Game name: Q*Bert

Manufacturer: Gottlieb

Year of development: 1982

Category: Action / Puzzle

Hardware Platform Info:

  • Main CPU: Konami Unique Hardware i8086 @ 5Mhz
  • Sound CPU M6502 @ 894.886 Khz
  • Sound chip: DAC, Votrax SC-01
  • Video Resolution 256 x 240

Main developers: Warren Davis, Jeff Lee y Terry Doerzaph

Music composer: David D. Thiel


History of development:

In the early 1980s Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were the undisputed kings of the arcades. But in 1982, a game emerged that, although rather unknown today, was competing with these two giants at the time: Q*Bert.

Programmer Warren Davis wrote that he was inspired by a pattern of hexagons implemented by fellow Gottlieb developer and Mad Planets designer Kan Yabumoto. In a different telling, the initial concept began when artist Jeff Lee drew a pyramid of cubes inspired by M. C. Escher. That's how the idea of the pyramid was born, so our character should avoid enemies and change the color of the cubes that make it up.

At first the idea was that the character could shoot his enemies, but it was decided to discard the idea and make the character had to dodge them (perhaps influenced by the popularity of Pac-Man, in which the same thing happens).

One of the difficulties faced by the development team was choosing the name for the game. The first options such as 'Snots and Boogers' and also '@!#?@!', which is the "word" our character says every time he dies, were discarded. Someone from the team baptized the character with the name "Hubert" and as he jumps over the cubes, this gave birth to the idea of "Cubert", which would end up being Q*Bert.

General description of the game:

The stage is a pyramid composed by cubes in an isometric view giving a 3D sensation. Our character changes the color of the superior face of the cubes when jumping on them, being his mission to change the color of all the cubes so that they coincide with the one of the sample that we see in the markers. When all the cubes are the same color, we move on to the next level.

Occasionally some discs appear on the sides of the screen that will take us to the top of the pyramid if we climb on them.

To make it more difficult, there are several types of enemies that we must avoid:

- The balls: if they are red they will kill if they touch us. If they are green, they will freeze enemies for a few precious seconds.

- Coily: It's a snake, shaped like a spring, that will chase us and kill us if it touches us. The way to eliminate it, is to jump to a disc transporter while it pursues us, because it will fall to the void.

- WrongWay and Ugg: These are two characters that roam the screen randomly. If they touch us, we die.

- Slick and Sam: These two characters are not mortal, but they will change the color of the cubes they pass through, so they will undo the work we've already done.


Some of the first arcades came out with the initial name @!#?@! in their marquee. The success of the game was such that there were numerous merchandising as all kinds of toys, games and even a series of cartoons.

The character has experienced a second youth following his appearance in Hollywood films Wreck-It Ralph and Pixels.



Information about the location and purchase by Arcade Vintage:

Machine from the United States, firstly acquired by Ricardo Fernández-Vega for José Litarte. It was transported in a container to England and Dave transported it to Petrer.

Information about the restoration process or repairs carried out:

The machine was restored by Ricardo. Specifically, the game board, the monitor chassis and the control panel had to be repaired.