Man, it sure is annoying how limited 1UP’s blogging system is sometimes. I mean that in the sense that if I post multiple articles within a single day, my stupid face clogs up the main page of the site. And no one wants that! So, I guess my Bionic Commando-themed countdown of the most awesomest games about swinging ever will have to show up here instead of there, since over there is occupied with my residual Famicom stuff. Alas.
Dev: David Crane | Pub: Activision | System: Atari 2600 | Date: 1982
Where would swinging be without Pitfall!, eh? Heck, for that matter, where would gaming be? Why, it was downright essential to the medium’s development, for many reasons.
But who cares about all that. The important thing is that Pitfall Harry could swing like a crazy person. He even made a charming little bloopy Tarzan cry when he did it. (Note: Charming when Pitfall Harry did it, frickin’ embarrassing when any wookiee does it.) Of course, vine-grappling was hardly the game’s core mechanic; it was simply an incidental benefit. This is a game that appeared early enough in the medium’s life cycle that the mere act of being able to run freely from screen to screen was liberating and exciting enough to make it a must-buy even as the industry began to crumble around it. The great-for-the-time graphics didn’t hurt, either.
Pitfall Harry had a ridiculous amount of fat lewt to collect from the recesses of dozens of procedurally-generated screens, and he had to leap over tons of scorpions and jump on a whole lot of crocodile heads to do it. And, of course, he had to leap onto vines and swing over pits and stuff, too. I was never any good at that back in the day, but it made good practice for Bionic Commando. So that’s good! Thanks, Harry. Shame about all the crappy sequels that followed after Pitfall II.