Retro Tech

Jaguar Dreams and VR Schemes

Atari's Jaguar VR vaporware

Retro Alex

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Jaguar VR

Back in 1995, Atari revealed the Jaguar VR at Winter CES, a headset compatible with its Jaguar console that would have brought virtual reality to living rooms. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy was coming to the market later that year, and Atari viewed the VR headset as a way to compete using its existing console.

To make this dream a reality, Atari partnered with the VR arcade game developer Virtuality. The CES announcement included a live demo of Missile Command 3D, but news quickly spread that Atari’s Jaguar VR demo was just running on the much larger and more expensive Virtuality system.

As development continued, Atari encountered a series of technical and commercial challenges. The headset’s motion tracking used infrared, which didn’t track movement accurately. And, when bought as a complete package with the console, the purchase price was $1,300 (about $2,600 today).

The deal with Virtuality ended in the same year, and the Jaguar VR was scrapped. There are a few prototypes floating out there. See it in action.