The Sega Saturn killer: The Atari PlayOne

The Atari Jaguar didn’t stand a chance when it was released at the end of 1993. Coupled with hardware idiosyncrasies that made it difficult to program for and poor pricing and marketing from Atari, the Jaguar was already on the back foot. Once the onslaught of new consoles arrived from video gaming juggernauts Sega with their 32-bit Saturn and the new player in the industry, Sony with their PlayStation, the Jag’s fate was sealed.

But Atari’s black cat now enjoys a huge fanbase, with a shedload of homebrew hitting the market at a frenetic pace, a true testament to what the machine could have been back then if things didn’t turn pear shape. Now imagine if Atari had integrated the Jag console with the CD unit 24 years ago and then marketed it properly (Ed: JagDuo anyone?), the fifth generation console story may had been different. To gain an understanding of what this all-in-one Jaguar plus CD unit would have been like, German hardware modder 10p6 has created the Atari PlayOne prototype – a Jaguar and CD combo unit that we reckon would’ve given the Saturn and PlayStation a run for their money.

Atari Jaguar + Jaguar CD VS The All-In-One PlayOne

Oo’er, check out that rear!

The Atari PlayOne not only looks sexy as hell, but is crammed with cool stuff under the bonnet, like a proper integrated power supply (replacing the 2 separate power sources), a host of outputs and beefed up processing at an eye-watering (overclocked) 32MHz, compared to the stock 26MHz – which would have made it compete quite easily with the Saturn and PlayStation.

Before you get excited, the Atari PlayOne hasn’t seen the light of day, yet. If 10p6 ever decides to do a production run of the Atari PlayOne or the latter Atari PlayOne V2.0, we would be right at the front of the queue!


source: 10p6

 

It Is Another World On The Atari Jaguar

AnotherWorldJag_Box_RGCFinally, Atari’s 64-bit Jaguar can purr in delight as we whack in Retro-Gaming Connexion‘s Another World (aka: Out of This World) in its cartridge slot!

Yep, you read that right! Éric Chahi’s 1991 cinematic masterpiece, Another World, has been meticulously homebrewed for the Atari Jaguar by French computer scientist and member of The Removers, Sébastien Briais. What Sébastien has achieved can only be described as a miracle.

Don’t be fooled by the word homebrew that we threw in casually, Retro-Gaming Connexion (RGC) have created a complete package that would look perfectly at home on current store shelves. Sadly, the game cannot be purchased from stores, but if you were one of the lucky ones (Ed: like us!) to have pre-ordered the 2nd edition of the game on the Atari Age forum, congratulations, you have a rare item in your hands!

We know you are itching to find out the most important part: Is the game any good? Well, the Jaguar adaptation is just as good, if not better, than any other port of Another World. Now if you’ll excuse me, I got to get Lester Knight Chaykin to his Ferrari 288 GTO. *winks*

Immaculate packaging!
AnotherWorldJag_complete

Always turn to the back of the box to check out the graphics
AnotherWorldJag_back

Indeed it is another world on the Jaguar!
AnotherWorldJag_Cart

 

Retro VGS: Keeping It Retro

RetroVGS_consoleWhen was the last time you truly got excited over a cartridge based console release? I know for myself, it was when the Nintendo 64 was announced – Super Mario 64 totally blew my mind, and that controller, oh man, I still love that controller (even though a lot of you don’t!). I just realised, that excitement for a new cart based console was almost two decades ago!

Well, start getting excited people (if you haven’t already), the Retro VGS console is generating a buzz in the gaming community like the systems we knew and loved in the 1990s. With the imminent Kickstarter campaign launch (it should launch any day / any minute now!), we can’t contain our excitement – this is the latest early bird pricing details we could find:

The final early bird pricing of the RETRO VGS Kickstarter has been announced, and it appears to be starting at $299 for the standard black model, and $349 for the Kickstarter Exclusive colours. They’ve announced that the early bird will be limited to 500 units.

This indicates that the standard pricing for the system will be $349 for the standard black model, and $399 for the Kickstarter variants, which is in line with what we’ve been hearing from Mike Kennedy and the team over at RETRO VGS over the last couple of weeks.

With the recent pricing controversy, it’s nice to see that people will have a chance to grab the system at a lower price.

As we know, Mike Kennedy and his team have been working tirelessly to ensure that the Retro VGS is a resounding success. The Retro VGS will truly be keeping it retro!

RetroVGS_controller

RetroVGS_new_back

VGS_yellow

VGS_red_blue

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image source: RetroVGS

NOTE: Since publication, the Retro VGS crowdfunding campaign has kicked off on IndieGoGo – check it out now!

 

The Jaguar Bares Its Claws

Jaguar_titleThe Sega 32-bit fan-people (Ed: that’s very politically correct of you!) may have their SaturnDay, but the diehard Atari fans also have their Jaguars purring on SatAtariDay!

There is great pleasure in sharing the intoxication of nostalgia with like-minded gamers. Weird and Retro’s Aleks ‘Serblander’ Svetislav definitely captured the nostalgia to provide the Atari Jaguar hit I was seeking.

With a huge Jaguar banner greeting me upon arrival, I knew I was in for a treat. Like a kid in a candy store, it was difficult to focus on any one thing that Serblander had in his awesome Jaguar collection.

My attention was quickly grabbed by the mouth-watering Jaguar gaming bling on show – from the never released Tiny Toon Adventures, to the ever-rare BattleSphere Gold! Oh yeah, let’s not forget the hardware bling, from the BJL’ed Jag, Pro-Controller and M.A.S. Super Pro-Stick, to the the beautiful CatBox connected to the back of the Jag with its eerie red eyes glowing when the big cat was purring.

