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The Atari Jaguar had Arcade level 2D, missed potential.

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
While there are some decent 3D games on the Atari Jaguar, most of those were not trying to be over ambitious. The Jaguar was not able to compete in 3D without compromises due to it's complicated architecture with 3 processors, very similar to the Saturn except the Saturn had more memory to work with and had a chip that could off-load busywork and you can program for al the processors instead of having one of them "halt" another one until a cycle is finished, The Jaguars 3D capabilities due to these issues was clearly limited to games maybe 15-20% more powerful than the Sega 32X, and attempting to push the hardware beyond that with its lackluster tools which had poor documentation resulted in major sacrifices, horrible rendering, choppy graphics, horrible frame rates, and freezing when there's too much action on screen.

The Jaguar however, was designed to handle 2D graphics that wouldn't have been out of place in the arcades and that is what it was really good at consistently. Only the Sega Saturn was really competitive with the Jaguar in how it handled 2D gaming and at frame rates that its direct competitor could only dream of (2D games on 3DO are lucky to be 30fps). Some examples of 2D jaguar power.





Super Burnout looks like it came right out of a Sega Arcade machine. One of the best examples of the Atari Jaguars rotation and scaling capabilities at a solid 60fps with attention to detail and vivid colors.




This game fooled many people, especially in screenshots, and I wouldn't be surprised at first glance it fooled people here but this is not a 3D game, but a 2D game with large towering scaling architecture and a wide playfield. Blue Lightening is another example of jaguar 2D scaling and rotational power.




The best version of Rayman compared to other contemporary console and PC at the time. The Jaguar version had a higher color pallet, better image quality, faster and smoother animation, and improved detail. This shouldn't be surprising though since the game was originally made for the Jaguar. The only questionable issue with this version of the game is the sound, even Super Burnout above has some CD quality like sound but this seems like the brought over music from a PC without a soundcard. But other than that weakness it's the best and most playable version of the game.




Kasumi Ninja is a game that may not be one of the best fighters out there, but graphically it's a sight to behold. Accurate reflections, and parallax not just in the fore ground and the fence, but three rows in the city background as well. Pretty snazzy.





A snowboarding game Val Skiing, not the full name but I can't remember the whole thing. Once again the Jaguar shows off it's scaling and sprite capabilities with this very fast Skiing game with vibrant graphics that doesn't slowdown the action at anytime. You even have a sense of depth when moving up or downhill and the sprites scale to match.





Power Drive Rally, one of the best looking overhead racers out there, a style that isn't hasn't been all too popular common since, outside a few gems here and there. it's not just that you have a smooth running game at a locked frame rate, but there are lighting and shadow effects in this game, in this case you can see the shadow effects in the gif. The detailed car sprites and levels are breathtaking and even outshines the Neo-Geo, a console made for this type of game. But the jaguar outdoes the Neo-Geo in this genre. It runs smooth, it's colorful, detailed, and fast.




The Jaguar made a mistake to focus so much on trying to be overly ambitious on 3D, not because it couldn't do it, but because the tools, the documentation, wasn't there, combine that with poorly implemented complicated architecture, it's going to be hard for you to get anything out of the system without compromise.. Once that became obvious early on the Jaguar should have focused on amazing 2D or hybrid experiences.

Like another console, Sega's Saturn, i believe the Jaguar was a great 2D machine and we never had a chance to see what it or the Saturn were capable of because of both company leaderships pushing so hard to match the competition in 3D, they forgot their own advantage. it's hard to convince customers to buy if you are the also-ran that's behind the leader, but if you show that you have something the competition doesn't, then you have a better playing field. The Jaguar and Saturn should have had a mix of next generation 2D games along with 3D games which would improve over time that are within the scope of the hardware.

Too bad most officially released jaguar games are 3D, or at least Doom/Wolf type of 2D imitating 3D. I'd like to have seen a Super Burnout 2 with more money invested in it, maybe that would have given us something like A.B.Cop on the jaguar.
 

ReBurn

Gold Member
Jaguar was never going to get the support it needed regardless. Atari just didn't have the oomph to make it work. 3D is what the people wanted. Nobody wanted a 2D machine after PS1.

It was worth it to me just for Tempest 2000.
 
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CamHostage

Member
I think cartridge size would have ultimately doomed Jaguar to keep up with high-quality 2D unfortunately. (It apparently tapped out at 6MB, similar to the biggest-ever SNES games; for comparison, NeoGeo carts went over a hundred MBs over that, albeit for much more $$.) But I did love the 2D effects quality on Atari Lynx, and I do wish there were more 2D showcases like the examples on Jaguar before its short life ran out.

(*I was going to quibble about Super Burnout, BTW, as from the animated GIF above it looked more like the sprites were redrawn for each step of scale, but watching real footage, it does look like proper Super Scaler-type sprite scaling.)
 
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The Jaguar receives a lot of hate but it does actually have good games in its small library that are still playable and fun… Super Burnout, Rayman, Tempest 2k, Defender 2k and Missile Command 3D to name a few. After the console was discontinued it also received tons of ST ports that are quite nice as well. Unfortunately Atari had to rush it to the market but if it had waited two more years, worked on the console specs and released it with a CD-Drive perhaps it would have been a different story.
 

AJUMP23

Gold Member
Their slogan was do the math. People did the math and did not buy it.

