this is widely accredited to be an Atari product, it was actually
made by a comapny called Epyx. The designers (Dave Needle and R.J.
Mical, who worked on the Amiga 100), were thought to have concieved
of the idea as early as 1985, and by 1987 the console was a finished
product. The only problem was, that the production of the console
was "not financially viable", so they asked for a partnership
with another company.
Nintendo turned them down, Atari realized that it could be an opening
for them into the lucrative hand held market. An agreemnt was reached
where Atari would manufacture and promote it, and Epyx would do everything
else, a pretty sweet deal for Atari, and by 1989 production was in
system was released in two 'packages', the "Deluxe Package"
and "Basic Package". The former came with the Lynx, a copy
of "California Games", an AC adaptor, a carrying case, and
the ComLynx cable. The latter was merely the Lynx, sans accessories.
The Lynx's claim to fame was its colour screen, a first for its time
(and the only one available untill Sega released the Game Gear in
1990). This bad boy was capable of displaying 160 x 102 pixels with
a selection of 4,096 colours (12bit).
were two chips named 'Mikey' and 'Suzie', which worked in a co-processing
environment allowing them to share the workload when running a game.
Both were custom-built 16-bit chips running at 16Mhz each. Mikey provided
the sound functions, also the video DMA driver, the game-loading ROM,
and the ComLynx controller, among other things. Suzie was responsible
for most of the display effects, and also the math co-processing.
Mikey utilised the main CPU, an 8-bit 65C02 running at 4Mhz. This
means the system is technically 8-bit.
was backed by 64K of DRAM, with game carts having a limit of 16 megabits
(although this limit was never anywhere near being reached by the
The Lynx was updated
during its life to the Lynx II; identical to the original hardware-wise,
but becoming slimmer and consuming less power. It also added such
novelties as the power on/off light.
The Atari Lynx...
...and its brother, Lynx II
cable: Allowed multiplayer play between two Lynx units connected by
this cable. Instead of just one-on-one, up to four Lynxs could be
linked together, which was a nice touch, and one which was actually
used by some games (shock! Horror!)
AC adaptor: You guessed it - the power supply in lieu of batteries,
available in many flavours depending on your locale.
Cigarette Lighter adaptor: For play in the car, you really don't want
to drain your batteries. So use this instead! Plug in and away you
Sun Shield: Folded down, protects the screen. Folded up, stops the
sun making the screen unviewable. Came in two varieties, one for the
Lynx, one for the Lynx II.