Saturday, March 31, 2018

EPISODE 04: Gates of Zendocon


#PA2023, Published by Atari Corp.
In this episode, I cover The Gates of Zendocon, one of five launch titles released for the original Atari Lynx console in 1989. Included is a complete rundown of the gameplay, music, and sound effects. I also highlight reviews of the game, and I have some feedback about The Gates of Zendocon from some of my loyal listeners. Plus, I also provide information about the prices that collectors can expect to pay for an Atari Lynx The Gates of Zendocon cartridge on eBay.
Release Date: October 1989
Initial retail price: $34.99
128kb stereo cartridge available in all three styles (flat, ridged, and curved lip)

Genre: horizontal-scrolling space action shoot-em-up for one player
Screen/playfield orientation: landscape
Other ports: The Gates of Zendocon was never ported to any other system
Cartridge: 128kb stereo cartridge, available in three styles (flat, ridged, and curved lip)
Carton:  standard-tab carton in full color; available initially in a large carton (7 5/8″ by 5 1/2″ by 7/8″), then later in a regular-size carton (5 3/8″ by 4 3/8″ by 7/8″) with a vertical gray band with faux-embossed X’s on the right of the carton; a regular-sized carton was released even later with larger cover art and no vertical gray band; and as far as is known, The Gates of Zendocon was never released in a blister-pack
Manual: folded 6-page manual in monochrome; available in large booklet (6 5/8″ by 4 3/4″); available later in regular-size booklet (4 7/8″ by 3 3/4″)
Languages: English only (in the United States); Japanese language-version also available
Compare the spaceship in the 1977 Atari VCS (2600) Asteroidscarton cover art by Chris Kenyon pictured on the left with the spaceship in the 1989 Atari Lynx Gates of Zendocon carton cover art pictured on the right. Notice any similarities?
 Epyx, Inc.

Programmer: M. Peter Engelbrite
Other credits:  Included in a review written by Mike Kosher and posted in the June 1990 issue (Issue 11) of Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine is an allusion that R.J. Mical and Dave Needle from Epyx were involved in the production of the game, along with R.G. (unknown), Tom (probably Tom Schumacher), and LX (undoubtedly LX, or Alex, Rudis)
How to Win a McWill-modded Lynx I Console:
Rules and details about how to enter the Retro Man Cave Giveaway Competition can be found here. First Prize is a working Lynx I console, recapped and upgraded with the McWill LCD screen!
Information about The Gates of Zendocon:
Atari Age title info/rarity guide for The Gates of Zendocon
Wikipedia article about The Gates of Zendocon
Giant Bomb article about The Gates of Zendocon
PDF of “Atari Lynx Hint Book,” published by Atari in 1993 for Lynx game developers (hints, level codes/select cheat and Easter Egg for The Gates of Zendocon can be found on pages 37-46)
Reviews and ratings for The Gates of Zendocon:
Review by Marshall Rosenthal in The Games Machine (UK) magazine (issue 27; February, 1990)
Review in Zero Magazine (Issue 05; March, 1990)
Review by Clayton Walner at STart Magazine (Issue 39, December, 1990)
Review by Robert A. Jung at IGN (1999)
Review on Video Game Critic (2003)
Review by Vireo Gilvis on Kalisiin’s (Mostly Old-School) RPG Discussion Board (2012)
Review by Steve Fulton in his blog at GamaSutra (2013)
Review by Jon Mc of JMac Productions at Atari Gamer (2018)
Review by Ryan Genno at Down and Dirty Reviews
Review at
User Rating on Moby Games
YouTube videos about Gates of Zendocon:
Review (Lynx Lounge/Brian Thomas Barnhart)
Review (ROM Swamp)
Playthrough (Sharky’s Sharkade)
Playthrough (Doctor Noob’s Game Bits)
Playthrough (Zonelynx)
Playthrough (World of Longplays)
Playthrough (Atari7800com)
Playthrough and commentary (Atari Fitness)
Playthrough and commentary (live stream) (The Atari Times)
Music/Soundtrack (complete) (Laird’s Lair)
Music/Soundtrack (Marc Ripoll)
Retailers Selling Gates of Zendocon:
B & C ComputerVisions
 (pricelist last updated September 23, 2016; check website for availability)

Best Electronics (last updated March 8, 2018; check website for availability)
Resources for Atari Lynx Console/Game-Related Collecting Materials/Tools:
Resource: Game Boy Color cases for Atari Lynx cartridges from Joom
2 1/2″ coin storage sheets from Amazon
Atari Lynx game carton sleeves from RetroGameFreak
Building a custom Atari Lynx game carton shelving unit from AtariGamer
Other Lynks: (Thanks to Igor for incorporating The HandyCast into your excellent website!)
Retro Video Gamer Forums (Thanks to TrekMD for helping to promote The HandyCast on your wonderful forums!)
Antic: The Atari 8-Bit Podcast (Thanks to Brad Arnold, Randy Kindig, and Kevin Zavitz for the shoutout about The HandyCast in Episode 50!)
The Atari 2600 Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to The Podfather himself, Ferg, for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in Episode 151!)
The Atari Jaguar Game By Game Podcast (Thanks to Shinto for encouraging his listeners to check out The HandyCast in Episode 22!)
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 Atari Lynx HandyCast in Episode 167!)
Interview with LX (Alex) Rudis at The Atari Times (2002)
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), “Duck (Squeezed)” by Dee Yan-Kee, “Chiefs” by Jahzzar, “Scuba” by Simon Mathewson, “Sweet Passage” by Frau Holle, and “The 90s” by Los Close.
I especially would 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 don’t own or have never even seen a Jaguar console. 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 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.
Next Episode: “EPISODE 05: Gauntlet: The Third Encounter”

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