The Atari Jaguar Cave

64 bits? Yeah right!

Well we’re coming to a conclusion to the marathon of Atari console commercials. This one is an infomercial rather than a regular commercial, so it spends some time doing a sales pitch while the other parts has a gimmicky story about an average joe being convinced that the Atari Jaguar will make his life a better one. While the previous four articles are on non-gimmicky ads, this one falls into gimmick ad all the way. Cause for a long period of not doing a gimmick ad for an article I deserve to do one for the first time in over a month. This is going to be a long article so I recommend grabbing a drink and snack to keep yourself occupied cause the infomercial runs at 30 minutes long. I hope you’ll all enjoy it, cause I’ll try to make it good by throwing in some funny comments and pics of James Rolfe to prevent it from being boring. Before talking about the ad, let me talk about the console.

Even the title is a lie.

The loading Jaguar cube screen.

The complex controllers

After Atari’s many failed attempts with keeping up with the competition in the market due to Sega & Nintendo being dominate. They know they will need to come up with something that is nothing like anything else. It was the early 90s also known as the “Bit Wars” where each company will try to show case or improve their systems with more improved graphics. Or have the number of bits labeled on the console itself like the Turbografx 16. Since average consoles were between 8 bits to 32 bits of graphics, Atari decided to make a console that beats all the others by saying their new console is 64 bits of graphics. Declaring itself to be the first console to use 64 bits of graphics & instead of naming the system with a number it was named after a cat, or in this case a Jaguar.  It was first presented in 1993, and went into the market by 1994. This seem to wow those who are interested in something that is nothing like any other console, only to discover that the console has little to offer and does not show actual 64 bits of graphics. Mainly because it was originally intended to be a 32 bit console called the Panther, but Atari decided rename it the Jaguar and threw in some elements to disguise it as a 64 bit system. The game developers who made games for the Jaguar didn’t had the proper programs to create 64 bits games cause the Jaguar contain software that is unique for consoles at the time. The controllers are big and regarded as complex with its huge selection of buttons. To make things even worse the console had no door covering it’s game slot which means you need to always keep a game inserted in it or dust will easily enter it. The console was a failure to start with yet for the next couple years Atari would try to find a way to get people to buy the system. And this infomercial was one of them, low-budget and had tons of people involved with it. And with that said, I proudly present to you the Atari Jaguar Cave ad. A special infomercial on Atari’s final game console.

And we’ll play some Jag!

The cancelled Panther console

Sonic, Mario, & Yoshi being hunted by a Jaguar.

So the ad begins with a simple intro of the Atari logo spinning around with a control board of a sound mix system in the background(I guess to make the logo more cool with an image of music equipment from a recording studio). We then see the words on the bottom that tell us that this is an Atari Studios production copyright 1995. That answers to our questions on how old this infomercial is, I was in the second grade in the year 1995. But that was only a year before I actually got to own my own game console. Anyways we then see the title card for the ad that lists the title of the infomercial, runtime, name of production company, tape id number, and date of release. Which we now discover that it’s November 13th of 1995(lucky for them that Friday the 13th was on a January & October during that year). After that we see the eyes of a Jaguar and the word Jaguar appears below them with the caption on the bottom saying “This is a paid program for..” Which we then hear a voice over read the caption out loud and completed the sentence by saying Jaguar. So after all of that we finally get to see the ad which takes place out in an alley of a city. We see a guy walk by and stops right behind a stand that has the package box for the Atari Jaguar along with the console and the controllers for it. The guy says “Every great story has a great beginning. And this story,our story, begins with this(He points to the console itself). The Atari Jaguar system and a guy named Bob”. The camera pans to the right to reveal the window of Bob’s home, while the Jaguar guy informs us with this: “Right now Bob’s waiting for his girlfriend to show up so they could go get something to eat”. The camera zooms into the front of the window in which we see Bob sitting on his couch. Revealing that he’s playing some video game in which we don’t see nor do we get to see what platform it is. The Jaguar guy then tells us: “He’s got the old 16-bit video system pop in and playing his little heart out. You gotta love ‘im” The scene switches back to the Jaguar stand with the know it all who now announces us with this: “Tonight I’m gonna show him something that will send him racing one side of Nervana back down the slopes of Shangri La!” He takes a deep breath and says “OK, so I won’t owe him a promise, but it will slap him around a little wake up his little life”. He then turns his head to the left with his eyes widen and says “Watch and learn”. Right now you are probably already starting to find this guy to be a bit of a show off, who believes he can change the life of Bob, an every day individual who just wants to play his 16-bit console and go out to dinner with his girl friend. I don’t blame you, I feel the exact same way as you do about some dude in a leather jacket who rants on about changing people’s lives.

