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Is Pitfall Harry the Mario of the 2600?

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I know Mario actually appeared in 2600 games, but we all know he didn't become an icon until much later on another system. So for the 2600 was Pitfall Harry the closest thing we had to that BREAKOUT style character. The lead in to system mascotts of later generations such as Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog?

 

That particular game (and sometimes its sequel) are more often than not mentioned almost in tandem with the 2600. Even the new version of Atari (such as it is) had to acknowledge Harry's place in the history of the system by licensing the games from Activision for recent system revivals.

 

What do yyou all think?

 

-Ray

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Unless I'm forgetting something, I never felt like any company that made Atari 2600 games tried to pull a "Mickey Mouse." We kept getting arcade stars that seemed as big as Mickey Mouse such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Ms. Pac-Man, but I don't remember any Atari 2600 specific characters.

 

Besides being different from most games and having a cool rope to swing on, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was the reason why Pitfall! was popular. Pitfall Harry didn't seem to have a personality in Pitfall! or Pitfall II. All he ever had was stolen from Indiana Jones by way of children's imaginations.

 

The Yar from Yars' Revenge could have been a "Mickey Mouse" if the game could have somehow been created and released a year or two before May of 1982. Besides just being an easter egg in games by HSW, the Yar could have starred in other games. Atari could have put the Yar in all kinds of games.

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Besides being different from most games and having a cool rope to swing on, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was the reason why Pitfall! was popular. Pitfall Harry didn't seem to have a personality in Pitfall! or Pitfall II. All he ever had was stolen from Indiana Jones by way of children's imaginations.
True.

 

8)

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Besides being different from most games and having a cool rope to swing on, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was the reason why Pitfall! was popular. Pitfall Harry didn't seem to have a personality in Pitfall! or Pitfall II. All he ever had was stolen from Indiana Jones by way of children's imaginations.

 

That got me thinking...Pitfall..or Pitfall 2 could be hacked into a pretty cool Indiana Jones title :cool:

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That got me thinking...Pitfall..or Pitfall 2 could be hacked into a pretty cool Indiana Jones title :cool:

 

 

Yep, Change the title and your done!! Pretty easy hack :lol:

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Unless I'm forgetting something, I never felt like any company that made Atari 2600 games tried to pull a "Mickey Mouse." in all kinds of games.

What about Sorcerers Aprentice ;)

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I'd have to hand the honors over to Torr and Tara from Swordquest. Although the games aren't popular, the characters are probably closer to the system's Mario than Harry is. Harry isn't exclusive to the 2600 as Torr and Tara are.

 

Also, I nominate the spot. Our friend with the square features appeared in both Adventure and the unrelated Dragonstomper.

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So for the 2600 was Pitfall Harry the closest thing we had to that BREAKOUT style character.

If you have to ask, I'd say that answers your question right there.

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I was joking. But then I got to thinking, Atari didn't really make all that many characters. And why was the square from Adventure a square? Couldn't they make a sprite that looks like something from the guy from Berzerk?

 

Hey, how about the monsters from Berzerk? ;)

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That got me thinking...Pitfall..or Pitfall 2 could be hacked into a pretty cool Indiana Jones title :cool:

 

 

Yep, Change the title and your done!! Pretty easy hack :lol:

Don't forget to add the hat :)

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I was joking. But then I got to thinking, Atari didn't really make all that many characters. And why was the square from Adventure a square? Couldn't they make a sprite that looks like something from the guy from Berzerk?

 

To have less flickering, I suppose.

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I was joking. But then I got to thinking, Atari didn't really make all that many characters. And why was the square from Adventure a square? Couldn't they make a sprite that looks like something from the guy from Berzerk?

 

The Atari 2600, when programmed in the manner of the late 1970's, was basically limitted to having two vertically-movable detailed objects ("player sprites") on screen without flicker. Adventure used the Ball sprite, rather than a player sprite, so that the game could display two other objects without flicker. Add more than that, and flicker results.

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The Atari 2600, when programmed in the manner of the late 1970's, was basically limitted to having two vertically-movable detailed objects ("player sprites") on screen without flicker.

Beg pardon? The 2600's two sprites can move anywhere relative to each other without flicker, not just vertically.

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Unless I'm forgetting something, I never felt like any company that made Atari 2600 games tried to pull a "Mickey Mouse." We kept getting arcade stars that seemed as big as Mickey Mouse such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Ms. Pac-Man, but I don't remember any Atari 2600 specific characters.

 

Besides being different from most games and having a cool rope to swing on, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was the reason why Pitfall! was popular. Pitfall Harry didn't seem to have a personality in Pitfall! or Pitfall II. All he ever had was stolen from Indiana Jones by way of children's imaginations.

