Author Topic: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' guide"  (Read 5786 times)

Offline DreamcastRIP

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Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' guide"
« on: October 01, 2013, 03:58:56 AM »
I saw this recently published article on Eurogamer and thought it worth the heads-up here for those interested -

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-ultimate-retro-handheld-collectors-guide

Re: the Atari Lynx summary,

Positives to commend the article for:

* recognising it as the "first portable games system with a colour LCD"
* mentioning the "unique ambidextrous control layout" that benefitted left-handed people
* commenting that it had an "array of top-notch arcade conversions"
* "S.T.U.N. Runner, Xybots... showed what the Lynx could do when tickled in the right places" - indeed
* "incredible power for its time" - so very true... and for many more years following its release too
* "much bulkier than the Game Boy and its appetite for batteries was legendary" - but no worse than GameGear
* "Second-hand Lynx consoles are slowly rising in value, a fact which illustrates just how beloved the system is with retro collectors" - impressed that a Eurogamer journo' would be aware of the retro scene for Lynx
* recognising that there are "enough quality present to make it worth looking into today"
* "In hindsight, it's a bit of a mystery as to why Atari never bundled Klax with the Lynx - it was the best puzzler available by far - the system's very own Tetris" - an interesting point
* "build quality of the Lynx II is impressive, the screen sharper than that of Sega's Game Gear and the speaker louder and crisper" - indeed


Questionable content:

* "...before Atari stepped in to assist with hardware production and marketing" paints a false picture
* "offered 16-bit gaming on the go" is an interpretation, not fact
* "These features couldn't help it overcome Nintendo's humbler hardware" - They meant to say commercially but failed to make that key distinction
* "(GameBoy) hit the market with a more compelling selection of software" - opinion not fact
* "(Lynx II) had a less blurry screen" - the screen of Lynx is superior to Lynx II imo
* "(Lynx II launched at) almost half that of the original model at launch" - well, yes, but that's to overlook certain other factors
* "the "64-bit" Jaguar" - oh dear, yet another ignorant individual propogating that myth
* "The underrated portable was soon forgotten" - 1989-1994 must mean 'soon' according to this journalist
* "the handheld's 16-bit processor" - a somewhat misleading statement when the CPU is 8-bit
* "If you're considering dipping a toe into the murky waters of Lynx ownership" - are GameBoy/GameGear 'waters' less 'murky' then? What a stupid statement
* "The ability to flip the display made the handheld friendly to left-handed gamers, demonstrating some neat 'out of the box' thinking on Atari's behalf" - contradicts earlier statement that Lynx was entirely down to Epyx whereby Atari only 'assisted' in its production and marketing

So, rather like many other print and online-based coverage of retro gaming these days the article was somewhat hit and miss. Many of the positives and negatives of the product in question were recognised but there were a few issues with factual accuracy, some liberal interpretation of the facts and a few notable omissions. All in all, better than I expected from Eurogamer but nothing particularly impressive either, imo.

I'll leave it for others to comment on the GameBoy, GameGear and PCE GT/TurboExpress sections although the write-up they've generally received appears to be of a higher quality journalism than what the Lynx received.

Overall, as a brief summary piece seeking to summarise the key points regarding four different retro handhelds I thought it reasonable and I welcome that the editor was intelligent enough to not let a moronic fanboy loose to pen the article.
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Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 09:44:11 AM »
Had a quick look and did raise an eyebrow at this from the GB section: 'The LCD screen is hopelessly blurry, but that's all part of the charm'.

First part is very true, but charm? i think not...it renders the device unplayable for myself which is why mine never gets used.

Odd nothing was said about the Game Gear screen having chronic screen blur-i bought a lot of games for mine, loved it, but man the sceen was poor quality.

Re:The 'soon forgotten' line about the Lynx...sadly seen comments like this in Gamestm etc talking about how the ST died soon after the A500 came out (cobblers it was a slow process with games from USA not appearing as ST 'dead' over there, but the STe came out etc, last ST game i picked up was the superb Robocop III by D.I.D, but ST did'nt just fade away minute Amiga was put at sensible price) and of course the classic line about the Jaguar soon dissapeared after being launched, again as an owner.....


Still at least person who wrote this did use numerous sources to get a brief run down on the various consoles history.


I took the 'murky' waters of the Lynx to mean as system sold in less numbers than GB, it's harder to find units, espically as prices rising, where as GB's pretty plentiful and some of the later era Lynx games are very hard to find/expensive, but that's just my take.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 17:34:46 PM »
Arcade was pretty spot-on as a magazine, but when they refered to Atari consoles of past...oh dear....


