Top positive review
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Skip the Math
on September 24, 2013
I admit right now, giving the Jaguar five stars is probably overly generous, considering all the problems the embattled system had. But personally I enjoy playing the Jaguar just as much as any video game system, and I want to show some love for the machine, perhaps simply to compensate for the unfair amount of critisism the Jaguar has endured.
In the early 90s Atari was sort of caught between generations. It's arch-rival was the 3DO, which proved to have more longevity but was so over-priced that it was almost in a whole different market. While the Jaguar ran circles around the Genesis and Snes in terms of power, the hype of the Playstation and Saturn loomed over the Jaguar in 94, it's pivotal year. Atari had a chance, but was unable to get enough software on the shelves to give it sufficient leverage against oncoming systems.
In a little over two years, the "official" lifespan of the Jaguar, only 54 or 55 games were released. More have been released since, but the "post-mortem" Jaguar titles are rare and expensive. This small library is probably the Jags biggest problem as a retro-system today. A lot of key-genres were missed. There aren't any baseball games, the one football game sucks, and is basically a Genesis port without any enhancements, there are no RPGs whatsoever, and the lack of 3rd party support left the Jag without any recognizable franchise games, such as Mega Man, Contra, Castlevania, Madden, Street Fighter, ect. Okay, it does have "Doom", "Pitfall", and "Bubsy", but that just isn't enough.
The controller has been universally panned for the 12 digit keypad. It's inclusion is a headscratcher, it's a bad idea for button input. But in reality the controller is very comfortable to hold, and while it may not be completely ideal, it isn't too hard to get a feel for the keypad.
While it's understandable that in the mid 90s the software lineup just didn't seem as exciting as what the Playstation had, taking a second look almost two decades later the Jaguar has a lot of fun games. Many Jaguar games were heinously underrated at the time, and are prejudged as crap by today's gamers who've never given them a try. Isolated from the reasons it failed at the time, the Jaguar is actually a really cool system and a retro-classic. Forget the Math. Forget the arguments over whether it's 64-bit or not. Forget the incompetent marketing. Just play the Jaguar and have some fun.