The Pit was first released by James R. Berry of Midas Touch Software in 1990.
The player's character is described as "a lowly farmer's boy ready to seek his fortune."
Players begin with thin armor and a weak sword. With each win, the player's character can become stronger and obtain better hand weapons or long-range weapons. Players can also use potions and other magic items.
AI opponents range from easy-to-defeat slaves to near-immortal Norse gods, such as Odin and Thor.
Like most BBS door games, The Pit is asynchronous, which means multiple players can play, but not at the same time. When one human player engages in combat with another, the other human player's character is controlled by the game.
When faced with an opponent who is too powerful, a player can try begging for mercy, or fleeing through the single doorway.
Players get a limited number of play sessions per day (usually three), and each play session ends in either a player death or the session timer expiring.
The Pit is one of several BBS door games which offered an optional front-end client. This front-end was meant to overcome the graphical limitations of the game's default ANSI interface, where, for example, the player's character is represented by a "little horseshoe," the
By downloading the front-end, called "Pit Terminal" ("EGA Terminal Interface" in early versions) players could enjoy a mouse-driven, point-and-click interface with EGA graphics, MIDI music, and sound effects. Michael Duff was credited as the programmer of early versions of the front-end. The art was created by D. Gregg Hargrove.
In its May 1993 "Telegaming" issue, Computer Gaming World gave The Pit two points out of three, calling it a "tolerably interesting fantasy-themed work." The reviewer also noted that combat in The Pit was more than merely displaying text "hit points." Instead, a player could move his character "around the arena with the number pad."
James Berry died in 1999. In a tribute, Michael Duff remembered Berry as a "a programmer, an entrepreneur and an online gaming pioneer."
- Bobby Blackwolf (6 July 2008). "The Bobby Blackwolf Show". bobbyblackwolf.com (Podcast). Guest: Rob Roberts. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- William J., Shefski (May 1993). "Mining the BBS On-line Games". Computer Gaming World. Golden Empire Publications. p. 68. ISSN 0744-6667. Retrieved 16 Nov 2014.
- Duff, Michael (2 June 2011). "A Tribute to James Royal Berry (1967-1999)". michaelduff.net. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
In the late ’80s he made a BBS game called “The Pit” — one of the first BBS games to feature color graphics and PVP combat.
- The Pit EGA interface preview (pre-v2.0)
- The Pit EGA Terminal Interface v2.04, disk 1
- The Pit EGA Terminal Interface v2.04, disk 2
- The Pit EGA Terminal Interface v2.04, disk 3
- The Pit EGA Terminal Interface v3.52, disk 1
- The Pit EGA Terminal Interface v3.52, disk 2
- The Pit EGA Terminal Interface v3.52, disk 3
- Pit Terminal v4.17
- BladeMaster - A similar game available as a Worldgroup module