102 minutes | Feb 28th 2020

EPISODE 12: KLAX

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Tweet#PA2031, Published by Atari Corp. In this episode (better late than never) I cover one of the best games ever made for the Atari Lynx, KLAX, released in October of 1990. It’s also the second of three original release titles for the Lynx that is played vertically, not horizontally (Gauntlet: The Third Encounter and NFL Football are the other two). In this episode I’ve got vital statistics about KLAX, along with credits, gameplay, reviews and ratings, some fun facts and trivia, and some listener feedback about the game. KLAX VITAL STATISTICS Release Date: October 1990 (originally scheduled for June/July 1990). Initial retail price: In the US: $34.95-$39.99; In the UK: £27.99-£35.00. Cartridge: 256k stereo curved lip-style cartridge. Genre: Falling block puzzle game for one player. Screen/playfield orientation: portrait (vertical). Based On: Coin-op arcade game KLAX, developed by Dave Akers and Mark Stephen Pierce and released by Atari Games Corporation in February of 1990. Other Ports: Amstrad CPC (1990), Atari VCS (2600) (1990; PAL-version only; NTSC-version never finished), Atari 5200 (2003), Atari 7800 (2002), Atari ST (1990), BBC Micro (1990), Commodore Amiga (1990), Commodore 64 (1990), DOS (1990), MSX (1990), Nintendo Entertainment System (1990), Nintendo Game Boy (1990), Nintendo Game Boy Color (1999), PC-88 (1990), PC-98 (1990), SAM Coupé (1990), Sega Game Gear (1991), Sega Genesis (1990), Sega Master System (1991), Sharp X68000 (1990), TurboGrafx-16 (1990), and ZX Spectrum (1990). KLAX was also released together with Marble Madness for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2005). Sequels: There were no sequels to this game. Levels: There are 100 levels, or “waves,” in KLAX. There are five different wave objectives for each wave: “KLAX wave,” “Diagonal wave,” “Horizontal wave,” “Points wave,” and “Tile wave.” Carton:  Full-color standard-tab regular-size carton (5 3/8″ by 4 3/8″ by 7/8″). Also sold were a French version, two different Japanese versions, and a blister pack. Manual: A 12-page (including front and back covers) stapled regular-sized booklet manual in monochrome, measuring the usual 4 7/8” high by 3 ¾” wide. Languages: As far as I can determine, the manual was available in the U.S. in an English version only. KLAX CREDITS Developer: Tengen, Inc. (Atari Games Corporation) Programming:  Greg Omi Art and Animation: Susan G. McBride, Greg Omi, Gary Johnson, K.E. Rudis Music and Sound: LX (Alex) Rudis Original Game Developers: Mark Stephen Pierce, David Akers LYNXED IN Earlier in 2019, James Boulton from RetroHQ, better known as SainT, released the next batch of his highly sought-after Lynx SD multicart to those who pre-ordered it on Atari Age. The firmware in this version includes the new Menu Loader 2, created by Igor Kromin of AtariGamer.com (with help from Alex Thissen of Diary of a Lynx Developer and Karri Kaksonen of White Lynx). The cost of the cased version, which fits into the Lynx II only, or for the uncased version, which fits into either the Lynx I or the Lynx II, is £70, plus £2 shipping inside the UK or £5 shipping outside the UK. To get on the pre-order list for the next batch of multicards, which will be renamed the Lynx GD (for Lynx Game Drive), simply add a post to the RetroHQ posting in the Atari Age Lynx Forums here. Be sure to indicate Lynx I or Lynx II, cased or uncased. Nintendo Game Boy modder BennVenn is currently producing an LCD screen upgrade for the Atari Lynx II model that undercuts the cost of the McWill LCD upgrade (currently around US$125 sans the shipping from Germany) by at least half. BennVenn’s version does not include the VGA output mod, which McWill includes in his kit. Right now, only the drop-in screen for the Lynx II is available; the screen for the Lynx I model will be available later. As of this episode’s recording date, interested Lynxters are able to purchase the Lynx II screen when it is not sold out; check here for availability. The price is US$50 for the Chinese-manufactured screen or US$60 for the Japanese-manufactured screen. For an additional US$5, Lynxters can also purchase the recommended 3D-printed frame bracket for the screen that was created by Igor at AtariGamer. In August of 2019, Songbird Productions announced the acquisition of