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Thread: Why Did the Atari Lynx Fail?

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    Default Why Did the Atari Lynx Fail?

    It seems like a pretty cool little system. It had color way before the game boy and what seems like some pretty cool titles (chip's challenge etc.).

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    Poor battery life, near non-existent third party support, and bulky size just to name a few. Atari as a name brand was a joke at that point...
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    I remember the graphics looking pretty low res. Worst than Gameboy even though it was in color. Too chunky for me.

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    I think that the GameBoy got portability and battery life right, and none of the others managed those things until it was too late and the GameBoy was the 'only' one worth owning.

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    Almost non-existent marketing, and the original model was way too bulky. The higher price certainly didn't help, and the Lynx never had a very strong presense in stores.
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    I bought a Lynx when it was launched in this area as a test market. I was VERY excited when I first got it, and played Blue Lightning and Electro Cop to death...

    Quote Originally Posted by Carey85 View Post
    Poor battery life, near non-existent third party support, and bulky size just to name a few. Atari as a name brand was a joke at that point...
    Agreed on the battery life and third party support. The size didn't bother me personally... the Game Boy wasn't exactly pocket-size either so at the time anything that didn't need to be plugged into the wall seemed "portable" enough. As for Atari being a joke, for shame... don't look at it in retrospect, remember the way it WAS. This was Atari's big comeback. Everybody knew that.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomaitheous View Post
    I remember the graphics looking pretty low res. Worst than Gameboy even though it was in color. Too chunky for me.
    What the hell? Please try comparing Lynx to Game Boy again and say this with conviction. If you can, you are on crack.

    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    Almost non-existent marketing, and the original model was way too bulky. The higher price certainly didn't help, and the Lynx never had a very strong presense in stores.
    Dead on.

    In my opinion, it was the lack of software that killed it. I loved the system, and still love Blue Lightning. Kinda the same love affair I have with the Jaguar - a few great exclusives that don't merit purchasing the system but nonetheless make it memorable, if not a footnote in gaming annals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalpress View Post
    The size didn't bother me personally... the Game Boy wasn't exactly pocket-size either so at the time anything that didn't need to be plugged into the wall seemed "portable" enough.
    For me, the original gameboy seemed just small enough where I could just put it in a bag with some other stuff I was taking on a trip or wherever. The Lynx and similarly sized Game Gear seemed just over the threshold of requiring their own separate bag. Probably just me, though. It might have also had something to do with price... I might just chuck the gameboy in a bag, but the Lynx had to be cared for more. I certainly dig the Lynx more now, but I only maybe take a GBASP with me on a trip now.

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    The Atari Lnyx had better graphics then the game Gear and the Game boy did. I wonder what games did that person played by claiming the lynx had worse graphics then gameboy. I didn't have a lynx or gameboy back in the day. I played a gameboy game on a friends gameboy at the time, and the gameboy was harder for me to see. I am person that has poor eyesight. The gameboy is worse for people like me then the lynx is. The lynx was very advance in what it could do like having a back light screen.

    The lynx cause for failure besides marketing, 3rd party support, and battery life was the price of the system. I recalled Gameboy being released at a cheaper price then the lynx was in the early 90's. I knew people who bought the gameboy over the lynx was the cost of the system and the games back when the two systems came out. Gameboy and the Lynx came out when I was in 5th grade. The people I knew had one was around the same age as me.

    11 years old kids depend on parents to buy stuff. They are not old enough to have a job yet. Parents look at price of a system and its games. My parents looked at prices of stuff for my younger brother and I growing up. I am sure other kids had parents that did the same thing. Expecting a parent to spend over $179.00 for a handheld in being unrealistic compared to Gameboy Costing around $110.00.

    Common sense says buy the system that is more affordable.

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    The Lynx was my favorite handheld back in the day, and still is my favorite retro handheld.

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    I've got to echo the responses from the pro-Lynx crowd. Tomaitheos, to say or even suggest that the Lynx's graphics were inferior to the B&W Gameboy's is ludicrous in my view. The Lynx was capable of scaling (well before the SNES popularized that feature), could be played left or right handed, had GREAT arcade ports, was in COLOR, and far surpassed the Game Boy and Game Gear in graphical and audio capabilities. The only handheld of roughly the same generation that was equivalent or superior to the Lynx was the Turbo Express. End of story.

