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1. Great Shooters
What makes a great game system? Arguably, it all comes down to the games. And if you liked shooters, the Jaguar had you covered.
Despite the small games library, this system offered amazing shooters like Cybermorph, Raiden, and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy. And to this day, these titles are a sweet way to kill an afternoon.
2. Tempest 2000
The original Tempest was a groundbreaking arcade game. And all these years later, it only got one worthy sequel: Tempest 2000 on the Jaguar.
Even when it first came out, gamers saw this title as a sick combination of graphics, gameplay, and great music. And to this day, this game is one of the primary reasons retro gamers decide to hunt down a Jaguar.
3. Beating the Competition
When people badmouth the Jaguar, they are usually comparing it to systems like the PlayStation or Nintendo 64. But that’s not really a fair comparison.
Atari basically built this system to compete with the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. In that respect, this system was a massive success, offering technical achievements that Sega and Nintendo couldn’t match until later generations of consoles.
4. Early VR Research
It never really made it onto retail shelves. But if you believe in giving an “E for effort,” then the Jaguar deserves serious credit for their early VR research.
Several games were in development, but the Jaguar VR never came to be. But it’s worth noting that Atari was pursuing VR for a home console system in the ’90s. It would be decades before we saw this again in the form of the PlayStation VR, so good on Atari for predicting the future of gaming.
5. Brutal Sports Football
Do you think sports are at their best when they are completely crazy? In that case, you’ll love the Jaguar title Brutal Sports Football.
It’s a multiplayer football game with a few twists: you play teams comprised of things like goats and wizards, and you are encouraged to improvise weapons and destroy the enemy team.
Even if you hate football, what other game lets you knock someone’s head off and then use it as a weapon?
6. Intense Marketing
Part of what made old-school console wars so fun was the crazy marketing. And Jaguar was the king of the jungle when it came to insane advertisements.
Many of their ads alternated between shoving the “64-bit” angle in your face and dissing the competition (which they promised to “chew up”). And they never wasted an opportunity to call the Jaguar “the most powerful system,” giving countless gamers some serious FOMO.
7. Slick Console Design
The Jaguar may not look that impressive now. But when it first came out, this console represented a real design revolution.
Most of the consoles before and after the Jaguar were little more than basic boxes. Compared to such design, the Jaguar has sexy curves and vents that helped speak to its 64 bits of power.
Ultimately, it was a system named after a graceful animal, and the system design reflected that idea.
8. Versatile Controller
Let’s be honest: the Jaguar controller is pretty strange when you first look at it. But if you actually play on that controller, you’ll find it to be surprisingly versatile.
All those extra buttons on the bottom made it easy to add additional functions to games (especially ports). This made for a more pleasant experience than other consoles which had to offer simplified control schemes to match the simple controllers.
9. Sweet 2D Titles
Much of the Jaguar’s games library was devoted to 3D titles. While these were largely hit and miss, the 2D games on the systems were almost all winners.
Games like Hyper Force, Raiden, and Rayman jumped from the screen on the Jaguar. If nothing else, the Jaguar helped to prove that 2D games weren’t going anywhere despite the public mania for 3D games.
10. Iron Soldier
The best theories of game design usually boil down to a simple concept: “give the people what they want.” And this is something the Jaguar game Iron Soldier did on an epic scale.
This was an early example of how fun it is to pilot a virtual mech into combat. The graphics were breathtaking at the time, and the game throws in a perfect mix of action and objectives to keep things interesting.
11. Killer Ports
Sure, original games are always great. But the bread and butter of many early game systems were the PC ports that came to the console.
And the Jaguar did a surprisingly awesome job with PC ports. You could play titles like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D on the Jaguar, and the graphics were lightyears beyond anything the SNES or Genesis could give us.
12. Highlander: The Last of the McLeods
Ever wonder why there aren’t any good Highlander video games? It turns out there is one, but it is hard to play because it was only released for the Jaguar CD (which is now hard--and expensive--to buy).
The graphics were fresh and the gameplay was simple: it was basically a Resident Evil-type game set in the Highlander universe. If you’ve ever randomly blurted out “there can be only one,” then this title makes the Jaguar and Jaguar CD “must-have” consoles.
13. 64 Bits of Power
It’s tough to miss this next point. As Atari loved to remind gamers in their advertisements, the Jaguar was the only 64-bit game system on the market when it debuted.
Sure, they didn’t do nearly as much with the system as Nintendo later would with the Nintendo 64. But Atari helped to blaze a trail for Nintendo and others who would follow in their 64-bit footsteps.
14. Alien vs Predator
What’s the best game on the system? To many Jaguar fans, it’s no contest: the answer must be Alien vs. Predator.
This game pioneered the now-familiar formula of humans, xenomorphs, and Predators fighting for supremacy. And it helped kick off a viable franchise of games that have certainly managed to outlive the Jaguar!
We’re cheating a little bit by including Battlesphere on this list. After all, this awesome sci-fi shooter came out in the year 2000, four years after the Jaguar was discontinued by Atari.
However, we can’t ignore a game with responsive flight controls, five different modes, and gameplay that takes its cues from hit games like Descent. When you play Battlesphere, it strikes an instant sweet spot between nostalgia for your favorite sci-fi games and movies and the excitement of console innovation.