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Platform - JAG.png
Atari Jaguar
Atari Jaguar.png
Released: 1993-11-23
Discontinued: 1996-07-30
Developer: Atari
Type: Hardware

The Jaguar is a game console produced by Atari, the last console that the original incarnation of the company would produce. It was released in North America in late 1993, and the rest of the world in late 1994. It did not prove a success in the market, as it was not considered a significant enough upgrade over existing 16-bit consoles, and was discontinued when Atari ceased operations in 1996.

The system was controversially advertised by Atari as being the first 64-bit system, a claim based on the system using a pair of 32-bit RISC processors. Not only was this claim dubious at best (the same logic would also make the Sega 32X and Sega Saturn 64-bit systems), but it would only have held true when developers used the Jaguar's notoriously finicky architecture in the intended manner. More often than not, developers used the system's 68000 processor, which was only intended by Atari to act as a companion chip to the RISC processors, as the main CPU, since they were already used to developing on it for platforms such as the Sega Genesis and Atari's own ST line of computers. However, developing on the console in this manner effectively made it only a 16-bit machine.

As with several other cartridge-based consoles from this era, the system had a CD add-on named the Jaguar CD. And much like its counterparts from other manufacturers, very few games were released on the Jaguar CD, which was also notoriously unreliable, making it extremely hard to come by working models today.


Music and Sound

The Jaguar has a similar sort of sound processing set-up to the later Nintendo 64, as it lacks dedicated sound hardware and instead uses its "Jerry" maths co-processor to handle audio mixing and output, with sound drivers usually being controlled by the 68000. However, with the Jaguar being a far less powerful platform than the Nintendo 64, this meant that audio processing placed a much greater demand on the system's hardware. As a result, it wasn't uncommon for Jaguar games to lack in-game music, with Doom (JAG) being perhaps the most notable example.