I know this series of features here at Red Parsley is entitled 'Gaming Memories' but I'm really struggling to remember when, why, or even how I obtained my Atari Lynx, but own one I did. This last part is especially confusing as I'm sure I was at college at the time which means I had no money to speak of. I seem to have a vague recollection of receiving the sizeable console in the post though, which suggests I conned/nagged my mum into ordering it from her catalogue. That takes care of the 'how', albeit rather inconclusively. That also helps me place the time of the purchase somewhere in the early 90's which is further verified by my certainty that it was the original and larger version of the Lynx that I owned to start with. So, that just leaves the 'why'. What is it that made me so desire this new handheld so much?
I'm quite sure I remember my Lynx arriving on a Saturday. A Saturday I had planned to go on a fishing trip with an old friend, no less. I took my new acquisition with me, obviously, and I distinctly remember powering on the unit for the first time in my friend's dad's car. After dazzling my friend, and indeed myself, for a couple of minutes though, the batteries had already died! This remained one of only a handful of times I tried to use the mighty console without the benefit of a plug socket but it was nonetheless a machine I used enthusiastically and shared with my friends for a fun-filled while, and these were the games that occupied our time:
California Games (1989)
Gates of Zendocon (1989)
Chip's Challenge (1989)
Desert Strike (1992)
So, despite some great initial releases and some really top-drawer arcade conversions during its short life, this was and remained pretty much my entire Lynx collection. This could be attributed to many things, notably the short battery life and bulky unit size meaning poor portability and the rapidly dwindling coverage in magazines of the day meaning those who did buy one weren't exactly flooded with details of new or forthcoming releases, but ultimately I think it's just because I never really embraced portable gaming generally. I've owned all of the major handhelds so far (except the PC Engine GT, and 3DS and Vita of course - far too modern for me!) and none of them have really gotten me hooked.
The Lynx was a fantastic machine though, make no mistake. Technically it was very impressive for its day, perhaps too impressive, and it retains a loyal fan base to this day, some even releasing new games for it, but with a few more companies releasing games for it to start with, and a less power-hungry architecture, it could've been an all-time great. Oh well, it's a great system to collect for now. I'm tempted myself now that I think about it...