The Austin Chronicle

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This Week's Waste of Time

By James Renovitch, June 17, 2010, 4:07pm, Picture in Picture

The technical limitations of online games often make for graphics and soundtracks thick with nostalgia. Pixelated characters are not necessarily easier to create these days, but it's a design decision that's light on a computer's processing power. This week we have a game from John Freeborn that's fun and frustrating in a way only an Atari imitator can be.

Atari games are inherently frustrating because they often last under a minute before having to be replayed (eg., Stampede, Asteroids, Frogger). Having to repeat anything with that much regularity will surely lead to mouth froth if not joystick destruction. Pitfall! was certainly one of those games. Those goddamned alligators got me every time. Honestly, I can't even remember why I was moving from left to right. There wasn't a princess waiting for me, was there?

This impressive update of that classic takes Pitfall!'s explorer and puts him on a skateboard. It requires a bit of skill, but more than anything players need to memorize what's coming so they can gain the momentum needed to jump over barrels or swamps. Things go from novice to expert very quickly. Be prepared.

Click here to play Skatefall!

For an advanced dork-out try Freeborn's "guess that video game soundtrack" game and try not to drown in the waves of nostalgia.

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