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The Truth Behind The Atari Jaguar

When looking at the major businesses that shaped the course of video game history, one cannot overlook the tremendous influence of Atari. The legendary company was once the biggest player in the video game market until the crash of 1983. Ever since, Atari has been unable to recover, handing the crown to Nintendo and other industry titans. Even so, the former gaming giant has managed to remain in the zeitgeist through various efforts like comics, a new console, and even a hotel. With that said, how did Atari manage to fall from such great heights?

Though an influx of low-quality titles on the 2600 like E.T. certainly didn't help, Atari had a few more shots before it bowed out of the console race. The Atari 5200 was a big failure, followed by the Atari 7800, which also tanked. But in the end, it was the Jaguar that sealed Atari's fate. Why was the Atari Jaguar one of the biggest gaming flops of all time? This is the true story behind Atari's final console (not counting their upcoming system).

The Atari Jaguar wasn't all that fierce

Though the company was originally cooking up a 32-bit system called the "Panther" that would go toe-to-toe against the then-upcoming Super Nintendo, Atari decided to double its bits and change its Panther to a Jaguar. With a projected price tag of $100-$150 and 64 bits competing against 16, things looked promising for the new system.

In 1993, the Atari Jaguar was released into the wild, retailing at $250. Consumers were skeptical, questioning whether it was truly packing 64 bits. Things only got worse from there. The system proved to be quite a challenging platform for developers. With many already feeling as though the Jaguar failed to deliver what Atari had promised, disappointment sank deeper as the plethora of announced third-party titles were either rushed, delayed, or canceled. 

The games that did come out were generally panned by all. While the Atari Jaguar had a few hits like Tempest 2000 and Alien vs. Predator, it failed to keep up with its competition and was soon overshadowed by a new console generation. Atari tried to keep up by releasing the Jaguar CD, but it was a disaster. Thus, the 64-bit system faded into obscurity.