Skip to main content
© Red Sector

THE POSITIVELY MOST MINDBOGGLING FELINE EVER TO BE SEEN
by Richard Karsmakers

I have it.
"What?", will the unsuspected reader now ask.
With a voice slightly shaking of excitement and pride, I will
answer: "The Lynx, of course."
"WHAT?!", the unsuspected reader will continue to ask, though
now somewhat exclaimed.
"THE Post World War II sensation of home computer entertainment;
the most innovate piece of technology available this side of the
galaxy; the only thing that succeeds in letting my heart beat
faster except for my girlfriend; a device combining awesome
technology with specs that will make any bigger computer weep;
THE Post World War II sensation of home com....."
"OK, OK, you're repeating yourself, son."
For the first time, the unsuspected readers seems to talk sense.
I shut up.

*****

Read it and weep, dear reader. After half a year of harassing
everybody one can possible harass, nagging at all kind of
computer dealers and phoning my butt off to every being located
somewhere at any Atari Corporation branch on the wide world, I
now have a Lynx lying on my very desk.
The Lynx.
The Atari Portable Colour Entertainment System.

The Lynx - and what is currently said to be known about it

Please note: What is currently SAID... So this means that none
of it actually might be TRUE, even though much of it has been
told by people from Atari Corporation U.S.A. to yours truly
directly. I am awaiting technical information from them, and as
of yet I have not received that.
The Lynx is a revolutionary new game console made by Epyx
(developed by R.J. Mical and Dave Needle), heavily financed by
Atari Corp. It is set to beat everything else on the (portable)
game console market with a 10 Mhz CPU (62C02, 8 bit), 12 Mhz
clock rate (that's what Jack Tramiel said; the packaging states
'a 16 Mhz maximum clock rate'), 64 Kb RAM, 16 Megabit addressable
for credit-card-sized game cards, 4096 colours (of which 16 are
available for each object), 4-voice stereo music (chip designed
by someone who was clearly inspired by the guys who did all the
Amiga custom chips, Jay Miner and David Morse - packaging states
'32 bit audio processor'), specifiable frame rate, hardware
scrolling, hardware sprites, hardware sprite scaling, hardware
sprite resizing (packaging states '16 bit graphics system' to
cover all this), 3.5" color backlit LCD screen with 160x102
pixels resolution (that you can watch even in daylight or with no
light at all, with objects that don't blur!), eight or nine
titles already available ("California Games" which you get for
free, "Electrocop" a kind of "Impossible Mission", "Rampage",
"Gauntlet", "Blue Lightning", "Gates of Zendocon" and "Chip's
Challenge" are some of them), 25 further titles said to be under
development (Lucasfilm, Rainbow Arts (?), Activision, Hewson
("Nebulus"!)), multi-player/multi-level capacity (you can link up
to eight Lynxes together), eight-way joypad, retail price of $149
(about 300 Dutch guilders, or just over £80 - though this will be
higher since the device is momentarily constantly sold out), the
size of a video cassette and a weight of one pound. The system is
powered by six AA batteries, an AC adaptor or a cigarette lighter
adaptor (optional). It will be (or HAS BEEN?!) supported in the
United States by a $15 million TV campaign, and already sold
100,000 in 1989...

The Games

I can unfortunaly only say something about the couple of games I
have myself at the moment - which are "California Games" (of
course), "Gates of Zendocon", "Blue Lightning" and "Electrocop".
Here follow some short remarks about these games.
CALIFORNIA GAMES
Slightly daft, actually. Though the sounds are quite good and
the graphics aren't bad either, it lacks any kind of variety. One
has four disciplines: Footbag, BMX, Surfing and Halfpipe
(skateboarding). Footbag: Very daft, but nice multi-layer
scrolling. BMX: Difficult to get used to, nice sound FX. Surfing:
Nice blue colours, nice sound, nice gameplay. I've got a hiscore
of 6055 on it. Halfpipe: Difficult, unlogical gameplay, nice
rapid zooming.
ELECTROCOP
I have barely played this game, though I can say the intro is
nice and fast. Nice sounds, extremely nice zooming. Seems
slightly unchallenging and seems not to differ much as one gets
along. Different levels have different graphics, however, and the
door computers have some small sub-games built in. I am not sure
about this one.
BLUE LIGHTNING
This is what "Afterburner" should have been like. Terrific
playability with hundreds of trees, mountains and bushes that
scroll smoothly towards you (a hundred or so at the same time).
Level 1 is nice, level 2 (password PLAN) is VERY long though
quite spectacular at the sea bit where you have to sink rapidly
zooming battleships, and level 3 (password ALFA) is very
difficult since you keep on hitting ice instead of flying over
the ground nicely. Level 4 (password BELL) is VERY difficult,
too - with loads of canyons that you have to fly through. Further
passwords are NINE (level 5), LOCK (level 6), HAND (level 7) and
FLEA (level 8). Further levels (i.e. the last level, nine) have
not yet been explored.
GATES OF ZENDOCON
Seemingly unlimited action with seemingly unlimited opponents in
a seemingly unlimited shoot-'em-up with seemingly unlimited
levels and seemingly unlimited addictiveness. I've been playing
this for HOURS and still I keep on discovering new and very
spectacular graphics and opponents (many of which are ORIGINAL,
would you believe!). The first game you should buy if you like
arcade action (if you don't....don't buy the Lynx in the first
place!). This should have been the game to come with the Lynx
instead of that silly sports game.
It's got a nice end-of-game sequence, too.

The Competition

There is no competition whatsoever for the Lynx. The only other
handheld console in the world is the Nintendo Gameboy that has
black'n'white LCD graphics and blurry graphics. Though still nice
with four voice music and all, the Lynx beats hell out of it.
Nintendo is currently said to have a colour Gameboy (Gameboy II)
under development, but that will take at least another half year
to reach the market.
So I guess there are some good chances for Atari, in spite of
the major weight of companies like Sega and Nintendo that now
share the market all by themselves. Software will be coming
slowly, however, since software companies can generally only get
one license at a time - and the Sega and Nintendo licenses are
much better still (earn the companies loads more dosh).

JournaLYNX

Blood flows where it can't flow, and I guess that once you're a
reporter (or at least act like one) you want to remain doing
that. ST NEWS might stop, but I am currently thinking of setting
up a magazine called "JournaLYNX". This would be semi-commercial,
and published on paper. I am not sure about it yet, since
distributing a paper magazine is harder than just spreading disk
copies. And I am not yet sure about the target group yet (nor the
potential interest in that target group, actually).
Maybe I will start writing for another mag covering the Lynx
instead.
Only the future will be able to tell, since I am also quite a
busy man with my work.

Thanks to...

Many thanks go to CWM Versand - for being the ones to sell a
couple of grey import Lynxes - and to Thorsten Oppermann (of
"Aktuelle Software Markt" magazine) for telling me that CWM did
so (I bought their last Lynx, though they might have some in
stock now again: Wülperoderstr. 1, D-3387 Vienenburg 1, West
Germany, tel. 05324-2001; Lynx costs DM 489, games cost DM 99
each).

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.