    I bought a Lynx when it launched and have loved it ever since. Sadly, my Lynx I kicked the bucket, but I've got a Lynx II that's been going strong for quite a few years now. Yes, the battery life wasn't great, but the size was never an issue for me and there were certainly lots of quality games, regardless of inadequate 3rd party support.
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    I owned one back in the day, and actually owned one for a couple of years before breaking down and buying a game boy. The lynx graphically was amazing. Gauntlet III was my most fav game, followed by Rygar. Availability to me was a factor. I lived in the country, and the only place selling lynx was Toys R US, 50 miles away. Everyone and their mom was selling Game Boy. Price was a factor as well, not to mention advertiseing. The lynx was good, but the Game Boy had killer games, not to mention better battery life. Sure the games looked like crap, but Super Mario Land and a little game called Tetris rocked!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carey85 View Post
    near non-existent third party support
    Fun fact: Crystal Mines 2 is the only licensed Color Dreams game on any system. That's how desperate Atari was for third party support.

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    To me, the GameBoy had better looking games, even though in B&W. I have a Lynx, and it certainly is a conversation piece, nowadays, but GB just had better games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawksmoor View Post
    Tomaitheos, to say or even suggest that the Lynx's graphics were inferior to the B&W Gameboy's is ludicrous in my view. The Lynx was capable of scaling (well before the SNES popularized that feature), could be played left or right handed, had GREAT arcade ports, was in COLOR, and far surpassed the Game Boy and Game Gear in graphical and audio capabilities.
    Yeah, because scaling is the only way to measure good graphics. I was referring to it's resolution.

    What the hell? Please try comparing Lynx to Game Boy again and say this with conviction. If you can, you are on crack.
    If I were smoking crack, the graphics wouldn't look so chunky

    In all seriousness, all the great scaling and sprite implementation were pretty much made worthless with such crappy resolution. The GB and GG had 42% more vertical resolution than the Lynx. Also the GG has 32 colors per scanline out of 4096 color palette and with better res. I remember playing my friends lynx and thinking it looked like a pixelated mess. The lynx res is just to low for my tastes.

    As for Atari being a joke, for shame... don't look at it in retrospect, remember the way it WAS. This was Atari's big comeback. Everybody knew that.
    You know the system wasn't developed by Atari, right? It was developed and made by a group of ex Amiga guys. They were trying to pitch the system to companies at the time and Atari picked it up. The dev kits were only for Amiga systems and not for any of the Atari line of systems like the ST.
    Last edited by tomaitheous; 12-29-2007 at 02:01 AM.

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    The Lynx was actually my first portable. I loved it at the time. It had some great arcade ports, including possibly the best version of Klax ever made.

    I ended up trading in my Lynx for a Game Gear. I did that because of the overall lack of Lynx games, and particularly the lack of Lynx games in stores. I wanted to be able to get new games for Christmas and stuff. I chose the Game Gear over the Game Boy because the Game Boy seemed too primitive and "icky", and it didn't really have many interesting games to me.

    At the time, the Game Gear seemed very comparable to the Lynx. It had a somewhat higher resolution and more simultaneous colors, but lacked the sprite scaling. It also lacked the Lynx's GPU, but for non-scaling games it seemed only a minor step down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomaitheous View Post
    Yeah, because scaling is the only way to measure good graphics. I was referring to it's resolution.
    I don't recall saying it was, nor do I think I cited the Lynx's scaling ability only. I own all three systems in question and just don't agree with you.

    You know the system wasn't developed by Atari, right? It was developed and made by a group of ex Amiga guys. They were trying to pitch the system to companies at the time and Atari picked it up. The dev kits were only for Amiga systems and not for any of the Atari line of systems like the ST.
    The "Amiga guys" in question were known as Epyx, and that has nothing to do with digitalpress' point. For all intents and purposes it was Atari's machine and was their attempt to reemerge as a force in the industry. They weren't successful for a lot of reasons, but you seem to want to slam Atari regardless.
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    I'm endlessly amused that Tomaitheous is asking us to compare this



    to this



    Yes. The original Gameboy CLEARLY (cough) wins the graphics competition.

    Seriously.

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    I own all three systems in question and just don't agree with you.
    That the system has blocky/low resolution?

    but you seem to want to slam Atari regardless.
    No, I'm don't. I just don't see how someone can say it was Atari's system when they had *nothing* to do with the development process, except for slapping their name on someone else's finished product.


    Frankie_Says_Relax: Yeah.. let's take one of the earliest planest looking game from the GB and compare it to one of Lynx best looking game. You're not biased at all :finger:
    Last edited by tomaitheous; 12-29-2007 at 03:29 AM.