I thought it had cool commercials but just couldn’t compete with Nintendo and sega.
 

nkarafo

Member
Yes, the Atari Jaguar was pretty good at 2D but after the Genesis/SNES, everyone wanted 3D capabilities.

The only 2D hardware that managed to keep the 2D graphics interest alive was the Neo-Geo, but only because there you had the state of the art 2D graphics only SNK could produce and only because it was using huge ROMs that would exceed 100MBs per game in the later years. That's even bigger than the biggest ROM you would get on the N64, 6 years later. The Jaguar's biggest games were still only 4MB, around the same as the bigger Genesis/SNES carts.

Also, sprite scaling games were obsolete. Sure, you could theoretically get a perfect port of After Burner or Space Harrier but you got those on the 32X (almost) and what good did they do for the machine? They were great ports of state of the art games, but these games were already 8+ years old by then.

No, neither 2D or sprite scaling should be the main focus. Because the Jaguar was also good at raycasting 3D games like DOOM. These games were all the rage in that time frame. And the Jaguar proved it could handle them. It had the best DOOM port until the PS1 port was released. The Jaguar would be able to handle more games like this if it was pushed enough, i'm 100% sure it would handle a decent port of Duke Nukem 3D as well. If Atari pushed these popular ports more, the Jaguar would be more successful. But no, they focused their marketing more on things like AVP, which uses a much less advanced engine than DOOM (having orthogonal rooms only like in Wolf 3D and a shitty fame rate) and called it the killer app for the machine. The Jaguar was DOOMed (yeah) from the start.
 
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Ozzie666

Member
Did anyone actually use anything other than the 68000 chip? I feel like we never got to see the full potential of this machine. The cartridge size could be overcome with bank switching as seen with the Genesis, which eventually had bank switching. Cartridge sizes could be increased, but at what cost before it became non profitable. Jaguar audience wasn't going to pay Neo Geo prices, then again what Jaguar audience :)

Whilst the games that have been highlighted are gorgeous, especially Ray man. If you compared these same games to a CD ROM titles, Jaguar would be relegated to second or third place behind Saturn and PSX. That was the tradeoff of CD rom and limited ram, just look at MK3 on PSX. Not sure it's entirely fair to compare cartridge vs CD rom, just because of the loading speeds. So this might be an illusion, if given the same Vram limitations.
 

jufonuk

not tag worthy
Yeah, I remember old controllers such as this.

Then, I see people today arguing either the Xbox or PlayStation controller is perfection and the other is unusable and one of the worst controllers ever made.
Whazzup

Yeah I played on it.

Also the whole thread can be put out exact except replace Jaguar with Saturn.
But if memory serves me the Saturn was going to be 2D but in the recent push to 3D they had to upgrade the console and this made it difficult to program for.
 
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kurisu_1974

is on perm warning for being a low level troll
Yes, the Atari Jaguar was pretty good at 2D but after the Genesis/SNES, everyone wanted 3D capabilities.

The only 2D hardware that managed to keep the 2D graphics interest alive was the Neo-Geo, but only because there you had the state of the art 2D graphics only SNK could produce and only because it was using huge ROMs that would exceed 100MBs per game in the later years. That's even bigger than the biggest ROM you would get on the N64, 6 years later. The Jaguar's biggest games were still only 4MB, around the same as the bigger Genesis/SNES carts.

Also, sprite scaling games were obsolete. Sure, you could theoretically get a perfect port of After Burner or Space Harrier but you got those on the 32X (almost) and what good did they do for the machine? They were great ports of state of the art games, but these games were already 8+ years old by then.

No, neither 2D or sprite scaling should be the main focus. Because the Jaguar was also good at raycasting 3D games like DOOM. These games were all the rage in that time frame. And the Jaguar proved it could handle them. It had the best DOOM port until the PS1 port was released. The Jaguar would be able to handle more games like this if it was pushed enough, i'm 100% sure it would handle a decent port of Duke Nukem 3D as well. If Atari pushed these popular ports more, the Jaguar would be more successful. But no, they focused their marketing more on things like AVP, which uses a much less advanced engine than DOOM (having orthogonal rooms only like in Wolf 3D and a shitty fame rate) and called it the killer app for the machine. The Jaguar was DOOMed (yeah) from the start.

Well it did get a CD addon and it made things worse.
 

Ozzie666

Member
Whazzup

Yeah I played on it.

Also the whole thread can be put out exact except replace Jaguar with Saturn.
But if memory serves me the Saturn was going to be 2D but in the recent push to 3D they had to upgrade the console and this made it difficult to program for.



Cool kids on the Coleco used the Play Action Controller!. I wonder if this would work on the Jaguar, since it uses the common joy stick plugs found on Amiga, Genesis etc.
 

cireza

Member
I don't see rotation in any of these gifs.

To push 2D you need either ROMs with fast access, or a lot of RAM if you are using CDs.

Problem is that cartridges strongly limit the quantity of assets you can store. So to be competitive in 2D at decent price, the only option was to go the CD route and have a lot of RAM.
 
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the_master

Member
The snowboarding game looks impressive, but none of it could compare with 3D Games at the time.
I remember seeing the motorbike game in the shop when I went to buy a next gen console. I thought it was so embarrassing to display a megadrive/supernes looking game (I didn't even pay attention to the smooth scaling) Compared to the Saturn and Playstation 3D games that blew my mind.
 

wondermega

Member
First off let me say that I loved the Atari Lynx handheld, and was a big fan of what Atari Games (arcade division, separate from the home computer/console division) was releasing in late 1980s and early 1990s. That all being said, with Jaguar there never seemed to be anything compelling. Something was just off and it seemed like this former monster of the industry had just been left in the dust. Why release a machine like this? Who were they trying to compete with, exactly?

