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Too Powerful For Its Own Good, Atari’s Lynx Remains A Favorite 25 Years Later

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#21 Lost Dragon

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 07:08 AM

Regarding the Too Powerful...aspect, it's only fair to point out developers did hit issues with Lynx hardware in sprite based games.


Knight Technologies Tom Schenck pointed out that Dirty Larry originally had the ability to move into and out of the screen, but the feature was dropped as it reduced the frame rate to a crawl, once enemies appeared on screen.



Also i've seen people say Atari were reason 2 levels were dropped from the final game, not quite the full story.



1 level dropped due to lack of cart space, it's true, but the 2nd the developers said whilst looked fantastic, was boring to play through, so they dropped it.

#22 Lost Dragon

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 06:53 AM

Matt Householder talking about his time at Epyx and his thoughts on the Handy/Lynx:



"Dave Morse, Dave Needle and Robert J Mical joined Epyx after pitching the idea of the Handy. Dave Morse was a suit, Dave Needle designed the hardware and RJ Mical managed the software. They had done some initial design work, but I don't know if anything physical (such as a wire-wrap, chips, etc.) already existed. A lot of people were very excited about it, though I was not one of them."



" I left Epyx in the summer of 1988 after getting burnout from having working too hard for three years straight. I was disillusioned about having created their biggest hit without receiving any real reward, either honorary or monetary. On top of that, the board and management at Epyx decided to "go for broke" by designing a new hardware platform. It was clear to me from a quick back-of-an-envelope calculation that Epyx had barely enough cash (most of which had come from Summer Games, Winter Games, World Games and California Games) to finance development of the Handy, and that at least another $100 million would be needed to manufacture and market it. Everything else that Epyx was doing in software was just about breaking even or was even losing money. "





#23 Lost Dragon

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 05:30 PM

I ran into a massive Lynx fanboy/troll-esq creature on YT a few weeks back, who simply couldn't get his head around the concept that many current/ex-Lynx owners, like to discuss the merits of the Lynx hardware and software from a realistic point of view...


For example, despite numerous control options avaiable, your never going to be able to replicate the true dual stick control scheme of Robotron on the Lynx....


Stun Runner did recieve mixed reviews from some areas of the press...


Having to pause the game to call up the Icon Screen, does break up the flow and you loose the fast n frantic aspect of Lemmings...


And so on and so on.



But what really got on my nerves were the claims over sales figures-I just don't know why people cannot accept likes of Darryl Still simply cannot recal the worldwide sales units for the Lynx, he might of had the data at the time, but he admits he cannot recal it and  he goes along with suggested data of between 2.5-3 Million.



Respectable figures, but until actual data can be found, it's simply speculation.


Nick Alexander, Ex-Sega Europe CEO openly admits he cannot recall Mega CD sales figures for Europe, but is well aware it wasn't a success, i don't see Sega fanboys creating might be type figures for that, to pass off as fact, so why treat the Lynx any differently?.



Next aspect-claim the Lynx made money for Atari..right so we saw what? 2-3 if not more price cuts to hardware here in UK, as Atari themselves said, due to dissapointing sales of the Lynx, likes of Telegames etc were selling off unsold stock for bargin basement prices  good few years back, when PS1 was new, £35.



Plus Leonard Tramiel himself has stated that the Lynx was a niche machine and said it was too bad it was IMPOSSIBLE to keep it competitive with other systems at the time, as the LCD screen manufactuers refused to drop the prices for Atari...



Plus Atari's own feedback, Leonard said showed the Lynx would sell and sell well, but NOT at a price Atari could make money from each unit sold and again the major factor that kept the Lynx hardware price up, was the cost of the LCD screens.



So we have fanboys arguing that Atari themselves are wrong?.



And looking at developer comments, creators of Gordo 106 have talked about how Atari discontinued the Lynx before their game was even released, Atari were very keen developers abandoned Lynx and started working instead on Jaguar games and this before they even gave them the Jaguar tech specs...



If Lynx really was making Atari money, they'd of kept it going well into release of Jaguar, not told developers to ditch the format....



Plus at end of 1990 Atari UK were adamant there were NO plans for any price drops on the Lynx hardware, cue early 1991 seeing a whopping £50 price drop (down to £130 now), in order to try and boost sales..yeah, that's a platform Atari are making money off....

Edited by Lost Dragon, 21 February 2017 - 09:48 AM.

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#24 TeddyGermany


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Posted 20 February 2017 - 04:13 AM

@ Lost Dragon


Very interesting facts!

#25 Lost Dragon

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 04:52 AM

I want to properly deal with the issues facing ANYONE trying to get detailed sales figures for the ATARI hardware, as too much speculation has been reported as fact.


Basically, as a gamer who owned a 2600, 800XL, 520STFM, Lynx and Jaguar, all during their commercial lifespans, i was very well used to seeing Atari P.R in full swing, proudly proclaiming how sales and profits etc were up.


You look at something like the news section in say Computer Gamer magazine, Sam tramiel quoted as saying ATARI sales up by 82% along with net income up by $59 Million, for year ending of 1986 and whilst he strongly hinted this was due to the ST, you never saw a platform specific breakdown, nor region specific break down of the sales or profits due to....


All you did hear Sam say was that Atari's video game systems also sold well in 1986, but again no mention of specific regions.


This is important as the UK was still waiting for the 7800 (and would recieve the XEGS instead, initally) and the aging 2600 was now selling new for around £35 (Computer Gamer estimated some 20,000 2600's were still being sold each year here in UK at Feb'87).



But Atari, like Sony does today (PS4 figures just..PS4 figures, never a breakdown of Slim, Standard and Pro models, it seems), just gave vague statements.



UK Magazine Raze even went as far as to point out Atari UK used to claim it held 50% of the UK Console market games share, but never broke that down to specifics ie 2600, 7800+XEGS




Many years later when Atari UK's Darryl Still was asked about Lynx figures, he said he probably knew at the time, couldn't put a figure on it now, they were less than should of been..then goes along with suggested figure of between 2.5-3 Million.



Next thing you know, it's in Retro Gamer magazine as a factual 3 Million.


Based on what real research/concrete evidence?



Darryl also asked about European (not even UK only) 7800 sales..All he had in reply was how well it was stocked by European retail (stocked doesn't mean sold to consumer though) and Atari used to ship a lot of units to mail order catalogues (where you could pay in installments each month) and in less affluent areas of the UK..so what do we learn from that?


It sold better when you could pay of price over a period of months and it sold well in areas where it was cheapest games console option avaiable.



Edge magazine of ALL places made a very important point when they did a big feature on the (then) Top 10 best-selling consoles in the world, ever...


In the "Lies And statistics" box-out:


Excellent figures exist for SUCCESSFUL hardware, with companies falling over themselves to press-release the latest million odd sales....







More problematic, those seen as FAILURES (and those licensced out to different global manufactuers).....


As companies not exactly going to be rushing out figures of how poorly a flagship system has done...

Edited by Lost Dragon, 20 February 2017 - 04:02 PM.

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