My family bought an Atari 2600 in December of 1978 or 1979. I don’t know which because I was only a child. But a few years later I was obsessed by that wood-paneled console with the blocky, glitchy graphics that are so goofy by today’s standards. But I still have nothing but love for the classic video game era and the arcades that housed classics like Qbert. For my seventh birthday, I got my very own copy for the Atari.
Qbert was a weird looking little orange guy. His body looked like a cheese puff, and his nose looked like a traditional Cheetoh. For some reason he was doomed to spend all of eternity jumping on pyramids of different-colored cubes. The goal in each level was to jump on the top of each cube, which would change its color. When all of the colors had been changed to the appropriate shade, the level ended. As was the tradition with Atari 2600 games, the next level wouldn’t be much different, but would be faster.
Things also got tougher in later levels when the cubes would revert to their original color the next time you jumped on them. Early on, they are set once you hit them the first time. Later on you might have to jump on the same cube 100 times to finally end the level.
You have to do so much jumping because, of course, you are being chased be a few nasty characters.
Coily is a purple snake that bounces around after you. Ugg and Wrong-Way are too weird-looking purple things that scamper all over the cubes trying to catch you. In my Atari version there was also a green guy who looked like a kiwi with shades and sneakers, but I can’t remember what his name was. The farther you progressed, the fast these guys would all get. The game was difficult, addictive, and fun. What more could you want?
As an added bonus which I only appreciate now, when Qbert got killed by one of the enemies, he would emit a weird squelching noise while the universal characters for cursing (#*@!) would pop up above his head, which always made my dad laugh.
If you’re a fan of retro arcade or Atari Games and you haven’t tried this classic, I highly recommend it. Lots of good memories here. And if you’re looking for more suggestions, check out this book review of Arcade Fever, a guide to classic arcade games.
And if you have a sizable collection, you might enjoy my posts on video game storage.