The Secrets of ColecoVision Games

ColecoVision Q*Bert

Vital Statistics

Original Manufacturer: D. Gottlieb. and Co.
Arcade Release Date: 1983
Related Arcade Games: Q*Bert's Qubes (Released by Mylstar Electronics, Inc.)
Manufacturer: Parker Bros.
Game Serial Number: 9800 (A9800 Foreign Releases)
Home Release Date: 1983
Guide No.: ??
Rarity (Based on CV FAQ): Common (Can be rarer in certain areas)
Size: 8k
Two label variations: silver and cream-colored labels

Game Background

Our friendly neighborhood noser is introduced to the American public. No single video game character has had the fame and cult following Q*Bert has except for maybe Pac-man, Donkey Kong, or Mario.

Q*Bert is popular for one main reason: simplicity. Unlike Street Fighter 2 and 1/2, you have only one joystick, and it has been rotated 45 degrees. You complete the pyramid by changing each qube into a different color until you have a solid, one-color pyramid of the final color. Like Pac-man, you need to match wits with surprisingly qute characters and situations.

As an arcade game, Q*Bert did quite well (it still ranks as the only game I ever spent $10 in quarters on to get past the first grey pyramid). As a cult favorite, it naturally got ported to every video game system ever made including the Odyssey^2 (a real rarity) and Super Nintendo. In the early 1980s, the 2600 is an excellent port, and the ColecoVision is even better. No wonder they made a sequel, Q*Bert's Qubes.

Q*Bert has been owned by many different companies over the years. The original arcade game was produced by D. Gottlieb and Co. in late 1982 or during 1983. Around 1983, he was apparently sold to Mylstar Electronics, Inc., who produced Q*Bert's Qubes in 1984. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) port was produced by Ultra Games from permission of Konami Games and a license from JVW Electronics; however, its copyright says (C) 1983 Mylstar Electronics. When Q*Bert III was released for the Super Nintendo, the new copyright owner was Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. (the game was produced by NTVIC/VAP Games under a license from JVW Electronics).

Now we have tracked down who owns Q*Bert now, please write to Columbia Pictures and tell them to use the new video game platforms, such as the Nintendo 64, for a cool looking Q*Bert IV (hopefully a sequel to Qubes)!


Q*Bert Gameplay (@!#?@)

Q*Bert, a friendly orange fellow with a large nose (nostrilly impaired or advanced?:), hops around on his pyramids turning them into different color. It's up to Q*Bert to turn the pyramid into one solid, final color in order to advance to the next pyramid.

Sounds easy, right? Not really. You see, Q*Bert's arch enemy is Coily, a snake with an attitude. He falls down as a purple ball from the top of the pyramid, and when he reaches the bottom, he hatches and starts springing around looking for the good noser. He can be defeated by luring him to the side of the pyramid and hopping onto a floating disc. Coily will try to fly off with you on the disc and will fall to video game hades (until another purple ball comes).

Q*Bert has two other critters to watch out. The purple Ugg lives on another side of the cube and usually comes with a friend. Watch out for him especially when you are in mid-jump because he is deadly to the touch. Slick, a green fellow with the Coolio (or Weird Al:) doo, changes the qubes to a different color. His work will either undo Q*Bert's work or help him along (depending on the level and what color the qube is). You can catch him for bonus points.

There are three balls on the pyramid that can affect your gameplay. The purple ball is Coily, who will stop at nothing to destroy your good time. The red ball will simply knock you out and lose a man. The green ball will freeze everyone except Q*Bert for a short time; this comes in handy if you only have a few hard to reach qubes left.

Levels of Difficulty

(This information comes courtesy of the Q*Bert manual.)

The following describes Q*bert's coloring pattern in the nine game levels.

S = Starting color I = Intermediate color D = Destination color

Level 1     When Q*bert jumps on S, it changes to D. When he jumps on D, it 
            stays at D.

Level 2     When Q*bert jumps on S, it changes to I . When he jumps on I, it 
            changes to D. When he jumps on D, it stays at D.

Level 3     When Q*bert jumps on S, it changes to D. When he jumps on D, it 
            changes back to S. Q*bert's got to start again.

Level 4     When Q*bert jumps on S, it changes to I. When he jumps on I, it 
            changes to D. When he jumps on D, it changes back to 1. Q*bert's 
            got to start again.

Level 5     When Q*bert jumps on S, it changes to I. When he jumps on I, it 
            changes to D. When he jumps on D, it changes back to S. Q*bert's 
            got to start again.

Levels 6-9  The destination color is reached in the same manner as in Level 5. 
            Play becomes more and more difficult as characters and objects 
            appear with increasing speed.


Q*bert changes cubes to destination color .......25 points
Q*bert changes cubes to intermediate color.......15 points
Q*bert catches Slick............................300 points
Q*bert catches Green Ball.......................100 points
Q*bert lures Coily off pyramid .................500 points
Extra points for unused flying discs ............50 points
                                             for each disc
Bonus points ..................................1000 points
                          for completing the first round;
                     amount increases 250 points for each
                      successive round, up to 5000 points
Bonus Q*berts ........................In Games 1, 2, 4, 5
                --one for the first 8000 points you score;
                       thereafter, one every 14000 points
                                            In Games 3, 6
                    --one for every 14000 points you score

Tricks, Tips, and Easter Eggs

Rule of thumb. Unlike Q*Bert's Qubes, green is always safe to touch, and purple or red is always deadly.

Disc-ussion point. For each completed pyramid, you will get 50 points for an unused flying disc. However, you will get 500 points (10X the points) for convincing Coily to take a long walk on a short qube.

Qubing questions. Avoid the top three qubes unless you need to complete them quickly. The second row of qubes from the top will have balls dropping onto them, and the last row of qubes will have Uggs starting to climb their way upwards. Always watch out from being trapped in a section of qubes by Coily and his minions.

Too much for the touch. On higher levels, you can undo your work. Be wary of Coily and Slick influencing your qube work.

Did you know? Although the label has Q*Bert saying his typical "@!#?@", he says "e!?!" in the game. None of the characters have eyes in this game, only eye holes. Q*Bert's Qubes, however, did have the correct death phrase and had eyes for all the characters.

The information contained here is for informational purposes only. All trademarks and copyrights of Coleco, CBS Electronics, Telegames, Nintendo, and any other mentioned companies are acknowledged here. Scoring and level information courtesy of the Q*Bert manual. ColecoVision Homepage and HTML Mark-Up (C) 1996 Norman G. Sippel. ColecoVision Game Spotlight Original Work (C) 1996 Norman G. Sippel. ColecoVision FAQ (C) 1994, 1995, 1996 Joe Huber and James Carter.