Control control.

Read the review here.

“Our hero Q*Bert is an odd-looking crimson fellow with a funny-lookin’ exaggerated noise, an oblate spheroid (that is, “egg-shaped”) body, two big expressive eyes, and two hoppy little legs.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.

I believe Mason Cramer likes this game.

I wish more games let you customize the control scheme to the complete extent that this one does.

This is a very interestingly notable game for the reason that both Konami and Ultra take credit on the title screen. For those who do not know: Konami was among the most prolific of NES-game developers; and, partially because they also happened to make quality games, they were very successful, and just kept turning out titles. However, Nintendo had very strict (seriously) rules about cartridge publishing in those days, designed to prevent an industry collapse that had been previously brought on by Atari’s failure to control the crappiness of third-party titles inundating the market. Among their rules and policies was this edict they gave developers that they could only produce five games a year. Most developers were either happy to stick with that limit, did not care because they were already rogue cart-makers pumping out unlicensed games, or shrugged it off because they did not quite make that many NES games a year. Konami, however, was clever, and somewhat found a loophole: They put out several games under the label Ultra, like a second developer tag, and thus skirted Nintendo’s rule, able to put more than five games on the market for a few years until Nintendo abandoned the rule, with one notable example being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. But, obviously, it would be really weird to see both Konami and Ultra on a game — usually, Konami was good enough, and if it said Ultra than it would have been counterintuitive and counterproductive and a tad too revealing to also put Konami. But, hey, Q*Bert is weird, y’know? Had to be that unique.

The arcade cabinet had a great sound effect when Q*Bert fell off, like the on-screen character was literally falling out of the machine and to the arcade floor. The NES iteration does not quite work the same way.

Q*Bert is definitely a “not for everyone” game. I know people that love it, and people that hate it. For what it’s worth, Electric Frankfurter chose it as among the top 30 most difficult NES games. I don’t even know why I’m linking to them — their blog does not allow name/URL comments, which is a dumb decision and among my Internet pet peeves, and worsened by the fact that I have tweeted about it and they just don’t seem to care. Oh well. Only enlarges my gratitude for those that have allowed me to actually comment on their entries..

Read The Full Review For: Why Q*Bert is like a dream and how that likeness prevents it from being either a five-star or a t wo-star type of game, an explanation of how a blank black background can actually enhance a game, and my attempts at a few clever, non-repeating turns of phrase to keep trying to describe how quirky this game is and all its ingredients without being redundant.

NES Gameplay Tips for Q*Bert: The first time you play, with the intention of getting better and taking it seriously, do not worry about score or lives. Just pick a control scheme, one you are going to stick with, and play. Just play. Getting the hang of the isometric-diagonal controls, until it is second nature, takes a chunk of gameplay.

Then, get out your math brain and start observing the board. Realize that it is always going to be best to go from the outsides in. Gain a first-hand understanding of why the red balls tend to go toward the middle. Truly “get” the possible movements of the sideways characters, so that you can take a confident chance of being out of their way even when they first appear and you are not yet behind them. Coily the purple snake will gradually get faster, but learn how to avoid him on your own, since you will always be a little quicker, and not have to always rely on the disks, which you can then conserve for tactical movement rather than an escape route. Otherwise, just keep practicing. This is a game I hope to get better and better at.


This. Is. Q*BERT!!

3 Responses to “ Q*Bert ”

  1. Unfortunately there was no practical way to replicate the sound of Q*Bert falling from the arcades, since there’s a physical “thumper” inside the cabinet that’s triggered whenever he falls to his doom. That’d be a tricky NES accessory to make…

  2. […] with Double Dragon; or can be discerned by the simplistic, high-score gameplay format, as with Q*Bert; the point is, a dang lot of NES games were first arcade […]

  3. […] Radiant Silvergun Bump ‘n’ Jump Ninja Gaiden (x2) Space Invaders Street Fighter II Q*Bert Kaboom Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum Adventure Island Takahashi no Meijin Tiny Toon Adventures […]

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