Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Photos - Warbirds (1990)

Warbirds is one of the very best showpiece games for the Atari Lynx. As you can see, both Epyx and Atari were very aggressive with pushing the 3D graphics capabilities of the Lynx, and this resulted in a number of very groundbreaking games that never failed to turn heads and impress gamers.

Multiplayer was another key element to many Lynx games. While the Gameboy included a link cable for head-to-head play, the Lynx could connect as many as 16 players at once. Most of these were four-player titles, except for Checkered Flag at six, and Slime World at 8.

In 1989 and 1990, this was another key innovation, completely unheard of. Online gaming was still in its infancy, and console games only allowed for head-to-head. Heck, I can't think of a single 4-player console game in the 1980s apart from Warlords on the Atari 2600. So you can see just how big a leap Epyx took with the Lynx.

Warbirds was really the first multiplayer deathmatch. There are no missions in the game, or training modes, or various locales. It's all about the combat, and it's clearly intended for four friends to go after each other. As a single-player games, this is one of the Lynx' very best titles; multiplayer sweeps you into another realm altogether.

The cruel irony is that the Lynx never sold enough for multiplayer to become an option for most gamers. I suppose we can always hop on Ebay and score enough Lynx handhelds and games, but, good heavens, that is a heavy investment. Sometimes I wonder why Infrogrames, which owns the Atari catalog, couldn't simply reissue these games on the PSP or DS. Better yet, just reissue the Lynx itself. They made a couple bucks off repackaged Atari 2600's. Why not the Lynx?

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