BatleSphere box art
|Developer(s)||4 Play/ScatoLOGIC inc.|
|Publisher(s)||4 Play/ScatoLOGIC inc.|
|Release date(s)||2000 (original)
|Genre(s)||3D Space Combat|
networked 1-32 multiplayer
BattleSphere is a 3D space combat simulator for the Atari Jaguar console by 4Play/ScatoLOGIC Inc., released in 2000. Released after the Jaguar's demise, cartridge components and other supplies needed to manufacture the game were scarce, resulting in not enough copies to meet demand. A second edition of the game, with additional features and improvements, was released as BattleSphere Gold in 2002. Although Scatologic will not release sales figures, a few hundred copies are known to have been manufactured. The game is no longer available but copies of both editions frequently appear for auction on eBay. The first copy of BattleSphere was sold on eBay for over $1500.
BattleSphere was originally called Star Battle, named after a mainframe game written by one of its creators back when he was in high school. PlayNet, the forerunner of AOL, almost bought Star Battle for its online services in 1986.
Despite the unusual length of time involved the development budget for BattleSphere was rumored to be less than $10,000. The game's release was not without controversy with some customers complaining that insufficient copies were available for some of the game's earliest and earnest fans.
800 years in the future, the seven dominant races of the galaxy are at war. Stealing a plot idea from an ancient Star Trek episode, they have agreed to confine their hostilities to Sector 51, a spherical sector of space formerly used by the Earth government to secretly test new weapons and starships. Each race has sent its best soldiers and military hardware to participate in a tournament of space battles in this Battle Sphere. The race that wins the tournament will be given control of the galaxy.
- Battlesphere story
The game involves 7 races, the Oppressors, the Smg'Heeds, the O'catanut, the Slith, the Se'bab, the Telchines, and the Thunderbirds fighting a war over who will control and colonize the galaxy. It features 5 different play modes and the ability, unusual for a Jaguar title, to play over a network of up to 16 consoles, each with a pilot and an optional gunner, for a total of 32 potential players. The claimed network capability has not been tested, due to the game's release after Atari's takeover by JT Storage and abandonment of the Jaguar platform.
The Se'bab is "babes" spelled backwards, along with O'catanut is "tuna taco" spelled backwards. Another race name, Smg'heed, appears to be a reference to the insult "smeghead" from the TV show Red Dwarf. Also, the default high scores for one of the gameplay modes features names of all the major characters from the show. All of the ships for The Oppressors' are named with a phallic theme, i.e. the "Penetrator" supership.
The game has the following play modes:
Single player 
- Alone Against the Empire - Strategic play mode where you have command of other spacecraft and must move through a set of hexagonal sectors to defend your scattered starbases from enemy attack, and eliminate enemy starbases on the higher levels. (The mode with the closest similarity to the game Star Raiders, which Battlesphere was influenced by.)
- Gauntlet - Defend six starbases in a single sector from wave after wave of increasingly tough enemy attackers.
- Free-For-All - Destroy as many other starships as possible.
- Pilot Training - A series of training missions.
Multiplayer (networked) 
- Gauntlet - Same as single player game, but using a 2nd console as an ally.
- Battle Sphere - 2 opposing teams scattered across 8 consoles attempt to capture or destroy each other's starbases, a sort of 3D Netrek.
- Free-For-All - Same as single player game, but with human opponents at up to 16 networked consoles. Unused player slots are occupied by robot players.
- Resemble the human race's concept of demons, and it is believed that Earth legends of demons were caused by the arrival of an Oppressor strike force that was somehow destroyed soon after it reached the planet. They once controlled 80% of the known galaxy but have been slowly losing their hold as they encounter one disaster after another. The Oppressors will do anything to regain their former hold on the galaxy.
- An all-female slave race of the Oppressors until the sudden arrival of the Telchines 50 years ago weakened their hold, leading to a brutal rebellion and double blow to the Oppressors which destroyed half of their empire. The Se'Bab were bred for beauty and obedience. This has translated into extreme xenophobia towards all other races and extremely aggressive, almost suicidal battle tactics. The Se'Bab bare one breast at all times in defiance of male power.
- Appeared 50 years ago and are presumed to originate from a neighboring galaxy. Their advanced craft brutally vaporized a section of the Oppressor's empire which indirectly triggered the rebellion that freed the Se'Bab from their Oppressor masters. The Telchines do everything in threes and are obsessed with the 5 Platonic solids. Their ships have threefold symmetry. No one has ever seen a Telchine and lived. They appear to be transforming space around their empire.
- Lizard-like beings whose ships seem to be alive. They are rumored to devour their prisoners after interrogation. Their capital ships resemble snakes and lizards, and can reproduce if sufficient resources are supplied. Their weapons are tailored to achieving the paralysis and capture of other ships for this purpose rather than simply destroying them.
- Last surviving descendants of the human race, mostly wiped out by a scourge of retroviruses and accumulated debt from placing their entire GPP into developing absurdly powerful weapons. As a result, their ships are based on modified 20th century technology, have lousy maneuverability, but do incredible damage if they manage to hit anything. Watch out for their self-destruct systems! The other races decided to include them in the tournament mostly on the fear that they'd activate one of their many budget-busting Doomsday Devices had they not done so.
- A feline race that follow the Slith wherever they go. An uneasy alliance exists between them, but it has been suspended for the sake of the tournament. There is the general belief that there will be some form of power-sharing between them if either race wins the tournament. The Ocatanut focus on stealth and speed to overcome their enemies. Frequently, they will then share their kills with the Slith.
- The sworn enemies of the Ocatanut and the Slith. They are hawk-like predators who blend speed and firepower in their ships. They are fixated on coup-like behavior and they tend to make a great show of any kill, making sure their victim knows who it was who has beaten them. It is believed that the Se'Bab and the Thunderbirds have been sharing technology.
Homebrew development & Reception 
After Hasbro bought out Atari, it took relentless lobbying by the BattleSphere fanbase and much behind the scenes persuasion to convince Atari to release the Jaguar console into the public domain. Without this event, BattleSphere, though completed in July 1998, would not have been allowed to be encrypted and released.
Concealed within Battlesphere lay JUGS (The Jaguar Unmodified Game Server), JUGS allowed anyone to develop and run Jaguar games if they owned a copy of BattleSphere and a Catbox. BattleSphere was the first Jaguar game to include a development system hidden within it.
The game is considered frequently as one of the best atari jaguar games released.
Diabetes Charity 
According to 4Play/ScatoLOGIC Inc.'s Official BattleSphere Homepage all after-tax profits from BattleSphere went to diabetes research. The first copy of BattleSphere (signed by the authors) went for $1,575.