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A final roar:
The Jaguar 64
the late 80s, Atari was thinking about a new video-game-system with
enhanced capabilities. They began to develop a new-generation 32bit
video-game-system, code-named 'Panther'.
In 1986, Martin Brennan and John Mathieson started their own company
called 'Flare' with the purpose to develop a new, high-sophisticated
game-console with multiprocessor capabilities.
After finishing the system, the small company needed money to bring the
new system to life. Richard Miller, who was vice-president of engineering
at Atari at this time, knew both developers of 'Flare' and agreed to
Atari, together with Mathieson and Brennan, founded a new company called 'Flare
II' to continue development on this new system.
Development on the 'Jaguar' was better and faster than expected and so the
'Panther' was cancelled and all efforts were put into the 'Jaguar'.
In the summer of 1993, Atari announced the 'Jaguar 64 Interactive
Multimedia System', the world's first 64bit video game-console and
presented IBM as the manufacturer of the new system. The Jaguar's chipset
was manufactured by Toshiba, Motorola delivered the 68000.
On November 23rd, 1993 the Jaguar hit the market to compete with the
3DO, that just has been released a few weeks before. But Atari had two big
1. The price: The Atari Jaguar cost about $249,95; the 3DO $699!
2. Games: The Jaguar offered four of them when released; more than for the
The current market-leaders were shocked. Sega quickly released an add-on
for the Genesis, but it 'only' was 32bits. Nintendo didn't have to offer
anything at that time but a 64bit-system somewhere in the future without
giving any precise date or data. This was a big laugh in the
Nintendo was the last one to laugh!
In September 1995, Sony's Playstation was to be introduced to the market,
and the same month Atari released the Jaguar CD.
Atari's engineers were working on the Jaguar's succeeding-system: the
'Jaguar 2' (codename: 'Midsummer'). The chips, engineered by Atari and
produced by Motorola, were code-named 'Oberon' and 'Theseus'. The 'Jaguar
2' was thought to be 2 to 4 times faster than the Sony Playstation and
would have had the CD-ROM implemented. But there was noone ever to find
out about it...developers were considered to get the first systems in fall
1995...the rest is history!
Atari didn't manage to do good promotion on the Jaguar; as usual...
Sony, on the other hand, launched a big television-commercial attack for
its new system. And by christmas, all children in the US wanted to own
what their friends owned, as seen on television.
Atari made a good deal with Wal*Mart: they equipped over 400 super-stores
with their new product, hoping to sell lots of systems. But it turned out
In early 1996, Wal*Mart began to return the unsold stocks of Jaguars to
Atari was unable to find another distributor for the system to keep up
sales, because their funds were dropping and they had big problems staying
This marked the end of Atari as we knew it up to that day. On July, 30,
1996, Atari enters a 'reverse merger' with JTS, a small manufacturer of
hard-disk-drives and vanished from the market...
the Jaguar wasn't really dead yet: some years ago, Atari Games licensed
the Jaguar's design, added some modifications like a faster processor and
a hard-disk, and built it into some arcade games like 'Area 51'. This
system was called the 'Co-Jag'.
Atari did a great job developing the Jaguar; a great machine. But most of
the programmers weren't able (or just didn't want to put more efforts) to
program a relatively complicated machine like the Jaguar. The full
potential of the machine was never reached...
1995 Atari launched their first website known as the Atari 'JAGWIRE'. The
oldest to be known version of this website can now be reached via 'www.jagwire.de.vu'.
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