Watch and learn!

Jack in the alley way.

Bob playing a video game.

The scene changes back to the outside of Bob’s home in which we still see him playing his game from outside of his window. We then hear the voice of the Jaguar guy out of nowhere who says “Hey Bob!, How’s that system you’re playing on?” The scene jumps to the inside of Bob’s living where the camera pans to the left behind Bob’s TV and then we see Bob who answers to the voice he heard with this to say “It sucks! the graphics are lousy, the color’s rotten, and…” He pauses for a moment and says “Wait a minute there must be something wrong with the connection”(Um Bob, connection problems only occur if the game doesn’t work not cause it happens to suck in game play) We then see the Jaguar guy appearing on Bob’s TV screen and says “Hey Bob, hello!, focus here for a second will ya!” Bob however wasn’t interested in focusing on some guy he never met before in his life, especially if it’s someone who’s able to access control to his TV. Yet Bob seems to find that normal for him, does that mean people access total control on his TV set all the time? Cause if it were me, I’d be like “You talking to me?” if someone on the TV screen was addressing to me. I don’t know maybe Bob’s been licking frogs during his spare time and hallucinate this sort of thing. So Bob says “Nah, I ain’t gonna watch this” and changes the channel the Jaguar guy was on to another channel which he sees a woman on the screen saying “Ooooh, Bob.” This caused Bob to drop his remote to the floor. The woman then says “Maybe you want to watch this”. Bob gets excited and says “Oh my!”. At least this woman is more bearable compared to the leather jacket dude. So the whole scene starts to morph and we then see Bob riding on a mobile arm-chair. Which stops inside a cave where we see a roaring Jaguar on another arm-chair. The Jaguar morphs into the woman we saw earlier, then she morphs into the Jaguar console. Bob then gets out of the chair and demands “What the heck is going on here!” People accessing your own TV is normal, but Jaguar morphing into woman who morphs into a game console isn’t normal? The camera zooms out to reveal the game system being attach to the arm-chair that is revealed to be a fancy rotating chair that is similar to Dr. Robotnik’s from the SatAM Sonic the Hedgehog series. We hear the voice of the know it all who says “Bob, I like you to introduce you to the Atari Jaguar. That button is your future.” Bob approaches the button which the Jaguar Guy rushes him by demanding “Go ahead press it” Bob presses the button and we then see a monitor that flashes several bright lights until the logo for the Jaguar appears. Bob sits on the rotating chair and we hear the Jaguar guy again “Think you can handle it Bob?” This is where Bob starts to experience what the games for the Jaguar are like.

Nice chair, but bad console.

