Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
In 1979, game developer David
Crane came up with the technology that could display a
realistic running man in a video game. Searching for a suitable game to use it
in, Crane sat down with a piece of paper and ended up scribbling a stick figure
man running through a jungle collecting treasures and avoiding enemies. That
simple idea became the basis for Pitfall!
The player controlled Pitfall Harry as he
ran through a maze-like jungle to collect 32 treasures comprised of bags of
money, gold and silver bars and diamond rings within a set time limit.
Meanwhile, Harry had to avoid numerous obstacles such as pits, quicksand,
rolling logs, fire, snakes, scorpions and crocodiles by jumping over them,
climbing, or swinging on vines (which was accompanied by a Tarzan-like
yell sound effect). Points would be lost whenever Harry fell into a hole or hit
a log, and a life with every other peril.
released the game on April 20, 1982 for the Atari 2600.
The technical achievements of Crane’s programming meant that multiple animated
sprites could appear on the screen without causing any flickering on the
otherwise primitive graphics hardware. The game was a hit, spending 64 weeks as
a #1 best-seller and receiving high praise for its graphics and gameplay; often
credited with creating the side-scrolling genre (even though it didn’t actually
scroll). It was even awarded “Best Adventure Video Game” in the 4th
Awards. The game was subsequently ported to the various
gaming systems available at the time and went on to sell over 4 million copies
throughout the 1980s.
Making up the Supercade every week were segments based on Frogger, Donkey Kongand Donkey Kong Jr., while Pitfall! alternated its slot with Q*Bert. As in the game, Pitfall Harry
(Robert Ridgely) navigated the many perils of the jungle as he searched for all
kinds of treasure. Joining him were the newly created characters of his adventure-seeking
niece, Rhonda (Noelle North), and their cowardly pet mountain lion, Quickclaw
(Kenneth Mars). Ken
Boyer and Patrick A. Ventura served
as Supercade’s character designers
and fleshed out Harry from his pixelated blocky form.
Harry and Quickclaw hanging out with Donkey Kong.
with the rest of Supercade on
September 17, 1983. It had the shortest run of all the featured segments,
topping out at only seven episodes. When Supercade
was renewed for a second season, Pitfall!,
along with Frogger and Donkey
Kong Jr., were dropped in favor of new segments Space Aceand Kangaroo.
cancellation, work had begun on the 1984 sequel to the game, Pitfall II: Lost Caverns. The game was
the last major release for the Atari 2600 and featured further technological
advancements by Crane; such as a soundtrack and 27 horizontal levels. Included
in the game were the characters of Rhonda and Quickclaw, both of whom needed to
be collected in order to win the game. Like the earlier game, Pitfall II was ported to additional
systems. The Atari
versions were called Adventurer’s
to the extra level added by designer Mike
Lorenzen, while the Famicom (the Japanese name for the Nintendo
Entertainment System) got a loose remake called Super
1984 also saw the release of a Pitfall! coloring book from Golden
Books, which was based on the cartoon itself. In
licensed the game to create an arcade version,
which was actually a combination of both Pitfall
games with better detailed graphics. The Quickclaw name was later reused
for a jaguar included in the sixth and final Pitfall game, 2004’s The
as The Big Adventure on Nintendo Wii).
Panda Puzzle” (9/17/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
Jungle Bungle” (9/24/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
of the Lost Shark” (10/8/83) – Harry is called to recover rare coins from The
Shark and his crew of pirates.
Treasure Trouble” (10/22/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
Menace Mess” (11/5/83) – The Star of India ruby is taken from Harry while he
transports it to the Calcutta museum.
Sabretooth Goof” (11/19/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
Pyramid Panic” (12/3/83) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.