Q*bert. Gottlieb (1982) Arcade

When you think about the classic age of arcades you think of Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. These are the arcade games that were responsible for the explosion of popularity of videogames, but along the way Q*bert was not so much forgotten but certainly left by the wayside. 


Well Q*bert is a puzzler I guess as action puzzler would be a step too far. You goal here is to jump on blocks and turn them into a different colour which will vary depending on the level you are on.


The enemies?

Along the way you will also need to avoid the purple blobs which will turn into snakes when they reach the bottom of the screen. Once they do that they will move back up and try to box little Q-ey in. Added into the mix are red blobs which simply bounce to the bottom in an erratic pattern and then respawn at the top once they get there.

Now the problem is, it can be pretty RNG-sey. I have lost countless lives from a red blob landing on me because it has spawned in the square I have jumped to from my first move. I can track the purple snake and avoid him relatively easily, but I never know where the red blobs will appear and hitting the blocks at the top are the most frustrating due to this.

On later levels, blocks will turn back to their original colour if you jump on them a 2nd time.

The controls DEAR GOD the controls

The controls are awkward as shit. You know they bad because even the NES version will make you sit through a tutorial when you start a game. Yeah, a forced tutorial in 1989 folks! It isn’t just the PS3 onwards that have forced hand holding tutorials.

Anyway, the controls fucking suck. On your control pad: Up is North-East, Right is South-East, Down is South-West, and Left is North-West… in an arcade this is a little bit less of a mind fuck because the control stick is angled to deal with this but I guarantee 93.7% of your early deaths will be from you leaping to your death after pressing the wrong button. I personally don’t feel as though anything would be missing in this game if the perspective was switched from the isometric 3D to a 2D plane to resolve this.

The way around this is to hold the pad at a jaunty angle but years of playing videogames will condition you in such a way that playing Q*bert with a pad is nigh-on-impossible.

There are actually other coloured things but I don’t care. The green ones are good though.


There isn’t much to say… Q*bert is a simple puzzle game that loops forever until you get bored or die.

The reason why Q*bert isn’t as fondly remembered as Space Invaders or Pac-Man is because it is nowhere near as good both those games were fast paced and fun. Yes they get repetitive, and limited but they are fun in doses. Q*bert can fuck off back in to the sea and suck his cock nose. The bastard.

You see Q*bert isn’t very good. But you probably guessed that by now. It will however provide some interest due to its historical significance so you should play it for at least 10 minutes in your life. But after that you’ll never need or want to play it again.

Pros: was important. For what it is worth it still looks ok

Cons: fucking cock nosed bastard. Controls which render it unplayable on consoles


Back in the Day:

Bearing in mind this was 1982 so there are mitigating circumstances but Q*bert was praised for having a endearing lead character… it was a huge commercial success and won numerous arcade awards.

Also Available on: I am pretty sure Skyrim is the only game with more ports than Q*bert.



I'm awesome. I write about videogames occasionally but spend most time painting and playing Warhammer in varying formats.

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Posted in Arcade
3 comments on “Q*bert. Gottlieb (1982) Arcade
  1. […] Chris McLeod Games Revisited on Q*Bert: […]


  2. hungrygoriya says:

    I agree that this game is tough, but I haven’t spent too much time wit it. The diagonal movements in-game don’t translate well to a non-diagonally oriented D-pad!

    Liked by 1 person

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