The monitor displays the “Predator Vs. Alien” game, which Bob starts to watch it but it turns out he’s suppose to play it. The Jaguar guy reminds him of this by saying “Shoot Bob!” Bob searches for a controller, he finds one and starts to fiddle with the buttons in order to know which button does what. He manages to figure it out on how to use your weapon as a Marine in the game where he managed to kill off some Xenomorphes and a Predator. The Jaguar guy appears right behind Bob and tells him “Not bad, but next time there’ll be more of them”. Bob finally comes face to face with the guy he previously saw on his TV and then asks “Hey who are you?” The guy immediately answers his question with this quick response. “The names Jack.” Good now I can stop calling him Jaguar guy from this point on. So Bob who now knows the name of the know it all says “Ah great Jack, mind telling me what I’m doing here?”. Jack gives Bob this for an answer “You’re here Bob because somebody wants to help you, somebody who wants to show you a better way to play the game”. Bob doesn’t understand what Jack meant by helping him play the game so he asks “What game?”. Jack shouts out “The game of life! Bob! It’s time for you to grow up, got out, upgrade You know why the video game you played tonight sucks? huh? Cause it’s old technology Bob! It’s a 16-bit system! So-do-the-math-for-me-Bob! I offer you, a 32-bit system be a good thing will it?” Uh no, just cause Bob was playing a bad game doesn’t mean a 16-bit console is obsolete as oppose to a 32-bit system. There’s tons of 16-bit games that are good despite they lack the other 16 bits of graphics. So after Bob hears Jack’s monologue he says “Yeah I guess(don’t let Jack push you around Bob stand up for yourself!)”. Jack doesn’t like the response and says “Then I’ll show you a 64-bit system, something with more power, better graphics, that wouldn’t be a better thing now would it?” Bob still not standing up for himself says in a weak voice “Yeah, 64 will probably be better” Jack then says “This is the Atari Jaguar we’re talking Bob! In the next generation of video gamesters, 64-bit are raw gaming of power, CD quality, stereo sound state of the art graphics that’ll blow your whole system away!” Video gamesters? Really? Does Jack even hang out with any actual gamers or been to an arcade. He seems to spend more time with seeking games with better graphics than just playing them for what they are like any average American gamer at the time. So after he rants about the features the Jaguar has he slaps his forehead and says “I just had an idea Bob, I just had a brilliant idea Bob, why not use you life as a metaphor…” Bob was about to say something, but the a-hole Jack prevents him by saying “Ack! Great!” Bob however wasn’t amused that he doesn’t have anything to say in this. He’s probably thinking “Why me?” in his head. Jack instructs Bob with the following “Now, pay close attention to the screen and I’ll illustrate for you”. He points Bob to the screen towards his left which Jack says “Here’s your life at 16-bits”.

On the monitor Bob sees a Burger stand where we see a woman approaching the front to order something. A worker pops out of the opening of the window who is revealed to be Bob portrayed as a chef and says to the woman “Yes?” upon hearing what the woman wants for her order. The woman says “One hot dog please” Bob asks her if she wants fries with that. But apparently she’s only interested in one hot dog. Reverting back to the reality where Jack informs Bob who is watching himself in an alternate reality and informs him “And now, life upgraded to the 64-bit Jaguar”. Bob now sees the monitor displaying a different setting. Which we now see Bob as a CEO sitting in his own luxury office with suit and tie. A complete opposite to the other reality, instead of flipping burgers, Bob is flipping piles of money in this reality. A female secretary approaches him and says to him “Mr. McFearsum, I, I hope you don’t mind that I ordered you fries to go with your sandwich”(I guess Bob’s last name is McFearsum). Bob who is watching this other reality is stun by its features. Not to mention a generic female secretary who always has swim suit model listed in their resumes upon applying for office job. Trust me those office buildings always have those kind no matter what company it is. Bob after watching it feels like that he watched his own future and believed he will be successful in life. So he says to Jack “Is that really gonna happen to me?”  Which Jack corrects him by saying: “Aaah, Bob! It’s a metaphor! It’s not real! It’s just a way to show you 16 bits and 64 bits!” even if it’s a metaphor it’s still a bad example on the difference between two different types of consoles. Less graphics doesn’t mean it looks like it belongs in the slums, that’s just prejudice right there. Bob seems to understand it a little better which Jack continues with this “Look, don’t take my word for it, let me introduce you to Melissa” and then Jack shouts out “Hi Melissa!” Which immideately the monitor behind Jack now displays live footage of a BMX bike track. And we see Melissa appearing on-screen riding on a BMX bike with someone else and says “Hi Jack!” Jack introduces Bob to Melissa by saying “This is Bob”. Bob waves at her, Jack informs Melissa with the following “He needs your help to be introduced to the 64 bit world of the Atari Jaguar”. Melissa takes her helmet off and says “Ah that’s great! I’m at the perfect spot!”. The camera changes from the location of the cave to the location of the BMX race track. So now we’re able to see Melissa better who then says “I’m at the Shanetra Super Sport Club and I’m riding today!” She holds on tight to the unnamed BMX Bicyclist, who starts up his engine and starts to ride his bike all over the course. A long with game play footage of “Super Burn Out”. And you thought that the whole BMX bike location is just for show, now did you?

