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Pitfall!

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Released: 1982

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Activision

Developer: David Crane

Submitted by: Scott Reed

I'm not the Atari 2600's biggest fan. So much of it's library has not, in my humble but godlike opinion, stood the test of time. Now I'll just wait and see who throws the first petrol bomb.

But it's impossible to say a bad word against Pitfall!.

Just the very thought of it baffles my mind like a Rubik’s Cube with complimentary mittens.

I've thought about it and I think I've cracked it. Why  Pitfall! is/was the dog's. When you come down to it, Pitfall! is all about precision jumping. Jumping to avoid things, jumping to catch ropes etc etc. And the jumping mechanic in this game is perfect. You jump further the longer you hold down fire. And it's so perfectly responsive. I played it straight after obscure Sega platformer Wild Woody – not the owner of the best controls in the land and it really shows it up. In fact it shows up a lot. Not Sonic and Mario of course. But a lot, especially today’s games and their jumping.

There’s not much more you can say about Pitfall! It’s a platformer why you have to avoid pits. It’s in the title. You also have to find 32 treasures. And simplicity was what the Atari 2600 excelled in. To various degrees of success I shan’t go into. So it’s simple, fun, addictive, all them ‘great game’ words.

Unlike a lot of 'classics' where they're awarded that status simply because the person cannot think of anything else to justify why it should be liked – it's good as well as old and a former big seller. Pitfall disserves it's 'classic' tag.

So as long as you don’t go looking for Shadow of the Colossus. An why would you on an Atari 2600? You should find fun, at least until the 20 minute timer runs out. But then you can find another 20 minutes of fun. And another!