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Would Atari Lynx have worked as a Nintendo Switch style game console?

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#1 Justin


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Posted 23 October 2016 - 12:46 AM

Would Atari Lynx have worked as a Nintendo Switch style game console? Imagine if Atari had boosted its resolution and released the Lynx with a docking station, TV connections and standard control pads for under $249? Lynx could have been Atari’s 16-Bit console and Atari's handheld. Had Atari done this in 1989 Lynx could’ve enjoyed a solid 4-5 year run as a console, and continued compatibility with Atari Jaguar via Comlynx. What do you think?




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#2 RickR


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Posted 23 October 2016 - 12:54 AM

I can say this would have been incredible  Play any Lynx game on an emulator...the graphics are fantastic even on a larger screen. 

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#3 kamakazi20012


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Posted 23 October 2016 - 02:07 AM

I've heard rumors that the Lynx was going to be a controller for the Jaguar.  I can't say where I've heard it but that was the rumor I heard.  It would have been nice if the system could have connected to a standard TV for home gaming by a A/V out port similar to how the AtGames portable Sega handheld connects.  The system would essentially also be the controller.  That would have been enough for me.  I'm not complaining, however, as I still believe the Lynx II was by far the most sexy handheld console made...and comfortable.  I just didn't care for the built-in display sometimes because it had this awful contrast issue that would "ghost" the images.  


As it stands the Lynx was a very powerful game system in a portable package and should have outperformed Nintendo and Sega in the handheld market.  I really don't think doing anything like the Switch is doing would have helped...it's all about the game play.  All game consoles are at the mercy of the developers to create games that engulf the player in an experience they can't forget.  It's what made Atari 2600 so popular.  Gamers generally don't buy a new console unless there was a game that they simply had to have...which would encourage the purchase of a new console.  So, as it stands, Lynx might have had to step up its game and bring to the table games that were not arcade ports.  It would have needed games like SMB on the NES, Phantasy Star on the Master System, and similar games.  The games it got were good but the library begged for more unique games.  Just my opinion.

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#4 Clint Thompson

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 03:04 AM

That image and thought makes my heart skip a beat. Thankfully we can almost do that now with the exception of connecting external controllers.

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2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar



#5 AlamoAtari


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Posted 23 October 2016 - 10:06 AM

BTB has a LYNX with A VGA output. He uses it on LYNX lounge.
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#6 Lost Dragon

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 03:21 PM

Trouble is, boosting the resolution would of meant more expensive LCD screens, lower battery life etc I guess?

So I dread to think what corners Atari would of cut to get it out in package described for $249...

The Lynx needed the games Atari promised us..

Cabal, 720, Vindicators, Rolling Thunder etc not even more impressive tech specs...

Edited by Lost Dragon, 23 October 2016 - 03:24 PM.

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#7 Lost Dragon

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 03:28 PM


Lynx as Jaguar controller reference.

Plus, when I was looking into the Panther, I found a lot of speculation Atari had planned some form of Panther-lynx connectivity, never found any evidence it got beyond concept, let alone any games planning to use such a feature...
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#8 nosweargamer


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Posted 23 October 2016 - 06:12 PM

That would have been amazing tech at the time and may have got Atari a lot of buzz, but as was mentioned before, the Lynx really needed more NES style games.

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#9 DeLorean



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Posted 25 October 2016 - 03:51 PM

Imagine if that were a built in feature of the Jaguar!!!

That image and thought makes my heart skip a beat. Thankfully we can almost do that now with the exception of connecting external controllers.

Yep! You're right. Those McWill Lynx mods are super duper! It's like 80% there already. I wonder what more it would take to add a controller port or build a docking station like in Justin's picture...
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#10 Lost Dragon

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 12:10 PM

Here's yet more 'food for thought' from a UK perspective:


By early months of 1991, despite running an active, 2-page advertising campain in many popular UK magazines, Lynx sales were described by Atari UK as 'dissapointing' and they put this down to 2 factors..



1) Lack of software and so annouced they were working closely with developers to rectify that, around 20 btitles expected shortly...


1st of these to be annoced included Roadblasters, Robo Squash, Rampage and Rygar and Atari hinted at a POSSIBLE conversion of ST/Amiga Nine Lives (something Simon Butler seemed to think was very, very unlikely)...



and 2)PRICE....


The Lynx had a R.R.P of £179 and Atari had sliced off £50 to bring it down to £129.


So if a £179 Lynx wasn't selling anywhere near as well as expected, i dread to think what a higher resolution screen, docking station bundle Lynx (lets say £229-£250?) would of sold like.


Also, looking at attitudes of UK Press..they thought it 'odd' a 5 year old coin-op like Paperboy was out on Lynx, yet didn't seem to share same issues with same game appearing on Sega Master system around same time....