Also, I felt similarly about the moves Sega was making at the time. Likewise, absolutely loved Sega Genesis and the very impressive arcade legacy that they'd crafted by then. But Sega CD and 32X just both felt half-assed/under-developed/not wonderfully supported solutions to compete with SNES hardware & overall market at that time. Then Saturn was suddenly blasted onto the scene out of nowhere in what felt like a very premature fashion.

I guess my point to all of this is that it was a particularly crazy period of the industry. Sony had succeeded in shaking things up magnificently, and anyone not called that or Nintendo was suddenly caught with their pants down so far as sensible plans for the future (honestly didn't feel overwhelmingly clear that Nintendo was going to continue their same superiority any longer either, at that point).

Consoles like Saturn, Jaguar, and 3DO were all just destined for non-greatness, sadly. This is not to take away from the achievements each accomplished, as each had their bright points, but it became pretty evident after not too long that the market was no longer excited about a lot of the decisions any of those companies were making. (Hell, see also Hudson/NEC). It's amazing that Neo Geo was able to survive at that point either, but that is a bit apples and oranges I suppose.

It is an interesting thought experiment to consider what history would have been like had any of these guys made different moves (taking on Playstation more directly, opting to make a much more "easy to develop for" 3D platform that was friendly to the wallet/competitive with PS1). I guess any of that is a stretch..
 

SmokedMeat

Gamer™
That’s all fine and dandy, but nobody was going to make games for that turd.

There was no money to be made on Jaguar.

Also, every console during that period had arcade level 2D.
 
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RoboFu

One of the green rats
The jaguar was totally Atari’s bungle.
They could have had the 32bit panther out in 91 to directly compete with the genesis and snes and gave more time for the jaguar instead they waited 2 more years and had to compete with the PlayStation and Saturn with a rushed system mainly built on the last gen technology.

I owned one and it sucked big time.
 

RAIDEN1

Member
Yeah I don't see the Jaguar as "console with potential".....hell the 32x had potential too but that never got realised....had the Jag come out in 1991/1992 then it could have basked in the 2d limelight but by 1993 it was already game-over for it...even its killer app - Alien V Predator couldn't save it from sinking within a year....and to think Sega were worried about this console being a threat to their standing...
 

Scotty W

Member
I have come to think that a lot of these failed consoles did not reach their potential simply because the business strategy behind them was bad. Entering a crowded market with no killer app or support from any major developer? Absurd.
 

Warnen

Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead / Hey, there, there goes the Spider-Man
Funny how everyone wanted 3d back then but looking back now it wad the peak of 2D games and very few of the 3d games hold up.
 

nkarafo

Member
Well it did get a CD addon and it made things worse.
Well, the CD sucks as a medium for videogames. Especially if it's for 2D games of the Neo-Geo caliber. Remember how much worse the Neo-Geo CD was compared to the regular arcade/AES?

Even on PS1/Saturn, most Neo-Geo and CPS II games would suffer cuts and regressions despite the systems being more capable than those arcade boards. The problem is a combination of the CDs slow access and low RAM.

Neo-Geo/Arcade games used ROMs that were so fast, the system could access any tiny bit of data immediately, meaning it could just shuffle small amounts of data really, really fast while you never notice it. So no need to load big amounts of RAM before use. CD based systems, however, had to load as much data as possible on RAM first before use since the CD is painfully slow with a huge amount of access latency. And while the amount of RAM they had was good enough to load their own optimized 2D games, it was not good enough for the huge Neo-Geo or CPS II games (the Neo-Geo CD had more RAM than the Saturn/PS1 because of this).

That's why the Saturn used a RAM expansion cart for some of them, so it could fit enough data to load the huge sprites and frames of animation without cuts. But even then you would had to deal with slightly longer loading times between levels/fights.

I don't think the Jaguar CD had games that used a lot of the CD space for anything other than some FMVs and music.
 
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cireza

Member
Well, the CD sucks as a medium for videogames
In my opinion the answer is much more complicated than this. You can't tell that CDs suck based on a comparison with the Neo Geo, a system entirely designed around streaming content from ROM as if it was RAM, with two huge buses per cartridge, and the absurd cost of the games.

Video games meant for home play could never justify such a cost. That's why SNK made the Neo Geo CD. And with only 7 MB of RAM, this console could run almost all games with no or minimal cuts. And offer Redbook Audio. If anything, this makes a strong argument in favor of the disc format.

CD format has always been an enabler. You would never have seen anything like Lunar Eternal Blue, and the incredible amount of super high quality content it offers, if it wasn't for the CD format.
 
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nkarafo

Member
In my opinion the answer is much more complicated than this. You can't tell that CDs suck based on a comparison with the Neo Geo, a system entirely designed around streaming content from ROM as if it was RAM, with two huge buses per cartridge, and the absurd cost of the games.

Video games meant for home play could never justify such a cost. That's why SNK made the Neo Geo CD. And with only 7 MB of RAM, this console could run almost all games with no or minimal cuts. And offer Redbook Audio. If anything, this makes a strong argument in favor of the disc format.

