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/// Atari's Jaguar steals 3DO's Thunder on CBS This Morning
By Travis Guy
Reprinted from AEO News #1, October 8, 1993
Finally breaking loose from its well crafted veil of mystery, the Atari
Jaguar made its national television debut early today on the CBS news
program CBS This Morning. Placed squarely in competition with the 3DO
system, Atari's new machine looked to be in good shape in the battle of
the next generation videogame systems.
For those who couldn't see the CBS This Morning piece, the Jag played
second fiddle to the 3DO... in terms of placement and air time only. Herb
Weisbaum, consumer reporter for KIRO-TV, Seattle, opened his three and a
half minute live report with a Panasonic REAL 3DO Multiplayer at his side,
telling viewers only that there were two new video game machines coming to
market. "Both are better than anything that's ever come before."
3DO was presented as a 32-bit machine that relies on CDs to deliver action
and realism. Lots of footage of Crash and Burn, the Panasonic player's
pack-in game, played throughout the 3DO segment, interspersed with
snippets from other 3DO games. Ken Williams, President of Sierra On-Line
said of 3DO, "It's got the horsepower to deliver the games we always
3DO CEO Trip Hawkins demoed PGA Tour Golf, saying it has, "The look and
feel of a TV broadcast." Kirkland, Washington's Boy Scout troop 616 was
given an opportunity to play with a 3DO machine - the comments from the
Scouts ranged from, "It's cool" to "A lot better than Super Nintendo and
Weisbaum warned, "Right now, 3DO stands alone. But not for long."
Suddenly, the familiar Fuji and the ATARI logo appeared on screen -
Atari's first direct mention.
The Jaguar was presented as "an even more powerful system," a 64-bit
machine to sell for "just 250 dollars", and to which a $200 CD-ROM can be
added. The Jaguar, a controller, and a CD-ROM unit attached to another
Jaguar - all sitting in front of a Jaguar shipping box - were displayed.
Cuts from Crescent Galaxy, Cybermorph and Raiden were shown being played:
"The first time Jaguar software has been seen on TV. The games are
colorful, fast-paced, with lots of action."
Atari President Sam Tramiel said, "I love shoot'em up games. That's what
people like to play.... The big thing is to have a lot of fun with your
software. That's the key."
Glenn Rubenstein, a videogame reviewer for the San Francisco Examiner, was
seen having been given some time to spend with a Jaguar. "For 250 dollars,
I'm very impressed with the Jaguar." Rubenstein laughed, "I would actually
spend my own money. Not a lot of journalists would say that about a
product, but I would actually go out and buy a Jaguar."
Weisbaum closed his report on Atari by saying Rubenstein would have to
wait until November for the Jaguar's San Francisco and New York rollout,
with national distribution coming in 1994.
He then pointed out that 3DO is going to the stores now. For $700. CBS
This Morning anchor Harry Smith asked Weisbaum, "Who's going to pay that?"
Weisbaum answered, "They [3DO] say people will for brand new technology."
He also added that the machines (both 3DO and Jaguar) will be able to
connect to digital networks to enable players to play games linked across
Harry Smith neatly summed up the segment, "Hot stuff, Herb."
//// From the background I was given, CBS was planning a story on 3DO,
when they heard about Atari's Jaguar. After spending 4 hours at Atari on
Tuesday, they felt that it was worthy to include it in their story.
//// The Atari logo and Fuji shown in the broadcast should be part of
what appears when you power up a Jaguar without a cartridge or CD-ROM
//// I reached Herb Weisbaum later in the day by phone, and asked him
what were his personal impressions on both machines. He declined to take a
stand on that, saying, "At this moment, I have trouble playing Pong."
//// Atari Corp. also confirmed via phone that the Atari Jaguar will
retail for $249. This includes one controller and one pack-in game.
//// CBS This Morning airs weekdays on most CBS stations from 7am to 9am
(Eastern and Pacific times) and 6am to 8am (Central time).