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sirlynxalot

In your opinion, is the Lynx more like the Jag or the 7800?

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Maybe this is a bit of an odd topic - it's completely subjective.

I've been pondering this philosophical question recently. In the scheme of things, the Lynx's lifetime was basically between that of the 7800 and the Jag. Despite being a portable system, its technology and capabilities seems to be between these two systems as well. But on a spectrum with the 7800 on one side and the jag on the other, weighing the stylish designs, types of games, marketing campaign, "general vibe" or other discrete factors, where does the lynx come out for you? Is it more biased toward one or the other console/era of atari?

My thoughts:

-Games: The lynx's games seem to have more in common with the 7800 library than the jag library. Atari continued its tradition of having many high quality arcade ports and ports of "classic games" (missile command, battlezone, pacman, etc) brought to each system - this is in contrast to the Jag's game library which has very few arcade ports (is there anything outside of Raiden?).

-Stylish design: I think each version of the lynx leans more toward the 7800 in this regard. The 7800 is a basic black wedge design with a tasteful silver stripe, the lynx (model 1) is a basic black rectangle with a tasteful small silver atari logo in the center. In contrast, the jag has a very unusual design with curves and aerodynamic lined pieces of plastic on the sides. It reminds me of an alien spaceship.

-Marketing campaign: I think the lynx leans more toward the Jag/mid 90s atari style in this regard. Attack ads ("lynx eats boys lunch", "lynx kicks their [other systems capabilities] buts") and ads which implied that you were juvenile or dumb if you did not play the lynx seem to be more in the direction of the main Jaguar ad campaign which implied you were dumb if you did not understand that the 64 bit jag system was better than a console with fewer bits. I don't know much about the 7800 ad campaign, but it seems to have relied on touting the backward compatibility and atari brand name as a symbol of quality and good titles rather than making the consumer feel dumb or having barely veiled attacks at competitor systems. Although I did just see this ad for the 7800 so maybe Tramiel era atari was always trying these shock ads/using the same promotions company and you can disregard what I just said in this paragraph.
post-1046-12830893082.jpg

-Overall vibe: I think the lynx leans more toward the 7800. It has a tasteful restrained design and has many many excellent big name arcade ports for recent (at the time) titles and classic titles that make up its library. In contrast, the Jag looks like a flamboyant alien spaceship and its game library has very few arcade ports.

Edited by sirlynxalot
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Such a weird question, but I'll shoot. I'd say it leans closer to the Jaguar. Apart from the games, which you mentioned, it's hardware was superior to the competition at the time but had severe limitations (battery life). This is similar to the Jaguar's new 64 bit system while not being able to seriously compete against next gen systems due to certain limitations. Moreover, to me at least, the design looks far closer to the Jaguar than the 7800. The 7800 looks back to the 2600 Jr and is sleek in that very 80s VHS-y kind of way. Both the Jaguar and Lynx have a clunky modern (for the time) look, and preferred grays with color highlights, while the only color on the 7800 is the rainbow streak, something that Atari got rid of afterward. Even the name (big cats v. numbers) is indicative of their association.

 

Overall, I'd say the Lynx and the Jag were great companion devices, except one was awesome and one was kind of cruddy. But they looked like they belong together.

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I'd say it's a pretty good balance in the middle. But if I had to pic I'd say it complemented the Jag better in the early to mid 90's as it came of age (profile picture bias notwithstanding)..

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It's... a Lynx.

Seriously though, it was released pretty much in the middle between the two.

If I had to pick though, I'd see it as a companion device to the Jaguar. While it does offer golden age arcade classics, it also offers technically impressive scaling games. While the 7800 ended up being the weakest from the three (four if you count the PC Engine) 8-bit consoles of the latter half of the eighties, the Lynx was ahead of the pack in that regard. 7800 was made to be the best at the classics of the old era, the Lynx was made looking forward. While the 7800 was part of a family looking at its name (2600, 5200, 7800), the Lynx was part of another one (Lynx, Panther, Jaguar) with cat names.

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As a 7800 gamer, I found the Lynx a little threatening when it was demoed at the 1989 Summer CES. I knew the 7800 was nearing the end of its life and I felt like this was a sign that Atari was moving on.

 

By the time 1993 rolled around, it was clear that the Lynx was nearing the end of its life. I remember some talk about comlynxing the Lynx to the Jaguar for a second screen experience (in 1993!), and there was some discussion of reinvesting in the Lynx based on the back of the Jaguar buzz.

 

So, clearly, I see the Jaguar/Lynx being closer siblings than the 7800/Lynx. Having said that, the version of Atari Corp in 1989 - multi-departmental computer and gaming company - seemed much closer in character than the era that came around by 1993. In many ways, the libraries of the Lynx/7800 shows a synergy that the Jaguar lacks (as mentioned before). A lot of that comes from the way Atari Corp did business at the time.

 

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