pitfalltitleSorry if this disappoints, but I have very little childhood memory of Atari. Most of the gaming I did before the NES was in arcades. The only Atari 2600 playing I really did was in schools, day care centers, and the like (it was already old enough to be bought cheap). In fact, I best remember this company for the failure of the Jaguar that eliminated it from the console market.

Pitfall! is among the most praised games on the company’s most popular system. It was a platforming pioneer and provided action. So over thirty years later, I’m reviewing it. How is it?

Plot: 8 out of 10

Not that 98% of those who played this game knew or cared, but the protagonist is an adventurer named Pitfall Harry. Harry is going through a jungle full of dangerous forests, jumping and swinging on vines (a la Tarzan).



This is pretty much a typical Atari plot. If there even was a plot, which many of them didn’t even have.

Graphics: 9 out of 10

Those who continue to love the Atari will tell you that the almost stick figure graphics actually have a certain charm to them because you have to use your imagination. As much of an excuse as that may seem like at first, once you start playing, there comes to be something to that.

Pitfall! has great graphics for this system. While a lot of characters in these games can’t represent what they’re supposed to be, everybody actually looks like they should in this game.

Sound: 8 out of 10

But the lack of music I can’t deal with. Part of reason why Atari never sold the amount of consoles that Nintendo and Sony did in later years. That said, the sound effects are really good.

Sure, Harry could just block the logs with his legs, but isn't jumping more fun?

Sure, Harry could just block the logs with his legs, but isn’t jumping more fun?

Gameplay: 10 out of 10

This is about running and jumping over predators, swinging on vines, and using crocodile heads as stepping stones.

The controls work just and more important, this game is very fun. The action gives you a very good time.

Gator bait?

Gator bait?

Challenge: 8 out of 10

Many Atari games never end. You just play until you get tired of it. This game actually has an ending. But it’s difficult to get that far. You have a time limit and level design is cleverly crafted to challenge you. But it’s emotionally rewarding when you finally do it.

Overall: 9 out of 10

A true gem of the first very successful console. I can understand why the kids who had Ataris liked it so much.


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