We used to take the mickey out of Adrian (a lot) for his love of the Atari Jaguar but we’ve finally done the maths and actually quite like it. In fact, whenever I’m over at his place (for dinner, parties, podcasting, just passing even though he lives two miles away) I always make a point of forcing him to set it up for me. It’s fair to say he’s found his soulmate (don’t tell his Mrs!) in Roberth Anthony Martinez Rivero, a Jaguar superfan whose brain we’d love to pick all day. Take it away guys…
Can you give our readers a quick background of your gaming history and why gaming is such an important aspect of your life?
My background of my gaming history is that I got into gaming when i was very little (around 6-7 years old). I can’t remember which one was my very first console but I got the chance to experience the SNES, N64, PS1, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Gamecube, the OG XBOX, a Famicom clone & a GBA SP due to my family trading some of them for money before i started collecting them. For me, gaming has become a important part of my life because i like having fun with them but as i grew older, my interest for them has increased!
Do you remember the first time you played a Jaguar console and were you instantly impressed?
The first time I saw the Jaguar was ironically not James Rolfe’s AVGN video but rather a gameplay of Rayman 1 for the system by jvgsjeff, as I was missing the game at that time (despite it’s difficulty) and seeing it again but not on the PS1 got me impressed. So much so that I searched along my dad through auction websites from where I live looking for one. I got one brand new during my last years at school (6th grade) with Cybermorph & the excellent Doom port by id. While it didn’t came with Rayman, I had a lot of fun playing Cybermorph & especially Doom.
Why are you now so passionate about the Jaguar, especially as it was a huge commercial failure for Atari?
Maybe it’s because it differs from the other Atari consoles. It could be because I also have a soft spot for failed consoles that have good games in their library. Another reason I love the Jaguar despite it’s commercial failure status is because Atari was really trying hard to compete with the consoles of that era and they were honestly trying to compete with the others.
What do you think were the main reasons why the Jaguar never succeeded?
Marketing is one important aspect, this is one of the reasons why the Turbografx-16 wasn’t as succesful in the U.S. & Europe than in Japan. While the Jaguar did have marketing behind it in TV and ads in various magazines, it was nowhere near to the level of the SNES & Genesis/Mega Drive. Another reason to its failure was the difficulty to take advantage of the hardware to its fullest potential due to the complex architecture of the system. There were various developers that did take advantage of the system such as Rebellion (AVP & Skyhammer), Virtual Studio (Val d’Isére Skiing & Snowboarding), Shen Technologies (Super Burnout), Ubisoft (Rayman), id Software (Wolfenstein 3D & Doom) & the offerings from Atari and Imagitec Design such as Hover Strike & I-War respectively, in my opinion. Oh, and how could I forget Tempest 2000 from Jeff Minter! Other reason for the failure of the system could be the lack of more third party games at the time. There’s more reasons as to why it failed but those are the ones at the top of my head.
If you could propose a few strategies to Atari in the mid 90s about how to improve their fortunes, what would you have recommended?
I would’ve suggested to market the Jaguar as both a robust 3D system and as a powerful 2D system, as it could have attracted more third party games (especially from Europe). I would’ve suggested to launch a pretty strong marketing campaign for both the Lynx & the Jaguar in order to attract more people to buy the systems and other suggestions that I can’t think on the top of my head right now.
What are your top 3 Jaguar games of all time and why?
Oh man…that’s a tough one! But here’s my top 3 games for the system:
– Alien Vs. Predator: the haunting atmosphere, the 3 campaigns featuring different characters and objectives, the graphics and most importantly the gameplay made it one of my favorite games on the system and a must-have for those who don’t have it already!
– Rayman: everything about the game! it’s also more easy than the PS1 version of the game but on the flipside, it’s more harder to find it but if you’re lucky, pick it up!
– Iron Soldier: a real surprise for me when i got my second Jaguar after my first system stopped working due to, oddly enough, a bent pin on the cartridge port. I had a blast playing the missions (especially the 12th level, where you not only have to destroy everything in sight, but you also had to fight another I.S. unit), I like the simple yet effective 3D graphics and most importantly, the controls feel GOOD. Overall, another must-have.