After seeing some fast footage of the BMX bike racers and the “Super Burn Out” game. We jump to an interview with one of the racers who describes the game: “Super Burn Out is really cool, it’s intense, I like the crashes, especially when you go to the turns”. The next random dude to be interviewed on how cool the game is, is someone who looking like he’s ready to be cosplay as the Jim Carey Riddler. He says “Crashing in the game is a lot safer than breaking a bone or anything”(yeah anyone can agree with that statement). Melissa who interviews him says “Check out the bone he broke” and the red headed racer shows his right arm with a cast on. Another interviewee says “I could play it, the first time I played it..and not crash like crazy and have to play forever to learn how to do it”(it’s not a simulation dude!) Melissa back interviewing the first BMX racer who says to him “CD sound, hows that?” Upon hearing that the racer says “The sound I’m playing is born a part of it, it just seems like you’re going down much faster”. Melissa then interviews other BMX racers about which would they prefer 16, 32, or 64 bit. And each of them said 64 bit for the answer. Well what would they know, they just care about the accuracy on the use of the bikes in the game and nothing else. So after hearing rants from various BMX bikers, Bob starts to play some of “Super Burn Out” on the Jaguar. After he finished one race, a BMX racer appears out of no where and tells Bob that is was a great race and Bob tells him thanks. The BMX Racer drives out of the cave with Bob saying “Now that was very cool”.

Jack reappears and asks Bob if he’s going to get a Jaguar. Bob however still wasn’t sure about the console. Jack doesn’t like the answer and says “Look Bob, I’ll let you in straight cause you look like the guy that can take it”. So Bob askes what other games are availble and Jack goes over to a shelf of various games and throws out a ton of them and says the name of each title. Along with clips of the name given games to give us the idea of what they look like. Bob believes his old system is still for him, only to be approached by Susie who is wearing a cat suit straight from what looks like the cat suit Lara Croft wore in Tomb Raider Chronicles except dyed red. She tells him how Bob can’t possibly be satified with what he has when the Jaguar offers something a 16 bit systme doesn’t provide. After she askes him if he’s good enough to play a more compelx system, bob says “Yeah” and Susie immidately challenges him to a game of “Ultra Vortec” a genric fighting slide scrolling game. Susie wins and tells Bob that he’s better suited for a more simpler game cause she claims that only big boys can play a Jaguar game. Bob is a little down to be beaten, but Jack tells him he’ll get better upon practicing the game itself. So as Bob practices, Jack exits the cave and tells us about the offer we’re going to get that we won’t see in stores for the Jaguar involving calling up a number and pay for by credit card.

After that we get a voice over of some anonymous narrator and not Jack(or Jackass as I’d like to call him) who informs us about how the Jaguar can change our gaming lives forever and rants on the same B.S. Jack was ranting on not too long ago. Clips of the games available for it were shown and the narrator tells us it’s only $159 plus tax upon ordering by phone. Along with a second controller for free in case you have a friend who is crazy enough to play Jaguar with you. To make the deal even more exciting the narrator mentions that ordering the system will also include a free game which happens to be Cybermorph one of the most notorious games ever made for the Jaguar. The Narrator tells us how cool of a game it is, but fails to tells us how it’s just a poor man’s Star fox and the atmosphere in all of the levels are foggy cause mountains and building appear out of no where in the game as if you have zero visibility upon flying you aircraft. And let’s not forget the annoying green head woman who keeps asking you “Where did you learn to fly?” And the sales pitch ends with the info on who to get the Jaguar with sub notes that says “Christmas Delivery Guaranteed” and “30 Day Money Back”. Wow how much would you bet that a lot of people return their Jaguars after being disappointed by the games it’s accompanied with? Well after the sales pitch we are reverted back to the “pain in our butts” Jack the Jaguar Lover.

