Platforms: Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, IBM PC/Compatibles, Intellivision, NES / Famicom, TI-99/4A


Main Genre:
3rd-Person , Isometric
Visual Presentation:
Fixed / Flip Screen


Arcade version of Q*Bert
Arcade version of Q*Bert
Q*Bert is an action game originally released in arcades by D. Gottlieb & Co. in 1982 and later ported to numerous home computers and game consoles. The object of the game is to change the color of every cube in a pyramid to a target color by guideing Q*Bert to hop on each cube while avoiding enemies or falling off of the pyramid. Q*Bert is the only game by Gottlieb to achieve commercial and critical success. A sequel, Q*Bert's Qubes, was later released by Gottlieb (by then renamed Mylstar Electronics) however it was not as popular.


The goal of the game is to change all of the cubes in the pyramid to the target color indicated in the upper left of the screen. Players control Q*Bert, an orange creature with a large nose. Q*Bert can hop diagonally to any adjacent cube which will changes its color; when every cube reaches the target color, the round is complete and the next, more challening round begins. Also on the pyramid are various dangers including bouncing balls and Coily, the snake. If Q*Bert comes into contact with any of the dangers or jumps off of the edge of the pyramid a life is lost. Q*Bert doesn't have many defenses and all of the enemies need to be avoided; to aid players, however, there are two types of bonuses possible. First, In order to evade Coily the snake, there are discs floating to the sides of the pyramid (the number of discs and location varies by round). If the player jumps on a disc, Q*Bert will be transported to the top of the pyramid and the disc disappears. If Coily is following the player closely, it will jump off the pyramid. Secondly, a green ball will occasionally appear; if Q*Bert touches the green ball all of the enemies temporarily freeze and become harmless.


The following are the characters and objects encounted in Q*Bert. Anything that is not green is deadly for Q*Bert to touch and will cause a life to be lost.
  • Red ball: the red ball randomly bounces from the top of the pyramid until it reaches the bottom where it falls off.
  • Purple ball: Similar to the red ball, the purple ball randomly bounces towards the bottom of the pyramid. Once the bottom row of blocks is reached, the purple ball hatches into Coily the snake.
  • Coily the snake: Coily springs from cube to cube following the player. Coily continues to follow the player unless it is lured off of the edge by Q*Bert hopping on one of the discs.
  • Ugh and Wrong-Way. These two creatures move around the pyramid starting from the bottom; they do not chase Q*bert directly, however often get in the way. They are located on the sides of the cubes rather than on the top. Ugh and Wrong-Way first appear on Round 3 of Level 1.
  • Slick and Sam: These two creatures jump from the top of the pyramid towards the bottom. Any cubes they land on will revert to the previous color making the round trickier for the player to complete. They are harmless to Q*Bert; if caught, they will disappear. Slick and Sam first appear on Round 4 of Level 1.
  • Green ball: The green ball bounces from the top of the pyramid towards the bottom similar to the red ball. If Q*bert catches it, all other characters on the pyramid are temporarily frozen and become harmless. A musical theme and flashing colors alert the player when the effect is about to wear off.


Points in Q*bert are earned as follows:
  • Changing a cube to an Intermediate color: 15 points.
  • Changing a cube to the Destination color: 25 points.
  • Catching the Green Ball: 100 points.
  • Catching Slick or Sam: 300 points.
  • Luring Coily off pyramid: 500 points.
  • Completing a round: 750 points + 250 points x round number.
  • End of round bonus: 50 points per disc remaining.


Platform: Arcade
Designed and Programmed by: Warren Davis
Graphics by: Jeff Lee
Audio by: David Thiel
Cabinet Illustration by: Terry Doerzaph
Platform: Atari 2600
Programmed by: Dave Hampton
Graphics by: Tom Sloper
Platform: Atari 8-bit
Programmed by: Daniel Small
Platform: Commodore VIC-20
Programmed by: Paul Crowley


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version


Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
Parker Brothers version
Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
Atari Corporation version
Instruction Manual
Atari 5200
Instruction Manual
Atari 8-bit
Instruction Manual
Commodore 64
Instruction Manual
Commodore VIC-20
Instruction Manual
NES / Famicom
Instruction Manual


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Q*bert has appeared in.
*Note: If you are unable to see any images in this section, you may have an ad blocker installed that is blocking the thumbnails and/or images.
Magazine Advertisements
1983 magazine ad
Parker Brothers 1984 magazine ad
Product Catalogs
Q*bert in the Parker Brothers product catalog

Related Games

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles: