Pitfall! was created by David Crane, a programmer who worked for Activision in the early 1980s.
Crane also produced a popular sequel, Pitfall II: Lost Caverns the following year. It sold well, though not as well as the original. Unlike most games of its day, it had a definite ending.
In 1985, Activision licensed Pitfall! to Sega, which made an arcade version of Pitfall II: Lost Caverns. The game, which is now quite rare, is thoroughly remade with a first level resembling the original Pitfall! a second level resembling the caverns of Pitfall II and later levels that were completely original. This version was adapted for the SG-1000.
Pitfall! was also created for the Commodore 64 and Apple II using Activision Gamemaker as a demonstration of the game building software.
Pitfall! appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987 as Super Pitfall, but was not successful and received poor reviews.
The series sequel, the popular Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure made its debut on the SNES and Genesis-Mega Drive systems in 1994 and also showing up on the subsequent Sega 32X system a short time afterward. The game was ported to the Windows 95 operating system and the Atari Jaguar the following year. Its most recent release was in 2001 on the Game Boy Advance. The Mayan Adventure was well known for having the original Pitfall! available to play on it.
In 1998, Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle for the Sony PlayStation, featuring the voice of Bruce Campbell as Pitfall Harry, was released.
In 2004, a sequel was released for PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Xbox. It was titled Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, though it had many cartoony effects with tributes to the original Pitfall! The first two original games are playable in the game. A port of this game titled Pitfall: The Big Adventure was released for the Wii on September 23, 2008.
In 2006, the original Pitfall! resurfaced as a mini-game in Arcade's Murderworld in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. There is a sequence where the player has to rescue Jean Grey from an arcade machine. The player has to go through a Pitfall!-type game in order to reach Jean and free her from the machine. In The Jungle Book for the SNES it was also a hidden mini-game.
Source: Wikipedia, "Pitfall!," available under the CC-BY-SA License.