#42 Q*Bert

Posted: 7th January 2015 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

393rd played so far

q-bert1Genre: Puzzle
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1982
Developer: Gottlieb
Publisher: Gottlieb

We have many reasons why we pick a game, something we sometimes expand on – whether it’s random or genre-focused. Q*Bert has a clearer, more frivolous reason: We were watching Wreck-It Ralph again and Q*Bert characters have a small but adorable part in it.

I hadn’t played the game in close to two decades, so it felt like it would be fun to play it again!

Our Thoughts

Q*Bert takes a simple concept – jump on blocks to make them change colour – and does its best to take it as far as is feasible within the constraints of the game. Requiring multiple jumps on a block, blocks changing back as you jump on them again and possibly most annoying, enemies that change the colour of those blocks back as they jump on them. This is explained quite well, through a simple short cutscene showing how the blocks change as you jump on them, there’s never any real doubt.

While the level doesn’t change, these variations make the level different enough. The enemies also move randomly, making the puzzles far more about how to work around all these limitations.

Luckily, the enemies aren’t all block changing annoyances. Some start chasing you (the snakes, which are pretty annoying but can be tricked into jumping off the pyramid), while others move around and generally get in your way.

One of the big reasons the game works so well for me, though, is because of the graphics. In comparison, sure, they’re nothing major to write home about, but at the time of playing, the illusion of depth created by the different colours was extremely effective and works effectively even now. Added to that are the cartoonish, effective single-colour characters that give the entire game a lighter touch. Even Q*Bert, with its odd shape and round head, feels likeable while not really being notable. Then again, it’s not a game that actually has a story to follow on that to make you feel any different.

This feeling extends to other aspects as well. The music is nice and cheery – comparable to Bubble Bobble. Another part is the silly language Q*Bert speaks – it’s random symbols in a speech bubble, similar to cartoon swearing (although that’s supposedly not what it actually is). It’s, again, part of the same fun.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Wreck-It- Ralph this cute long-nosed puffball has had a bit of a resurgence (I mean who wouldn’t fall for a sad and homeless Q*bert) which is fitting because this is a really fun game. It has a really steep difficulty curve at times, and can feel really unfair at other times. On the whole though this is still fun to this day, and we can not say that about every older game we play.