Atari's first (and only) handheld console was released in 1989. Unfortunately for Atari though, Nintendo had recently released their all conquering Game Boy. Despite being technologically superior, the Lynx just couldn't compete.
Originally developed by software publisher Epyx and named Handy (which is also the name of one of the machines best emulators), financial difficulties meant a development partner was needed. A deal was agreed which would see Atari manufacture and market the machine while Epyx handled software development.
The Lynx was far more powerful than the Game Boy, using custom chips and benefiting from a 3.5" colour screen. It also had a duplicate set of buttons and the ability to flip the screen which meant it could be used left handed. However, the better specs meant that the Lynx could drain its batteries in just 4 hours! Sales were steady, but nothing like those of the cheaper Game Boy.
In 1991 a redesigned Lynx II arrived, featuring a backlit screen and stereo sound output. Battery life improved 25% to around 5 hours and a price drop to $99 helped sales but by this time the Lynx was already a long way behind. With Atari's popularity on the slide and the release of Sega's Game Gear in America and Europe the same year, which received numerous games already popular on Sega's home consoles, the Lynx was relegated to a distant third in the handheld battle.
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BUILT IN SOFTWARE / GAMES
8-way d-pad, 2x A button 2x B button, Option 1, Option 2 Power On button, Power Off button, Backlight button (Lynx II)
Mikey (16 MHz 16 bit custom chip, 3.6 MHz 8 bit MOS 65C02 CPU, SPU, Video DMA)
Suzy (16 MHz 16 bit blitter, GPU & math processor)
64 KB DRAM
4096 palette, 16 colours per scanline
4 channel mono (Lynx II stereo), 8 bit DAC per channel
SIZE / WEIGHT
10.75" x 4.25" x 1.5" (Lynx) 9.25" x 4.5" x 2" (Lynx II)