Pitfall The Mayan Adventure is a 1994 video game developed and published by Activision. A sequel to Activision’s 1982 Pitfall! for the Atari 2600, the player controls Pitfall Harry, Jr., son of the protagonist of the original game, as he attempts to rescue his father from a Mayan jungle setting.
Activision developed the game in partnership with Redline Games. It was first released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and Sega CD in 1994, followed by releases for the Sega 32X, Atari Jaguar, and PC the following year. The PC release was the first commercial release for the recently debuted Windows 95 operating system. Publisher Majesco Entertainment ported the game for the Game Boy Advance in 2001; a downloadable version appeared on the Nintendo Wii‘s Virtual Console in 2009.
An extra feature in all versions is the ability to play the original Pitfall! (the Atari 2600 version) after finding a secret doorway within the game. The Sega CD, 32X and Windows ports contained extra (and expanded) levels and other enhancements over the other versions.
The Windows port was based on the Sega 32X version, and was made using Kinesoft‘s Exodus game technology, which was later used to make the Windows port of Earthworm Jim: Special Edition. It includes 256-colour art, in-game CD music and effects by SOUNDELUX Media Labs. SoftKey version includes America Online free trial software for Windows 3.1/95, Internet Explorer 3.02, Cyber Patrol demo for Windows 3.1/95.
The Story :
Pitfall! was created by David Crane, a programmer who worked for Activision in the early 1980s. In a November 2003 interview with Edge he described how in 1979 he had developed the technology to display a realistic running man and in 1982 was searching for a suitable game in which to use it:
|“||I sat down with a blank sheet of paper and drew a stick figure in the center. I said, “Okay, I have a little running man and let’s put him on a path [two more lines drawn on the paper]. Where is the path? Let’s put it in a jungle [draw some trees]. Why is he running [draw treasures to collect, enemies to avoid, etc.]?” And Pitfall! was born. This entire process took about ten minutes. About 1,000 hours of programming later, the game was complete.||”|
The game’s technical achievements included non-flickering, multicolored, animated sprites on a system with notoriously primitive graphics hardware. Innovative techniques were used to keep the code space within the 4k limit, including a polynomial counter to create 256 screens within 50 bytes of code. The swinging vines are created by repeatedly displaying the Atari’s one-pixel “ball” sprite at different offsets.