 

The Yar from Yars' Revenge could have been a "Mickey Mouse" if the game could have somehow been created and released a year or two before May of 1982. Besides just being an easter egg in games by HSW, the Yar could have starred in other games. Atari could have put the Yar in all kinds of games.

 

 

I forgot about Yar and he was used in a mascot capacity at least once. This clip demonstrates that nicely...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L6a_fmgi7o...i%20Commercials

 

So they may very well have been positioning him to such ststus, but it was interupted by the Crash. As for Video Game characters having only the personality that people's imagination's give them. Well yeah, that accounts for everyone of them. If you go back and play the ortiginal Super mario Bros. (Not to mention DK, DKjr, and original MB) then you'll note that Mario and Luigi were not filled with personality. That was a product of imagination and numerous marketing promotions in the years that followed.

 

No character has a personality in the video game, these personalities are applied by way of the players imagination and marketing. Megaman had more expression and graphical nuances than Mario, but he was NEVER pushed like Mario was.

 

So Pitfall could have had as much personality as Activision and your imagination chose to give him, same as Mario, Sonic, etc...

 

-Ray

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Besides being different from most games and having a cool rope to swing on, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was the reason why Pitfall! was popular. Pitfall Harry didn't seem to have a personality in Pitfall! or Pitfall II. All he ever had was stolen from Indiana Jones by way of children's imaginations.
True.

 

8)

Perhaps somewhat. But today, we don't really equate Pitfall Harry with Indiana Jones, except on perhaps a genre level. And we certainly weren't aware of a direct connection back then. If anything, there was a closer connection with Tarzan, swinging from vines, avoiding crocodiles -- anyone else remember those movies and the series? Of course if you think about it now, the hat bears a striking resemblance, and perhaps the first two minutes of the movie with the jungle scene could lend the backdrop.

 

But then Indiana Jones borrowed from Star Wars (and not just the lead actor) which borrowed from Westerns, which borrowed from God knows what. Where do you draw the line?

 

No story has been truly original for 1,000 years or more. And no game can be called 100% original. Mice had been eating cheese in mazes long before Pac Man came out. War of the Worlds was decades before Space Invaders. Perhaps the whole Indiana Jones craze helped Pitfall along, but now, years past the afterglow of that amazing movie, it is still considered to be one of the best all-time Atari games.

 

And I think that stands for something...

 

~G

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No character has a personality in the video game, these personalities are applied by way of the players imagination and marketing. Megaman had more expression and graphical nuances than Mario, but he was NEVER pushed like Mario was.

 

So Pitfall could have had as much personality as Activision and your imagination chose to give him, same as Mario, Sonic, etc...

Electronic Games magazine had a whole article about this that I can scan in if I absolutely have to. Some video game characters do have a personality in the game. They have a certain attitude which can include things such as tapping a foot if you make them stand in place too long. Gex certainly had a personality in his game back in the mid 1990s.

 

Activision didn't even seem like they invented a consistent personality for Pitfall Harry. I didn't watch the cartoon, so I don't know what he was like there, but I didn't see any evidence anywhere else of him having any kind of personality of his own that you could apply to the game.

 

 

But today, we don't really equate Pitfall Harry with Indiana Jones, except on perhaps a genre level. And we certainly weren't aware of a direct connection back then. . .

We didn't? Does this we include me and other kids I knew? Raiders of the Lost Ark was still on all of our minds, even years past 1982, so we were aware of the direct connection. We all knew that Pitfall was just a ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark with a dash of Tarzan thrown in. It seemed everyone was trying to ride the coattails of Raiders of the Lost Ark, just like everyone tried to ride the coattails of Star Wars. Pitfall! was released in September of 1982 and do you know what else came out that month on TV? That's right TV junkies, Tales Of The Gold Monkey and Bring 'Em Back Alive. Two shows that constantly reminded us of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then it wasn't too long before Africa by Toto was constantly played on the radio and that reminded of us of Raiders of the Lost Ark which got fed back into Pitfall! and the official Raiders of the Lost Ark game that was soon to be released.

 

 

But then Indiana Jones borrowed from Star Wars (and not just the lead actor) which borrowed from Westerns, which borrowed from God knows what. Where do you draw the line?

 

No story has been truly original for 1,000 years or more. And no game can be called 100% original. Mice had been eating cheese in mazes long before Pac Man came out. War of the Worlds was decades before Space Invaders. Perhaps the whole Indiana Jones craze helped Pitfall along, but now, years past the afterglow of that amazing movie, it is still considered to be one of the best all-time Atari games.

 

And I think that stands for something...

I think you lost track of what this thread is about. It's not asking if Pitfall Harry was original, it's asking if he was the closest thing the Atari 2600 had to a Mario. Was Pitfall Harry a Mickey Mouse? There didn't seem to be any advertising that gave Pitfall Harry a personality of his own. He was just whatever you wanted him to be and if that was Indiana Jones, so be it. Activision didn't mind riding those lucrative coattails.

