Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

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kiwimike
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by kiwimike » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:44 am

killbot wrote:Is it the most underrated? No, probably not. It is underrated though. When you see what the machine is capable of technically it's impressive for the time - on a par with the 3DO that retailed for about three times the price.

I think among my peer group at school in the mid-90s what sunk the Jag was a. the anticipation of the new machines from Sega, Sony and Nintendo and b. the fact that most of the games seemed to be slightly tarted up conversions of games we already had for our current machines (generally the SNES, MD or Amiga). It needed a game that really smacked you round the face with its technical brilliance and made it clear why the Jag was the machine to have but (though Tempest 2000 came closest) it never really got that. Did Cybermorph look better than StarFox? Not really, and when you saw it moving it seemed a bit slow and repetitive. Why would anyone who had a MD want to play Chequered Flag when Virtua Racing was available on the machine they already owned? Doom and AvP looked alright but at the time FPS games were still mainly the preserve of techy spods hunched over PCs. The popular genres with kids were platformers and (particularly) fighting games and the Jag didn't really have anything to offer in either category. A Bubsy game? Who wanted any more of those? Zool 2? I could buy that for my Amiga for £20, why would I spend £200 on a whole new console to play it again?

One thing I will say - and I've said it before - is that the controller is underrated. It's nowhere near the abomination that some people would have you believe.
I agree with a lot of that, I remember at the time it got dismissed as old hat when it came out, unfairly so. And along with the Lynx, many (including publications) ignorantly suggested that there were few decent games for the system(s), which clearly was biased and unfair- And dismissive without even doing homework on them. Off topic but related, the Lynx has incredible games for it yet many reviews of the time were unfairly average. I remember the Jag having similar problems, one or two games being begrudgingly classed as good (when it was undeniable) while some of the terrible ones seemed to be pointed out and crowed about. It did seem like many at the time had an axe to grind, or maybe the CD Rom love blinkered em! :)

General Opulence
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by General Opulence » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:27 am

Jaguar aside, the Lynx had a hard time for being too expensive for a handheld (£179.99 vs GB £69.99), too bulky for a handheld and not enough games in comparison (only 37 released by end of 1991 so in 2 1/4 years), this along with worse battery life is what killed the machine off before its time.
Sure the lynx 2 made it smaller and cheaper, though the battery problem was still present, and another 33 games made it out by the end of 1993 but by the then the game was already long lost.
The GB had plenty of bad reviews too if you check back through the archives, it was just the fact it had so many games that it plenty of good ones among the bad ones.

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The Laird
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by The Laird » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:26 am

General Opulence wrote:Jaguar aside, the Lynx had a hard time for being too expensive for a handheld (£179.99 vs GB £69.99), too bulky for a handheld and not enough games in comparison (only 37 released by end of 1991 so in 2 1/4 years), this along with worse battery life is what killed the machine off before its time.
Sure the lynx 2 made it smaller and cheaper, though the battery problem was still present, and another 33 games made it out by the end of 1993 but by the then the game was already long lost.
The GB had plenty of bad reviews too if you check back through the archives, it was just the fact it had so many games that it plenty of good ones among the bad ones.
The Lynx wasn't £179.99 for very long, it soon dropped to £129.99 and by the time the Game Gear was out it was £89.99. The games supply was a big problem as it lacked third party support (Darryl Still told me some interesting info on reasons why) and the release dates for the Atari published games just kept slipping. Advertised games like 720, Rolling Thunder, Geo Duel, Raiden, Full Court Press, Heavyweight Contender, Eye Of The Beholder, Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters, Road Riot 4WD, Cabal and Relief Pitcher were never released and many of them still haven't been found sadly despite supposedly being finished.

Lynx games generally received very good reviews in the press and the machine was looked very favourably upon by the press in general, just like the Jaguar was at the start. Unlike the Jaguar though the press coverage remained positive and this can been seen from old magazine scans. Publications like Game Zone, GO!, Games-X, Zero and Ultimate Future Games loved the Lynx and UK sales were actually fairly good, probably because of this. If you want to read some reviews of Lynx games from back in the day then look HERE. For a comparison, you can look at Jaguar review scans HERE.

When I interviewed Daryl Still last year he told me that the Lynx sold better in the UK than any other country (it was strong in France too though), which matched up with other reports I had heard. It hit worldwide sales of around 2.5 million in the end, while this figure could have and should have been more if Atari had supported it better and not discontinued it to focus on the Jaguar, it is pretty good considering how badly Atari handled it.

Lost Dragon
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Lost Dragon » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:06 pm

UK Press did indeed love the Lynx and rightly so.

As for Atari's advertised games, i'd love to see some honest-to-god footage or still shots of Lynx:Cabal, Escape From Planet Of The Robot Monsters and Rolling Thunder for starters and not those high res.screens Atari used for advertising purposes.

Trouble with the Lynx (other than being too big to be a 'true' handheld and very limited battery life) was that Atari always seemed to be promising a big wave of big name titles were coming soon, but so little trickled out.The Lynx MK 2 hardware i've always thought was utterly superb in terms of cosmetics, but it was slaughtered by sheer range of games on Game Gear, let alone Game Boy.Owned G.G+Lynx, but where as Game Gear had the Sonics, Shinobi's, Streets Of Rage's from Sega itself, let alone 3rd party support from Domark, Virgin etc (Terminator, Alien 3, Prince Of Persia etc), poor old Lynx often had the crumbs.

Really think it was right hardware in wrong hands..Would have loved to see what Sega could have done with it, espically given it's sprite pushing power.

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crusto
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by crusto » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:18 pm

Basically, Atari are (were) just crap is what you are saying then. :P
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Lost Dragon
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Re: Is the Atari Jaguar the most underrated console system?

Post by Lost Dragon » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:17 pm

crusto wrote:Basically, Atari are (were) just crap is what you are saying then. :P
In terms of:Handling, support, advertising etc then basically, yes.

I'd loved to have seen someone with Sega's budget back then handle the Lynx.Powerful hardware, enough marketing muscle to make it 'work' and a very strong line of franchises to call apon, plus very good 3rd party support.

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