Atari Nerd: Lynx Garage Excavation

Inspired by Jeff’s Atari excavation a couple weeks ago, I went into the garage this weekend trying to find the Atari Lynx we bought back when it was released in the USA in 1989.    Far back in the garage, I found a plastic box with the word “Handheld” scribbled on it.


Inside, there was a Lynx and a Game Gear!


The Game Gear I bought for my wife and I to play on our Honeymoon in 1995 (romantic, eh?  I still have a lot to learn).   Here are the games  had for it.

Columns must have been inside the Game Gear, as it is missing from this photo and it was the best game.  That game was the reason I bought this for my wife for our honeymoon in the first place. The Star Wars game was fun too, but I got stuck with Luke on Tatooine and never got past it.

Below  is the original Lynx box from 1989.  I recall that the box was never sealed.  We bought the last one from Software Etc.   This must have been from the same policy that continues to this day at GameStop where they will sell you an open game or system as new.  Boo to you GameStop, boo to you!

Inside, the console, power supply, instructions and all the games were packed tightly.  I must have thrown away all the boxes at some point (damn).

Below is the Lynx console.  It’s giant!!!  You can’t tell from this photo, but it almost a foot across!

I once wrote a Haiku about it how big the thing was:

Lynx Console

Plays video games?
Strap two on and go skiing
Those babies were huge

I bought a ton of games for the thing.   Many were bought on closeout in the mid-1990’s, but not all of them.

First set of games:

Left to right, top to bottom:

Pit-Figher: Bad, bad bad bad bad bad bad…

Super Sqweek: Unremarkable

Qix: Great game in the arcade, but strangely, almost unplayable.

Jimmy Conners Tennis: Passable

Rampart: Very good conversion.

Gates Of Zendocon: One of the original Lynx games.  A nearly unsurpassed shooter.  This one needs more recognition.  This would be in my “1001 Games You Must Play” list.  This needs to go on an Atari/DS collection if Atari ever leaves the 2600 and gets into the 5200/8-bit/Lynx/ST/Jaguar retro games they have in their archives.

Viking Child: Better on the Atari ST, but still a fun game.

Rygar: This is my absolute favorite version of this game.  Perfect on the Lynx.

Batman Returns:  Atari played up this license, but it’s not a very good game at all.

Todd’s Adventures In Slime World: Another one of the original Lynx games.  It’s an excpetional platformer/shooter.  This would be in my “1001 Games You Must Play” list. This needs to go on an Atari/DS collection.

Hockey: Passable.

California Games:   One of the original Lynx games, but never one of my favorites.  It still needs to go on an Atari/DS collection.

Gauntlet: Good version, but too hard to play with the Lynx vertically.  Also, the poor sound on the Lynx kind-of ruins it. It still needs to go on an Atari/DS collection.

Checkered Flag: Decent Racing game in the tradition of Pole Position.

Kung Food: Food themed beat-em-up.  Original and fun. This needs to go on an Atari/DS collection.


Second Set of games:

Pinball Jam:  Two very well done pinball games.  One is based on Elivra Mistress Of The Dark .

Ninja Gaiden:  Honestly I don’t recall this game.  I’m sure it was mediocre though.

Tournament Cyberball:  Cyberball.  Not a bad version either.

Zolar Mercenary:  The BEST game for the Lynx.  A great top-down scrolling shooter awesome. This needs to go on an Atari/DS collection. This would be in my “1001 Games You Must Play” list.

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure: An interesting adventure game, but I recall that the save feature was a type-in code, which was annoying.

Steel Talons:  A great version of this game, based on an Atari Games coin-op.

Dirty Larry, Renegade Cop: Dreadful.

Chips Challenge: Great, great, great puzzle game.  Should have been a classic. This needs to go on an Atari/DS collection.

Klax: Great, great, great puzzle game. This is a classic.  This should have been the Lynx’s Tetris killer, but it came too late.

Switchblade II:  Nice game, almost as good at the Atari ST version.

Basketbrawl:  Umm, yeah, great name, not a great game.

Ishido: Another game I cannot recall at all.

Hydra: Fun 1st person, river boat shooter.

Crystal Mines II:  Another game I cannot recall at all.

European Soccer Challenge:  Not bad, but hard to control.

Stun Runner: Another Atari Games coin-up.  Very challenging and fun.

Third set of games:

Warbirds:  A really good flight/sim shooter.  Certainly one of my favorite Lynx games of all time. This needs to go on an Atari/DS collection. This would be in my “1001 Games You Must Play” list.

Awesome Golf:  I don’t recall anything about this one at all…

Turbo Sub: My mom got this for me for Christmas in like 1990.  Fun little first person shooter, submarine game.

Xybots: Another arcade conversion.  I’ve tried to like this one many times, but I’ve bever been able to get into it.

And there you have it.  Neither the Lynx nor the Game Gear work any longer, (a surprise to me), so I can not tell you how it felt to play these games again.   I do hope that Atari finds a way to create a Lynx Collection for the DS or iPhone/Android so I can play them the way they were intended to be played, in this century, once again.


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