Pitfall Harry Contemplating the Game Board Ahead

All I Want to Do Is Play My Old Intellivision Games

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Pitfall Harry Contemplating the Game Board Ahead
Screenshot of Pitfall from the Activision App

It started at dinner. I was washing dishes, and my cousin was drying. We were talking about easter eggs, which obviously brought up Adventure, the first video game (that I know of) to contain an easter egg.

“I play it sometimes,” she admitted.


How did she play it sometimes? She didn’t have her childhood Atari anymore.

She told me that she had purchased a retro gaming system that had all the games pre-loaded onto a chip. She plugged it into her television and could play her old favorites. Well, the old favorites that the gaming system makers thought to upload to the machine.

(It didn’t have my favorite game, E.T.. Yeah, I know everyone else thinks it’s the worst game of all-time. I freakin’ loved that game.)

They also made a machine like that for Intellivision, but it wasn’t as well-maintained as the Atari one. At the very least, the reviews I read online made it sound like it was hit-or-miss when it came to working with televisions. I wanted to try it, but I didn’t want to invest $40 in something that may or may not work.

Still I wanted Intellivision games. That was our gaming system growing up in the ’80s (until we got a Nintendo), whereas my cousin had the Atari and Colecovision. Between our two houses, we had every major video game covered.

I opted to download the Activision app on the iPad and download the complete pack of Intellivision games. I also downloaded the Atari app and their 99 games so I could have Adventure. And for good measure, I downloaded the Midway Arcade app and their games, too, because they have Joust.

Are the controls the same? Not at all. But for the first time in years, Pitfall Harry is jumping on the crocodile eyes to get over the river, and I’m rounding up horses again with Stampede.

My scores are low. Like really low. Like humbling low. I used to take a Polaroid of the screen after I played Pitfall to remember really good scores, so I still have a record of what I could achieve back when I was 10. I’m averaging a fraction of that score.

But it is so nice to be back with my video game friends, and to even make new ones. I never played Keystone Kapers as a kid, but I’m loving trying to figure it out.

Best money I’ve spent all week.

What was your favorite Atari or Intellivision game?

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13 thoughts on “All I Want to Do Is Play My Old Intellivision Games

  1. True story – I played Adventure on the Atari all the time. I was completely addicted and played Level 3 on the highest difficulty. I explored every nook and cranny of that game with the special bridge. One day, I used the bridge to move between what I thought would be two screens… as I crossed the bridge, the sound indicating you’ve picked something up was triggered. But there was nothing there! Not until I moved into an open area did I see this small shining dot. I had NO CLUE what it was, but it was awesome. I didn’t know what an Easter Egg was… very few people probably did at the time (early 80s). I was so excited I would grab it and show my parents and my friends and my siblings. I figured I’d found a bug in the game, some fragment of an object that had been deleted from the game.

    Then, one day, I happened to be dragging the dot down the center section of the game and looked up for some reason — I think my brother had distracted me. I went walking straight through the solid line on the far right that defined the furthest you could walk to the east. And tucked inside the room that appeared was something that blew my mind. It was the “Created By Warren Robinett” text running vertically down the screen. To this day, I rank that up there as my favorite (and completely accidental) achievement during my middle school years.

  2. I bow before you. You found the first easter egg. That was the story that my cousin and I were talking about that kicked off the conversation. I never found it.

    1. Back in the early 80s when this game came out, there was no Internet… no way to discover this Easter Egg that I know of. I showed a few friends and they shook their heads. We didn’t know what this was. It was obviously a hidden nod to the game’s creator, but no one knew the backstory and we wouldn’t know about it for many years. I can tell you I spent many wasted hours exploring other Atari cartridges wondering if something similar was hidden, but I found nothing. Played a lot of Atari, though.

      1. There was, however, a magazine called Electronic Games. That’s where I had learned about it because it was something Atari Age would never divulge 🙂

        1. I would LOVE to find a copy of that magazine. Was it close to the release of Adventure or a year or more after the game came out? I had always heard the Easter Egg was hidden from Atari and they didn’t find out for some time.

  3. Ahhhh, Intellivision, how I love thee…let me count the ways….
    Armor Battle
    Sea Battle (PT boats ftw!)
    B-17 Bomber w/ Intellivoice (Bandits, 12 o’clock!)
    NFL Football
    SpaceHawk (a thumb bruiser for sure)
    AD&D Treasures of Tarmin (first person perspectvie!)

  4. Loved Intellivision, so advanced for its time. I have pics of my high scores on Astrosmash, Nightcrawler, Tron Deadly Discs where we found ways to play a very long time. Games like Utopia were different. When older, my friends and instill played hockey on it.

    My parents kept our Intellivision 2 till my sons finished wearing it out. Later, for the Nintendo GameCube, I got a disc of Intellivision games so I could beat my boys at something, usually Space Armada (Invaders).

    1. You’ve named many of my favourite games. Especially Utopia: I always had to play the left island. And Astrosmash and Space Armada. My absolute favourite was probably Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

  5. The Intellivision Flashback is a very solid unit, the controllers are 99% like the originals – I think the bad/incompatible reviews you read were for the previous “all in one” units. At any rate, if you score a real Intellivision from a thrift store or auction site, you can find classic Intellivision games in the $1-$4 range, and there are a slew of new games from homebrew/independent publishers. Christmas Carol vs the Ghost of Christmas Presents, Boulderdash, Missile Domination (with Intellivoice support), and several more are available in 2016. We even have an RPG-style of game set for a 2017 release – “The Minstrel’s Legend” – so take a look around when you get a chance!

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