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#11 kamakazi20012


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Posted 28 October 2016 - 07:31 AM

One thing I've noticed about most gaming magazines of the past...if the review was financially backed by the developer it usually got a higher-than-normal rating.  This is most likely to help keep the funds coming in to support the magazine and its staff.  Sega obviously had more money to blow than Atari so that might explain why the Master System got better reviews.  But to compare a home console to a portable console ... that's like putting an amateur in the driver's seat of a Chevette and placing them in a race against professional racers.  I'm not saying the Lynx had less power than the SMS.  The opposite is more true.  The Lynx was a more powerful console than the SMS if you go by specifications.  But the home consoles and portable consoles are two entirely different fields and should never be compared against each other.  In my opinion anyway.   

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#12 Lost Dragon

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Posted 28 October 2016 - 08:12 AM

Oh you can see that very much even today, espically with print in decline, magazines desperate to keep the essential advertising revenues coming in...



Hence you'll see likes of Edge afraid to underscore a Rockstar game (just emailed Future this in a customer survey) as they know they'll not get early access/exclusive art etc for future features, Gamestm etc happy to run advertising features where NES is portrayed as huge sucsess here in UK etc.



You simply do not bite the hand that feeds.



I think regarding MS vs Lynx Paperboy....



It was more...'expected' on MS at that time, as US Gold had been busy converting a lot of existing 8 bit games to the MS...Impossible Mission, Leaderboard, Gauntlet etc, things i'd played years earlier on the C64...


Where as with Lynx, which was cutting edge 16 bit, portable technology, sprite handling abilities that put likes of the Sega Genesis to shame, it must have seemed an odd choice to appear so early on, espically alongside games like Blue Lightning etc that really showcased the Lynx hardware.



But then the 16 bit Micro's were no stranger to old games suddenly popping up....



ST and Amiga versions of Commando appeared long after C64 etc versions



They had Ghouls N Ghosts before Ghosts N Goblins etc.

#13 Lost Dragon

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 03:19 PM

Re-visted this thread, as i was recently reminded of the approach Atari took in terms of marketing the Lynx, in terms of it's technical superiority, over the GB and more so at times, Sega's Game Gear...


Atari made a lot of fuss over Lynx being only handheld with Sprite Scaling and Rotation, Game Gear being based on old, existing Master system technology and Game Gear carts being limited in size compared to potential of Lynx carts....


But failed to grasp the very basics....


The very fact the Game Gear was based on existing/established technology and had a Master system convertor, meant it had instant access to a huge range of games the Lynx simply didn't...


Sega were also ensuring a solid supply of new Lynx titles every few weeks it seemed and big name arcade, film etc conversions.


Atari by comparison far too often relied on nostalgia....


Lessons weren't learned by time of Jaguar either, same approaches, same mistakes, same outcome.


Bit more info, regarding the UK Price drop of the Lynx... This basically took everyone by surprise somewhat, as prior to it, Atari UK were vey adamant that the price would remain the same, despite competition from rival platforms and whilst the £50 price drop was very much appreciated, it just helped fuel the fire that said you just couldn't believe a word Atari were saying.....

#14 Lost Dragon

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 07:36 PM

I think it was the 1990 CES (held in Chicago), where UK Press were mocking Atari for not having a 'video wall' at it's display booths, unlike it's rivals and comment being made about Atari's marketing basically knew nothing about how to market likes pof the ST, Lynx etc in States as was... This was followed by feeling the Lynx itself was a fine machine, but it was in an arena where if anyone could mess it up, it would be Atari and press were asking Atari to prove them wrong this time around.... And we all know how that ended up.

#15 Atari Creep

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 12:02 PM

First! That mock up is one of the sexiest things I have seen!!!!!

I'm sure a dock station with composite sockets could still be made for that thing. HMMMMM! 


I only knew 1 kat with a Lynx. He also had a Jag, and again the only one I knew of at the time that did. I had become a Sega JUNKIE by then and focused on that. I do not remember being excited to play the Jag but when he pulled out that Lynx I was amazed. I only got to play a surf game on it before he put it away but it left an impression on me. I never did get one but always in the back of my brain wanted to play around with one. 


The dock station needs to happen, oh and with the Game Gear too!!!!  :D

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Don't just watch TV, PLAY IT!

#16 Lost Dragon

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 02:41 PM

Regarding Lynx pricing...

Prior to it's UK release, Atari Uk's Bob Gleadow told ACE magazine in an interview that whilst it was possible to launch the Lynx at a £149.99 RRP, this wasn't something he wanted, as that'd mean you just got the Lynx unit, nothing else and as a consumer, he hated getting a device home only to find it lacked a power supply etc...


So he wanted users to buy it with the AC adapter, link-up cable and in-pack game

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