The Game: Q*Bert, a nosey little guy with a propensity for hopping, spends his time hopping around a three-dimensional pyramid of cubes, avoiding Coily the Snake and other assorted purple and red creatures, including a few who operate on a slightly different plane (i.e., they move down the pyramid as if it were rotated one-third). Changing the colors of the top of every cube in the pyramid to the target color indicated at the top left of the screen will clear the pyramid and start the craziness all over again. If Q*Bert is hit by an enemy or falls off the pyramid, he hits bottom with a resounding, arcade- cabinet-shaking splat and a burst of incomprehensible obscenity! (Parker Brothers, 1983)
Memories: With a huge advantage over the other consoles of its generation, the Colecovision should’ve been able to play the best game of Q*Bert in town. And the graphics are probably the best console rendition that the game got prior to the NES era. Where this Q*Bert makes one want to jump off the pyramid is in the controller.
With the Atari 2600 edition of Q*Bert, Parker Brothers made the wise decision to have players turn the controller 45 degrees, with the action button now at “compass north.” But doing a similar rotation with a rectangular controller – and one that was generally less comfortable to hold for extended periods of time – was begging for trouble. Now players had to fumble with a controller that just didn’t want to be held diagonally. It was frustrating, and after a while, it was a pain – not in the butt, but in the hands.
Audiovisually, it’s really hard to fault this game – this was the best console version of Q*Bert that could be had within a year of the arcade game’s release. It was as close as the 1982 generation of console hardware could get. But the controller hampers enjoyment of the game itself, so the game’s authenticity to its coin-op parent is probably not much of a consolation for the hand blisters.