multiple classic gaming properties, including: the entire HandMade Software library, except for Kasumi Ninja, including games such as Awesome Golf, Jimmy Connors’ Tennis, Loopz, Malibu Beach Volleyball, Power Factor, and a limited license for Battlezone 2000; Battlemorph by ATD; Gordo 106 by Tenth Planet Software; a limited license for Super Skweek by Loriciel; and Othello by Harry Dodgson. Carl from Songbird Productions says on his AtariAge Lynx forums post: “I don’t have imminent plans for most of these games, but thought it was worthwhile to build my IP library when the opportunities came.” Congrats to Karl, and many thanks to him for nearly 30 years of his company’s commitment to the Atari Lynx! LYNX LYNKS Information About KLAX: Atari Age title info/rarity guide for KLAX Atari Gamer title info/rarity guide for KLAX Digital Press title info/rarity guide for KLAX Wikipedia article about KLAX Moby Games article about KLAX GameFAQs article for KLAX KLAX Tips, Cheats & Easter Eggs from Atari Age KLAX Cheat Codes from GameSpot Reviews and Ratings for KLAX: Review by Clayton Walnum in STart Magazine (US; Issue #39; December 1990) Ratings and Reviews by The Review Crew in Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine (US; Issue #14; September 1990) Review by Julian Rignall in Computer and Video Games Magazine (UK; Issue #110; January 1991) Review by Richard Monteiro in RAZE Magazine (UK; Issue #5; March 1991) Review by Keita Iita at AtariHQ (1995) Review by Robert A. Jung at IGN (1999) Review by JDeLuna at GameFAQs (1999) Review by Gares at DefunctGames (2001) Review by Patrick O’Connor at DefunctGames (2006) Review by Damon Plus at GameFAQs (2007) Review by Jon Mc at Atari Gamer (2018) YouTube Videos About KLAX: Title Music (Laird’s Lair) Playthrough (That Orangy Bread) Playthrough and Commentary (Steve Benway) Playthrough and Review (BTB/Lynx Lounge) Playthrough and Review (RetroGamerDaz) Playthrough-Last True Boss (Zonelynx Atari) Bill Kendrick’s Lost KLAX Clone for Linux YouTube Video About Tengen: Tengen: Atari vs. Nintendo (2015; Gaming Historian) Retailers Selling KLAX: B & C ComputerVisions: The price lists systems at B &C crashed on August 3, 2018 and they have still not been restored, as of this recording date. Best Electronics (last updated September 29, 2019; check website for availability): US$14.95 (CIB); US9.95 (loose cart). The Gamesmen (Australia): AU$24.95 (NIB). The Goat Store: US14.94 (loose cart). Telegames (UK): £19.98 (including tax; listing does not include whether it’s a loose cart, cart/manual combo, or CIB). Video 61 & Atari Sales: US$49.95 (NIB). After-Market and Homebrew Lynx Titles Now Available: As of the recording date, here are the after-market and homebrew Atari Lynx titles available from Luchs Soft in Germany (prices do not include shipping costs): Alpine Games (€55,92) Ejagfest Slideshow (€49,97) Hanoi (€49,97) Quadromania (€55,92) Retro X-MASsacre (€44,02) Space Battle (€55,92 [single], €74,96 [double]) Unseen (€49,97) Weltenschlächter (€49,97) Yastuna-The Alchemy of Cubes (€49,97) Click here if you’re interested in ordering from Luchs Soft. As of the recording date, here are the after-market and homebrew Atari Lynx titles available from Songbird Productions in the US (prices include tax/shipping costs): Bubble Trouble (backordered; $69.95) Championship Rally ($59.95) Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure ($59.95) CyberVirus ($59.95) Fat Bobby (backordered; $69.95) Hyperdrome (backordered; $69.95) Krazy Ace Miniature Golf (backordered; $69.95) Lexis ($59.95) Loopz ($59.95) Lynx Reloaded Multicart (backordered; $49.95) MegaPak 1  ($59.95) Othello (very limited; $59.95) PokerMania (backordered; $42.95) Ponx ($49.95) Raiden (very limited; $69.95) Remnant: PW3D ($59.95) SFX ($49.95) SIMIS (very limited; $59.95) Sokomania (backordered; $39.95) T-Tris (backordered; $59.95) Click here if you’re interested in ordering from Songbird Productions. As of the recording date, here are the after-market and homebrew Atari Lynx titles available from Telegames in the UK (all prices include tax): Alpine Games (£49.99) Breakout 2000 (£75.00) Bubble Trouble (£49.98) Championship Rally (£49.99) Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure (£49.99) CyberVirus (£49.99) Fat Bobby (£49.99) Hyperdrome (£52.98) Krazy Ace Miniature Golf (£49.99) Lexis (£49.99) Lynx Reloaded (with