The Many Incarnations of Q*bert

This article is part of a series I call “The Many Incarnations of… ”, a column which will chronicle the different game titles that have been released over the years featuring a central character or theme. Pac-Man is here to provide “color commentary,” and Professor Pac-Man is on hand with interesting tidbits of trivia about each game!


“If a Qagey Qreature Qollides with Q*bert, he Qutely Qomplains and Quickly Qontinues.” Yeah, whatever you should hear the little guy. He swears like a sailor! Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: A Votrax SC-01 speech synthesis chip is used to generate Q*bert's incoherent swearing. The only true speech ever generated is Q*bert saying  'Hello, I'm turned on' when the game is first powered on and 'Bye Bye' after entering your initials at the end of a game. The game also incorporated pinball hardware which generated the very mechanical KA-CHUNK when Q*bert falls off the pyramid. 

Q*bert's Qubes

I'm just relieved that all the rumors about Q*bert being a “pyramid scheme” were simply unfounded. Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: The Rubik's Cube craze served as a major source of inspiration for this title. The names Mylstar and Gottlieb were used on two different versions of the marquee as Gottlieb was renamed Mylstar soon after Q*bert's Qubes was introduced.

Q*bert's Quest Pinball

I always wondered if he could shoot anything out of that gigantic nostril of his – well... I guess now we know. Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: Gottlieb assigned pinball designer, John Trudeau of "Creature From the Black Lagoon" and "Congo" fame, to devise a Q*bert style pinball. It had an innovative arcade game design pattern that should have sparked arcade enthusiasts to try it, however, the table was a commercial flop and only 884 units were produced.

Faster, Harder, More Challenging Q*bert

Faster, Harder, More Challenging...Sounds more like a ad spot for Viagra than Q*bert. Hey now, there's an idea - Viagra I have just found your new spokesman! Wocka! Wocka!

From the desk of Professor Pac-Man: This game is an un-released prototype that never made it into production and from what my sources tell me no dedicated cabinets for this title exist. A slightly different version of the original Q*bert known as 'Mello Yello' was programmed for promotion of the Mellow-Yellow soft drink, but it was never released to the market.

I rather enjoyed our brief time together captivating our Saturday Morning Cartoon viewers. He put up some pretty stiff competition, but in the end I'm the one that got the Christmas Special!  Wocka! Wocka!

* This article is only a listing of known unique game titles. It does not cover clones of released titles, nor will it list the various platforms the titles have appeared on. It is not meant to be an all-inclusive reference listing, and should be viewed only as the recreational offering it was intended to be. Game descriptions, game titles and registered trademarks mentioned herein are properties of their respective owners.