A classic Creator/{{Activision}} franchise created by David Crane. The original ''Pitfall!'' was released on the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} in 1982 and established the foundations of the multi-screen {{Platformer}} genre: running and jumping over obstacles as you travel from left to right.

The only real sequel followed in 1984, also for the 2600; ''Pitfall II: Lost Caverns'' introduced elements like exploration, true scrolling, and an [[MickeyMousing interactive soundtrack]] that reflects how well you're doing. It also received an arcade adaptation by Sega in 1985, which was a hybrid of the first two games with two completely new areas added. ''VideoGame/SuperPitfall'', a sequel/loose remake of ''Lost Caverns'', was released in 1986 for the NintendoEntertainmentSystem. All that needs to be said about that game is that ''WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd'' [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJEXpsDB2XQ has reviewed it]].

The series was revived on the SNES and Sega Genesis in 1994's ''Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure,'' a platformer in the same vein as ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' and ''VideoGame/EarthwormJim''. Two more revivals came later, this time in 3D: 1998's ''VideoGame/Pitfall3DBeyondTheJungle'' on the UsefulNotes/PlayStation, and 2004's ''VideoGame/PitfallTheLostExpedition'' on the UsefulNotes/{{PS2}}, UsefulNotes/{{Xbox}}, and UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube (and ported to the UsefulNotes/{{Wii}} in 2008 as ''Pitfall: The Big Adventure''). All of these games include the original ''Pitfall!'' as an EasterEgg; ''Lost Expedition'' and ''Big Adventure'' contain ''Pitfall II'' as well.

In August 2012, the series celebrated its 30th anniversary with an {{iOS Game|s}} in the EndlessRunningGame genre, the first product by Activision's mobile studio The Blast Furnace.

''Pitfall!'' has also left its mark on television. In its first season, the Ruby-Spears ''SaturdaySupercade'' cartoon featured segments based on the game, and a 1982 commercial for ''Pitfall!'' starred a young Creator/JackBlack.
!!The ''Pitfall'' series features examples of:

