The Game: As famed treasure-hunter Pitfall Harry, you’re delving deep into the Lost Caverns, which are loaded with Incan treasures beyond compare – or so they say. But the vast subterranean chambers are also full of dangers – bats, poisonous frogs, electric eels, and huge chasms. Touching any one of these creatures will force you to retreat to the last base camp you established, and you’ll lose points every second until you get back there. The only way to win the game is to find your way back to the surface after recovering all of the treasures of the Lost Caverns – and to do this, you won’t be able to go back the way you came. (Activision, 1984)
Memories: This was the best game ever created for the Atari 2600, hands-down.
Now that I’ve gone and made such a broad, sweeping statement, I guess I’d better qualify it. The sheer scope of this game was phenomenal, far beyond what you would expect from any Atari 2600 game. The graphics were no more sophisticated than the original Pitfall, but the huge amount of space to be covered and puzzles to be solved went beyond most people’s expectations of the platform the game was being played on.
And then there was the music…astoundingly catchy, polyphonic music, somehow generated by the Atari 2600. There’s little sound in the game itself, so the entirety of the sound circuitry was handed over to generating the music – with a little bit of an assist from a specialized sound chip in the cartridge itself.