Collecting for the faux-revolutionary 64-bit monster known as the Atari Jaguar
For the third part of my collecting for obscure systems series, another semi-obscure ’90s console, the Atari Jaguar, gets the retrospective “collecting goal” treatment. Just as I did with the Turbografx-16 instalment, I wanted to quickly re-cap where I was in terms of my collecting goals for the Atari Jaguar/Jaguar CD and what I still wanted to accomplish. Two things that will quickly discourage me from collecting complete game sets are:
- Large libraries of games filled with mediocre sports & licensed titles.
- At least one game in the library whose rarity has catapulted the price to astronomical levels.
The Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Turbografx-16, PlayStation, Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn are just some examples of game libraries which contain one or both of the above downsides. All of those console libraries are objectively better than the Atari Jaguar’s, but the Jaguar contains neither of those aforementioned points. The Jaguar library, including CD based titles, is fairly small, with only 63 officially released games. That is certainly a manageable number & not as overwhelming as libraries that approach the upper hundreds or beyond.
While no one is going to claim that the Jaguar’s game library is one of the strongest from top to bottom, the worst games for the system still only make up a small number of titles, and one doesn’t have to contend with owning 6 annual versions of Madden football or 5 different Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen licensed games in order to complete a set. We just need to contend with games like White Men Can’t Jump, Double Dragon V, and Highlander (shudder).
As far as expense goes, while the average cost of Jaguar games seems to be trending upwards, there aren’t any true “holy grails” out there in terms of the officially licensed set. Sure, there are certain carts and CD titles that fall in the $100-200 dollar range, and that might seem like a lot for a game that might not even make a list of the top 100 best PlayStation or SNES titles if it was released for those systems. However, when you only have to do it a few times in order to complete a set, as opposed to the dozens and dozens of $100+ dollar titles you’d have to shell out to complete a NES set, it’s much more palatable for some. At least, that’s how I look at it.
The top 5 Jaguar-CD games I’d like to add to my collection are:
- Primal Rage
- Iron Soldier 2
- World Tour Racing
- Dragon’s Lair
- Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands
There are only 13 officially released Jaguar CD games to begin with and I already own 5 of them (Battlemorph, Blue Lightning, Highlander, Myst, Vid Grid). 5 more additions would leave me with 10 of the 13 games needed to own a complete Jaguar CD set. Most people dismiss the Jaguar CD as a piece of trash and based on what was originally available to consumers in the ’90s, that isn’t too far from being true. Thankfully, the home brew circuit has added quite a few noteworthy titles to play on the Jaguar CD, which I will likely delve into after completing this mini-set of officially released games.
Out of the games on my list, obtaining Primal Rage is the one that will set me back the most, as this might be the most desirable title in the entire Jag CD library, in spite of it being available on nearly every 16 and 32 bit console. Iron Soldier 2 and World Tour Racing were released by publisher Telegames in 1997, essentially as a last gasp for the Jaguar CD. Due to the small production runs and poor sales, both of these games are somewhat difficult to find and command nearly triple digits when they do come around. However, there are still sealed copies floating around the internet as I’m sure someone bought up the extra inventory from warehouses in the late 90s & the demand for obscure Jaguar CD titles hasn’t been significant enough in the past 20 years to deplete it all.
Moving on to the cartridge titles, I currently stand at 19 games in my collection, or about 40% of the total cart library. I already have many of the “must own” games such as Tempest 2000, Alien vs. Predator, Iron Soldier, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, etc., so my want list is going to focus on other good ports or any quality original titles still available for the system that I don’t already own. There’s no need to scrape the bottom of the Jaguar barrel (no offense Troy Aikman Football & Club Drive) since I still have over half of the cartridge games left to go for a complete set. Keep in mind that my primary focus for collecting Jaguar cartridges is to only have game and manual. I have a decent collection of boxes for the best games on the system, but if it’s going to cost me an extra $40 to get the box for Attack of the Mutant Penguins, then you can forget it.
Top 5 Jaguar cartridge games I’d like to add to my collection:
- Defender 2000
- Super Burnout
- NBA Jam T.E.
Several of these titles can be found on other consoles, so it makes sense why many Jaguar detractors can’t understand why anyone would want to buy a $40 version of NBA Jam T.E. when it can be purchased for a fraction of the cost on other consoles. What can I say? Us Jaguar players and collectors of the console are an odd bunch. There really weren’t a lot of add-ons or peripherals available for the Jaguar besides the CD unit. I already own the Official Jaguar Gamer’s Guide, a Turbo-Tap with box, a Memory Track with box, and even an extra 3-button Jaguar controller with box. I also have console boxes for both Jaguar console and Jaguar CD. What else is there? How about the 6-button Pro Controller?
The Pro Controller is simply a re-vamp using the original controller mold that essentially adds 5 new buttons. To start, there are 3 new buttons on the face of the controller, placed slightly above the original 3 buttons. These new buttons are smaller in size, a design that helps the player know which row of buttons they are utilizing without having to look down at the controller. In addition, there were two shoulder buttons added, similar to what was being offered on SNES, Genesis and basically every other mid ’90s controller. The size of the controller is essentially the same, and there are slight improvements on the feel of the D-pad while the keypad remains intact.
The Pro Controller is what most Jaguar fans wish had existed from day one. The new design and added buttons makes the keypad obsolete for games that only utilized a couple of the keypad functions to begin with. These controls are now mapped to the extra buttons instead. The downside is that the Pro Controller is highly sought after by Jaguar fans for its improved functions and overall rarity. I would like to own one someday but it’s not high on my list as I do not consider the original 3-button Jaguar controller to be a terrible or uncomfortable design like some people do.
So there you have it. I am pretty happy overall with my Atari Jaguar collection. Sure, I would like to own more games and eventually have a complete cart and CD collection, but since the Jaguar isn’t in my top 5 favorite consoles, collecting for it often takes a back seat. I do know that supplies are somewhat limited due to poor initial sales, but I’m also hopeful that most casual retro gamers and collectors will continue to focus on the NES, SNES, Genesis and PlayStation consoles (for now at least), so I snatch up some of the more obscure stuff before it disappears completely.