Pitfall was a smash hit, leading not just to a range of ports for the original (it would appear on the ColecoVision, Intellivision and the Commodore 64, where I first played it), but also giving birth to a franchise. In 1983 the cartoon variety program Saturday Supercade introduced a Pitfall Harry show, and an Activision promotion for the game (send in a picture of a high score and Activision would send you a badge) is now almost as well-known as Pitfall itself for featuring the first on-screen performance by comedian Jack Black.

Crane released a direct sequel a year later, in 1983, but after that, it took on a life of its own. Sega released Pitfall 2 as an arcade game, the original was poorly ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure turned up on the SNES, Genesis, 32X, PC and Jaguar, and even the Game Boy Advance.

My favourite Pitfall game after original, though, would have to be 1998's Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle, which was released for the PlayStation and Game Boy Color. It wasn't that great a game, but it did star Bruce Campbell as Pitfall Harry, which for a teenage boy was more than enough to make it awesome.


The last game in the series, Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, was released in 2004 on the PS2, GameCube and Xbox. That was seven years ago, and aside from a Wii port of that same game, we haven't seen the franchise since.


Which is a little strange, don't you think? Activision isn't the type of publisher to shy away from milking a franchise and/or stepping in on someone else's market; it's a wonder that Sony's Uncharted series wasn't challenged by a darker, reimagined Pitfall Harry, one where he not only could now slaughter scorpions by the thousands, but had his whole shirt untucked.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.


You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.