Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
33 Consoles of Christmas
Atari Jaguar (1993)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 04, 2006   |   Episode 12 (Show Archive)  

It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!

Synopsis: If you believe Atari then the Jaguar is the first 64-bit console on the planet. At the time they suggested that you "do the math," despite that the math didn't add up to 64. Even with the impressive sounding specs and a low price tag, the Jaguar failed to drum up a lot of support and was destined to fail. In its short life Atari did manage to get out a few interesting games, including the amazing Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator, the single best game based on the Alien license ever made. Despite its low sales, the Jaguar also managed to release a CD-ROM attachment, which had no good games and very little third party support.

Best Games: Tempest 2000, Aliens vs. Predator, and Cannon Fodder!

The Jaguar is the ultimate test for those who root for the underdog. For the people who have loving memories of the Atari name, the Jaguar represented one final push at the hardware market. For everybody else the Jaguar was nothing more than an underpowered cart-based console that couldn't even compete with the 32-bit PlayStation, let alone other 64-bit systems. But because of games like Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator I still love my poor little Jaguar. Unfortunately one thing I can't love is the design of the system, it is just atrocious. It's clear that the system was designed for the ill-fated Jaguar CD, but even with the add-on device the system looks like a toilet. Even worse than the system is the terrible control, which features three face buttons, start, select and a numerical keypad. The idea is a noble one, but it's hard to imagine anybody thinking that a 12-button keypad would be a good idea. Put all this together and you have one of the ugliest consoles ever made, which may be one of the reasons Atari ended up getting out of the hardware business.

It looks as though Nintendo took a cue or two from Atari when designing their N64. Why they would do that is beyond me, as I don't particularly like the design of either system. The system is rounded on the top, making it hard to stack when not in use, and the ridges along the back combined with the rounded top make it hard to grab if your hands were covered in butter. The biggest detriment to the console itself has to be the controller. Atari should have just given it a keyboard rather than make a keyboard-sized controller. Of course I hyperbolize, but it really is a poorly-conceived controller. The color is, I believe, "videogame grey", the exact same color the second Lynx employed. I don't really care for the graffiti-style logo slapped on the front of the console either. I find it odd that both of the most prominent 64-bit systems looked so similar, but aside from that, they're worlds apart.


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