually, it was even included as the pack-in game in the Japanese market.

    Alien Vs. Predator is based on the Dark Horse comic series and while it was originally conceived as an Atari Lynx game, development was switched to the Jaguar instead. It is unrelated to the beat-em-up game of the same name on the Super Nintendo. The game plays much like a graphically improved Wolfenstein 3D.

    While superficially similar to Wolfenstein 3D, the game play was quite unique in a number of ways. You could play as either an Alien, Predator or Marine, each with their own unique storyline and goals. How you healed yourself/continued, the weapons you used, etc. were all quite different depending on which character you chose. For example, as the alien you could not heal yourself but you could capture marines and put them in cocoons. If you died, you could continue as a new alien hatched from your cocooned marine.

    If you own an Atari Jaguar, this is definitely one of the must have games for that system. Unfortunately, a real Atari Jaguar is the only good way to play this game. While there was a planned Jaguar CD version and even a planned sequel, these ultimately did not materialize as the Jaguar was discontinued before those projects got off the ground.