Museum of the Game ®

International Arcade Museum® — Killer List of Videogames®

Q*bert Q*bert - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Q*bert - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


A two-legged, big-nosed, orange creature jumps diagonally around on a pyramid, changing the color of the blocks he lands on. Avoid most moving objects and characters while luring Coily, the snake, to his demise by jumping off the edge of the pyramid onto one of the flying disks. The game has nine levels of four rounds each.

Q*bert was produced by Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. in 1982.

Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. released 59 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1970. Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. was based in United States.

Other machines made by Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. during the time period Q*bert was produced include: Caveman, Pipeline, Mars God of War, Tidal Wave, Force II, Insector, Combination Rotation (never produced), Punk!, Reactor, and Snots And Boogers


Name Q*bert
Developer Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. (United States)
Year 1982
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 9182
Class Wide Release
Genre Platform
Conversion Class Gottlieb
Game Specific Q*bert Pinout
Dipswitch Settings

Q*bert Dipswitch Settings (user contributed)

# Simultaneous Players 1
# Maximum Players 2
Game Play Alternating
Control Panel Layout Single Player
  • Joystick: 4-way (up-left, down-left, up-right, down-right)
Sound Amplified Mono (one channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard
  • Cocktail
  • Cabaret/Mini
Instructions Q*bert Instructions Image
Control Panel Q*bert Control Panel Image

Game Introduction

The orange character who you control in this game is Qbert. The purple characters are your enemies and their names are Coily the spring-like snake, Ugg the pig-like creature and Wrong-Way the sharp-toothed creature who moves upside down. The friendly green creatures are named Slick the one with the dark glasses and Sam the one with the white bulging eyes.

Game Play

You must have Qbert hop on all the squares of each pyramid and change them into the color that they are required to be. Everytime Qbert is hit by something, he says "@!?@!". You must be careful and be sure that Qbert does not fall off the pyramid.

As the attract mode explains, green is safe, nothing else is.

  • The first dangerous things to appear are the red Whammy Balls. They drop down onto the second row and bounce down in random directions before falling off the bottom.
  • Next is Coily. He begins as a large purple ball that acts just like a Whammy Ball until it reaches the bottom row. After a brief pause, it becomes the snake and will relentlessly chase QBert around the pyramid.
  • Ugg and Wrong Way appear together. They are oddballs in that their gravity is different. They bounce around the sides of the blocks Wrong Way on the left, Ugg on the right, going "down" until disappearing off their respective "bottom rows".

There are three different green things that appear. Unless the enemies prevent you, you will want to make it a point to collect anything green.

  • Slick and Sam appear together and do the same thing. They bounce down like Whammy Balls, but everywhere they land, the color of the cube changes to something other than the target. As such, they become quite a nuisance in later levels. If you can grab them, you will stop their mischief and net 300 points.
  • The little green ball is among the least common of things to see because they are so useful. Collecting the green ball not only nets you 100 points but starts a brief time freeze where you can hop around without interference.

On each side of the pyramids, there are discs that Qbert can use to escape from the bad guys. Everytime Qbert jumps onto a disc, it will carry him back to the top of the pyramid. It is best to use a disc whenever Coily is close behind, so when Qbert uses a disc at that moment, Coily will jump off of the pyramid. Killing Coily also clears the board of enemies very handy.

You must have all squares changed to the required color to proceed to the next round. After all four rounds on a level are completed, you will proceed to the next level.

On the first level, you only need to jump on a square once to make it the correct color. At level two, you need to jump on them twice. At level three, you only need to jump once, but jumping on a square already at its target color changes it back! At level four, two jumps are required and jumping on a target color changes it to the intermediary color, requiring you to jump on it once more to change it back. At level five, jumping on a target color changes it back to the original color. It just gets harder from there as you may need to jump on a square three times or more. Also, as the game progresses, the pace gets faster. By about level six, you will be going about twice as fast as at level one. Level nine repeats infinitely.

Q*bert KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 4.27 (24 votes)

Fun Factor: 4.35

Overall Like 4.48
Fun (Social) 3.36
Fun (Solo) 4.48
Collector Desire 4.57

Technical Rating: 4.33

Gameplay 4.43
Graphics 4.13
Originality 4.83
Sound/Music 4.22

Personal Impressions and Technical Impressions each account for half of the total score. Within the Personal Impressions category, Like carries a little more weight than the other factors.

