Company: Atari
Model #:
Dave Hampton (Programmer) & Tom Sloper (Graphics)
Year: 1987
Re-Release of the Parker Brothers version


The 80's introduced us to many odd ball and zany characters, from that giant gorilla known as Donkey Kong, to that odd yellow eating machine known as Pac-Man.  While many of these characters live on in the modern age, some weren't that lucky.  Q*Bert, with his round orange body an oversized nose, made him a cuddly icon of the 1980's.  Not only did Q*Bert enjoy success in the arcades, but he was also the star of a short lived cartoon (think Archie but with Q*Bert characters).  Unfortunately as Q*Bert soon found out, fame is fleeting.  After trying an unsuccessful comeback in the mid 90's (Q*Bert 3 for the SNES), he was quickly forgotten.  This is a shame, as the Q*Bert character had alot of potential.  I guess he was just a little too wacky for his own good (his swearing habit didn't help much either).


The basic idea behind Q*Bert is simple, jump on each of the cubes an turn them to the proper color.  This may sound easy, but as you might have guessed, there are some obstacles in your way.  As you hop your way around the pyramid, you will need to watch out for the deadly Red and Purple Balls, Coily the snake, and that little green trouble maker Sam.  Each one of these odd ball bad guys is out to make sure you don't have a happy day.  To make your life even more difficult, later levels require multiple jumps to make the proper color appear, and colors may revert back to normal if you jump on the cube too many times.  But all is not lost, for Q*Bert has two weapons at his disposal.  Located on the sides of the screen are two flying discs that Q*Bert can hop on for a quick escape back to the top of the pyramid.  If you're crafty enough, you can trick Coily into jumping off the pyramid in a futile attempt to chase you.  Q*Bert's second weapon comes in the shape of a Green Ball.  If Q*Bert can grab the Green Ball he can hop around unmolested by baddies for a few seconds.  Cherish these moments, as they'll come few and far between.


Although the 2600 is top notch (considering the hardware limitations), there are few things missing from the game.  Most versions had two additional baddies called Wrong Way and Ugg who appeared starting on level three.  These two odd ball characters would jump on the sides of the cubes instead of the tops, making your life extra miserable.  The arcade version also had an extra green guy called Slick (Slick and Sam, get it?), who worked in tandem with his partner changing the cube colors back to normal.   While the elimination of Slick isn't missed, the omission of Wrong Way and Ugg really hurts the 2600 version of the game.  Without these two guys, the game is simply too easy and lacks the challenge of other versions.


The 2600 does a good job of taking a graphically challenging game, and making it playable.  While some of the gameplay had to be cut to accommodate the 2600's limitations, what's left is highly playable.  During the late 80's when the Atari 2600 was staging its comeback, Atari bought up several 3rd party titles and released them under its own label in an attempt to bulk up its library.  Q*Bert was one of these games, and although the label and packaging had changed, the game program was exactly the same.  Atari would later go on to do this with several other popular titles such as Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong jr., and Mouse Trap.  Zaxxon, Turbo, and Frogger were also planned as re-releases, but never came out.


Version Cart Text Description

QBert 2600 NTSC

Final Version

QBert 2600 PAL

Final Version (PAL)


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