Othello and MultoPong; £44.99) Ponx (£39.98) Raiden (£52.98) Remnant (£49.98) SFX (£39.86) SIMIS 5 w/Space Invaders (£49.98) Sokomania (£52.98) T-Tris (£49.98) Click here if you’re interested in ordering from Telegames. Resources for Atari Lynx Console/Game-Related Collecting Materials/Tools: Resource: Game Boy Color cases for Atari Lynx cartridges from Joom Resource: 2 1/2″ coin storage sheets from Amazon Resource: Atari Lynx regular-size game carton sleeves from BuzzandBingosMoonCircus (eBay) Resource: Atari Lynx large-size game carton sleeves from CollectnProtect Resource: Building a custom Atari Lynx game carton shelving unit from AtariGamer Resource: Atari Lynx II display stand from Etsy Resource: BennVenn’s drop-in LCD screen and/or 3D-printed screen bracket frame for the Atari Lynx II. “Thank You’s” and Other Lynks: Antic: The Atari 8-Bit Podcast (Thanks to Brad Arnold, Randy Kindig, and Kevin Zavitz for the shoutout about The HandyCast in Episode 50!) AtariGamer.com (Thanks to Igor for incorporating The HandyCast into his excellent website!) The Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to The Podfather himself, Ferg, for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in both Episode 151 and Episode 154!) The Atari Jaguar Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to Shinto for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in Episodes 22 and 26!) Into the Vertical Blank Podcast (Thanks to hosts Jeff and Steve Fulton for “singing” about The HandyCast in Season 1, Episode 10!) Please Stand By (Thanks to Zerbe and Ferg for helping to promote The  HandyCast on several episodes of this fun-to-listen-to show, starting with Episode 60!) The RCR Podcast (Thanks to the Retro Computing Roundtable: Paul Hagstrom, Quinn Dunki, Jack Nutting, and Carrington Vance, for highlighting The HandyCast in Episode 167!) The Retro MacCast Podcast (Thanks to Retro MacCast hosts James Savage and John Leake for highlighting The HandyCast in Episode 475!) Retro Video Gamer Forums (Thanks to Eugenio/TrekMD for helping to promote The HandyCast on his wonderful forums!) PDF of Historical Atari Lynx UK Magazine Advert/Reviews Collection (Thanks to AmigaJay for compiling this compilation, and also to Bobbi Iddod Moore for alerting me about it on Facebook!) ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thanks go to everyone who contributed feedback about KLAX for this extremely late episode: davidcalgary29, Kieren Hawken, Curtis Herod (Cujo), Bill Kendrick, Igor Kromin, Jamie Lannoo, Jon McQueen, Luke Meader, William N. Nash, RD Reynolds, Chuck Sommerville, Shinto, taburoto, thisplacemeansdeath, Scott Tirrell, and Bobby Tribble; I really appreciate your feedback, and especially for being so patient! Also, I would like to thank the Free Music Archive for the following musical artists and songs that were used in this episode under the Creative Commons License: “8-Bit Core” by Tagirijus (opening and closing theme music), along with “Clear Progress,” “Driven to Success,” “Inspirational Outlook,” “Little Idea,” “Origin I,” “Origin II,” and “Upbeat Party,” all by Scott Holmes. I would especially like to thank Shinto for submitting his memories of various Atari Lynx games he’s owned in the past to The Atari Lynx HandyCast…they are greatly appreciated. And you should all check out Shinto’s wonderful Atari Jaguar Game by Game Podcast; it’s definitely worth listening to, even if you’ve never owned a Jaguar. You can find it here. Many, many thanks also go to Zerbinator for his continued support. His encouragement and expertise are very much appreciated by me. You can find all of his fun-to-listen-to podcasts here, including my favorite, Please Stand By. Finally, my thanks to the Podfather himself, Ferg of The Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast. His inspiration and dedication to covering every game cartridge ever made for the Atari 2600 (I think over 1000 of them!) is what gave me the courage to begin this podcast. Please, check out his don’t-miss podcast, even if you’re not an Atari 2600 collector; or at least visit his website here. I hope you enjoy this episode of The Atari Lynx HandyCast. And please don’t forget to visit the official Atari Lynx HandyCast website by clicking here! -Mark Next Episode: “EPISODE 13: Warbirds” (available March 2020)
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