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Playing the Atari Jaguar

Discussion in 'SIG: Games (PC, Console)' started by M.D.Baker, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Deckhand

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    I forget about this non-8-bit forum and others and don't often scroll all the way down here. But I'm glad it's here as I have a place within the club to tell my tales of gaming outside of 8-bits.

    One thing led to another this past week, as I was working on my Bally Arcade project, and I decided to take a break play a game. I decided to play a game on my Jaguar, my favorite console which has been mostly neglected for the last couple of years, except for regular dusting and cleaning and some Battleshpere action last fall when I purchased a reproduction of the game.

    But immediately upon booting my Jaguar, I realized I had a video problem with my RGB/VGA some where as I was getting no reds. I started searching from the VGA input on the TV, back through my RGB2VGA converter/upscaler and back to my DIY RGB cable I made for my Jaguar, which I was sure was the culprit after going over everything else. Long story short, it wasn't my cable and it turned out to be a bad VGA cable between the converter box and the monitor. But after spending half a day figuring out the issue. When I finally settled in to play some Jaguar, I ended up spending the last few days playing my old favorites Hover Strike (CD version), Battlemoprh (CD), Soul Star (CD), Battlesphere, Skyhammer, I-war and others. All the early cockpit flying/driving FPS open world games. I did play Alien vs. Predator and Wolfenstien 3D FPS's within the last year, as well as the Iron Soldier 1 & 2 mech game FPS's, so I haven't revisited them yet. I plan on playing some Towers II FPS RGP gaming today, a cross between the old 80's "3D" or first-person corridor RPG's and DOOM style FPS's, which is done very well with the Jaguar's hardware.

    So if you don't see updates on my 8-bit projects for a while, it's because I'm revisiting 90's "next gen" 3D goodness, mostly on my Jaguar and JagCD, but also on my 3DO too.







     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
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  2. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Nice action and nice to get a breather and try out some 90s console stuff too, Baker - good shout, fella.

    Glad that you got your video out issue sorted in the end - nothing worse than a crappy output seriously reducing your enjoyment of the full experience of such a game.

    My fave there?

    It's got to be, for me, Skyhammer - I reckon I'd get a Jag just to play that title - it really does look like you could lose yourself in that one for a sesh or.... five!

    Enjoy, fella.
     
  3. by Paul Irvine
    Paul Irvine

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    For me Jeff Minters Tempest was the game I played a Jag for, simple and satisfying with mad music I'd normally not like making it a typical Minter mad storm...Brilliant!
     
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  4. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Deckhand

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    Tempest is of course brilliant, I of course play it with a rotary controller, once you do, you can never go back to a D-pad. My top score before a rotary on Jag T2K was about 500K, after the rotary, instantaneously it more than doubled to well over a million.

    But T2K wasn't the "killer app" for the Jaguar, to me, that many feel it is. I am fonder of some Jaguar games that that same majority think are total crap. I can happily own a Jaguar without owning T2K, though I'd rather have it, but some Jaguar games, like the ones above, I can't imagine not owning.
     
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  5. by Paul Irvine
    Paul Irvine

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    Yeah its not a system launcher but one hell of a fun game with the added mastery / madness that is Jeff Minter..

    He's like the H.R. Geiger of the computing world, I don't know if it would be wonderful or just very scary to be in his head.
     
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  6. by M.D.Baker
    M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Deckhand

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    Have you been able to play Minter's Defender 2000? It's another Minter psychedelic classic, with another arcade perfect (with improved defender explosion only, still the traditional Defender/Dropzone pixel explosion, just bigger and better) port, then Defender Plus and 2000 versions which introduce progressive amounts of psychedelia, music and SFX and of course better graphics.

    It was a later release on the Jaguar after most had given up on it, as were many of the Jaguar's true "killer apps" today, half came after the Jaguar's demise published by those that pick up and publish abandoned games. Games that would have been published by Atari and many more greats that were in the works, had Atari and the Jaguar been able to hold on in the market just one last year even. Raiden was the only Jag game, at launch, that was even a good game, the rest were more or less tech demos. Tempest 2000 was one of the first great games, a year or more after initial launch.

