Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Atari Lynx

Way back in September of 1989 , Nintendo's game boy was the only game in town. Atari Corporation saw this as a challenge so they decided to do something about it , kind of......

Lets start this off with a little history on the Lynx and its origins. The Lynx was first called the Handy and it was designed by a company called Epyx. You may remember Epyx for there computer ports of California Games ,Summer Games , and Winter Games for the Atari VCS / Atari 2600. Epyx Originally showed the "Handy" at the consumer electronics fair in January of 1989. Shortly After showing there new system Epyx ran on Financial hardship and soon realized they needed a partner if there system ever wanted to see the stores. They invited Nintendo to be part of there new system , who in turn declined. When Atari saw this amazing new system that had hardware nintendo handhelds would not have for years to come, they were all on board to produce it. Atari Showed the new system at the Summer Consumer electronics fair as the Portable color entertainment system. By September 1989 , the newly named Lynx was ready for store shelves ,be it in limited quantity. Due to the small number available and the high price of $199 USD. That year went the way of the gameboy and Lynx sales where weak by comparison. By 1991 Atari saw increased sales mostly due to a marketing campaign , but by 1993 stopped marketing the system completely to focus on the Jaguar.
Atari Lynx -Series 1 with box

Atari Lynx - Series 2 with box

This system is yet another case of Better hardware and a better system is not always gonna be the system that sells. The Lynx was ahead of the Gameboy in every way other then size and battery life. The lynx had a Backlit , full color display , the only handheld i know of with left handed options. The games had impressive graphics and compared to the gameboy was like IMAX. Keep in mind , this was 1989 and this was a 16 bit handheld. That means Atari's new handheld had more graphics handling power then the Nintendo Entertainment system. 

Back of Lynx - Series 1

Back of Lynx - Series 2

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sega Genesis - How Sega Became a household name

When you think of older video games , they are not many names that accomplished as much as Sega !
Starting in Japan with the Sega SG-1000 (Japan Only)
Then hitting the US market with the Sega Master system , sad to say , No one really jumped on Board with the Sega Master System at first. It was sort of a bomb by todays standards , but in the time after the video game crash , any units that made it to the shelves at stores was a big win for a company.
Granted the Sega Master system did great in Europe , Asia and even South America , but in the US it was all about the NES. That is up to the Release of the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive). Sega Really made there mark with the Genesis in the US with a Great marketing campaign. Nintendo entertainment system has 8 bit graphics , lets double it! Then tell everyone that "bits" are all that matters. Did they know how to market to the North American market or what !! "Bigger must mean better!" Did it work , i would say so , millions of units sold and the system went though 3 different versions in it short life span , not to mention the "add-on's" .
Towards the end of its life span Sega wanted to extend that life of its system , so they made 2 add-on's. First of these was the Sega CD , and the second was the Sega 32x. Both hooked directly to the Sega Genesis , with there own power adapters that made hooking all three together and plugged in at the same time a taxing endeavor . The Sega CD was very buggy and even for the time not graphically impressive. To "make up" for its shortcomings , they framed in the picture on the screen and made it much smaller. Think 12 inch picture on a 40 inch tv boxed in the center. Along with the graphical issues , for the first time in console gaming we had to experience CD load times. If only they knew what they started! The Sega CD hooked to the Sega Genesis from a output port right on the main PCB that you could access by removing a cover. Making the System look like a single monster unit , even more so with the Sega 32x on the top.
The Sega 32x though far better design then the Sega CD , was a even bigger flop , and was rumored to damage the Sega Genesis. At one point Sega was Planing on putting out a Sega Genesis/Sega 32x combo deck called the Sega Neptune. Sadly this never saw the light of day and it is said that only 2 exist in the world. One At Sega Headquarters in Japan , and another one was given to the museum of Classic Gaming Expo. It is rumored that the Neptune Prototype was donated by a former Sega Employee. 
Sega Genesis Model's 1-3 (my systems)
Sega Neptune Prototype