Pitfall!'s Creator Likens His Fame to Being a Child StarS

There were a lot of one-hit wonders in the 1980s, but David Crane isn't one of them. The Activision programmer was behind Decathlon for the Atari 2600, Ghostbusters, one of the first great film-to-game adaptations on PC, and later, A Boy and His Blob. But he'll forever be known as Pitfall!'s creator, almost typecast as such.

Pitfall! in many regards was the first breakout original console game, something that didn't depend on the popularity of an arcade title and a successful port to the underpowered machines of the day. It was such a mainstream hit that it became one of the inaugural segments in the Saturday Supercade cartoon lineup, and one of the first console-only games to be adapted into another medium.

But it's come at a cost. Crane told Gamasutra it was a little like being a child actor, known for his first role and not taken seriously in other work. He felt pressured to "go back to the jungle" for an encore, drafting a concept for a 2D platformer calling on Pitfall!'s motifs. Problem is, he asked for $900,000 through Kickstarter to make it, and is nowhere close to reaching that total.

"Everyone turned against me as soon as they saw [the price]," Crane told Gamasutra. ""I had people telling me that I was ruining Kickstarter for indie developers by asking for that amount of money."

It's not looking good for Crane. With 6 days to go, the project has raised only $22,000. "It's just amazing how there is no vision of what Kickstarter is supposed to be," he said. "People won't let go of what they think it is."

Living in Pitfall's Shadow [Gamasutra]