CD format has always been an enabler. You would never have seen anything like Lunar Eternal Blue, and the incredible amount of super high quality content it offers, if it wasn't for the CD format.
CDs were a very good storage medium, but not a good "real time" one.

Meaning, if there was enough RAM to store data from it and the CD ROM drive having fast enough spinning speed to reduce that loading procedure, it would be fine.

Problem is, early drives (1x, 2x) were too slow compared to the amount of data a CD can store (650 MB). And CD based consoles at the time also had too little RAM (2MB max), which means the loading from CD had to be more frequent. The 7MB the Neo-Geo CD had was a very big amount for 1994. Even PCs had almost as much at the time (8 MB was the recommended amount).

CDs were great for PCs where you could install the games on a much faster HDD and then use the CD only for Redbook audio or FMVs that waste HDD space. But for consoles with very tight RAM budgets, slow CD drives and no HDD there were more cons than pros IMO.


Is there a viable jaguar emulator for pc?
Phoenix.
 
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cireza

Member
CDs were a very good storage medium, but not a good "real time" one.

Meaning, if there was enough RAM to store data from it and the CD ROM drive having fast enough spinning speed to reduce that loading procedure, it would be fine.

Problem is, early drives (1x, 2x) were too slow compared to the amount of data a CD can store (650 MB). And CD based consoles at the time also had too little RAM (2MB), which means the loading from CD had to be more frequent. The 7MB the Neo-Geo CD had was a very big amount for 1994. Even PCs had almost as much at the time (8 MB was the recommended amount).

CDs were great for PCs where you could install the games on a much faster HDD and then use the CD only for Redbook audio or FMVs that waste HDD space. But for consoles with very tight RAM budgets and no HDD there were more cons than pros IMO.



Phoenix.
You could not stream from discs with these older consoles indeed. But it was a complementary option. You could not achieve the vast majority of SEGA CD or PCE CD games on cartridges. RAM was expensive, but ROM as well. And of course it works the other way as well, with cartridge games streaming a lot of content from ROM, which made CD based system not suited for fighting games, for example. I still find that the SEGA CD was a great piece of hardware, SEGA put a lot of useful chips in it and quite a bit of RAM. I think that people don't realize how we'll designed it was. Neo Geo CD as well, awesome console.

I am happy that we had both worlds work side by side during the 16 bits era.
 
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Clear

Member
Its easy to forget how negative a lot of the press was to traditional 2d presentation once the Playstation/Saturn era got under way.

Fashion, or at least what the enthusiast press deems "contemporary" has always been huge in gaming. I guess some sort of "futurism" is kinda baked-into videogames generally due to its nature and history, but the downside has always been a dismissiveness towards the past -particularly in a format/presentation sense- once a new style has becoming popular.
 

dave_d

Member
CDs were great for PCs where you could install the games on a much faster HDD and then use the CD only for Redbook audio or FMVs that waste HDD space. But for consoles with very tight RAM budgets, slow CD drives and no HDD there were more cons than pros IMO.
Plus not having to deal with an install from 10-20 floppy disks. (Especially when you found out disk 15 was corrupt.)
 

dave_d

Member
Its easy to forget how negative a lot of the press was to traditional 2d presentation once the Playstation/Saturn era got under way.

The most blatant example I remember was Next-Generation basically giving little coverage to Castlevania SotN. I think it got 4 stars at the time.(They did not consider it one of the best games of 97. Now it's largely recognized as a classic.)
 

wondermega

Member
I have come to think that a lot of these failed consoles did not reach their potential simply because the business strategy behind them was bad. Entering a crowded market with no killer app or support from any major developer? Absurd.
It doesn't make sense from our perspective, but I doubt these companies were filled with buffoons, so I am sure they had their reasoning (even if these things were simply being sent to die?) I am sure there are plenty of smart people who worked at those places at the time who rolled their eyes at the notion of releasing rushed hardware to a non-welcoming market. Different industry, but I have worked at such a place and it was always evident that such things were being done to secure patents, satisfy investors who were clamoring for returns, possibly "spending money in order to keep making money.."

I mean, after what happened with Atari Lynx, I cannot imagine someone at the top at that company was thinking "well clearly this is still a very fertile market that we should engage in with this particular hardware config and still basically no major licensed software dev partnerships." Who knows. Maybe they made enough with their other products up to that point that it totally justified rolling the dice on the future. The entire industry was so different, so much smaller than what it would grow into. Maybe they were making money hand-over-fist on arcade units still, and could throw money at console development like it was a pit. I'd love to get insight into some of the fly-on-the-wall boardroom conversations that happened in those days.
 

wondermega

Member
As for CD format games/hardware (since that is coming up as a very interesting topic in this thread as well), it did seem absolutely futuristic during the 16-bit era. Magazines would love touting how 1 CD could potentially hold hundreds of cartridges worth of data (of course, this never really happened commercially) and likewise how significantly cheaper it was to manufacture these plastic discs as opposed to the mini PCBs of a cartridge (also true, but never really capitalized on). It has been such a long time, but I don't recall loading times being a huge burden for many Sega CD or Turbografx-16 games, although there were definitely exceptions (Willy Beamish on Sega CD was damn near unplayable with all the loads) and of course the Neo Geo CD, which sounded like an incredible solution, also really fell apart for the same reasons. I forgot how much Neo CD games costed compared to their PCB counterparts, I wonder if anyone was ever really satisfied with that solution.
 
