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Next Generation Uncovered
Next Generation #4 - Atari Jaguar: Pussycat?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 10, 2014   |   Episode 4 (Show Archive)  

   
While Next Generation didn't have the lifespan of Electronic Gaming Monthly and Nintendo Power, the magazine did spend seven years influencing what we now consider modern-day games journalism. Over the next 85 episodes, we'll do our best to review every Next Generation cover and put the issue into proper context. Join us every Thursday for Next Generation Uncovered!

Admit it; you've started to lose faith in Next Generation Uncovered. The first three covers have been disappointing; with the highest rating cover scoring a mere B-. Sure, the online gaming design was awesomely awful, but it's hard to get too excited about a simple PlayStation photo. But don't worry, because some of the best shows of all time started a little shaky. Go back and watch the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you'll see that sometimes a show needs a few episodes to find its footing.

Luckily, Next Generation Uncovered didn't need a full season to gets its act together. It didn't have to make drastic cast changes or hire a new writing staff, because it only took the magazine four issues to come up with their defining cover. Study this Atari Jaguar-themed design carefully, because Next Generation just set a new high water mark.

This design is simple and striking. While other magazines filled their covers with game titles and colorful pictures, Next Gen opted for a mostly black look with only a smattering of text. We see the Jaguar's eyes staring at us, ready to pounce the moment we say a bad word about Kasumi Ninja. The four claw marks show the evidence of the large cat's devastating power. Is this the fierce feline that will take down Sega, Sony and Nintendo, or is it, as this cover asks, merely a pussycat?

Next Generation was right to be concerned about Atari's future. Contrary to company president Sam Tramiel's bravado, Atari was not in a good position. They had spent a massive amount of money bringing the Jaguar (and its CD add-on) to market, and they were only a few months from being a casualty of the 32-bit war. It is a compelling story, and even now, this cover makes me excited to find out if the Jaguar can claw its way back to the top.

Words of Wisdom w/ Sam Tramiel: "The Saturn is too expensive and Nintendo doesn't even have a product yet. All Nintendo is doing is trying to confuse the market with disinformation. The Sony product is just too expensive to be taken seriously and I can't see Sony focusing on a product that won't have the quantities due to the high price. It will not be a big player."

Next Week: Blast off into space with the Ultra 64. That's right, next Tuesday we're going to talk about Nintendo's 64-bit console and figure out what the Next Generation cover has to do with it.

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