The Art of Video Games: Pitfall!” Exhibition Video

  • Pitfall! Activision Publishing. All trade names and trademarks are properties of their respective parties. All rights reserved.

    This video is one of 80 displayed in The Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

    NARRATOR: In the early 1980s, “Pitfall’s” creator David Crane achieved a design breakthrough – the fluid animation of a running human form on a video game console. Crane was inspired by the adventures Indiana Jones in the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” released the previous year, and imagined a treasure-hunting jungle adventure for Pitfall Harry. You must avoid a range of enemies and guide Harry past obstacles – water, logs, and of course, pits – in a two-level maze as a clock counts down the seconds.

    With “Pitfall,” Crane created the first popular human video game character for a console, and established the standard mechanics that continue to be used in action adventure games today.