Atari Jaguar
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Update #2 [Mon 7th Aug, 2023 13:15 BST]: VR emulation has arrived for the Atari Jaguar emulator BigPEmu, its creator Rich Whitehouse has announced.

In the past, Whitehouse was previously responsible for helping the Video Game History Foundation to revive and emulate an unreleased headset for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, and he has now done the same for the unreleased Jaguar VR, allowing people to use modern headsets like the HTC Vive with the device.

In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel over the weekend, Whitehouse told viewers, "Today, I really think I might have outdone myself. To give you a bit of a summary here, Iโ€™ve implemented Atari Jaguar support in my Atari Emulator BigPEmu."

To do this, Whitehouse explains that he had to first reverse-engineer the headtracking from Missile Command VR (a prototype of Missile Command 3D for the Atari Jaguar's unreleased VR headset) and implement stereoscopic rendering entirely from scratch into Missile Command 3D (the game he used to demo the feature).

You can grab the most recent version of the emulator with VR emulation support from Whitehouse's website here. Or watch Whitehouse's demonstration of the update below:

Update #1 [Fri 3rd Feb, 2023 10:00 GMT]: As spotted by RetroRGB, Jaguar CD-support has arrived for BigPEmu with v1.05. At the moment, it's only available for Whitehouse's Patreon backers, but a wider release is expected soon. If all Jaguar CD games are supported as the early reports suggest, this would be the first time any emulator has been to pull this off.

Obviously, the Jaguar CD didn't have the most expansive library of games, but this will no doubt be exciting for fans who are eager to dig into what's available and seek out hidden gems. You can support Whitehouse's emulation efforts here.

Original Story [Mon 5th Dec, 2022 15:00 GMT]: Atari's "64-bit" Jaguar console is today widely viewed as a disaster, thanks in no small part to its shallow software library at launch, poor sales, and its lack of marketing compared to its competitors at the time.

Nevertheless, it's since gone on to become highly collectible, with retro fans quick to point out hidden gems and curiosities that are worth taking a closer look at today.

At the start of this month, the video game programmer and designer Rich Whitehouse released the first version of 'BigPEmu', the first Atari Jaguar emulator to be entirely compatible with the Jaguar's full retail cartridge library. And as such, it appears it's now easier than ever to experience some of these old games without a significant trade-off in quality or performance, and with some exciting new quality-of-life features thrown in for good measure.

The emulator is available to download from Whitehouse's website, along with a user manual. This is where you can also view a full list of the available features, such as the ability to run the entire retail library (with default settings) at full speed on almost any x64-capable processor, the option to tweak settings to overclock/underclock each of the Jaguar cores, and record video and create save states.

There's also support for global and per-game backgrounds and extra devices like driving controllers, as well as the ability to tweak shaders.

In the future, Whitehouse aims to add support for Jaguar CD, Jaguar VR, and Jaglink, in addition to continuing to improve the emulator's accuracy and speed. If you want to take a closer look at the emulator in action, veteran games journalist Jeff Gerstmann recently gave a demonstration of it on his YouTube channel. You can get a closer look at how it handles in the video below:

Have you put BigPEmu through its paces yet? Let us know in the comments!