You help run and contribute to the really informative and passionate Jaguar Sector III Facebook group. Why do you think there is arguably more interest today for the Jaguar than when it was released?
It’s something that I’ve been surprised by. Back then, the only ones interested in the Jaguar were the more hardocre Atari fans and the ones who got the system from back in the day (I’m from 1996 BTW) but in recent years, there has been this sudden increase in interest about the system. Many of us wonder what happened to those games that were planned to be released before the system’s discontinuation is one of those reasons. Another reason is the homebrew scene for it. There’s multiple reasons as to why there’s suddenly increased interest in the system but those are the ones i can think of.
The homebrew scene for the Atari Jaguar is growing all the time. Are there any future games you would love to see released on the Jag?
Stormworks Interactive’s Jaguar port of Heretic & Freedoom (known as Doom+). Mighty Frog by Force Design, alongside the other ones they still have in their oven such as God Earth Troopers Pluz (known as Gorf Plus back in the day before the name got changed due to copyright issues IIRC). I would also love to see what other unreleased games Songbird Productions could release to everybody. I would also love to see Piko Interactive releasing games that could take advantage of the system’s capabilities, yeah they’re releasing ST ports with some modifications but they could do more IMO!
I have various ideas for homebrew games for the Jaguar but I don’t have anything set in stone for now. Right now, I’m a tester for Wave 1 Games and do the cover art for each of their titles. I would love to test Steven Scavone & Terance Williams’ unreleased Jaguar titles someday though as I’m a fan of their previous releases for the system (Gorf Classic & Mad Bodies). If any homebrew dev for the system wants to test their games out then let me know! (you heard it here folks, this is your guy! – Ed)
Many games were never completed for the Atari Jaguar. Which three games which were in development would you have loved to see completed?
That’s an easy one:
– Phear: I love Tetrisphere and i would like to see the original Jaguar game getting released somehow. There’s a interview with one of the people behind the game (which didn’t list his name) that explains what the status of the game was before being aquired by Nintendo.
– Jaguar Bomberman: I’m a huge Bomberman aficionado and based on the info i’ve found out about the game, it sounded like it could’ve been awesome for the system. It has been unearthed by Mike Mika and his brother Jeremy and if they could somehow release it to everybody, I would play it immediately! (we’d better get on the phone to Mike! – Ed)
– Gotcha!: This was being done by the same company who did the Jaguar port of Cannon Fodder and based on what Jonathan Court said on Jaguar Sector III alongside his brother Nick about the game, it sounded like it could’ve been fun, especially in 4 player mode!
There’s MORE but those are the ones I would love to see getting completed and released somehow. Perhaps Songbird, Video61 or Piko could do something about them? Who knows…
You have a huge collection of Jaguar games and peripherals, what items are Jaguar goodies are you most proud of?
You may be saying had, because I had around 20 games for it before my second Jaguar got crazy after I played Missile Command 3D on it. Then it stopped working and as such, i had to gave it away to a friend of mine alongside the games. I miss it to this day, I had Atari Karts loose with my second system, that’s the game I was the most proud of owning!
Do you feel the recently announced AtariBox will be success and what do you hope the console will deliver?
That’s hard to say… Without knowing what games the Ataribox will have at launch, it’s hard to tell but if it has compelling titles and the support to play every Atari system made (wishful thinking), then it could find a audience albeit a smaller one.
Have you ever wished to create your own Atari Jaguar game, and if so, can you share some of your ideas?
I would love to program an arcade-styled game for it. Other ideas I have for it if I start developing games for it (i need to learn Assembly first! XD) are a Metroidvania game, a platformer, a top-down racing game, a RPG & more!
If you could share a few drinks with an Atari Jaguar character who would you choose and why?
Maybe Bentley Bear, to ask him why he didn’t tell Atari to add other characters from their arcade games on Atari Karts!
Roberth, thank you so much for answering our many questions! Was a pleasure to have you here on the blog! Readers, you can add Roberth on Facebook here!