Retro Game Consoles – Atari Lynx

Atari Lynx

The Atari Lynx is a 16-bit hand held game device released by Atari Corporation in 1989. While this was the first colour portable game device with advanced graphics and features, it failed to achieve enough sales to make it a profitable device. It was launched in the same year as the Nintendo Game Boy, which over 115 million devices sold over its lifetime compared to only 5 million devices for the Atari Lynx.

Atari Lynx

Above: Atari Lynx

Zooming & Distortion Sprites

The Atari Lynx was the first device to support zooming and distortion sprites. This was significant because it allowed the device to provide fast 3D games with little effort required by the processor.


The Atari Lynx started out as a project under Epyx and was called the Handy Game. Due to financial concerns, Atari agreed to take over production and marketing and leave software development to Epyx. Epyx began development in 1986 with release not happening with Atari until 1989.

Atari Lynx 2

Above: Atari Lynx 2

Atari made some changes including improvement of the internal speakers and removed the thumbstick.

Game Boy

Above: Game Boy

Lynx cost too Much

The price of the Atari Lynx did not doom the device alone. Success in the video game business is never just about one criteria. To be successful, a game device must have a good price, ample features and a solid game library with a few top selling games.

With the Game Boy selling at $99, the Atari lynx lost on prie, but at 179, it was not overly expensive when considering the superior features and specifications. However, the Atari lynx failed to launch the device with any killer games and failed to issue any after the launch.

On the other hand, the Game Boy had a killer library of games, a solid price and was addictive. The Atari Lynx could not compete.

In 1991, Sega release their Game Gear, which had a higher price but was able to achieve better sales with 11 million devices sold.

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