The Atari Lynx is an 8 bit handheld game console that was released by Atari Corporation in October 1989 in North America, and Europe and Japan in 1990. The Lynx holds the distinction of being the world's first handheld electronic game with a color LCD. The system is also notable for its forward-looking features, advanced graphics, and ambidextrous layout.
The Atari Lynx's innovative features include being the first color handheld, with a backlit display, a switchable right-handed/left-handed (upside down) configuration, and the ability to network with up to 17 other units via its "Comlynx" system (though most games would network eight or fewer players). Comlynx was originally developed to run over infrared links (and was codenamed RedEye). This was changed to a cable-based networking system before the final release. The Lynx was cited as the "first gaming console with hardware support for zooming and distortion of sprites". Featuring a 4096 color palette and integrated math and graphics co-processors (including a blitter unit), its pseudo-3D color graphics display was said to be the key defining feature in the system's competition against Nintendo's monochromatic Game Boy. The fast pseudo-3D graphics features were made possible on a minimal hardware system by codesigner Dave Needle having "invented the technique for planar expansion/shrinking capability" and using stretched, textured, triangles instead of full polygons. These particular features were achieved over a year prior to the launch of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, whose stock hardware features the comparable Mode 7 but which can't scale sprites.
Handy is the Atari Lynx emulator for Mac OS X. For those into useless trivia, Handy was the first emulator on the Macintosh to support the use of compressed ROM images, an idea which has since been adopted by just about every other emulator out there. Handy can be found on Richard Bannister's site.