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Curious Statement About Lynx on Wikipedia

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I was just reading Wikipeadia's Lynx description and noticed this strange statement:

 

"The games were originally meant to be loaded from tape, but were later changed to load from ROM. The game data still needed to be copied from ROM to RAM before it could be used, so less memory was available and the games loaded relatively slowly."

 

"tape"? Can anyone explain this? Was the Lynx originally designed to run its games from a cassette tape, similar to the c64 or something?

 

I couldn't imagine that working very well. :)

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You have to remember that everyone had Walkman's back then.

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sounds very logical for me for a handheld developed since 1986. While floppies were getting more popular with homecomputers by that time, tapes were still used by many people; and using 5¼-inch disks was certainly not a good alternative for handheld-systems, so tapes were a small and cheap medium to use.

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The original concept was that players could pass around a single tape in order to enjoy multiplayer games together. I'm guessing it was a small tape format, like Mini/Microcassettes. While it was abandoned (Power consumption and manufacturing costs may have led things in that direction), the cartridge interface in the Lynx still reflects the design, as it can only be read sequentially (in blocks) similar to the Nintendo 64.

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wow, thanks for the info guys. I had no idea. But I guess they chose the best option with ROM carts. They're certainly better for retro collectors as tape tends to deteriorate pretty quickly.

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sounds very logical for me for a handheld developed since 1986. While floppies were getting more popular with homecomputers by that time, tapes were still used by many people; and using 5¼-inch disks was certainly not a good alternative for handheld-systems, so tapes were a small and cheap medium to use.

Here in the US, floppies had been pretty standard since 83, by 86/87 when the Lynx arrived we sold no tape software at all and could not sell a tape drive for any amount. Probably just different markets US VS Europe.

Edited by atarian63

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Yeah, maybe so; I have a few issues from 1986/1987 gaming magazines, and judging from them most games were still available on both tape and floppy. Afaik especially in the UK with the Spectrum tapes were still no.1 pretty long.

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wow, thanks for the info guys. I had no idea. But I guess they chose the best option with ROM carts. They're certainly better for retro collectors as tape tends to deteriorate pretty quickly.

 

Easy to copy though. I have the spanish language tapes for the Atari 800 and other games. Just put them in a tape to tape copy and whammo.. you got a copy. And IF the Lynx had done it that way, then we could have a setup now days where they could have been stored as MP3's and have all the "tape" games on a MP3 player that could bring them up whenever (ie. 2600 with the Supercharger)

 

Actually the Lynx as a tape player would have been pretty cool. Have it where it can play little audio cassettes when not being used for gaming. Or to play little movie tapes.

 

Yeh, now that you mention it, they should have kept the tapes. :P

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I was just reading Wikipeadia's Lynx description and noticed this strange statement:

 

"The games were originally meant to be loaded from tape, but were later changed to load from ROM. The game data still needed to be copied from ROM to RAM before it could be used, so less memory was available and the games loaded relatively slowly."

If there's no citation for this claim, it should be removed.

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Yeh, now that you mention it, they should have kept the tapes. :P

 

Indeed, and it would be easier to get homebrews on it.

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Yeh, now that you mention it, they should have kept the tapes. :P

 

Indeed, and it would be easier to get homebrews on it.

 

It is already easy.

 

- Burning a Eprom

- Solder the IC to the Board

 

or use

 

- FlashCard

 

:cool:

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How about putting up a tutorial, compete with instructions on what model of EPROM burner to buy, when to get the PCBs, etc..?

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I was just reading Wikipeadia's Lynx description and noticed this strange statement:

 

"The games were originally meant to be loaded from tape, but were later changed to load from ROM. The game data still needed to be copied from ROM to RAM before it could be used, so less memory was available and the games loaded relatively slowly."

If there's no citation for this claim, it should be removed.

Ya, this is kind of surprising... I mean, I can see how they might have used tapes when first putting some of the Handy's hardware together, just to have something to run as test code or something, but the sequential read issue notwithstanding, I've never heard anything about this before, and I've read a fair number of first-hand accounts re: the Lynx's development from RJ Mical, Dave Needle and Dave Morse. By the time Epyx took the Handy to Japan to show the Nintendo brass, it was definitely a cartridge system, and though the system hardware was finished, the design had not been finalized at that point. They must have abandoned the idea of a tape drive very early in the development of the system...

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They must have abandoned the idea of a tape drive very early in the development of the system...

 

The special chip Mikey still has some pins dedicated for tape support. There are pins TAPE0 and TAPE1 that are connected to ground and MOTOR ON which is connected to address counter reset.

 

--

Karri

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I am relatively new to the Lynx, I started looking into it last year; but still I had read about the tapes being planned. So I am glad Wikipedia did not delete the fact just because a citation is missing; they do that far too often even with facts, sometimes it is just not easy to find a source they consider relieable.

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I read about it here:

http://www.monlynx.de/lynx/lynxdoc.html

which, I think, is the offical Epyx hardware manual describing the hardware for programmers.

 

Specifically:

http://www.monlynx.de/lynx/lynx2.html

 

The data input system is either a ROM cartridge or a magnetic tape reader. The system hardware will support both, but units will be made with either one or the other. The data input systems are explained elsewhere.

 

and the magnetic tape section:

http://www.monlynx.de/lynx/lynx7.html#_8

 

:)

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Shawn's got the right links there; the original Handy docs did in fact indicate magnetic tape could be used to load games. Unlike the Jaguar, no cartridge ROM code is executable "in place" on the Lynx. What that means is the cartridge is really a simple file system where you can fetch data and place it into RAM (code, graphics, audio, whatever), but you can't use anything until you place it in RAM.

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Shawn's got the right links there; the original Handy docs did in fact indicate magnetic tape could be used to load games. Unlike the Jaguar, no cartridge ROM code is executable "in place" on the Lynx. What that means is the cartridge is really a simple file system where you can fetch data and place it into RAM (code, graphics, audio, whatever), but you can't use anything until you place it in RAM.

 

Is the data copied to RAM by DMA, or has the processor take care of it?

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Isn't that why when you power on the Lynx with a game, you just see a black screen for a second or so - the Lynx is busy loading a graphic from ROM into RAM before they can be displayed.

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Is the data copied to RAM by DMA, or has the processor take care of it?

The Lynx boot ROM auto-loads (via the processor) the boot screen and the first code load... your code has to do the rest.

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