Q-Bert

Q-bert was well received in thQ-Berte arcades and by the critics due to its isometric platform game and puzzle elements making it a breath of fresh air from the shoot em-up and racing games in the arcades at that time.  The game was conceived by Warren Davis and Jeff Lee and developed and published by Gottlieb in 1982.

The game always started with Q-Bert at the top of a pyramid of cubes where he had to jump diagonally from cube to cube changing its colour (harder than it sounds).  On both sides of the pyramid were rotating colour discs that Q-Bert could use to escape his enemies.  Once every cube has been changed to the target colour the player to progress to the next stage.

In later stages, to make the game play harder each cube must then be hit multiple times to reach the target colour and to spice thing up a little the cubes will change colour every time Q-Bert lands on them, instead of remaining on the target colour which made for some quick thinking.  If a jump is made incorrectly and Q-Bert jumps off the edge of the pyramid he will plunge to he’s death.

 

 

Q-bert also has some terrible enemies that would try to prevent him from completing his mission.

Coily the snake was probably his worse enemy who will try and catch Q-Bert at all cost, however if coily was following Q-Bert closely he could be trick by Q-Bert jumping onto one of the rotating discs where he would be lifted to safety and dropped onto the top cube of the pyramid.  Coily would try to follow Q-Bert and jump to his death, by doing this action any on-screen enemies would also disappear.

Ugg and Wrong-Way are two purple creatures that run along the sides of the cubes.

Slick and Sam are Two green gremlins that revert the colour of your cubes back to the original colour making hard work for you.

Coloured balls will also fall down the pyramid from time to time.  Contact with the red ball is fatal to Q-Bert but contact with the green ball will immobilize the on-screen enemies for a short time.

It’s bonkers but I really do rate this game and I think the character is brilliant, as he’s just a mad thing with a huge hooter.  Its was so successful in the arcades that a cartoon was soon made and even merchandise from the game comes third only to Pac-man and Donkey Kong.  Over the years the game has been referenced in episodes of the television series South Park, Mad, Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Futurama, and The Simpsons. 

Because of the games popularity Q-Bert was ported to many other retro systems like Philips Videopac, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, and IBM PC, PS1 and even the PS3.  On most of the home systems most of the software companies changed the name for copyright reasons.

Some of these are Cuddly Cubert by Interceptor Software,  Pogo by Ocean,  Slinky by Cosmi,  Cubey by Chab Soft,  Ghosty by Load & Run,  Crazy Herbert by Alternative and I think the best of all Q-Bert by Parker Bros.

Written by: Tony Lyon

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