 

I'd be more likely to vote for the Yar since it seemed everyone loved that game, both girls and guys equally. The Yar comes with a built-in personality, just in the way he moves and it seems everyone instantly recognizes the Yar. Even though Atari never had a chance to push it, the Yar still manages to tower over Pitfall Harry as a video game icon in my mind.

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No character has a personality in the video game, these personalities are applied by way of the players imagination and marketing. Megaman had more expression and graphical nuances than Mario, but he was NEVER pushed like Mario was.

 

So Pitfall could have had as much personality as Activision and your imagination chose to give him, same as Mario, Sonic, etc...

Electronic Games magazine had a whole article about this that I can scan in if I absolutely have to. Some video game characters do have a personality in the game. They have a certain attitude which can include things such as tapping a foot if you make them stand in place too long. Gex certainly had a personality in his game back in the mid 1990s.

 

Activision didn't even seem like they invented a consistent personality for Pitfall Harry. I didn't watch the cartoon, so I don't know what he was like there, but I didn't see any evidence anywhere else of him having any kind of personality of his own that you could apply to the game.

 

 

But today, we don't really equate Pitfall Harry with Indiana Jones, except on perhaps a genre level. And we certainly weren't aware of a direct connection back then. . .

We didn't? Does this we include me and other kids I knew? Raiders of the Lost Ark was still on all of our minds, even years past 1982, so we were aware of the direct connection. We all knew that Pitfall was just a ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark with a dash of Tarzan thrown in. It seemed everyone was trying to ride the coattails of Raiders of the Lost Ark, just like everyone tried to ride the coattails of Star Wars. Pitfall! was released in September of 1982 and do you know what else came out that month on TV? That's right TV junkies, Tales Of The Gold Monkey and Bring 'Em Back Alive. Two shows that constantly reminded us of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then it wasn't too long before Africa by Toto was constantly played on the radio and that reminded of us of Raiders of the Lost Ark which got fed back into Pitfall! and the official Raiders of the Lost Ark game that was soon to be released.

 

 

But then Indiana Jones borrowed from Star Wars (and not just the lead actor) which borrowed from Westerns, which borrowed from God knows what. Where do you draw the line?

 

No story has been truly original for 1,000 years or more. And no game can be called 100% original. Mice had been eating cheese in mazes long before Pac Man came out. War of the Worlds was decades before Space Invaders. Perhaps the whole Indiana Jones craze helped Pitfall along, but now, years past the afterglow of that amazing movie, it is still considered to be one of the best all-time Atari games.

 

And I think that stands for something...

I think you lost track of what this thread is about. It's not asking if Pitfall Harry was original, it's asking if he was the closest thing the Atari 2600 had to a Mario. Was Pitfall Harry a Mickey Mouse? There didn't seem to be any advertising that gave Pitfall Harry a personality of his own. He was just whatever you wanted him to be and if that was Indiana Jones, so be it. Activision didn't mind riding those lucrative coattails.

 

I'd be more likely to vote for the Yar since it seemed everyone loved that game, both girls and guys equally. The Yar comes with a built-in personality, just in the way he moves and it seems everyone instantly recognizes the Yar. Even though Atari never had a chance to push it, the Yar still manages to tower over Pitfall Harry as a video game icon in my mind.

 

Pitfall Harry's personality was created in the write-ups in the game manuels, the pictures of him on the patches, the TV Show, and in Activision's various other resources. Resources not as...shall we say, copius as Nintendo's would be by 1988.

 

But, you're right we should get back on topic. I think my mind is made up that the Yar fly would definately be the closest thing Atari had to a Mickey Mouse, Mario, Spider-Man, etc.

 

Besides it's personality, the Yar had the comic to back it up. Yar's Revenge is also one of the few non-core Atari games made for a later system (core games being Asteroids, Pong, Defender etc). Yar got a re-make on the Gameboy color not too long ago.

 

New Atari (ick) should use the character's recognition as an asset if they are going to conti nue to market to us old farts.

 

-Ray

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I'm definately on the "didn't see a Pitfall!/Indiana Jones connection" wagon.

 

For starters, Pitfall Harry didn't look like Indiana Jones in terms of outfit... in fact he didn't look like much of anything, just....a guy. That might be one of the problems with him as a potential mascot, he was pretty much a blank. Even on the box art he looks more like a lap technician than an adventurer.

 

Plus, when did we ever see Indiana Jones do any kind of jungle running? He seems to spend more times in caves, temples /ruins, and the desert than out in the jungle...

