Club Drive for Atari Jaguar just isn’t anything
13.02.2024 - 00:55
I don’t think it’s really possible to quantify the “worst game of all time” or even compare kusoge that well. There are so many ways that a game can be deficient, and it’s hard to say what the worst way is.
A game could be disappointing. It could be technically deficient for its era or mechanically lacking compared to others in its genre. For my money, the worst kind of kusoge is the boring kind. A broken game is at least fun to analyze, but an uninteresting game is just exhausting. As excruciating as it is, I would rather play Hoshi wo Miru Hito than, say, Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum.
But then there are the games which you just can’t believe anyone tried to charge money for. 1994’s Club Drive for the Atari Jaguar is one such title. It’s just not… anything. It is a college student’s Introduction to 3D Design mid-semester project submission that someone stuck a price sticker on. Or, at least, that’s how it feels.
The Atari Jaguar was a spectacular failure during a period of spectacular failures in the console market. Many people in North America like to neatly believe the ‘90s were largely the SNES vs. Sega Genesis followed by the PS1 vs N64 (and the Sega Saturn, if you’re being charitable). However, the early ‘90s saw a lot of consoles try to break into the market and fail, such as the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Phillips CD-I, Amiga CD32, or the Neo Geo CD.
Atari was still trying to bank on the name recognition it built in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, and the struggles of the Atari Lynx had taught them nothing. In late 1993, they trundled out the Jaguar, which they marketed as the first 64-bit console, inadvertently making themselves another casualty of the “Bit Wars.” A laughable 50 cartridge games came out for the console before it was discontinued in 1996. As bad as the library was, there were some unfortunate casualties, like Rebellion’s Alien vs. Predator.
Club Drive was not an unfortunate casualty. In fact, its inclusion in the Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration means it isn’t even a casualty at all. It was, by some accounts, supposed to demonstrate the console’s 3D capabilities, and it failed substantially.
It’s kind of hard to describe Club Drive as a game. There are three modes: collect, race, and tag, with the latter being relegated to 2-players. Collect has you collecting, uh, Everlasting Gobstoppers or maybe Koosh balls. Or, y’know, I guess they could be unstable molecules. In any case, you drive around four environments picking up some of these… things.
Race is pretty self-explanatory. You drive around a track and try to cross checkpoints as quickly as possible. In single-player, you’re going for the best time. There are no AI opponents. In multiplayer, it’s actually a race, which is