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    The Lynx was and still is a fantastic system. To this day Iím not really sure why it didnít help save Atari. Sure, like most people are quick to point out, it didnít have much 3rd party support. In all truth however, that has NEVER bothered me. When it came to games, people laughed at me and my friends in High School because everyone had a Playstation or an N64. My friends and I however, each had a Sega Saturn. We felt no regret in our decision, even though the Saturn had very little 3rd party support on these shores because of one reason; We bought SEGA systems to play SEGA games. Anything extra by a 3rd party was just a bonus!

    The same reasoning applied to the Lynx. I bought the ATARI Lynx to play ATARI games. It had a TON of quality arcade ports and exclusives. I still think the Lynx version of Paperboy is, maybe not the most accurate, but by far the most fun port the game ever received on any platform (I have played most of them). So when it came to the selection of games the Lynx never disappointed me.

    Around the time of its release it was promoted all around the Tulsa area that I live. They had a display model complete with Blue Lightning setup at J.C. Penneys that I used to play and my local Babbageís had a big selection of Lynx games next to a display model with Gauntlet up by the registers. Not to mention I still have an awesome Atari Lynx magazine one store was giving out for free! It was like a Nintendo Power but tailored for the Lynx. It had strategies, maps, codes, previews and there was an article that had several pics of an untitled game that I thought looked so cool but was never released unfortunately. So, in store, I found the lynx to be very well promoted in my area.

    The Lynx was also a VERY next-gen system at the time. As stated before it was more than capable of scaling and rotational effects and it loved to show them off in most games. Then there was the sound chip, which was incredible. Sometimes I boot up the Lynx just to listen to the title screen music in Batman or Checkered flag. To this day the capabilities of the lynx impress me. At the time of release I would have been very impressed with a home console as powerful as this. The fact they crammed it all into a portable was simply jaw dropping.

    But as much as I love the Lynx and as much as I defended it back in the day I do agree with the comments Tomaitheous made to some extent. Itís not a major complaint of mine... but If I could have ONE thing on the Lynx improved it would certainly and without second thought, be the resolution. Like with the game Battle Wheels, I love it to death, but the outlines to the characters, cars, and buildings look like someone traced over them with a fat sharpie marker. Had the Lynx a better resolution this problem would have been alleviated.

    So all in all the Lynx had a lot going for it and mostly delivered on what it promised. So, other than low battery life and being a bit bulky Iím not sure why the Lynx failed, but then again I am still pondering why the Saturn didnít fair better either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomaitheous View Post
    That the system has blocky/low resolution?



    No, I'm don't. I just don't see how someone can say it was Atari's system when they had *nothing* to do with the development process, except for slapping their name on someone else's finished product.


    Frankie_Says_Relax: Yeah.. let's take one of the earliest planest looking game from the GB and compare it to one of Lynx best looking game. You're not biased at all :finger:
    , biased?

    Do I know you?

    Do you know me?

    Sorry, but, comparing the graphical quality of spinach-green-screen Gameboy to the Lynx to me, is just a bit ... silly.

    It's pretty obvious to me that you probably don't feel the same way, but I'm not going to make some kind of blanket statement about your level of "bias".

    And, as far as my choice of games ... asking somebody to find the most "graphically impressive" original gameboy game is quite the task.

    Let's revise my comparison, or, you can feel free to offer up a choice if you'd like.

    So ... here are two Gameboy games that "pushed the graphical envelope" for the system, and I pick them with all sincerity - since you seem to think that I have some type of "anti-Gameboy" bias thing going on...





    Pretty impressive for the tiny, lcd screen for sure...

    ...but, when compared side-by-side to the graphical prowess of the Lynx ... come on, do you expect us NOT to chuckle when you claim that the original Gameboy can best it in a graphics contest?






    ... as far as the "earliest, plainest" Gameboy game ... this was what the Lynx's launch software looked like :





    ...and, yeah, if you want to do something stupid like call me "biased" again ... please take into account that I bought an original Gameboy at launch, and a Gameboy Pocket, and a Gameboy Color, and an SP...and at one point in time my Gameboy cartridge collection absolutely dwarfed most of my other cartridge system collections.

    Nobody's saying that Gameboy was "less than" anything ... but, I find it rather absurd that you're comparing two graphically divergent (in terms of sheer processing power, much less ON SCREEN COLOR) machines.
    Last edited by Frankie_Says_Relax; 12-29-2007 at 04:26 AM.
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