Crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter continue to impact on product development and manufacturing work flows - contributing to what American economist Jeremy Rifkin termed a Third Industrial Revolution. At the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this month, David Crane announced his ambitions to bring this revolution to the video game industry through a project called Jungle Adventure. The creator of best seller Pitfall! wants to use Kickstarter to redefine how video games are produced. Framed under the banner of Jungle Venture Inc., his team is asking for US$900,000 to design a game tipped to be the definitive David Crane jungle game.

The focus of Jungle Adventure is to make a game funded by the people. Not shying away from its Pitfall! roots, the game will use cutting edge technology to bring jungle based gaming, snakes and all, right up to date.

The aim to give designers and players more creative freedom is built into the game's development plan. “With Kickstarter, a game player backs the game development directly," says Crane. "Close to 100% of the net fund goes to creating the game. And the budget, schedule, and creative control rest with the game creators where it belongs”.

Though $900,000 could be viewed as a big pledge to ask for, it is nothing when compared to the time, people hours and level of commitment that will go into making Jungle Adventure. Somewhat philosophical in his approach Crane views it as: "If you want to see and own the Jungle Adventure that David Crane can make using today's technology, back the project and come along for the ride."

It is clear Kickstarter is the preferred choice of funding for David and the Jungle Venture Inc. team. If they do not acquire the funds via crowdsourcing they will not have a problem getting an audience with traditional backers. This, however, is not the route Crane wants to go down and admits Jungle Adventure will be a different game if finances come from elsewhere.

A pioneer in the video game industry, Crane has achieved much in his 35 year career. The first video game developer to view his craft worthy of the same recognition as writers or artists, he left Atari in 1979 to co-found Activision - the first third party games publisher. Both Pitfall games designed by Crane are on display in the Smithsonian Museum and he is the recipient of many awards, including the first Pioneer Award given by Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

    Pitfall! facts
  • The working title for Pitfall! was Jungle Runner
  • 2012 marks the 30th Anniversary of the game’s release on the Atari 2600
  • The original Pitfall! sold 4 million copies on the Atari 2600 and is second only to Pac-Man as the best selling game on the console
  • The TV commercial for the game featured a 13 year old Jack Black
  • There was a Saturday morning cartoon called Pitfall Harry, which featured its eponymous hero in Indiana Jones style adventures with his niece Rhonda and trusty mountain lion, Quickclaw, by his side
  • The game was an innovation and one of the first to herald the arrival of the side scrolling platformer
  • When players scored 20,000 points they could take a picture of the TV screen and send it to Activision to receive a free explorer badge
  • There was a map drawn up so that players could navigate the game
  • The sequel, Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, featured a custom chip on the cartridge ROM to make up for the limitations of the Atari 2600 hardware. As a result, it was the first game on the console to feature a four part harmony music soundtrack
  • Chapter six of the book Racing the Beam by Noel Montfort and Ian Bogost gives a detailed insight into the design of the first Pitfall! game

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