    Development times for Jaguar games lagged behind the rest of the industry in a horrendous way, due to either/or bad development tools for third parties and 1-3 man development teams when the rest of the software developers were using teams 3-10 times that large. So a lot of the best software for the system, that should have been around for the 94 and 95 holiday systems were delayed a year, super rushed or delayed too long and then Sam had his heart-attack and Jack took over and gave up.

    I kept in the know on Jaguar forums and Atari Age through it all and so I kept buying new releases for it even while I already had a Dreamcast and was buying releases for it too. I also picked up a 3DO before the DC to fill in gaps missing in the Jaguar's library that were in development for both systems, but made it out on the 3DO before it's demise about the same time as the Jaguar's. But there have been about 2 dozen games published for the Jaguar in the last 20-25 years that would have and should have been official releases by Atari that just died with Atari and the Jaguar, all slated to hit in '96 and all good enough to easily compete with first generation Playstation and N64 titles.

    DEFENDER 2000

     
  7. by Paul Irvine
    Paul Irvine

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    Not seen the Defender as yet, will look later, to be honest I'd forgotten he wrote it...

    I'll have plenty of time to look at it now our PM has ordered almost total lockdown but I know there will be the idiots who try to beat the system like my horrible neighbours other wise known as "We do as we like" by us, they will be bringing mates over and travelling to and from to do the same putting all the people in this block at more risk.

    So Defender it is if it runs on emulation...Shame about the old Jag and its toilet seat add on, seen the odd few nice bits on it but it like the Lynx was good but not great.

    Shame, the more the merrier I say..
     
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  8. M.D.Baker

    M.D.Baker Deckhand

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    If you judge a computer, console or device based solely on the software catalog, you are 100% right, @Paul Irvine , the Jaguar and Lynx were good systems, but not great. If you judge it based upon the engineering and actual capabilities, however little software shows it, then they were great systems with terrible support on every level which is why they failed and have small libraries.

    But sometimes our attitude toward a system based only upon it's success and size of library, and ignoring or passing over it for that reason can be a grave mistake on some of the best games ever, that "no one" has ever heard about or played. Yes, it's a shame they weren't more of a success with thousands of games to choose from and all the top commercial hits.

    But I asked myself honestly one day, many years ago, "on average, how many games do you really ever own or regularly play on any given console?" My answer was no more than 25 games average on any console. The Jaguar's complete library, commercial and home-brew may only be less than 200 titles (not counting the ST ports that seem to be all the rage now), arguable originals about 50 on cartridge and 20 on CD. And half are just average fare or found on other systems. But out of the rest there are easily 25 great games to discover and enjoy, that take true advantage of the system and show it could compete power-wise, even if that power was no longer the king of the mountain. Not everyone will agree on which 25 though. The same is true of most other failed systems; 3DO, Saturn, Dreamcast...25 great titles can be found in their libraries too. There are always exceptions like the 32X Megadrive add-on or SegaCD, that really do only have a handful of great games.
     
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  9. by Paul Irvine
    Paul Irvine

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    Yes its only fair to judge it in multiple ways, I love the Dreamcast but its software base was very small but boy were a lot of games that were first rate, maybe not as many as there could have been but the quality of those games were bloody good. I defy anyone to beat Sturmwnd for arcade quality.

    I have never been an early adopter of consoles, I always wait to see what is coming out on it and if there's going to be a crossover ala PS2 and Xbox where pretty much the same titles of the same quality were on both but I still later on got a PS2 for the stuff that was Sony only ie Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper Racoon etc which were solid top games.

    I'll probably get a PS3 when the money situation is better just for some of the PS3 only stuff although I may just get the updated enhanced version on PS4, Uncharted and Ratchett are just too good to miss out on.

    As with all my machines, I don't care how well they sold, just if they had software that I'd enjoy and thankfully most machines have something for every one.
     
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  10. M.D.Baker

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    The first thing I do for any console I'm given or purchase or restore is collect the best of it's unique system-only games, then I spread out from there based on which one has the best port or if it's a close call, which ever can be had for cheapest.

    Like Flashback. A classic hit game that came out for the Megadrive, SegaCD, SNES, 3DO, Jaguar, PC and probably other computers like the Amiga and ST for all I know. All are completely comparable with the newer console versions being only slightly tweaked in resolution color and animation, but hardly even noticeable unless you look and study the graphics.

