In the early '90s Atari was approached by a company called Flair Technology. They claimed that they could design a new console that would be better than the SNES and Mega Drive. Atari were so impressed that they provided funding for a new company called Flair II. The newly formed company set about designing two new machines, the 32 bit Panther and the 64 bit Jaguar. After cancelling the Panther project, Atari contracted IBM to manufacture the Jaguar.
Released late in 1993, the Jaguar was marketed as the worlds first 64 bit console resulting in speculation as to whether really was. Containing five processors on three chips, only two of them were in fact 64 bit. A proprietary chip named TOM contained two 64 bit and one 32 bit processors. Primarily used for graphics processing TOM was also able to execute program code if desired. JERRY was another 32 bit proprietary chip responsible for sound processing while a 16 bit Motorola 68000 acted as a main controller, managing the other two chips and executing code.
Included with the Jaguar was one of the largest joypads ever made, with an 8-way d-pad, A, B and C buttons, pause and option buttons, and a 12 key numeric pad complete with star and hash keys! It also shipped with a free game, Cybermorph, which included a plastic overlay for the controller's number pad for a customised control layout.
The Jaguar's short lifespan came to an end when Atari merged with JTS in 1996. With sales of around just 150,000 units and poor publisher support, production ended soon after. This would be Atari's final machine (the Jaguar II was planned but never released), and a sad end to the company that once dominated the console market. Atari is now controlled by French company Infogrames, where it continues as a software publisher.
No claim was ever made by Atari that the system was completely 64 bits across. This was the big contention that had people complaining about the ''bitness'' of the machine. It had the OPL((Object Processor Logic) not the POP) and the Blitter Chip, which were fully 64 bits across and used the fully 64 bit data bus of the system. The GPU core was a 32 bit RISC processor as was the DSP core, neither of which had any reason to be 64 bits wide. The idea was to use the GPU core to command the 64 bit parts. Unfortunately all too many developers used the 16 68k processor and choke the daylights out of the performance, hence the 16 bit looking games for the most part. The power was certainly there but the tools and the support were not. I believe there were at least 70 games plus not to mention numerous homebrews...which are still being made today.
Sunday 22nd January 2017
this had a cd add on which this site does not mention at all
Wednesday 18th March 2015
How wasn''t the Lynx a portable console? It took batteries, had its own screen (didn''t require you to connect it to a television) and was light enough for a child to carry. It might not have been pocket-sized, but portable it surely was.