Rich Pelley's Antiques Roadshow talking about The Lynx:

'Technically advanced for the time...featured a back light and built in FX chips' FX chips? suggests to reader SNES FX chips which were used for polygon pushing, Lynx hardware was designed for sprite handling, but it's still a better crack than his next description:

Jaguar: ' Launched as the 1st 64-bit machine, and for some reason found favour with Debenhams.The platform lacked Japanese backing and soon went belly-up'.

Well full credit for not putting 64 bit as '64 bit' and yes it lacked Japanese backing, but soon went belly-up? not until PS1/Saturn arrived it did'nt.


Also dunno who wrote the 'Gaming Round-Op' in Arcades Timewarp:July'94  but under headline, New Jag:'Buy now-pay later! screamed the adverts for shops selling Atari's sparkling new Jaguar console.Unlucky punters certainly did pay later when Jaguar went belly-up only a few months later', judging by choice of words, Rich again i'd guess.

Offline DreamcastRIP

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 18:42:03 PM »
Yep, that appraisal of the GameBoy's screen quality sure sounds fanboyish to me. It's not merely trying to put a positive spin on something that was of so-so quality because the system's screen was utterly abysmal.

The comment was at least partially balanced by it also stating "Using one today will either evoke pangs of nostalgia or hoots of derision", i.e. a recognition that a great many people today fall into that latter category when judging the GameBoy.

Insofar as the article having said nothing about GameGear's screen, it does state "build quality of the Lynx II is impressive, the screen sharper than that of Sega's Game Gear and the speaker louder and crisper" in the Lynx section at least.

Yep, the "soon forgotten" and "the "64-bit" Jaguar" comments were laughable in how they highlighted the author's ignorance.

Some interesting (in a facepalm-inducing kinda way!) quotations from past gaming magazines there and thanks for posting them, RT.
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Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 18:55:14 PM »
Quote from: "DreamcastRIP"
Yep, that appraisal of the GameBoy's screen quality sure sounds fanboyish to me. It's not merely trying to put a positive spin on something that was of so-so quality because the system's screen was utterly abysmal.

The comment was at least partially balanced by it also stating "Using one today will either evoke pangs of nostalgia or hoots of derision", i.e. a recognition that a great many people today fall into that latter category when judging the GameBoy.

Insofar as the article having said nothing about GameGear's screen, it does state "build quality of the Lynx II is impressive, the screen sharper than that of Sega's Game Gear and the speaker louder and crisper" in the Lynx section at least.

Yep, the "soon forgotten" and "the "64-bit" Jaguar" comments were laughable in how they highlighted the author's ignorance.

Some interesting (in a facepalm-inducing kinda way!) quotations from past gaming magazines there and thanks for posting them, RT.

I had to put them up, as Arcade was the last of the great multi-format magazines in my eyes, but when dealing with past formats in knew nothing of...oh my life did it fall into the same sterotypical comments trap.

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 22:26:36 PM »
Few more 'gems' from the otherwise superb Arcade Magazine:

From Timewarp:august 1994 talking about Wolfenstein 3D on Jaguar: '....One of just 3 enjoyable Jaguar games, this' (now given that on same feature they talk about 'Atari's ill-fated Jaguar boasted the superb first-person shooting of Alien Vs Predator', that'd leave only 1 ither title the writer found enjoyable...Tempest 2000? Doom?


Talking about the Atari Lynx (in 'An Arcade In Your Pocket' feature); 'another woeful performance, although the Lynx was technically advanced for the time, destroyed by poor battery life and a lack of quality software titles'.

Game Gear by comparison is described as: '...a decent-enough portable games machine...add-on TV tuner was an expensive bonus......'

So, no mention of it's short batt.life or chronic screen then?.

Oh and another 'gem' from Gamestm, who, as regular readers will know from quotes i've posted from various Conversion Catastrophe features of theirs, do spend awful lot of time slagging a version off based on visuals, even when it''s physically impossible to do arcade machine justice (Tempest, Double Dragon, Rampage on 2600 or VF2 on MD for example), so i was surprised to read them say:

'...We have been known to mock the odd Conversion Catastrophe on a monthly basis, and that's because we judge games based on how much fun they are to play'.

Well, if your admitting to doing it on a monthly basis, that's not the odd time or two, plus so much devoted to how bad a game looks, does not equal you judging on how it plays.

Offline TL

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 22:29:45 PM »
I keep forgetting to reply to this thread! So better late than never!

A few more mistakes I noticed:

  • The Lynx doesn't have a 16-bit processor, it has a custom 8-bit CPU. The graphics and sound chips are 16-bit however.
  • Blue Lightning was never bundled with the Lynx. The games that were: California Games, Batman Returns, Checkered Flag (Australia) and NFL Football (USA).
  • The Game Gear was not already in 2nd place by the time the Lynx II came along. Certainly not in Europe anyway as the Lynx II launched shortly after Sega's machine so the Lynx was clearly in second place at this point

That said though this is still better than a lot of the dross on the internet.

