Scoring an UNREAL 360° surfing in California Games on Atari Lynx

Around this time of year I usually find myself craving California Games on Atari Lynx, particularly the Surfing level which is one of my all-time favorite games. It’s a great way to clear the Winter blues and get ramped up for Spring. The object of the surfing portion of the game is to launch your surfboard off of the wave and spin around in the air for points, scoring a 360°, Double 360°, Triple 360°, Quadruple 360°, – or the ultimate achievement: UNREAL 360°!

A few years ago I made a video for my website and incidentally pulled an Unreal 360° while I was recording the game! Getting an Unreal 360° in California Games used to be the stuff of legends (some people would argue that it was a myth!) and I had only managed to score an Unreal 360° one or two other times in my life. My excitement for Springtime fun and California Games inspired me to share the video with you, for anyone curious what the Unreal 360 looks like on Lynx!

California Games was released as the pack-in title for Atari Lynx in September, 1989. This version of California Games features four different “extreme games” selected from the title screen – BMX, Surfing, Halfpipe and Footbag – each with short-play arcade-style gameplay that allows just 1min 30sec to swing tricks and finish with a new high score. At the end of the round, your top scores from all four events are displayed on screen. With a variety of events for everyone, bright sunny graphics, and awesome midi renditions of Louie-Louie and Wipeout, it‘s not hard to see why this was the pack-in title for the Lynx. California Games was programmed at EPYX by James Donald, Pete Wierzbicki, Larry Abel and Stephen Jungels.

Justin is an avid Atari fan and posts at the Retroist as Atari IO. You can follow him at his website

Atari I/O

Justin is an avid Atari historian, technology entrepreneur, adventurist and raconteur who posts at the Retroist as Atari I/O. You can follow him at his website and join the Atari I/O forums at

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