Was that tekken 8 or tekken 2 remaster ?
Did it say anywhere that it's tekken 8?
All fighting games moving forward should have
Ps /xbox/PC crossplay
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Theres been much misinformation about history regarding losers and/or failed consoles, however the Jaguar had been most impacted by early internet revisionism from early gaming sites, big names hwo knew nothing of it rambling, and eventually the video platforms. There's been a very slow information spread about the Jaguar and as a result many untruths and myths still presist, but this isn't new with Atari consoles, we have een great revisionism regarding the crash, the 2600, and NES, and we've seen it with the Lynx and others too, but with the jaguar people beleive any information that comes from someone on it.

I think one of the biggest lies told is that nobody wanted the system when in actuality people did want the system and unfortunately for them, in several cases would never see the console release at their retailers as promised. The software was not excempt from this same issue/ I've seen many compare Atari releasing the Jaguar to Commodore releasing the CD32, and while I do agree both were released without much of a plan, I disagree on that comparison beyond that point as the the Jaguar was being developed in tandem with the Panther, and ended up going further along, so it made sense for Atari to go for the more powerful system but why not prepare for release properly? They had a test market that was successful but they shipped so few consoles for it that it was obvious they didn't have the capacity or the money to produce anything in mass so the whole thing is just confounding. But anyway.
heres your controller, bro


The controller is actually fine if you use it. Some games have odd configurations but that's the worst of it, almost anyone complaining about the controller never used it or already had bias. I'm not saying the controller is great, things like complaining about the D-pad which works perfectly well for most Jaguar games and are designed for it as is, isn't a valid complaint, because when that same situation comes up with say the N64 or Saturn no one says anything. Even the 3DO gets less flak and it's D-pad is worse.

I think cartridge size would have ultimately doomed Jaguar to keep up with high-quality 2D unfortunately.
Atari had sized carts plan so they could have increased the size, the issue was that the 3P developers if they had a potential hit would have to manufacture and pay for the quantity themselves, as Atari didn't have the money to mass produce jack.

Even in their day games like Kasumi Ninja and Blue Lightning looked bad.

Not if you liked 2D. They played bad though and were clearly rushed, but looked great.

So to be competitive in 2D at decent price, the only option was to go the CD route and have a lot of RAM.

The CD-route in 1993 was the more expensive route than cartridge. Several of the best arcade machines were using cartridges as well, I don't think what you said would end up being true until 1995 or 1996 and that's because of how much 2D was second priority to the #DO, PS1, and N64. The Saturn was better than all of them but it wasn't that good at 2D as people think. it was great for console like the Jaguar, but it couldn't handle certain CPS2 games without a memory cartridge, so Saturn likely couldn't deal to well with AB Cop or any of the early 90's Pseudo-3D games either, which may be why Sega was promoting Outrun and Galaxy Force Ports so hard (and After Burner on 32X) those being older sprite demanding games that people ddn't find attractive enough to buy a console for.

The Neo Geo had better graphics than this 3 years before the Jaguar came out
No it didn't, that would mean in 1990. Riding Hero, Legend of Joe, and Magician Lord where great compared to Mega Drive and SNES but not the Jaguar.

Well it did get a CD addon and it made things worse.

Actually it mostly resulted in better games.

Battlemorph>Cybermorph

World Racing>Checkered Flag

Ironsoldier 2> Ironsoldier 1

Primal Rage> Kasumi Ninja.

But considering Ataris financial position when they were working on the Jaguar, a CD earlier was not an option. Atari always intended for a Jaguar CD to release with the console but it was delayed until they got some budget company to do it. That would have been a $400 console.

Their slogan was do the math. People did the math and did not buy it.

Actually they did, until Atari burned most of their potential install. This is one of the more popular myths about the Jaguar. People were waiting for Jaguars at stores and none showed up because Atari couldn't make enough. Or in other cases it was the game that had this problem. It brings to question why they even released it at al, they may as well have just taken a risk on the Panther. it would have at least gave them two extra years to see if it would work.

Yes, the Atari Jaguar was pretty good at 2D but after the Genesis/SNES, everyone wanted 3D capabilities.

This in't actually true, the most popular Next generation game was Gex (and the 3DO version was at 30fps the version that put the game on the map), then it was Rayman, and it only switched to a 3D game in 1996, it was either Crash or Tomb Raider first, then the N64 came out the same year and it was exclusively 3D ever since.

The only 2D hardware that managed to keep the 2D graphics interest alive was the Neo-Geo, but only because there you had the state of the art 2D graphics only SNK could produce and only because it was using huge ROMs that would exceed 100MBs per game in the later years.

This is true later, but at the time of the jaguar you were still in the Magician Lord era. The metal Slug Era was in 96, and the SUPER MEGA PRO SPEC cartridges weren't until the 2000's, and by then the Dreamcast was out.

Also, sprite scaling games were obsolete. Sure, you could theoretically get a perfect port of After Burner or Space Harrier but you got those on the 32X (almost) and what good did they do for the machine? They were great ports of state of the art games, but these games were already 8+ years old by then.

