Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Activision Pitfall! -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewActivision Pitfall for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Pitfall!
Manufacturer: Activision
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1982
Part #: AX-018
Rating: 4 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Activision Pitfall Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Activision Pitfall! Screenshot:
Activision Pitfall for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Although Pitfall! could be tedious at times, it was one of the first platformer games before the genre was established. Pitfall Harry had to race through 255 levels (side-scrolling screens) in 20 minutes while picking up treasure (money bags, silver & gold bars, and diamond rings) and avoiding the many pitfalls (scorpions snakes, fires, alligators, pits and logs).

Underground shortcuts helped you bypass the long journey above ground. This enabled you to snag more treasure in the allotted 20 minutes. The maze never changed, but neither did the 20 minute timeframe. Most gamers would begin traveling to the right - the direction Harry points at startup. However the game is actually easier if he runs to the left - partly due to new lives appearing on the left side of the screen which is beyond an obstacle if you keep heading left. If you fall in a hole, you reappear beyond it's danger - to it's left.

Difficulty Switch Settings & Game Variations for Pitfall!

Neither the Game Select switch or the Difficulty switches are used. The manual alleges each game "has many difficulties to overcome". You start with 2,000 points that can be depleted if you fall down holes or are hit by rolling logs. Just as time is finite, so are your points. There are 32 treasures (8 of each type ranging from 2000 to 500 points) to be discovered for a total of 112,000 points. a perfect game will result in a score o 114,000 points. Jump an swing wisely as Harry has but 3 lives. Your third demise results in the end of the game.

The 255 screens complete a circular maze. Once Harry has run through all the screens (in one direction) he returns to the starting point and may continue if treasures were missed. How could you miss a treasure, you ask? Each underground screen is the equivalent of 3 above ground screens. While you may travel faster below the surface, you never know what you may have missed.

I'm pretty sure my 3 lives expired long before the clock ran down, but that didn't stop me from going at it again. In the 80s you could send a picture of your TV screen with 20,000 points to be awarded an explorer's patch, I'm sure some of you had Mom stitch the Activision Explorer's Club patch onto your jacket.

The graphics are crisp and the sound quite good making Pitfall! a favorite long before Mario defined platformers. It's a single-player game, but would Player 2 really want to wait 20 minutes for a turn? A classic on the Atari 2600 and worth adding to your collection and PLAYING!

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Activision Pitfall!

is a timeless classic that can and should be enjoyed on the 2600.
Pitfall - Activision Explorer's Club patch

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