Friday, May 18, 2012

Atari Jaguar Cat Box

The Cat Box for Atari's Jaguar is one of the most interesting yet sadly rare accessories for the ill-fated 64bit-ish beast. It provides the console with composite and S-Video jacks, an RGB port, stereo audio jacks, networking capabilities, a DSP-through connector and more. You can grab one via this Atari Jaguar CatBox auction. Seller ships worldwide. 

6 comments:

  1. Well worth getting if you're serious about Jaguar gaming. You can actually make your own RGB cable with a 5 1/4" floppy drive cable - it's exactly the right size to slot onto the Jag's edge connector. The fact that the Jaguar uses a similar expansion method to the venerable ZX Spectrum shouldn't come as a huge surprise - the team that designed the Jag were mostly all ex-Sinclair engineers anyway.

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    1. Ah, yes, you are indeed correct dear Bob. If I'm not mistaken, the Jaguar did actually implement some of the Loki ideas.

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  2. Networking capabilities...? I can't say I know too much about the Jaguar, but I wasn't aware that it could be played over a network. Nice.

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    1. Indeed! And you could player 4-player Doom deathmatches on the thing too!

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  3. The network capabilities of the Jaguar were local only. You could daisy-chain multiple Jaguars together, a bit like AppleTalk on the early Macintoshes. Some websites say 26 Jaguars could be linked, others 32 - so it's a bit hard to tell which information is correct, especially as not many games took advantage it. Doom did, as Gnome points out - although I have seen that as being reported as 2-player rather than 4. Whether you could find 4 Jaguar owners to ever try it out - never mind 26 - is a different matter altogether.

    One feature apparently available on the Jaguar (but sadly never used) was its connectivity with with the Atari Lynx's ComLynx network - the idea being that you could use the Lynx as a controller for the Jaguar. This was a good eight to ten years before Nintendo did similar things with the Gamecube and Gameboy Advance, and it's an idea so attractive to console developers that Sony allowing the PS3 & PS Vita to hook up in all sorts of innovative ways today.

    Whether such connectivity would have helped sales of the Jaguar & the Lynx back in the dayis open to question, as sadly, the gaming public of the early 90s didn't really take to either of Atari's last consoles. This is in itself is a great shame, as both were actually decent and incredibly powerful consoles amongst their peers. If you have either machine today, treasure them as being the last gasp of a company that was once synonymous with videogames.

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    1. Once again, thank you dear Bob for the invaluable insight!

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