With the Atari’s big cat out to play, it was time to get down to business and do the math – play some games! SatAtariDay truly was purr-fect!

Let the SatAtariDay shenanigans begin!
SatAtariDay
The Jag Bling!
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Let’s get cracking then!
Jaguar1

The Jaguar loot in box 1 (of many many boxes!)!
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The ‘better’ Jaguar controller. And it’s Pro!
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Ello ello ello, what do we have here then, aye?
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More Jaguar loot! Woohoo!
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Shhh, this is top secret stuff!
Jaguar4

Are you an extremist?
Jaguar5

Setting up just a few Jaguars!
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Oh yes, games!
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Oh yes, more games! Virtua Fighter, I mean Fight For Life anyone?
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SLAM DUNK!
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Forget Super Hang-On, go Super Burnout!
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The sublime Impulse X – on cart and CD
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Serblander smashing it on Impulse X! A rotary controller is the only way to go!
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Value for money – Impulse X (cart) comes with two additional games!
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Sheer Madness!
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*wipes drool* BattleSphere GOLD baby!
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Awesome rare platform action on Tiny Toon Adventures!
Jaguar10

Let’s kick some ass!
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Wanna make your own Jaguar game?
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Woot, the BJL’ed Jag – more dev nirvana
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This is the only way to play Raiden
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Rayman was meant to be on the Jag
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Preserving Atari’s big cat
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The 72-bit Powerhouse

JagCore Engine

On our social media network we asked the following question: “what two classic consoles would you merge to form one classic (hybrid) system?”. The responses were many and varied – from the predictable marriage of the SNES and Mega Drive, to the totally radical sounding Dreamstar 64 (Dreamcast plus the C64).

My entry into this hybrid merge of two classic consoles would be the 72-bit JagCore Engine – Forged by the gaming gods in a super nova billions of light years away. More BITS equals more fun! Do the New Math! That would be the advertising pitch if the SNK marketing folks were involved in selling the union between these vintage systems.

Some of the highlights of the JagCore Engine would include the sliding feature: sliding the CoreGrafx component on top of the Jaguar reveals the cartridge slot to play classic games like Tempest 2000 and AVP. Once you are tired of the Jaguar titles, you just plug in a HuCard and blast away aliens in one of the many awesomely cool shoot’em ups from the PC-Engine library.
Well, you can keep on dreaming.

What two classic consoles would you merge to make your perfect gaming system?

 

Tempest 2000: Psychedelic Fun On The Jaguar

T2K_box_arg

Format: Atari Jaguar
Year: 1994
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Llamasoft (Jeff Minter)

It has been a long time coming. Nineteen years to be exact. Nineteen years to finally take Jeff Minter’s game for a proper review spin.

Tempest 2000, the beefed-up remake of Dave Theurer’s 1981 arcade classic, was Atari’s  killer game that helped it shift lots of Jaguar’s upon its release in 1994. This game was never going to be a straight ‘pretty up’ by Jeff Minter. The great Yak added his usual quirkiness to this seminal favourite. What he produced was nigh on perfection.

You may ask, what is so damn good about Tempest 2000. Well, if you are patient for one second, I will let you know. Yak (Jeff Minter) took a first generation arcade game and injected crisp 3D polygon graphics, an awesome techno soundtrack and oodles of new enemy types and obstacles.

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Don’t think that Tempest 2000 is just an audio visual enhancement to the original – Yak also added 100 varying webs (levels), new opponents, collectable power-ups like the particle-blaster/laser, jumps, and A.I. Droids who destroy anything that gets too close. Thrown in this awesome gaming mix was the new “Melt-O-Vision” transition effect – very psychedelic (very Jeff Minter) indeed. Add the different types of play options – two-player cooperative and competitive play modes and you got yourself one awesomely gorgeous masterpiece.

T2K_Jaguar_arg

No game, no matter how great it looks and sounds is complete without a complimentary control system. There is only one way to play Tempest 2000, and that is with a rotary controller. You could use the standard Atari pad, but it just doesn’t do the game justice. The rotary control enhances the enjoyment of the game and it definitely helps in achieving those lucrative high scores. Tempest 2000 is a an incredibly great title which was released on an incredibly obscure system. This game is the jewel in the Jaguar’s crown. If you haven’t played it, you are missing out big time!

Graphics Superbly crisp 3D polygons that only the Yak can produce. Yes, the Jaguar can handle it.

90%

Sound A perfect techno soundtrack. Light-synthesizer tunes throughout with very meaty sound effects. It is an awesome aural pleasure. Turn it up!

95%

Playability Getting into the game is quiet easy – spin around on the web and blast away the encroaching enemies. To truly experience this game, it must be played with a rotary controller.

90%

Lastability Considering there are 100 levels to complete, this game will last forever.

91%

Overall Jeff Minter can seriously do no wrong. The Yak knows how to produce brilliant games. This one is no exception. Even Dave Theurer approves of it (I made that up)! Get it and play hard.

91%

 

Top 5 Games Charts: September 1995

There was a shift in the mid 1990’s: the SNES and Mega Drive were still being enjoyed by millions around the world, however, the tide had started to turn towards the more powerful gaming systems.

Cast your mind back to September 1995. Try and recall what the top 5 games were on the Atari Jaguar, 3DO and the venerable Amiga. If you can’t remember, then I hope these charts jog your memory. Happy gaming !

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