• I should've seen it coming from a billion miles away.....

  • There I was on eBay, having quite a laugh surveying the endless array of items fetching ridiculous prices, when I stumbled across an advertisement that I knew was bullshit the moment I saw the header:
      Authentic Atari Lynx Prototypes!!!!

      These are guaranteed genuine straight from Atari's R&D laboratories! Loopz, Centipede, Marlboro Go, Road Riot 4WD, sold as a set. Best offer takes all!

  • I e-mailed the guy asking him to describe the so-called "prototypes," and just as I had expected, he gave a generic "Hey, it's the real thing OK? I guarantee it!" response.

  • To make matter worse, during the following few weeks I witnessed no fewer than three other individuals trying to pawn off the same Lynx titles on eBay. And more than a few AGH readers e-mailed me asking whether they were authentic Atari prototypes. A person who won one of the sets even e-mailed me describing the games, saying how excited he was to now own several rare pieces of Atari history.

  • I get the impression a lot of people are paying money for these, thinking that they are getting the real deal. Sorry to burst your bubble, but they're NOT.

  • Loads of mail-order dealers are offering them for sale. Video 61 sells them. Some guy in the Netherlands also sells them. They even pack them in fancy Atari packing tape to make them look genuine (the stuff that Don Thomas sold when he cleared the Atari warehouse with the "Wacky Sales" during the last days of Atari. I couldn't care less if they at least mentioned that the items were copies, but for them to misrepresent them as genuine protos is just plain wrong.

  • Loopz was never even sent to Atari. The first time that anyone except the programmer - Rob Nicolson - saw it was when he sent it to Ian Pleasance, a good friend of mine. Harry Dodgson, a Lynx developer, hacked it into a bootable image, and as at the time Ian didn't have the Pinky/Mandy (develoment system), he unfortunately gave it to someone else who leaked it... the same goes for Centipede and Marlboro Go.

  • Harry let this person (name withheld) have access to the Lynx Development (lynxdev) list and file area for a while. The thing is, Lynx carts weren't really given out as protos or loaners. The game images were put on the Lynx developer BBS, but only in the format that could be loaded into a development unit. They never gave out any bootable EPROMable images, so there is no way that most of these protos could possibly be genuine.

  • Want further proof? The only ones that were ever given out in beta/loaner format were Road Riot, Raiden and Fat Bobby, as they were given the security codes ready for production masking. The other thing is that the loaners did not use standard green PCBs whereas all the copies do! Genuine loaner prototypes have all been seen on a purple-ish type breadboard (PCB). It's a sort of purple/beige/pink-ish color shade. The PCB color of the fake ones are green.. If I can borrow a digital camera I'll take a picture. I can't really put them on my scanner since it'll do a nice job of erasing them.

  • It's unfortunate that people pass these off as prototypes. I wonder how many speculators are sitting on these 'genuine prototypes' ready to try and sell them off for a pile of cash. I hope that all of you will use extreme caution the next time you're presented with the chance of obtaining one of these fakers.

    - Please send comments or questions to Keita Iida

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