Offline AmigaJay

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 23:41:46 PM »
The GBC has a 'clear' display.....no it has the worst screen of any handheld ever! a 60w bulb is needed to use this piece of crap that was 6 years too late!
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Offline DreamcastRIP

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 04:01:02 AM »
Quote from: "The Laird"
I keep forgetting to reply to this thread! So better late than never!

A few more mistakes I noticed:

  • The Lynx doesn't have a 16-bit processor, it has a custom 8-bit CPU. The graphics and sound chips are 16-bit however.
  • Blue Lightning was never bundled with the Lynx. The games that were: California Games, Batman Returns, Checkered Flag (Australia) and NFL Football (USA).
  • The Game Gear was not already in 2nd place by the time the Lynx II came along. Certainly not in Europe anyway as the Lynx II launched shortly after Sega's machine so the Lynx was clearly in second place at this point

That said though this is still better than a lot of the dross on the internet.

While I had already highlighted the 16-bit blooper by having posted "* "the handheld's 16-bit processor" - a somewhat misleading statement when the CPU is 8-bit" that's a keen observation there re: Blue Lightning.  ::)  :o
Owned: Spectrum Jaguar JaguarCD Lynx ST 7800 Dreamcast Saturn MegaDrive Mega-CD 32X Nomad GameGear PS3 PS PSP WiiU Wii GameCube N64 DS, GBm GBA GBC GBP GB VirtualBoy Xbox Vectrex PCE Duo-R 3DO CDi CD32 GX4000 WonderSwan NGPC Gizmondo ColecoVision iPhone PC Mac

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 10:41:32 AM »
From EDGE's Vintage Gaming feature:

Atari Lynx: 'There is just something uniquely appealing about the chunky design and Atari brand that makes this a good 'honest' item.It had a few genuinely good games too, such as Todd's Adventures In Slime World and Lemmings'


Atari Jaguar: '...even Tempest (the consoles finest title) came out on the Saturn, and as it has a better controller gives little incentive to pick one up.Only the rare Battlesphere makes the Jaguar worth collecting'

Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 12:51:41 PM »
Another snippet of Arcade wisdom:

'..The Lynx's subsequent failure killed Atari'

Offline TrekMD

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 15:25:50 PM »
This "guide" serves as a place to find many handheld systems listed but its content is far from the best. 

Quote from: "AmigaJay"
The GBC has a 'clear' display.....no it has the worst screen of any handheld ever! a 60w bulb is needed to use this piece of crap that was 6 years too late!

This is one of the things I hate the most about the original GBC.  I got an SP just so I didn't have to be under direct light to be able to play games.  I couldn't believe a system newer than the Lynx couldn't have a backlight as a standard feature. 
Going to the final frontier, gaming...


Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 15:40:39 PM »
Quote from: "TrekMD"
This "guide" serves as a place to find many handheld systems listed but its content is far from the best. 

Quote from: "AmigaJay"
The GBC has a 'clear' display.....no it has the worst screen of any handheld ever! a 60w bulb is needed to use this piece of crap that was 6 years too late!

This is one of the things I hate the most about the original GBC.  I got an SP just so I didn't have to be under direct light to be able to play games.  I couldn't believe a system newer than the Lynx couldn't have a backlight as a standard feature.

GBA was'nt backlit, nor was Neo Geo Colour...

Cost cutting and attempt to save batt.life i'd guess.

Offline DreamcastRIP

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 19:51:05 PM »
Quote from: "Rogue Trooper"
Quote from: "TrekMD"
This "guide" serves as a place to find many handheld systems listed but its content is far from the best. 

Quote from: "AmigaJay"
The GBC has a 'clear' display.....no it has the worst screen of any handheld ever! a 60w bulb is needed to use this piece of crap that was 6 years too late!

This is one of the things I hate the most about the original GBC.  I got an SP just so I didn't have to be under direct light to be able to play games.  I couldn't believe a system newer than the Lynx couldn't have a backlight as a standard feature.

GBA was'nt backlit, nor was Neo Geo Colour...

Cost cutting and attempt to save batt.life i'd guess.

I bought my original model GBA on Japanese import prior to it being released in Europe. I paid a princely sum, needless to say, so imagine my disappointment in finding that it had to be held pretty much directly beneath a strong light source just to view the damn screen properly. Unfortunate back in 1989, unforgivable in 2001.  :-
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Offline Rogue Trooper

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Re: Eurogamer's "The ultimate retro handheld collectors' gui
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2013, 20:19:51 PM »
Think the only 'winners' of the non-backlit Nintendo handhelds were:Nintendo (who then released backlit versions of various GB's did they not? GB SP+Micro and was'nt there a backlit orig.GB in Japan?) so lot of folks bought a replacement console and various 3rd parties who sold us clip on lights!.

 

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