Mello Yello Q*bert

Q*bert (c) 10/1982 Gottlieb.

The player takes control of Q*bert - a two-legged large-nosed orange creature - in this abstract platform game from Gottlieb. The object of Q*bert is to jump around a forced-perspective, M.C. Escher-esque pyramid - landing on every block in order to change its colour. On certain levels, blocks must be jumped on several times before they are changed to that level's target level (as shown in the upper left-hand corner of the screen). Obstructing Q*bert in his task are a variety of enemies, such as 'Coily the Snake', 'Ugg and Wrong Way' (who can also bounce UP the pyramid as well as down) and 'Slick and Sam'. Unlike Namco's Pac-Man, Q*bert has no power-ups to speak of, and contact with the game's enemies must be avoided at all times. There are, however, emergency escape routes in the form of spinning discs that, when jumped on, transport the player to the top of the pyramid. There is also a freeze ball which appears occasionally, catching this will freeze all enemies for a short time. Q*bert has nine levels, consisting of four rounds each.


Game ID : GV-103

Main CPU : I8086 (@ 5 Mhz)

Sound CPU : M6502 (@ 894.886 Khz)

Sound Chips : DAC, Votrax SC-01

Screen orientation : Vertical

Video resolution : 240 x 256 pixels

Screen refresh : 61.00 Hz

Palette colors : 16

Players: 2

Control : 4-way joystick (diagonal)


Licensed to Konami for Japanese distribution (02/1983).

Inspired by artwork by M.C. Escher who was an artist that Jeff admired. Ron Waxman came up with the idea of Q*bert changing the color of the cubes. Q*bert's name originated by the combination of 'Cube' and 'Hubert', but the 'Cube-Bert' was changed to 'Q-bert' to make it more unique. The concept game was called 'Snots and Boogers' and then '@!#?@!' (which many of the programmers and Gottlieb VPs said would be impossible to get anyone to say) before the final version was called just 'Q*bert'. Slick and Sam were a play on the phrase 'spick and span' with Sam being named after co-worker Sam Russo. Rick Tighe came up with the idea of adding the pinball hardware which generated the very mechanical KA-CHUNK when Q*bert falls off the pyramid.

A Votrax SC-01 speech synthesis chip is used to generate the incoherent speech of Q*bert swearing, Slick and Sam (high pitch) and Wrong Way and Ugg (low pitch). The only true speech ever generated is 'Hello, I'm turned on' when the game is first powered up and 'Bye Bye' after entering your initials at the end of a game.

Approximately 30,000 units were produced by Gottlieb.

Several early cabinets were produced with @!#?@! on the marquee.

Bob Gerhardt holds the official records for this game in 'Marathon' setting with 33,273,520 points on 11/28/1983.

Tom Gault holds the official records for this game in 'Tournament' setting with 1,895,565 points.

A slightly different version known as 'Mello Yello' was programmed for promotion of the Mellow-Yellow softdrink, but it was never released to the market.

As well as being a huge commercial success as a game, Q*Bert also provided revenue from its many tie-in products. Toys, games, and other products bearing the hero

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