Sam’s Score: Atari Jaguar

Do you believe in fate? Destiny? Serendipity? Well, I do… sometimes. I had just decided to add a new thrift store to my weekly rounds, because on my first trip through they had a few video games. They didn’t have anything I wanted to buy then, but that doesn’t mean that will always be the case. After a few more trips their video game stock was growing, anything from Sega Genesis to a lone PS3 game. They had the games but didn’t have any systems or controllers lying around, at least not that I saw. But one day, on what I thought to be just another browsing trip, I found it sitting there and I knew that I had to buy it!

Just a week prior, a friend and I were discussing a Craigslist ad for an Atari Jaguar, which included 10 games. The ad sounded a lot like my old Atari Jaguar that I lost in an unfairly slanted trade, but I never contacted the seller because they wanted over $200 for the lot. During the next week, for some odd reason, I heard a lot about Atari Jaguars, so I took it upon myself to do some research on them, as well as their prices online. By the end of the week all the Atari Jaguar talk had me missing my old system pretty badly, so I was even more amazed when I walked into that store and found it.

It took me a few seconds to calm down and focus on anything other than the price tag, but eventually I went into hurry up and grab it mode. The system came with one controller, both of which were caked in dirt. Sitting on the shelf beside them were five games, which I nearly missed entirely in my euphoria. After collecting the system and games, I looked pretty hard but sadly there were no hookups anywhere to be found.

Given how dirty the system was and the fact the Atari Jaguar has an open game connector, I still felt that it was worth a chance to buy it anyway. After I collected my thoughts, I took everything to the register and watched as the tiny amounts rang up to a very decent total. I asked if they had a return policy, luckily they did, but even so I wouldn’t want to return anything unless I absolutely had to (like the system being dead — gulp!).

Throughout the rest of the day, while I continued to game hunt, the system sat in the bag but my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the score, and wondering if the system even worked. This also brought on the hope I would run across more games, controllers or even the official hookups for this thing. With no such luck, I knew I had to do some research to see what power supply I could use, so that I didn’t create the reason why I would need to return it to the store, and I found that I already had one!

The very first thing I did was break out the cleaning wipes and gave the system a much deserved bath. The dirt came off with ease as the wipe turned from white to a sickly, dark brown color. At first I only cleaned half of the system so I could take a comparative pic (seen below), but once it was done, the system looked brand new! I assume everything went together, but I’m not sure why the games were so clean and the system and controller were so dirty.

Left: Dirty! - Right: Clean!

After I was confident that I had the right power supply, I hooked everything up and pushed the power button… nothing! My heart sank and I immediately started thinking about how I would return the system, but I wanted to keep the controller and knew I would keep the games. I sat there for a moment, wiggling the power supply in hopes that it may spring to life and all I would need to do was solder something back together, no life what so ever.

I sat there for a moment and the knowledge of my old Atari Jaguar returned to me. IT NEEDS A GAME!, I thought to myself, so I picked up a game and firmly planted it into the system. I wasn’t prepared to see another lack of life in this thing, so I pushed the button and hoped for the best. Success! The system lit up and the Jaguar logo came roaring on to the screen (literally, it roars at you), needless to say I was extremely happy.

The Atari Jaguar is a relatively rare system, which I will be discussing in my forthcoming Jaguar review. Before I found this one, the last Atari Jaguar I had seen was my own. Throughout my many thrift store finds, I’ve never come across anything related to the Jaguar, not even in Disc Replay, which may not even carry them. The 5 games I got were: Tempest 2000 (complete in box), Iron Soldier (complete in box), Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales (complete in box), Raiden and Doom. Inside Bubsy’s box I found an interesting receipt, which I will also be discussing in the review. So far everything works great, and I hope it continues that way because I’ve quickly grown attached to this system and it’s games.

Atari Jaguar w/ 5 games
System -$5
Games -$2 each

Posted August 29th, 2011

About the author

Samuel Floyd

first fell into video gaming with the Atari 2600…in the mid-90s! Always late into the system wars, Samuel enjoys that as he acquires them when they’re cheap and the hot titles of yesteryear are bountiful. Samuel loves RPGs, his favorite being Crystalis for the NES.


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