The 5 best Atari Lynx games – too ahead of its time

Atari Linx

A lot of retro games are created for specific consoles and are never released for other
gaming systems. This is precisely why you need to keep an open mind, when considering
buying old consoles. Sure, not all of them are created equal. Some might lack popularity
others might not look good.

Still, you need to take into account the fact that the games
these machines support have enormous potential. You would be amazed at how many
terrific games have been forgotten simply because the console did not take off.

A couple of months ago, I showed you the 5 most underrated video game consoles, with the Atari Lynx coming in third place. Released in 1989, it was the first handheld 16-bit console that had remarkable graphics for the time. The design is kind of clunky, but it does not favor right
or left-handed people, as it can be used effortlessly by both.

Some of the games can even be played vertically, which was never before seen. Now it is time to take a look at what this system had to offer.

Below are the 5 best Atari Lynx games:

(Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional cost to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission)

5. APB – All Points Bulletin – (developed by Quicksilver Software, published by Atari Corporation 1991)

The 2010 game released for windows and later for Xbox One and Playstation 4 is not a remake, just a namesake.

APB was originally an arcade game, released in 1987 by Atari Games. An Atari Lynx
version was published in 1991.

Officer Bob is a police officer that drives around and issues tickets, pulls people over and
even arrests criminals. The objective of the game is to meet the quota of tickets and
arrests for a given day. If the quota is exceeded, then the players receive “perfect day”
bonuses.

At times the player is tasked with arresting a felon. When caught, you need to
shake him/her to force a confession out of them. Be careful not to crash, shoot innocent
people’s cars or run them over, because you will get fired and thrown into a garbage can!

The game features fun cartoon-like graphics and sounds that make playing it an
entertaining experience.

4. Shanghai (developed and published by Atari Corporation 1990)

Shangai on the Atari Lynx

Believe me, this game is addictive…

This is the computerized version of the classic Mahjong solitaire – a tile-matching game.
It was released for a few different platforms, including the Lynx.

There are a total of 144 tiles arranged in a particular layered pattern. The objective is to
match the identical tile pairs and remove them from the board. The game ends when all
tiles have been removed.

Shanghai sold over half a million copies by 1991. The Lynx version received sparkling
reviews by Dragon Magazine, IGN and CVG Magazine.

3. Blue Lightning (developed by Epyx, published by Atari Corporation 1989)

Blue Lightning on the Atari Lynx

Graphically, it is hard to believe it was released in 1989…

This combat flight simulator was one of the launch titles, released along with the Atari handheld.

The player controls a fighter plane, attempting to enter enemy territories and aid the US’s
allies and ultimately win the war. There are a total of nine missions, all occurring in
different locations that get harder and harder. In the beginning, the player has a fleet of
six aircraft, with limited missiles. When all six are destroyed, the game ends.

Blue Lightning was very well-received, with reviewers claiming the graphics were incredibly realistic. The gameplay is as good as the graphics, which makes for a must-
have game.


2. Scrapyard Dog (developed by Creative Software Designs, published by Atari Corporation 1991)

Scrapyard Dog on the Atari Lynx

This pretty unknown platformer is going to surprise you…

Scrapyard Dog is a single-player platform game, released for the AL in 1991.

This is one of the more challenging Lynx games. Louie’s dog, Scraps, is kidnapped by
Mr. Big. The objective of the game is to find and rescue Scraps in 33 stages. To make the
player’s life harder, Mr. Big sends his own disguised and armed dogs. You need to do
whatever it takes to become reunited with your beloved Scraps.

Scrapyard Dog has some amazingly detailed graphics and incredibly diverse backgrounds
– from forests to cities. The controls are good and the soundtracks are astonishingly
catchy and beautifully match the game’s mood.

Honorable mention:

Chip’s Challenge (developed by Epyx, published by Atari Corporation 1989)

Chip's Challenge on the Atari Lynx

CsC is also available on Steam

Chip McCallahan is a high school nerd that meets Melinda in the science lab and
attempts to solve a series of increasingly difficult puzzles, to prove he is worthy of a
membership to the exclusive Bit Busters Club.

