Video Games - Main Menu

Video Games :: Lynx :: Lynx System Variations

System Variations (title)

When the original Lynx was launched it was classed as a "portable" entertainment system, in fact the original name of the Lynx was the PCES, or Portable Computer Entertainment System, but as that didn't have such a catchy marketing title, it was eventually renamed the "Lynx".  The development name for the Lynx in house was called "Handy".

As technically impressive as the Lynx was, and it even came as a shock to Nintendo executives who first saw it at the CES show in 1989, it was stretching it a little calling it a portable when compared to the almost pocket sized Game Boy.  Even so, the Lynx was easily more portable than any other colour video game system because it was the first in the world, and Atari stole a march on Nintendo's monochrome Game Boy.

The original Lynx was very comfortable to hold, and its size wasn't a handicap to the ergonomics.  But, as the months went by, and the Game Boy began to show impressive sales results, Atari began redesigning the Lynx to make it more attractive as a truly portable device.

Lynx 1 and 2

The second version, or "Mark 2" as it became known, was a real effort by Atari to scale the original unit down in both physical size and to increase on some of the originals strengths.  The Mark 2 unit had a button to switch the backlight off to increase battery life, and although some gains were made in reducing overall power consumption, the Mark 2 still only gave around 4-5 hours of play out of a set of new batteries.  The screen size was kept the same, at 3.5 inches, and new rubber grips on the back of the unit were added.  The original "cartridge door" was scrapped, and games were just slotted into the cartridge slot on the top of the Mark 2 machine.

A power light was added that blinked when the battery power was low, although the screen backlight going dimmer was a better indication of low power, the LED was more for aesthetics' than for any practical use. In overall size, the unit was reduced by about an eighth over the Mark 1.  The Mark 2 was slightly deeper in size, and the colour of the units moulded plastic was black, whereas in the case of the Mark 1, the light gray colour was actually applied over the units original plastic, and tended to come away and fade after prolonged use.

Price reductions assumed a much lower cost to manufacture the Mark 2, although of a high quality construction, some argue the Mark 1 is a more robust machine.  The Mark 2 had a weaker speaker than the original, although playing with the use of headphones is highly recommended and the Lynx sound system can be better appreciated that way.

"His and Hers" Lynx prototypes

Who knows what the Lynx may have been like today if it was still around. Atari had toyed with the idea of "His and Her" Lynx units, as prototypes exist coloured a sickly blue and off-pink, but further development to reduce the systems size and increase its battery life were the more important hardware requirements needed.   No doubt, if it had been more successful, it could have been the Atari "Game Boy", but lack of marketing and developer support ensured the Lynx was only appreciated by a select clientele. 

 The Pong family
 Touch Me
 2600 VCS
 5200 Super System
 7800 Pro System
 Topic sub-menu
 Lynx system variations
 Software Highlights
 Go to the Forums