You are currently viewing Pitfall! by Activision: Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Strategies

Pitfall! by Activision: Tips, Tricks, Hints, and Strategies

The minimum score required in Pitfall! by Activision for the Atari 2600 to earn a patch was: 20,000 points. The best advice in Pitfall! is to read the manual, so that you know all of the nuances of the game. Make sure both difficulty switches are set to B. Pitfall! was designed by David Crane.

Your mission is to guide Pitfall Harry through a perilous jungle and find treasures in a limited amount of time. The excitement and fun begins as soon as you start the game. The controls are quite easy. Use the joystick by pressing left or right to make Harry run in that direction. Press the button to jump. There are also ladders which you can climb by pressing up or down. To release from a swinging vine, press down.

Your game begins with two men in reserve and a score of 2000 points. The timer is set at a 20 minute countdown. That is the maximum time allowed to complete the game. A perfect game is collecting all 32 treasures without losing any lives or points (114,000) and still having time on the clock when complete.

Trying to get a perfect game can be tedious, as there are so many dangers in this game. If you do happen to pull off a perfect game, consider yourself one of the elite! There are 32 hidden treasures that you must find: 8 diamond rings, 8 gold bars, 8 silver bars, and 8 money bags. There are a total of 255 screens in the entire jungle map. Each screen traveled below ground is the equivalent of three screens on the surface. This is where map-making comes into play. Learning what ladders to take and which direction to run, and how many screens that you will have to count will make you more efficient in finishing this game more quickly. There is not nearly enough time to complete the game entirely above ground. You must utilize certain valuable underground passages.

This is another game where you will not receive any extra lives. The lives that you begin with are all that you have to work with, so make them count. If you do happen to lose a life, Harry will always reappear on the left side of the screen. This can work to your advantage sometimes.

Nicking rolling logs or stationary logs, or falling down into holes will cause Harry to lose points from his total. If you’re observant you will notice that all the rolling logs roll in the same direction from the right to the left. If you run into a campfire, a cobra, a scorpion, or fall into a swamp or quicksand you will lose a life. Timing is everything when it comes to survival in this game. Sometimes there are swinging vines that can come in handy when encountering these perils.

** TIPS For the quicksand or the tar pit you can use a “jump toward it” as it closes technique to make your completion time just that much faster and or “jump away from it” right before it opens as to make your distance further rather than trying to outrun them. Also you do not have to wait until the Croc’s mouth is closed to jump across them. Just jump on the backs of their heads and continue your jumping across all 3 of them.

Here is a map of the entire Pitfall jungle of 255 screens. It shows where every treasure is located, what exactly is on each screen, and which underground passageways must be used.


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When you are ready to submit a world record score for Pitfall! by Activision, check the scoreboard here:

And when you’ve earned your patch, just visit