There are 148 levels of the game, in which Chip has to run around and collect special
chips, that he needs to open the chip socket at the end and move on to the next level.

Chip’s Challenge is a very fun, addicting and intellectually challenging game.

Time to unveil the number one on this list, now: ready? Let’s do this!

 

1. Rampart (developed and published by Atari Corporation 1992)

Rampart on the Atari Lynx

Never judge a game by its genre… I never thought a strategy war game could be so fun.

Rampart – a strategy game, was first released in 1990 by Atari Games. Initially, it was an
arcade game but was later made available on other different platforms. It is considered to
be the precursor to the legendary and immensely popular tower defense genre.

The player is in control of a few castles. It is their responsibility to protect them from
incoming enemy ships and perform regular maintenance, to repair the damage they have
caused. The only way to get rid of the attacking ships is to attack back using your
cannons, which you need to build too. There are three different types of ships, all of
which have unique characteristics and take a different number of hits to be sunk.

The objective of Rampart is to defend and repair the castles you have, defeat your enemy
and take over and build even more castles to expand your territories.

This brilliant title has left its mark in the tower defense games of the following decades.
It is the perfect game for strategy lovers – simple, elegant and unique. The fact that it
basically started an entire genre of games says a lot about how great this title is.
*

The Atari Lynx is a massively underrated console that does not have a huge diversity of
games. Nevertheless, there are a few hidden gems among the 74 titles released for it. What do you think of these recommendations, retro folks? Is there anything you would add? Please let me know what your thoughts are down in the comments.

Till next list!

About Andrew A.

Andrew is the founder and owner of RetroGamingLoft. He considers himself a natural-born gamer and is on a mission to keep our younger gaming years alive through the medium of Retro Stories. His event recount includes hopes, dreams, broken joysticks, magic, nostalgia and another final boss defeated.

6 thoughts on “The 5 best Atari Lynx games – too ahead of its time

  1. Jones

    An article I read on Atari Lynx showed that It was the world’s first handheld electronic game with a color LCD and this made it very competitive with other games of its time. I really enjoyed playing it then and my favorite was Scrapyard dog. Bringing back into limelight something as precious as Atari Lynx is a good idea and I think they did a great job by developing their games. Your recommendations are great, good games there, I love it.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      That is correct Jones, The Atari Lynx basically kicked off the handheld revolution, but the majority of people credit the Gameboy.
      Nothing against the latter of course, but we just cannot let such a groundbreaking be forgotten.
      Thank you very much for your nice comment, I hope you become a regular on my retro gaming blog!

      Reply
  2. RoDarrick

    The feeling of driving back in time as to the period when the Atari lynx games were very much available then. Though I never own the console then too but I have a lot of gamer friends who were from rich families and they got every new consoles made available then. The only game I could still remember is the scrapyard dog and I could remember it well because I really like it then. Though the console didn’t really receive general acceptance then, but it sure boast of some nice games

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Rodger, and thanks for stopping by again.
      As I wrote in my post about the most underrated consoles, one of the reasons the Atari Lynx was not very successful was its high price. 179,99$ for a handheld console in 1989 was no joke.
      With that said, many of its games were above average, and it is no wonder they are still fun to play today.
      Great to have you as a regular, till next retro list!

      Reply
  3. Feochadan

    What a blast from the past!  I just loved seeing these old games again (which kind of dates me!).  I find it amazing that you can still buy games for these old consoles.  It really makes me wish I still had my old Atari.  These are all excellent games that you reviewed and the graphics are amazing considering the years they were released.  A great walk down memory lane!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Feochadan and welcome back to my retro gaming blog, I am glad you enjoyed my post.
      Walking down memory lane is one of my favorite hobbies lol and I am glad to share my “walks” with my readers. 😉
      Like I said, the Lynx was absolutely ahead of its time, an Lcd screen for a handheld console in 1989…Wowzers!
      And yes, it is great that we can still buy games for the systems we grew up with… Memories are here to stay!
      Thanks again for dropping by, I truly hope you become a regular!

      Reply

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