 

Frankly, the 2600 as programmed by Atari had an emphasis on arcade ports or crossover games ala ET / Superman, and was low-rez enough that it was hard to have a lot of charm in the characters. Plus, you didn't see the same character in multiple games... even before SMB2, Mario had been in DK, DKjr, Mario Bros, and Super Mario Bros. Comapre that to Pitfall Harry in 2 games...

 

Later on I think Atari also tried to get Bentley Bear as a bit of an icon.

 

There's a non-zero chance that Nintendo vs Atari, mascot-wise, is a bit of a Japanese vs American culture thing. Japan seems to really enjoy cute characters with.. character, and a lot of American games, especially the early ones, the player was just a means of getting into the game mechanic.

 

That was a cool video (was it a commercial? Or a PR thing) with the guy "constructing" Yar's Revenge. I was going to say it was a little dishonest showing such 3D graphics, but I guess not any more so than fanciful box art.

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I'm definitely on the "didn't see a Pitfall!/Indiana Jones connection" wagon.

Amazing! If you were very young in 1982, I guess I could understand that. Every teen and near-teen I knew saw the connection. Back then Indiana Jones was adventure guy no matter what happened in the movie, especially since many of us never even got to see the movie until years later. All we had were commercials and hype to go on. In September of 1982, the Indiana Jones buzz was still strong and it looked to most kids like Activision was trying to cash in on that buzz just like everybody else.

 

 

For starters, Pitfall Harry didn't look like Indiana Jones in terms of outfit... in fact he didn't look like much of anything, just....a guy. That might be one of the problems with him as a potential mascot, he was pretty much a blank. Even on the box art he looks more like a lap technician than an adventurer.

Could it be that Activision didn't want to get sued?

 

 

Plus, when did we ever see Indiana Jones do any kind of jungle running? He seems to spend more times in caves, temples /ruins, and the desert than out in the jungle...

As I said above, back then Indiana Jones was adventure guy no matter what happened in the movie, especially since many of us never even got to see the movie until years later. All we had were commercials and hype to go on.

 

 

Plus, you didn't see the same character in multiple games...

The Yar was in at least three games: Yars' Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

 

 

That was a cool video (was it a commercial? Or a PR thing) with the guy "constructing" Yar's Revenge. I was going to say it was a little dishonest showing such 3D graphics, but I guess not any more so than fanciful box art.

You've never seen or heard of that before? It's been on the Internet for years and there was an article about it in Atari Age magazine that you might want to check out:

 

http://www.atariage.com/magazines/magazine...;CurrentPage=20

http://www.atariage.com/magazines/magazine...;CurrentPage=21

http://www.atariage.com/magazines/magazine...;CurrentPage=22

 

I saw the article back in 1983, but I never got to see that movie theater commercial until I got Internet access.

 

 

Yar's Revenge.

You're in danger of getting your Atari nerd license revoked. That's Yars' Revenge not Yar's Revenge. :D

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Besides being different from most games and having a cool rope to swing on, the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark was the reason why Pitfall! was popular. Pitfall Harry didn't seem to have a personality in Pitfall! or Pitfall II. All he ever had was stolen from Indiana Jones by way of children's imaginations.

 

I always thought the Mad Bomber from Kaboom! had more personality than Pitfall Harry. :cool:

 

But I'm not sure if Atari or any of the 3rd party companies had a specific mascot. :?

 

I would say Pitfall Harry would be the best choice as far as Activision goes. AFter all, he had a sequel! He did remind me of Indy in a way, but also to guy in Romancing the Stone :P

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No story has been truly original for 1,000 years or more. And no game can be called 100% original. Mice had been eating cheese in mazes long before Pac Man came out. War of the Worlds was decades before Space Invaders. Perhaps the whole Indiana Jones craze helped Pitfall along, but now, years past the afterglow of that amazing movie, it is still considered to be one of the best all-time Atari games.

 

And I think that stands for something...

I think you lost track of what this thread is about. It's not asking if Pitfall Harry was original, it's asking if he was the closest thing the Atari 2600 had to a Mario. Was Pitfall Harry a Mickey Mouse? There didn't seem to be any advertising that gave Pitfall Harry a personality of his own. He was just whatever you wanted him to be and if that was Indiana Jones, so be it. Activision didn't mind riding those lucrative coattails.

 

No, I didn't lose track of the thread, just following the off-topic tangent. So back on topic then...

 

Pitfall Harry can't stand for Atari because it is an Activision game. Mario, Sonic, et al. are all representative of the console manufacturer as well as their respective games.

 

I think the short answer is that Atari doesn't have a mascot. But if I were to choose the "cartoon" representatives of the company, I'd go with the growing group of people (astronaut, pilot, race car driver, etc.) who stood on the front of the Atari catalogues. To me, they are the most representative of the company, and capture the imagination in a way that is similar to what mascots do.

 

~G

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