The Atari Lynx was released in 1989 by Atari Corporation. It was based on a design by a company called Epyx. They had come up with the design two years earlier in 1987, but did not have the financial capital to produce the system themselves. Atari, who had been considering entering the portable market for some years, and who had come up with the idea of a portable console in 1981 called the Atari 2200. It was a portable version of the Atari 2600, but slightly smaller, and with an internal screen. Obviously this never came to fruition as it was not seen as cost effective at the time.
The system was highly advanced for the time, and was the first hand held console with a fully backlit screen and 16 bit technology. Also it had the ability to be switched round so left handed gamers could enjoy play more naturally. In 1991 Atari released the Lynx II. It was slightly smaller than the original, and looked a lot better too, but was still quite large and bulky (you can‘t fit either in pocket). Over 100 games were released for the system over its life span, and it had an estimated 500,000 user install base worldwide.
The problem with the console was its relatively large size and short battery life, as well as the lack of 3rd party support and killer A-list titles. What finally killed the system off were the multiple releases of the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear in the early 1990’s, the former reaching huge numbers in sales in all regions.
Today the Atari Lynx still has a dedicated cult following, with some developers and private individuals still making and producing games for the platform. In 2008 the system, and Atari were honored by the 59th annual technology and engineering Emmy awards, for pioneering the handheld gaming platform.
CPU - Dual 16-bit CMOS, Mikey & Suzy (16MHZ)
RAM - 64KB DRAM.
On Screen Colors - 4096 (16 simultaneous per scan line).
Screen Resolution - 160x102 Pixels.
Screen - LCD 82.55mm x 47.75mm and (88.9mm/3.5" diagonal).
Sound - 8-bit 4 channel (mono for Lynx I and Stereo sound for Lynx II).
Game Cartridge - 2MB (16Mbit).
Power Supply - AC adapter or batteries.
Battery Life - 4 hours for the Lynx I and 5 hours for Lynx II (6 AA batteries Alkaline).
Launch titles in North America