Whoop Whoop, i have been lucky enough to have access to a JAgGD by RetroHQ – i have been a long time Atari user and pretty well know in the days of the Atari ST.
I have a pretty good Atari Jaguar collection already i have been collecting over the last 5 years or so, twenty odd games, 4 controllers etc with only a couple of games i have been unable to get hold of over the years.
The biggest issue has been price, like all retro kit there seems to be a massive up surge in demand which unfortantly pushes prices in the realms of ” Errr yeah wont bother with that “. Real shame however thats life and i suppose when you think about it shows there is a good cult following of the Atari Jaguar.
The JagCD , they are like gold dust and the price in the uk are well over £500 to buy one and i have never been able to get hold of one for a price i am willing to pay. Sad thing is if i have the money i have today i would have snapped one up when i was a lot younger.. Although not many JagCD games it did sort of open up the whole home brew scene…….
Thing to note with the JagGD, it does not currently support JagCD games; it may in the future.
I don’t plan on writing war and peace, its not needed as the JagGD is pretty self explanatory. Whole idea is to give a quick overview of using it and a few pictures etc.
Before we start, all the details about the JagGD are at RetroHQ’s website :
The RetroHQ Jaguar GameDrive cartridge allows you to play the full back catalogue of Atari Jaguar games and homebrew directly from a memory card.
The Jaguar GameDrive has full support for all games and sizes of EEPROM (used to save game progress). The EEPROM contents are saved directly to the memory card along with your game, so everything is stored in one place.
You will need to provide a memory card (FAT16 or FAT32 formatted) and your own ROM images (JAG, J64, ROM, BIN, ABS) to play. A selection of freeware games are linked in the resources section below.
The latest firmware for the ORIGINAL Jaguar GameDrive (recognisable by a different label from the one above) can be found below. For the new style Jaguar GameDrive, please follow the onscreen instructions as you boot the cartridge to access firmware updates.
Monday April 20th the post man arrived pretty late; was probably around 5pm. I do know where i have been living the postal service have been doing a great job in the current situation although postal deliveries have been getting a bit later over the last few weeks……
Opened the box and grabbed a 128gig micro SD card, fired up the Dell XPS laptop and the it had to happen my SD reader had given up. I am an Apple Mac person these days however i use the Dell for SD cards when i burn images for RetroPI. Amazon here i come to order one for my MAC which would add another day….
Tuesday April 21st, SD card reader arrived – come back to that in a minute
So out the box is a nice cartridge with nice art work and a small instruction manual, don’t forgot this is beta version so the official may come with a better manual ( no that you need it )
As you can see a micro SD card slot at the top with usual spring loaded mechanism.
There is a ” Getting Started ” section in the manual :
- First thing you are told is that a firmware update is required, not sure if this will be needed when it goes GA.
- Put cartridge into you Jaguar and turn it on
- A QR code is displayed and a website to go too.
- You have a choice, either scan the QR code or type the URL in.
- Due to my my MAC being in a holding frame for work i ended up just typing the URL into chrome on my MAC. Yes i could scan in on my phone or iPad but then would need the hassle of getting the firmware upgrade file to my MAC.
- Quick copy of a small upgrade file to the root of the SD card and i was ready to go.
- Booted up and nothing happened, no firmware upgrade. Just sat there with QR code / URL Splash screen.
- Spoke to RetroHQ, between us we figured 128gig SD cards don’t seem to work. Grabbed a 32gig SD card and copied over the upgrade file
- Quick reboot of the Jaguar and the update is instantaneous !!! Thus the fact i have no pictures….
- Menu appears as shown below
- You use the cursor to navigate up and down and buttons xxxx to go back and forth.
- It will happily navigate through folders and back and forth, just in case you want to organise you games into categories
- Highlight the game and hit button xxxx
- Loading window appears as shown below
- Usual Jaguar red logo appears just like you where running a normal cartridge.
- Game boots up as usual, i did not notice any difference in boot time from running a normal cartridge. Yes i guess i could use a stop watch to compare both however i don’t really see that being necessary. Zero complaints from me.
- As you can see plays happy, i already own pitfall but was nice to see it running on the JagSD
- One thing to note, there is no way to exit out the game back to the menu of the JagSD so you have to hard power off as if you where changing the cartridge. This would be nice in a future firmware to see this feature however i don’t know from a technical perspective whether this is possible.
- Third Party / Home brew games work quite happily
- Video running the bad apple demo
Forgive my rubbish audio / visual certainly not my forte.
The JagGD is a great piece of kit, ok its not the cheapest in the world however its not exactly the most expensive.
Its very easy to use so people should be up in next to no time ( don’t use 128gig SD’s ) with the whole experience as simple as it needs to be.
Certainly opens up the third party and home brew scene and with a bit of luck this might invigorate a few more people to develop against the Jag. The original Atari 2600 has a sort of cult following with the harmony cartridge so fingers crossed this repeats the same.
Atari Age are going to be dealing with distribution, not sure when this will be. My advice is get on the waiting list as you wont regret this as an addition to the Atari Jaguar…