Video Games - Main Menu

Video Games :: Lynx

Lynx title picture

The Lynx was the most advanced hand-held console developed for nearly 10 years, and still stands up to the current offerings available today.

Atari purchased the original Lynx system from Epyx Corp., where RJ Michel (who also worked on the Amiga 1000 chipset) was working on the project with his team.  Epyx wanted to produce the system themselves, but financial restrictions forced a sale to Atari.  RJ Michel said "We didn't believe it had a chance of surviving when it was sold to Atari.  Sadly for us, and sadly for a lot of people, it turned out to be true.  We resisted as much as we could having the thing [Lynx] go to Atari, and when we were unsuccessful we resigned from the company [Epyx]".

Although several companies had been invited by Epyx (including Nintendo) to view the project in 1987, it was Atari who eventually got the technology.  Several features were dropped from the original concept design (called "Handy"), including an infrared communications port named RedEye, this eventually became a cable-network device known as ComLynx).  Atari had its first units ready for preview at the Summer 1989 Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago.  The provisional name for the unit was the "Portable Colour Entertainment System", but this was quickly changed by Atari marketing, and it was given the name Atari "Lynx" for launch.

Lynx Mark 1

The Lynx sold extremely well, over a million units shipped, and new units can still be purchased today from third party companies.  The first Lynx was expensive, $189 at launch - but the price soon came down.  Atari re-designed the Mark 1 Lynx, into a smaller chassis with improved battery life.  Called the Lynx II, it enabled Atari to manufacture the product more cost effectively.

Lynx 1 Ads

Atari wanted to "kill" the Gameboy, but in what some would say was typical Atari style, they wrangled with Casio over the LCD screens and missed manufacturing targets for Christmas 1990 by 50%...

In 1991 Atari shipped 60 Lynx Units to troops in the Gulf War - 15 kiosks, each containing 4 units were sent to recreation centres in Saudi Arabia; the booths were similar to those seen at computer shows.  Atari decided to send the units after a G.I. sent a letter to the company asking for "a sun visor to help play Lynx games in the desert".  Atari also ensured troops could buy systems at cost price!  Commenting, Sam Tramiel couldn't resist a customary dig at rival Nintendo saying "We're sending American technology to the desert".

The Lynx MK.II was a complete re-design of the launch machine.  The MK.I wasn't exactly a portable system in comparison with the Gameboy, and had to be cut down in size; another improvement had to be made with the battery life and so Atari went to work and did a great job on the last Lynx ever produced.

The new unit was lighter, easier to hold and battery life was, a little better.  It is still one of the most advanced hand-held systems available, although, sadly it is not manufactured anymore.  It is estimated that the last units were produced in 1995, as it was been marketed in tandem with the Jaguar.

 The Pong family
 Touch Me
 2600 VCS
 5200 Super System
 7800 Pro System
 Topic sub-menu
 Lynx System Variations
 Software Highlights
 Lynx info-byte

 Lynx TV Advert

 Go to the Forums