    I rented Flashback for the Megadrive in the early 90's before I owned a Jaguar, but never bought it on the Megadrive as I finished the game while renting it. I did buy it at bargain-bin pricing for the Jaguar around '98/99, it was exactly as I remembered the Megadrive version, except for slightly better color and smoother animation, just so slightly. But I sold it off a decade ago when I sold off a bunch of my original collections. Now I have it for the 3DO since I can download 3DO images for free and burn them on CDR. It's also just as good as any other version.

    For real hardware cartridge systems you are forced to buy the cartridge, original or sometimes reproductions ( I payed $40 for Jaguar's Battlesphere reproduction cart, an original sells for around $1000 these days I think; I sold my original 15 years ago for about $500, to pay the rent) or some multi-cart hardware to play the roms, so either way, you have to pay.

    There is always emulation, of course, but I just never really got into emulation on the PC, especially for consoles.It totally loses the console experience and is a pain to make it more like a console experience. I want to sit in my Lazy boy recliner with a controller in my hand and play on my projector and screen. Not sitting at a desk. I do like emulation on my Dreamcast, with Windows CE and the fact that lots of the great DOS and Windows 95/98 games were ported by homebrew/undergound hackers to play on the DC.

    That's why I'm actually excited about the new Atari VCS from Atari, success or failure I can use it as a "PC" in sandbox mode to play PC titles and emulation, mame, Steem, etc., etc., and all from a mini console box with a thumb-drive with Windows and Ubuntu/Linux OS's and all the games and emulators for a PC on it to boot at my choice. Just sitting with my other consoles, hooked up to the projector and me kicking back in my Lazy boy recliner with a classic style blue-tooth joystick or modern Xbox-like blue-tooth. I'm just waiting until it fails and get it for a song, or if successful, later one when they reduce the price, with the bonus of having a modern console side that is also a going concern and the Atari classic vault of games,etc.It's a lot easier than the logistics involved setting up a PC for lounge gaming.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020 at 6:30 PM
  11. M.D.Baker

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    I forgot to mention, regarding the Jaguar, that even though it's my favorite console with many of my favorite games, at the insane prices everything is selling for now, I sadly cannot recommend a Jaguar system. Even I wouldn't buy one these days if I didn't already own one. But I'm never selling, as I doubt I'd ever have the money to buy it back later. I'll probably be leaving all of this stuff to one of my nephews, the one most interested in vintage equipment. He'll keep a few things for himself, but I imagine the rest will be sold off. But at least he'll know what it's worth and make good use of the "inheritance." Who knows, it might all be worth 10's of thousands by that time...

    But I think everyone should at least check out what it has to offer through emulation. It will surprise you, it always does, after it's totally undeserved reputation. Atari deserved their reputation, but the hardware was incredible for the time. And eventually some great proprietary games that would have been hits if released on a successful system did make it out before the end and quite a few after the fact, since.

    The irony is that after all the industry drummed up pooh-pooing of the system when it was a going concern (from both pay-offs from Nintendo and Sony to do so, and from the Tramiel's terrible business practices and too many burned bridges), and all the generation X's from that time were brain-washed into thinking it was true and perpetuating it, and some still perpetuating the bad reputation base on hearsay only, again, the irony is, that the millennial's that were either too young to remember or even know, or who weren't born yet, are starting to take a look at classic systems from the 90's and for the most part their view and reviews of the Jaguar and games are completely polar opposite. So the Jaguar is being vindicated after all these years, which is one of the reasons why prices for it have skyrocketed with the vintage/retro wave of popularity this past decade or so.
     
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  12. Andy Barr

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  13. by Paul Irvine
    Paul Irvine

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    Good luck on that....If you can't find a psu easily then let me know what output voltage and current rating and I almost certainly will have an adaptor here, won't be the Atari one but it will work...
     
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  14. M.D.Baker

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    Genesis model 1 psu's will work on the Jaguar they're identical but only the original Genesis model 1 I don't think the others will even fit that's the Mega Drive model 1 for you folks in the UK
     
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