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The Atari Lynx - Cooler Than You Think!


The Atari Lynx was a pioneering handheld games console in more ways than one. In this video - part of the “My Cool Machine” series, a wonderful collaboration with some other awesome ‘Tubers - I’ll tell you why.

Check out the playlist or the hashtag to discover some more cool machines!

Gameplay footage captured from MiSTer MultiSystem:


Welcome to my cool machine, a collaboration between a few YouTube folk where we all pick a cool gaming machine and talk about what makes it cool - and I’ve picked the Atari Lynx!

So what’s so cool about the Lynx? Well, released in 1989, a year before the Game Gear and TurboExpress and only 2 months after the Game Boy, the Lynx was the first handheld with a proper backlit colour screen.

The Lynx started life in 1986 and was developed by two former Amiga designers working at gaming giant Epyx. Originally known as the “Handy”, they shopped their 6502-based console around to the likes of Nintendo and Sega before finally being picked up by Atari, who would handle the hardware side of things, leaving them free to focus on games.

Sadly the cash-strapped Epyx went out of business the year the console launched, leaving Atari to handle things on their own - who in a cruel twist of fate ended up having to buy Amiga machines from arch-rivals Commodore to be able to continue to support the Lynx’s software development toolchain.

There were 2 versions - a long boi and, later, a not so long boi - and it could be used left or right handed and even in tate mode. That’s right, I said tate mode.

At the time the Lynx was praised for its strong hardware sprite manipulation and pseudo 3D capabilities, as well as its strong launch lineup of games that included California Games which I’m still completely terrible at, classic puzzler Chip’s Challenge which you may remember from the later Windows 3.1 port, the Afterburner-esque Blue Lightning which of course would also later come to the Jag, the super smooth sidescrolling shooter Gates of Zendocon, and the graphically impressive ElectroCop, which I’m also terrible at.

The Lynx would go on to pick up a great selection of contemporary and classic games and platform exclusives, for a total of 76 commercial releases during its lifetime. These days it has a thriving homebrew scene.

The Lynx is a cool system to collect for and, while the console itself can be a bit pricey due to the fact that there just aren’t that many of them out there, games can often be picked up inexpensively and there are also flashcarts available.

Unfortunately I only have 2 minutes here, so apologies if I’ve missed your favourite game, but please do let me know about it down in the comments.

So thanks for watching! I’ll be refurbing and modding my Lynx soon with a modern screen so be sure to subscribe down below if you haven’t already so you don’t miss that, and check out the playlist on screen now to see the rest of the excellent My Cool Machine submissions.

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Further Viewing:
Zonelynx Handy Prototype Video:

Game List In Order Of Appearance (Post-Intro):
Shadow of the Beast (Digital Developments / Atari 1992)
Desert Strike (Teque London / Telegames 1993)
Lemmings (DMA Design / Atari 1993)
Raiden (BlueSky Software / Telegames 1997)
California Games (Epyx / Atari 1989)
Chip’s Challenge (Epyx / Atari 1989)
Blue Lightning (Epyx / Atari 1989)
Gates of Zendocon (Epyx / Atari 1989)
Electrocop (Epyx / Atari 1989)
Lemmings (DMA Design / Atari 1993)

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