Celebrate July 4th by Remembering America's Only Major Handheld Console

Celebrate July 4th by Remembering America's Only Major Handheld Console

25 years ago, Atari gave us the Lynx. We count down its 10 best all-American games.

You know what's funny about portable gaming? Almost every handheld system of note has been Japanese. Americans may have invented video games and console games, but we've always been curiously absent in the portable space.

It's probably a moot point now that Apple's iOS (born and baked in California) has whittled the market for dedicated consoles down by about half. But up until we began carrying tiny one-touch supercomputers in our pants pockets, we had to look overseas for gaming on the go. The sole exception, of course, being Atari's Lynx.

Launched in late summer 1989, the Lynx arrived on the heels of Nintendo's Game Boy. And, not coincidentally, it was crushed beneath said heels in short order. Despite its impressive power and gorgeous (for the time) color screen, the Lynx just couldn't compete against Nintendo's low price, expansive software library, and wide reach. That isn't to say the system was a dud, though. On the contrary, Lynx produced some fantastic games in its too-short lifetime.

USgamer's resident Lynx fans, Jaz Rignall and Mike Williams, have pinpointed the best of the best for America's greatest handheld console. These classics are worth exploring, even if you've never touched a Lynx in your life. Forget those Nintendo and Sony imports; while you're hanging out on the beach this Independence Day, celebrate America with some true home-grown gaming classics. Just... be sure to bring lots of batteries, OK?

For more retrospectives like this, be sure to visit USgamer's YouTube channel. Heck, you might as well subscribe while you're there. For America.

For the video averse, that list looks like this:

  • Chip's Challenge
  • Klax
  • Lemmings
  • Rampart
  • Desert Strike
  • Joust
  • Blue Lightning
  • S.T.U.N. Runner
  • Hydra
  • Todd's Adventures in Slime World

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Read this next

Kunai Is The Best Feeling Platformer I've Played Since Dead Cells

This tiny robot samurai wins with precise platforming action.

What's Your Favorite Console Revision?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | The Switch Lite is out today, so let's look back on the history of console revisions.

FIFA 20 Review: This Year's Version Takes to the Streets, But It's Strongest on the Pitch

A brand new mode and some much-improved gameplay highlight an ambitious update for FIFA.

Spiritfarer's Art Director on Encouraging Relaxation, Exploration, and Just Chilling on a Boat

How Spirited Away led to a cozy management sim about the afterlife.

Borderlands 3's First Limited-Time Event Will Be a Free Halloween Ghoul Hunt

All Borderlands 3 players will have a few weeks to scoop up some creepy loot and take down a boney boss.

Apple Arcade Brings Game Pricing Concerns Back to the Forefront

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Will successful subscription services turn into their own walled gardens?


The 25 Best Nintendo Switch Games

Our rotating list of the best games on Switch, now updated for the Nintendo Switch Lite release!

7 Games to Play After Watching Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix

Grab a glass of Tang and play these classic games after watching Evangelion on Netflix.

The E3 2019 Awards: The Best Games We Saw at This Year's Show

Here are all the best games we saw at E3 2019, including our Game of the Show!

The 25 Best Steam Games: Now Updated for 2019

A rotating list of the best games on Steam may seem impossible on the surface, but against all odds, we've done it!