He gives us a recap on what happened for those who just tune in, those who did would be like who is this a-hole? He even goes as far as claiming that he’s a friend(yeah a friend you’d like to drop into an red ant hill). So he re enters the cave and gives bob advice that if “Ultra Vortec” isn’t your kind of game then try another game. So Bob chooses a Basketball title and we then see video footage of Melissa now at a basket ball court located at some beach and she interviews various b-ball players on why they love the jaguar. And like the BMX bikers, these guys care nothing more than the realise and accuracy of the game rules. Cause all these guys know about is Nike, Air Jordan, Lakers, and Gatorade. Though it is true that some famous basketball players are video game fans. But these guys however clearly know nothing about games.

After shooting some hoops, Bob is asked by Jack if he likes single player or multiplayer games. Bob isn’t sure so Jack lists some titles that Bob hasn’t played yet including the hideously made Cybermorph. And of course Bob had to choose it cause Jack claims it’s a cool Sci-Fi game. When Bob is about to play the game he is accompanied by a monitor that has the green face woman from the game. Yeah that makes things even more annoying when there’s two green women telling you you suck at flying cause everywhere in the game is foggy weather leaving you low visiblity towards mountains. Another thing that’s weird is that the monitor version of green woman reminds me of MAL from Captain Planet for some reason. Though atleast MAL wasn’t annoying towards Dr. Blight in the series.

So after experiencing the horror of Cybermorph, Jack cheers Bob up by telling him he’ll get better next time. And decides to do the 16-bit & 64 bit metaphor again, only this time with cars. In the 16 bit version Bob is seen driving an OK compact car. While the 64-bit version he is driving a really nice convertable accompanied by a woman. Again like I said before about the job metaphor, 16 bit games aren’t that bad to play. Just cause they lack the 48 bits of graphics doesn’t mean they belong in the dust bin. Any gamer would disagree with Jack’s way of thinking. Unfortuniately Bob isn’t smart enough to do so other wise.

Bob gets pushed over by a Susie now dressed like soldier who plays a little bit of the Jaguar version of Doom, the only console version of the game to duplicate what the PC version had, except with no music. Plus whenever we see a clip of gore it gets censored with a black bar with censored on it. It was eventually Bob’s turn and is going around killing enemies with a shotgun. While Bob’s busy Jack directs us outside of the cave again and still urges us to pick up the phone and call for a paid purchase of a Jaguar. We’re then given the same sales pitch as before with the narrator only this time we’re given different clips of games. We’re reverted back to Jack who is surprised that we’re back for more(or so he seems to think), he re-enters the cave and finds Bob exhausted cause he still can’t beat a woman in a Jaguar game. Jack gives him the same two metaphors we were given before and does a weird change clothing magic move that changes Bob’s set of clothes instantly. Susie returns now wearing winter clothes and challenges Bob to a skiing game. Bob beats her at the game and right when Bob demands another game to try out a video feed of Melissa appear who is at a laser tag game arena. Interviewing various laser tag players on what they think of “Tempest 2000”. Which is actually one of the better games for the Jaguar. So these guys expressing how they love it is a good thing when the game itself is a cool title.

Bob is finally suckered into the Jaguar and Jack loves his answer and tells him that there’s more games to play for it claiming that more titles are coming out for it. Yeah but not too many for the remaining year for the Jaguar. So Jack recommends “Iron Soilder” to Bob and wishes him luck upon inserting the cartridge into the Jaguar. So bob plays the game which is basically a polygon version of Evangelion or Patlabor or any generic mecha genre anime. After playing the game for a couple of minutes, Bob gets startled by a laser blast and sees Susie clade with a leather sci-fi like set of clothes. She encourages Bob to get the Jaguar if he likes it so much and gives what she likes to call a 64 bit kiss. Gee I wonder what a 128 bit kiss would be like? So after getting a real wet one from Susie a bright flash of light appears and we see Bob back in his home asleep. Muttering 64 bit graphics and powerful system until he wakes up and expresses how real the dream looked. His girl friend shows up and tells him he now owns a Jaguar which is right in front of Bob. I guess Jack came by and replaced the 16 bit system with the Jaguar and sold the 16 bit system to a used game store. So Bob and his girlfriend both ended up playing two player mode on Tempest 2000. We cut to out side and we see Jack who tells us how Bob found happiness with a new game system and told us we can be just like Bob by getting a Jaguar system today. Uh, no I doubt anyone else would be as gullible as Bob. We’re then given the same sales pitch of the Jaguar for the third and final time. With different clips of other games and the same cheap freebies we’re promise to get upon calling. We’re then given a chance to see Bob one last time and see that he wins a round of Tempest while his girlfriend’s eyes start to turn into cat-like eyes. Does she transform into a Jaguar or a cat humanoid. We don’t know it just ends there with the end credits.