They were not obsolete, they were still being released at the time and the Saturn probably couldn't handle Ab Cop to well. I mentioned this before but you actually clarify what the problem was with sprite scaling games on the Saturn (and 32X), and that was that they were focusing too much on the older games. One of the Saturns promoted games was a perfect port of Outrun, Outrun came out in 1985, the Genesis could do a decent version, the 3DO could do a version better than that and that was a console that couldn't handle modern 2D games for the time at 60fps and were usually 20-30fps.

Space Harrier 1985, After Burner 1987, Power Drift and Galaxy force II were 88, it is understandable why people weren't excited about these games having ports on the Saturn when they had seen games go beyond those for 5+ years in the arcade. Many of the Sega and other companies that released demanding sprite games weren't even ported to any console. it's why Super Burnout was praised and considered impressive when it came out because you didn't see a game like that on condoles. Keep in mind it released in mid 1995, so in Japan both PS1 and Saturn were out, and some reviewers already played those consoles.

Out of those Sega Ages ports, NA only got Outrun, Space Harrier, and After Burner, so they didn't even get the 88 games which were stil old but not as old as those 3.

Did anyone actually use anything other than the 68000 chip?

Many games used, or had to use, the other chips, the whole console is made to use these chips in unison in a terrible, inefficient way. You had to go through the 6800 chip and apparently the console needs it for a few functions at least by default. Developers can try circumventing it but the problem that has been conveyed by both developers at the time, after it's continuation, and by homebrew developers, is that the two 32-bit RISC processors cannot be fully accessed because of the how difficult the architecture is and buggy hardware and software.

The issue is 68000's slow 16-bit bus. It asks only for a single word, but requires 4 cycle of the 68000 clock for that word. The smart thing to do would have been to give the 68000 its own ram. Using the Sega 32X as an example, it also has: a 68000 and two RISC processors, the difference is that the 6800 can use the Genesis ram, and it it runs out it wouldn't effect the two RISC processors using the 32X ram. If yo were to run the 6800 from ROM then it would use the 32X bus and cut performance in half or more. However, that free ram was tied to the Genesis which still held back the 32X in its own way and is a reason why many believe that the Genesis was never meant to have that expansion.

On the Jaguar, everything uses the same bus, and the 68000 can drop bus performance by up to 80%. The DSP and everything else are trying to get cycles off the bus, an example would be heavy traffic flowing smoothly bumper to bumper in a 4 lane highway but then 3 of the lanes are blocked each time the 68000 touches the bus. Originally the jaguar was supposed to use a 020 but due to affordability went with the 680000.

Later developers were able to get more out of the system, somehow managing to create tools that didn't already exist for the undocumented hardware (outside the 69000 which many early tools were only for and seemed to have came from the Panther and ST) and putting out some impressive results, developers had to do more work on the jaguar than the Saturn in the end. I do believe that there is some power left to get out of the Jaguar, however based on the console itself and the limits that are unavoidable, i do not believe that there's Saturn matching power inside the jaguar that some fans believe exists for 3D.

In contrast, the architecture is fantastic for 2D, and the 68000 combined with the other processors give the jaguar an advantage with the only hinder being the cartridge sizes which can be increased. It shows that the system was designed to brute force 3D far beyond what consoles were at the time it was being made in 1992 when Atari switched development from the Panther, while having 2D that matches powerful arcade machines, but that was also part of the problem.

The Jaguar was made to compete for the time, while the 3DO was designed to get ahead of everyone else. the 3DO was even a match for the PS1 and Saturn while developers were learning those consoles and can run most games on both systems, yeah at a 3rd or half the frame rate, but they are doable.

Though one thing to note is that, the 3DO's framerate problems are theoretically due to games being forced through the 3DO's internal scaling output, which outputs all games to 480i. However, every 3DO has the ability to be modified to run at 240p, and Japanese systems actually have switches for 240p. There are games on the 3DO when 240p is turned on that run much faster, and this leads me to believe that both 2D and 3D games suffer due to being forced to output at 480i. 3DO likely thought doing that would be considered more impressive and something to market but it impacts performance, so the 3DO is actually more ahead of its time than previously thought if you run games at 240p.

But back to the Jaguar, while there is power left to find, the architecture will likely never go further than maybe twice as powerful as the 32X. I see no reality where the jaguar could output graphics in 3D that could match 1994 3DO releases. I'm not even sure it could do better than MAC at the time.
 

Pachi72

Member
“If Sega did the math for the Sega Saturn the way Atari did the math for their 64-bit Jaguar system, the Sega Saturn would be a 112-bit monster of a machine."😹😹
 

baphomet

Member
Not if you liked 2D. They played bad though and were clearly rushed, but looked great.

Lol, no.

Kasumi Ninja didn't even look as good as the home port of MK2 which had already released. Then you had Way of the Warrior which looked a full generation beyond Kasumi Ninja. And that's only comparing bad digitized games. Capcom and SNK had 2D stuff that was light years beyond what the Jaguar could do.

Blue Lightning isn't even a question. It isn't even in the same ball park as Sega's Super Scaler games that were years old at that point, and stuff like Air Combat 22 that were already in the arcades would be like comparing a 32x to a PS2.
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Whilst the games that have been highlighted are gorgeous, especially Ray man. If you compared these same games to a CD ROM titles, Jaguar would be relegated to second or third place behind Saturn and PSX.

What do you mean by this? Jaguar had the best version of Rayman, and the PSX did not have better 2D than the Jaguar. At the very least it would be 2nd, with the 3DO in 4th and N64 in 5th. However, that CD storage on the PSX could be used for some impressive gimmicks.