* AdaptationExpansion: The arcade game, strangely enough produced by Sega, featured enhanced versions of the overworld of the first ''Pitfall'' and the underworld of the second, and added MinecartMadness and TempleOfDoom stages. The Atari 800 computer version of ''Pitfall II'' was also expanded.
* AdventurerArchaeologist: Pitfall Harry and his son.
* AllThereInTheManual: ...why in the world are you trying to find a [[FunnyAnimal cougar that stands upright like a man]] in ''Lost Caverns''? Well, did you ever see the ''SaturdaySupercade'' cartoon that was out back during the 80's based on the first game? He was the TeamPet and his name was Quickclaw.
* AnimatedAdaptation: The ''Saturday Supercade'' cartoon series.
* {{Balloonacy}}: Harry uses a balloon to traverse a large open area in ''Pitfall II''.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: In ''The Mayan Adventure'', if you make Harry Jr. jump into a quicksand, he ''waves goodbye at you'' while being sucked down.
* {{Canon Immigrant}}s: Rhonda (Harry's niece), and the aforementioned Quickclaw were originally created for the aforementioned ''Saturday Supercade'' adaptation, but appeared in ''Pitfall II'' afterwards.
* CaptainErsatz: To ''Franchise/IndianaJones''.
* CheckPoint: in ''Pitfall II'' player deaths slide the player back to the last checkpoint they crossed, shown as little red circles on the ground.
* ClassicCheatCode: On the Sega Genesis version of ''The Mayan Adventure'': the level select cheat was B, Right, A, Down, Right, Up, B, Left, A, Up, Right, A. Which, of course, makes one wonder just who Brad and Laura are...
* ContinuityReboot: ''The Lost Expedition''.
* CorridorCubbyholeRun: ''Pitfall II'' has at least ten "floors" in a row which entirely consisted of walking across the screen as a bat flew towards Harry and having to run Harry under the bat ''only if the wings were flapping up''.
* CowardlySidekick: Quickclaw.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Pitfall 3-D: Beyond the Jungle''
* DarkReprise: If Harry dies in ''Pitfall II'', a minor version of the ThemeMusicPowerUp plays.
* DirectContinuousLevels: The arcade game does this.
* DungeonBypass: It's very possible in ''The Mayan Adventure'' to jump your way through the arenas where the second and third bosses are fought and get to the exit without triggering the boss fight (though this was removed in at least the Sega CD version.)
* EasterEgg: The Creator/{{Atari}} 8-bit and 5200 versions of ''Pitfall II'' had an entirely new level after you beat the game that was ''longer than the actual game itself.'' This may be the largest relative Easter egg in any game.
* EmbeddedPrecursor: Ever since the 16-bit days, it's traditional for ''Pitfall'' games to include the original 2600 game buried in there somewhere.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: Actually sort of averted in the first game - I mean, those crocodiles can hardly be blamed if they open their mouths while you're standing on them. Played straight for the rest of the series, though.
* [[ExcitedShowTitle Excited Game Title!]]: The original game.
* FlipScreenScrolling: The first game had nothing ''but'' Flip Screen Scrolling. The sequel introduced smooth scrolling, but only when traveling vertically.
* JungleJapes: Right down to the swinging vines.
* {{Mayincatec}}: ''The Mayan Adventure''
* {{Metroidvania}}: Pitfall II may be the UrExample.[[note]]Which would also make it OlderThanTheNES.[[/note]]
* MinecartMadness: The third area in the arcade game.
** Also a stage in ''The Mayan Adventure''.
* MoneyForNothing: The treasures that Harry finds are only good for ScoringPoints, with the exceptions of the original game and ''The Lost Expedition''.
* ParentsInDistress: In ''The Mayan Adventure'', the objective is for Harry Jr. to rescue his kidnapped father, who appeared in the original games during the 8-bit era.
* PitTrap: Pits just love to open under you. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Hence the name]], I guess.
* PrecisionGuidedBoomerang: Subverted in ''The Mayan Adventure''. Boomerangs are one of three weapons in the game, follow an improbably far-reaching curved path, and float around in the air upon return. They do disappear if you don't grab them again, however... and they ''don't'' return if they hit an enemy.
* {{Retraux}}: In ''Mayan Adventure'', when Harry Jr. finally finds his dad, [[spoiler: Harry Sr. looks exactly as he did during the original 8-bit games. As in, literally a few featureless pixels in the rough shape of a man, using only four colors. Strung up on a highly detailed, realistically shaded 16-bit altar. (And remarks "What took you so long?")]]
* ShoutOut: In the original game, Harry yodels like Franchise/{{Tarzan}} when swinging on a vine.
** Also in the original game, when you lose a life, the [[Franchise/{{Dragnet}} "Danger Ahead"]] theme plays.
* SimonSaysMiniGame: ''The Mayan Adventure'' has a similar game involving pull-levers in some bonus levels.
* SmallReferencePools
* SoNearYetSoFar: Can happen in ''VideoGame/{{Pitfall}} 2''. You only need to pick up three things to finish the game: Quickclaw, Rhonda, and the diamond ring. The game automatically ends when you pick up the last one of these. Where's Quickclaw? Right below your starting position.
* SuperDrowningSkills: Played straight in the first game.
* SuperNotDrowningSkills: ''Pitfall II'' had elaborate parts where you swim and this is an Atari 2600 game.
* TempleOfDoom: If you're indoors in a ''Pitfall'' game, you're probably inside one of these. The arcade game had one for its final stage.
* ThemeMusicPowerUp: In ''Pitfall II'' every time you grab a treasure or rescue someone a galvanizing, heroic, upbeat theme vaguely reminiscent of the ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' anthem plays. One of the oldest ones in the book, as it was the first console game to feature PSG music, and in fact the only 2600 game to have a custom sound chip.
* VideoGame3DLeap: ''Pitfall 3D''
* VineSwing: Pitfall Harry occasionally runs into vines to swing over ponds and bottomless pits that open up in the ground. The sound effects replicate the Tarzan yell whenever he does this.
* WhipItGood: In ''Mayan Adventure,'' Harry Jr. uses a sling like a whip.