Log in to rate this game!



Several early units were shipped with @!?@ on the marquee instead of Qbert, and is referred to as the "swearing" marquee. Part of this games unique charm is the pure gibberish that comes out of the machines speech synthesizer.

There was an erroneous rumor going around that the designer of the Furby is the original programmer of Qbert. This is untrue. The original Qbert arcade game was designed and programmed by Warren Davis with graphics by Jeff Lee and sounds by David Thiel. The designer of the Furby may have been one of the programmers of a Qbert conversion to a home system such as the Atari 2600, hence the confusion.

Faster Harder More Challenging Qbert never went into production and no dedicated cabinets are known to exist.

A 1983 Commodore 64 game entitled Humphrey bears a striking resemblance to 1982's QBert. Some C64 enthusiasts insist QBert was an idea stolen from the programmer of Humphrey, although there is no evidence to support that

Cabinet Information

The dedicated upright cabinets include a knocker solenoid that activates whenever a character falls off the pyramid. The effect creates a rather loud knock inside the cabinet whenever the device is activated. The solenoid is the same type that was used in many older pinball machines to indicate that a free game had been awarded.


The main PCB can be configured to play both Qbert and Faster Harder More Challenging Qbert. This can be performed via a ROM swap with some basic wiring to a switch.


This game was licensed to Konami for Japanese manufacture and distribution.

The game was also sold as a bootleg version by Jeutel in France. Some of the manufactured boards were simple conversions from Jeutels Qbert bootleg boards, with some very basic hardware modifications.

One of the main differences between Faster Harder More Challenging Qbert and the original is that the flying disks on the sides of the pyramids change positions randomly throughout the game play. There is also a bonus round after levels two and five.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Q*bert Census

There are 14,958 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,547 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 165,359 machines (6,939 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 617 known instances of this machine owned by Q*bert collectors who are active members. Of these, 537 of them are original dedicated machines. 15 of them are conversions in which game circuit boards (and possibly cabinet graphics) have been placed in (and on) another game cabinet. 62 of them are only circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 14 active VAPS members with a Q*bert machines for sale. There are 4 active VAPS members with a Q*bert circuit boards for sale.

Wanted - Very Popular - There are 107 active VAPS members currently looking for Q*bert. There are 2 active VAPS members looking for Q*bert boards sets.

This game ranks a 88 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 95 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census want list records.

Rarity and Popularity independently are not necessarily indications of value. [More Information]



The Gottlieb design used for this game features an Intel 8086 CPU at 5MHz along with a Motorola 6502 at 894.886kHz to create sound effects via a DAC. QBert and Reactor both use the SC01 speech synthesizer, although in the case of QBert, it is never used for any kind of coherent speech. All the speech is generated by making the chip play random sounds at a specific pitch.


The game suffers from a high sound chip failure rate probably because the LM379 audio amp is rated at 28 VDC and the power supply pumps 30 VDC through it. Replace the 30 volt Zener diode on the regulator board with a 27 volt Zener, equal to or greater in wattage. This should help prolong the life of the audio amp.


  1. Q*bert
  2. Q*bert Qubes
  3. Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert


Foto-Finder® (Books)

  1. Arcade Fever Sellers (ISBN 0762409371) Page: 108; Color photo

Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Upright

See the game at:

This game is available at the following public arcades, bars or museums:

Name Location State Country Details Check-ins
The Very Best Arcade (The Very Best Weiner Shop) 252 E High St, Pottstown Pennsylvania United States Arcade (Classic Videogame)
Status: Verified

Children: Allowed
Focus: Classic Games
Food: Yes
Alcohol: No
Payment Method: Coins
Upstate Pinball & Arcade Museum 109A West Trade St, Simpsonville South Carolina United States Arcade (Classic Videogame)
Children: Allowed
Focus: Classic Games
Food: No
Alcohol: No
Payment Method: Admission Charge

eBay Listings

Click to search eBay for Q*bert Videogame machines and related items.

Click to search eBay for Gottlieb, D., & Co., a Columbia Pictures Industries Co. for machines and parts.

When you click on links below to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Such revenue helps to fund this site's operations. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.


Ebay Compatible Application


  1. Log in to contribute content to this page
  2. Please consider donating to the International Arcade Museum Library