Why release a machine like this? Who were they trying to compete with, exactly?

The original plans made sense, the Jaguar project ended up coming further along sooner than anticipate, the original idea was to release the Panther first and the Jaguar later, but the Jaguars progressed caused a delay for the Panther. The Panther could have released in 1992 but why do that when you can have a 64-bit jaguar in 1993? Turns out after building the console and having IBM manufacture it, the actual Jaguar turned out to be incredibly hard to produce and took a lot more money to release, they had a test market that they spun as a success that would get many developers on board when they only got some, several which later cancelled their projects, that shipment was only 20,000 consoles. Even the Lynx sold 500,000 in a few months and that was an expensive machine to produce, it didn't lose money, but it had low margins so they millions they sold didn't really make too much money. The Jaguar however was losing money and they couldn't produce enough consoles or games and it's clear to me Atari executives knew this before launch.

Maybe there was some legal element involved and they had to release "something" , and considering the specs of the jaguar, they likely thought it was an amazing kit that would result un maybe some partnerships to infuse cash on the project. To them it was capable of 3D at a good frame rate with shading, so could play games like Hard Drivin or Virtua Fighter without compromise, flat shaded polygons were fine. The 2D was arcade quality, so let's go for it.

They didn't think ahead though and in 3D fell behind right from the start. The Jaguar was a powerful consoles that they went with because it had higher specs than the Panther. This is arguably where Atari messed up at, they didn't research the costs of launching, producing, and maintaining Jaguar development, they only saw that the Jaguar project was coming along and they could release it 3 years earlier (so the rumors say) it was originally planned to release. They weren't like Sony or 3DO who were thinking about how the hardware would improve overtime and and for the tech to last at least a few years, they only saw 2 was a bigger number than 1, so let's go with 2.

When you look up developer commentary on the Jaguar, like how Atari was forcing them to add texture mapping when they knew it would result in worse running, worse playing games, and Atari allegedly saying they don't care if it's 50% slower as the texture mapping, it tells you Atari was scared and reacting base on what the competition was doing. 3DO had lighting, add lighting, PlayStation had transparencies and ground textures, add those or you're fired.

It's not that different from what Sega was doing at the time really. Except Atari was on the verge of defaulting to the bank when they did it. It's not like they could get 1 million buyers if they half-assed textures on a horrible playing 6fps game, they wouldn't even be able to make a million consoles anyway, their whole attitude with the Jaguar is very confusing.

It's amazing that Neo Geo was able to survive at that point either, but that is a bit apples and oranges I suppose.

SNK filed for bankruptcy.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/snk-files-for-bankruptcy/1100-2703940/

The jaguar was totally Atari’s bungle.
They could have had the 32bit panther out in 91 to directly compete with the genesis and snes and gave more time for the jaguar instead they waited 2 more years and had to compete with the PlayStation and Saturn with a rushed system mainly built on the last gen technology.

I owned one and it sucked big time.

Jaguar wasn't rushed, it was badly made. During the events that happened the Panther ended up having to be released in 1992 if it released at all, at that point the Jaguar project was at the time ahead of schedule, so releasing the Jaguar in 1993 (which didn't really happen they way they thought) made more sense than to release the Panther in 1992.

2 years of the Panther wouldn't be enough to prove itself before releasing the Jaguar. The Panther wasn't that strong either, it could do 3D a bit better than the Mega ST, but was worse in 2D than the SNES. The 3D alone may have been enough for the Panther to sell, but the issue is we are talking about a 3D that would have been obsolete in less than a year, the Falcon would release, the late Acorn stuff was already better, and PC was already would put out Doom, Indy Car Racing, and Mega Race in 1993.

I don't see any situation where releasing the Panther was a good idea.

What I believe Atari should have done is release a console that canned 1989 ST console for $99

That may have changed things quite a bit. There likely would not have been a jaguar, if this released the Panther would be powerful and likely release in 1993 or 1994.

Alien V Predator couldn't save it from sinking within a year

Hard for a game to save your system if you can't make make enough copies.

and to think Sega were worried about this console being a threat to their standing...

That made sense, you are talking about issues that happened after the jaguar launched, not before when Sega was planning on the 32X.

I think all 32/64-bit consoles missed out on some serious 2D potential in favor of really rough 3D.

That's exactly what happened, 2D games that really weren't impressive in arcades from years earlier prior to those consoles releasing were not able to be handled by those consoles. The Jaguar and Saturn where the best 2D machines and even the Saturn for certain games had to use a cartridge to expand its memory to play them. You didn't need the same type of hardware for powerful sprite software compared to middle-age 3D gaming, so all those consoles where ill-equipped to for 2D games. There actually weren't that many 2D games that weren't able to be done on the Mega Drive or SNES and the only advantages the 3D console had was FMV backgrounds, effects, and CD audio.

For example, were Mega Man 8 and Symphony of the Night really impossible on older hardware outside of what benefits CD added? Rayman was the first next generation game that couldn't have been done on older platforms, and the game started out on the SNES and was moved to next gen because it wouldn't work.

I have come to think that a lot of these failed consoles did not reach their potential simply because the business strategy behind them was bad. Entering a crowded market with no killer app or support from any major developer? Absurd.

Jaguar wasn't really entering a crowded Market, and it did have a killer app, but I think people don't realize that killer apps only sell consoles that actually exist lol.
 

