As seen in: Pitfall! (Atari 2600)
Also in: Pitfall 2: The Lost Caverns (Atari 2600)
Distinguishing feature: Excellent form while running, Tarzan-like yodeling.
Strengths: Endurance running, jumping and swinging.
Weaknesses: Tar pits, quicksand, alligators, scorpions.
Profile by Ben Langberg | January 29, 2011
Pitfall Harry -- born Running Man Animation -- changed his name at an early age, knowing he was destined for greater things. After several years of training, Harry could run great distances, leap and swing from vines without fatigue. He knew he was ready for fortune and glory.
At the behest of Sir David Crane, he went on a South American jungle expedition in search of lost treasure. What Harry didn’t know, however, was that it was all an elaborate ruse set up for Crane’s amusement.
Harry suspected nothing out of the ordinary and went along his merry way, leaping over snakes, hopping on alligator heads, swinging on vines, and avoiding tar pits while searching for treasure. His first find, a gold bar, struck Harry as an odd thing to be found lying out in the open, but he pressed on. The second treasure, a diamond ring, seemed unusually contemporary for an Incan relic, but by this point, Harry was on quite a runner’s high and kept on running. When the third treasure was nothing more than a bag of money, Harry knew he was being played. On cue, he heard the disturbing laugh of Sir Crane coming from somewhere in the jungle.
“Hidden in this jungle maze are 32 treasures! You have 20 minutes to find them all, and if you fail, you will remain my prisoner,” Crane said with a hint of manic glee. Harry managed to find eight, was shot with a tranquilizer dart, and woke up in a medieval prison cell next to a now cold, but filling, meal. The following morning, he woke up in the jungle where he had started the day before.
A month (or what seemed like a month) passed. By now, Harry had memorized the jungle path going either right or left. He could navigate the dangers like a marathon runner—never needing to stop—yet the best he could manage was fifteen treasures. He grew desperate and angry. For a full week, he just sat and let the clock run out in defiance.
When that proved futile, he begrudgingly returned to the problem at hand and started paying more attention to the scorpion infested underground tunnels. He previously avoided them due to his unnatural fear of the vile beasts. Through trial and error, he found that some of the tunnels were shortcuts to treasures in the jungle, but just as many—if not more—were dead ends.
In the course of several months, Harry painstakingly mapped out every tunnel, and found the correct sequence to gather all 32 treasures in the time allotted. He had lost 50 pounds and had been stung by more scorpions than he could remember. When Sir Crane offered him his freedom with full payment, Harry spat in his face and called him a son of a bitch.
Years later, Crane contacted Harry, inquiring if he was still in the adventuring business. Harry replied, “What could you possibly have to offer me?”
Crane informed Harry that his niece and pet mountain lion had been captured -- hidden in an elaborate underground cavern in an undisclosed location -- and that a plane was waiting for him at the airport. Cursing under his breath, Harry got in his Jeep and headed off down the road.