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Atari Lynx
The console image for Atari Lynx.
Manufacturer Atari
Active 19891994
Total Games 91 (21 present)
← (none) (none) →

The Atari Lynx was released in 1989 and is Atari's only handheld game console. The Lynx was also the first portable system with a color display, and is also notable for its forward-looking features, advanced 3D graphics, and ambidextrous format.

It was developed as the "Handy" by Epyx in 1987, who faced financial problems, forcing them to sign partners on the project. Epyx eventually agreed that Atari would handle marketing and production while Epyx handled software. Atari changed the internal speaker and removed the thumb-stick on the control pad before releasing it as the Atari Lynx two years later, initially retailing in the US at $189.95. Atari then showed the Lynx to the press at the Summer 1989 CES.

Atari faced competition with Nintendo, as they had just revealed their Game Boy handheld, which was only $109. Nintendo had no problems supplying retailers with the Game Boy for the Christmas season while Atari only managed limited distribution of their Lynx by year's end. The Lynx had average sales in 1990, but the Game Boy still dominated the market.

In 1991, Atari relaunched the Lynx with a new marketing campaign, new packaging, slightly improved hardware, and a new sleek look. The new system (referred as the "Lynx II") featured rubber hand grips and a clearer backlit color screen with a power save option. It also replaced the monaural headphone jack of the original Lynx with one wired for stereo. The new packaging made the Lynx without accessories, dropping the price to $99. Although sales improved, Nintendo's Game Boy still dominated the handheld market. In May, 1991, Sega launched its handheld gaming system, the Game Gear, which featured a color screen and third party support. The handheld market quickly went to Nintendo and Sega. Once the Super Nintendo and Genesis came out, Atari focused its attention on the Atari Jaguar, dropping almost all support for the Atari Lynx.