Ozzie666

Member
What do you mean by this? Jaguar had the best version of Rayman, and the PSX did not have better 2D than the Jaguar. At the very least it would be 2nd, with the 3DO in 4th and N64 in 5th. However, that CD storage on the PSX could be used for some impressive gimmicks.

I guess what I am trying to say poorly. If you gave both Systems Cartridge media, the PSX 2D would would either better or indistinguishable If you made the same game on both systems both on CD format, the playfield would be closer, if not indistinguishable. The cartridge format just makes things unfair. The format is wrong, the insides of the PSX are more than capable. In real world of course most cartridge system is going to excel at 2D, unless the CD system has lots of ram. I don't recall any great Jaguar 2D games off the top of my head.
 
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Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Well, the CD sucks as a medium for videogames. Especially if it's for 2D games of the Neo-Geo caliber. Remember how much worse the Neo-Geo CD was compared to the regular arcade/AES?

Even on PS1/Saturn, most Neo-Geo and CPS II games would suffer cuts and regressions despite the systems being more capable than those arcade boards. The problem is a combination of the CDs slow access and low RAM.

It had less to do with the CD and more to do with RAM and lack of dedicated hardware for sprites. I've seen the CD excuse used a lot but it doesn't really apply with these middle-ages 3D consoles.

The Saturn and Jaguar, the best 2D systems out of them all (some say PCFX but I think that was only for FMV, while the sprites are very clean I don't see any games showing any cool programming with sprites) were being designed in 1992 and while the Saturn due to changes to its hardware wasn't released until 1994, it explains why the Saturns early 2D game promotion were titles like after Burner II and Outrun.

I don't think the 2D capabilities of the Sega Saturn even reached X board levels, I don't see a single 2D game that looks as good and runs as smooth as AB Cop. CPSII came out in 1993. a year before the Saturn launch and the same year as the 3DO.

I simply believe that the reason Sega Saturn or any of the other consoles could deal with CPS II games is because of the lack of sprite hardware, low ram, and aiming for a lower targets. I don't think CD had anything to do with it. The Neo Geo CD was poorly put together and had a 1x drive withthe CD versions of popular ROM games were poorly programmed.

Problem is, early drives (1x, 2x) were too slow compared to the amount of data a CD can store (650 MB). And CD based consoles at the time also had too little RAM (2MB max), which means the loading from CD had to be more frequent.
I agree with you on the ram as noted above, but you aren't considering the cost for CD speed.

In 1994 and 1995 there were 4X drives that were becoming more common, with 6X guys being a bit more expensive and drives faster than that. I believe the Pippin, released in 1996 had a 4 or 6X drive. Sony, Sega, and others used 2X drives because of costs. Sony was not going to take the loss that would be required to release the PS1 with a 4X drive or higher. As far as I know, the Neo Geo CD was the only console that used an 1X drive which was reasonable considering the expenses involved.

The 3DO and the CD32 were the only consoles where 2X drives were basically a requirement, while those were getting cheaper and consumers were purchasing them in the millions, it still wasn't at a mass adoption price, and the console manufacturers would have to but them in bulk. But the other companies after, including the late Jaguar CD addon, all chose 2X drives for price.

Sega originally advertised the Saturn for $450 which changed to $400, a 4X drive may have cause the price to rise to $500 or $550. It's the same for those who say that the Jaguar should have had CD build in, that would have resulted in the $250 Jaguar being $350, and the $300 PlayStation to be $400 if Sony wanted to take the loss. In this case the CD itself isn't the problem, but the affordability of CD drives.

There was no feasible reason to go higher than 2X, look at the games we ended up with 2D and 3D, while loading screens were annoying in plenty of cases, it was proven that it was completely unnecessary to have a fast CD drive until the more complex consoles came out starting with the Dreamcast. The Pippin was based on a highend MAC so it made sense why it's drive was faster.

. I still find that the SEGA CD was a great piece of hardware, SEGA put a lot of useful chips in it and quite a bit of RAM. I think that people don't realize how we'll designed it was.

I am happy that we had both worlds work side by side during the 16 bits era.

I think in Sega CDS case is that it was restricted by the Mega Drive, and should have been it's own consoles. The Genesis was already getting cheaper and cheaper every half year or so, and the Sega CD being the flagship with all the capabilities it has, with a higher color pallet would have been perfect for 3 or 4 years before the Saturn was launched, and then they could discontinue the Mega Drive. and have the Sega CD become the $99 console while he Saturn was the new flagship.

I mean, after what happened with Atari Lynx, I cannot imagine someone at the top at that company was thinking

Not sure what you mean by this, the Lynx sold millions but its life was cut short to focus on the jaguar that Atari launched DOA with no way of supporting it. If anything they should have discontinued the Jaguar in 1995 and put all hands on Lynx support, and bring out a successor, same capabilities ats the Lynx 1 but better, and have a larger screen with a better resolution.

“If Sega did the math for the Sega Saturn the way Atari did the math for their 64-bit Jaguar system, the Sega Saturn would be a 112-bit monster of a machine."😹😹

However, the jaguar did have a 64-bit bus so it was actually 64-bit, people seem to mock the Jaguar with individual parts, but if that's the case, the 16-bit stuff in the Saturn would regulate it to 16-bits even though it has a 32-bit access bus.
 
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