So let’s sum up this infomercial, Jack clearly has nothing better to do other than kissing Atari’s but in exchange for going around town and tell every single person to buy a Jaguar. Bob now owns a Jaguar system in which he either still owns today or got rid of it cause he found better systems to go by as the years progressed, and his girlfriend is hinted to be able to transform into a Thundercat. That actually would have been cool to see, however the infomercial is low-budget so doing such an effect would be hard to accomplish. I’m curious what became of Jack after the Jaguar was proven to be a mistake? Does he still work for Atari, I certainly hope not when the economy today isn’t what it was like in 1995. If I didn’t know better I bet Jack is no working at some dead-end job and has a special room at his room which is a Jaguar shrine with all of the accessories and games for it. I’m also curious what the actors and staff members of this ad received for payment. Cause I can tell some money was invested to make this ad possible, but in today’s era no game company would go this far by doing an informercial and try to convince people to buy their product.

The Jaguar was officially disbanded by 1996 with only a total of 67 games. The shortage of third-party game developers and poorly received first party games were one of the reasons it was a commercial failure. Plus by 1996 Everyone was buying superior consoles including PS1, Nintendo 64, & Sega Saturn which all of them show cased better variety of games than the Jaguar did.  Only 250,000 Jaguar consoles were sold and are either own by dedicated video game owners like James Rolfe or are on auction on certain online auction sites. A year after the introduction to the Jaguar there was the Jaguar CD which was introduced to the market back in September 11, 1995.  This was Atari’s answer to their long promised CD game unit, however it’s not a console of its own. It is just an add on device for the Jaguar in which you insert it in the game slot of the Jaguar and allows you to play both regular Jaguar games and Jaguar CD games. Only 15 Jaguar CD games were made and got discontinued the same time as the Jaguar did. Which was a really dumb idea for Atari to create a CD add-on to a console hardly many people own, when it could have been its own separate system cause it requires its own AC adapter. Which means you would have to have two vacant plug slots for the console and Jaguar CD. The Jaguar would be known as the last U.S. made console until Microsoft would introduce their first console the XBox by 2001 and become the new face in the gaming world. So after failing yet again to satisfy their consumers, Atari pulled out of the console market and only focused on making games for other consoles or re-releasing older titles. By 2004, Atari would introduce a series of consoles called Atari Flashback which aren’t consoles consisting the same power as a Playstation, Wii, or XBox but just a console with built-in games with no requirement of buying individual games for it. They learned their lesson not to compete with the bigger companies that out rank them so they’re only doing what they do best which is making games for other consoles and re-releasing games from the past.

In conclusion, that is all of the Atari consoles to review as well as the overview of how Atari used to been a top ranking console making company but within the years they cared more about money instead of the quality of their own consoles. The only thing the Jaguar provided us is a history lesson on how better graphics doesn’t always mean better games. Since the console’s demise, we gamers see past the whole issue of the number of bits and that what mattered is that if the game is good to play then it doesn’t matter what the graphics look like. Well that’s all there is to say about the Jaguar. Yes I’m done and no next week will be a shorter articles I promise. There are plenty of commercials on the Jaguar, but I’ll do those another day cause a lot of them are humorous. For now here’s the infomercial, you all been dying to see.

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Posted on October 13, 2012, in Advertise of the Week and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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