Pitfall!'s David Crane on his most famous game, and how Atari 2600 dev worked

A one-two punch from the outspoken developer and Activision co-founder: A deep dive into how Atari 2600 games were created, and reflections on his most famous title, Pitfall!
"Pitfall’s side view perspective, coupled with the instantaneous screen change as the player traversed off one screen and onto another, opened up new worlds of game play.  The continuity of the path from one screen to the next opened the player’s mind to the possibilities.  The contents of the next screen over were limited only by the designer’s imagination and the size of the ROM."

- Pitfall! creator David Crane 

The video of above, taken from last year's Portland Retro Game Expo, features Pitfall! creator David Crane explaining the development of Grand Prix for the Atari 2600, which he designed and programmed. 

That video was linked in a new interview with Crane at the blog Arcade Attack, which spoke to the Activision co-founder about the development of his most famous game -- Pitfall! 

The interview contains a lot of juicy details about the seminal platformer, including this tidbit about its famous title, which bears an exclamation mark: 

"Pitfall! was one of the hardest games to name. Its working title was Jungle Runner, and that almost stuck," says Crane. "Many of the other suggested titles failed badly. For example, since you are collecting gold in what might be an African jungle, we tried Zulu Gold. Unfortunately that sounded like a new strain of marijuana. That happened a lot."

The full interview is worth a read

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
Technical Lighting Artist


Hamburg, Germany
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Lead Engineer
More Jobs   


Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more