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Q*bert for the TI-99/4A is a port of the popular 1982 arcade game by the same title, originally programmed by Warren Davis. It was published by Parker Brothers and released on Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module cartridge with part # PB 1620. It originally retailed for $19.95 (USD).

Q*bert (retail packaging)
Q*bert (retail packaging) [1] [2]
Publisher(s) Parker Brothers
Original Retail Price $19.95 (USD)
Programmer(s) Warren Davis (original programmer)
Part# PB 1620
Format(s) Solid State SoftwareTM Command Module
Release 1984 (2nd Quarter)
Genre(s) Action, Puzzle


Q*bert is an Action/Puzzle game on board with a pseudo-three-dimensional (3D) appearance. The player begins each level of the game at the top of a 28 cube pyramid. The goal is to hop from cube to cube diagonally which causes the cubes to change color. When all cubes on a level have been converted to the target color, the player progresses to the next level.

The player faces several different enemies in his/her quest to convert the color of the cubes:

  • Coily - A bouncy snake that begins as an egg at the bottom of each pyramid. Often considered the main agonist of the game.
  • Ugg and Wrongway - These are two purple creatures that hop along the outer edges of the pyramid starting from the bottom and working their way towards the apex. They eventually fall off the pyramid when they reach the end.
  • Slick and Sam - These are two green creatures who start at the top of the pyramid and work their way down. These revert the cubes they land on back to their original color.

When Q*bert collides with a purple enemy, it takes a life of the player. However, green-colored enemies are removed from the board when they come in contact with the player. Colored balls occasionally appear on the second row of cubes that bounce down the pyramid. Contact with a red ball it lethal to the player. Contact with a green ball temporarily immobilizes all other enemies on the screen.

There are two multi-colored discs on the thrid level from the bottom of the pyramid. Q*bert can jump on these discs which will transport him to the top of the pyramid. If Coily is in close proximity of Q*bert when he jumps on the disc, he will follow after the player, falling into oblivion and dissapearing. It also causes all other enemies to disappear for a short period of time.

Points are given for each color change (25), defeating Coiling with a flying disk (500), remaining discs at the end of a stage (50 or 100 points), and catching green balls (100) or Slick and Sam (300 each). Bonus points are given for completing a level, starting at 1,000 points for the first screen and increasing 250 points for each subsequent level up to 5,000 points after level 4. Extra lives are earned for reaching certain scores.

Advertising Blurbs

Back Cover Retail Packaging

Q*bert's captivating arcade adventures hop your way with lively action, colorful graphics, and arcade-like sounds.

Spring Q*bert up and down the steps of a "three-dimensional" pyramid, changing the color of each step as he lands. Complete an entire pyramid, then hop onto a more challenging one.

But look out! All sorts of crafty arcade creatures pursue Q*bert. You'll need good timing and quick reflexes to hop Q*bert away from danger fast - or soar him to safety on a Flying Disc. But watch where you move Q*bert. One hop off the pyramid, and he'll be lost in space!

Q*bert - the irresistible arcade character in a captivating game full of fanciful fun.

Triton Catalog - Fall 1984

All the exciting action of the arcade hit! Life's tough for Q*bert. He's got to stay one jump ahead of Coily, the slithering snake - and all the other yucky creatures that insist on popping up on the screen. So spring into action and help Q*bert bounce from step to step on the colorful, 3-D pyramids. Life will turn tough for you, too! For 1 or 2 players. (Joysticks required.)



To score as many points as possible by changing the color of the cubes on the pyramid from a starting color to a destination color. You'll do this by hopping Q*bert from cube to cube while avoiding the "nasty" characters who will try to stop him. Each time you complete a pyramid, you'll proceed to a new pyramid-or round.

Setting The Console Controls

1. Make sure the cartridge is placed firmly into the cartridge slot.

2. Turn the ON/OFF switch to ON.

3. Follow the instructions on the screen:

(a) Press any key to begin.
(b) Press 2 to play Q*bert.
(c) Press 1 or 2 for a 1- or 2- player game.

4. In a few seconds the playing screen will appear. When the flying discs start rotating you're ready to play.

The Joystick

The Joystick from the Q*bert manual

Turn the joystick to the left so that the four corners make a diamond shape.

The joystick moves in the four diagonal directions shown. These are the directions in which Q*bert hops around the pyramid.

Make sure the ALPHA LOCK key is not pressed; otherwise the joystick wi11 not work.


You'll start the game with 3 Q*berts. The first Q*bert will appear on the topmost cube as soon as the game starts. The number of remaining Q*berts is shown to the right of the pyramid.

Try to hop Q*bert onto each and every cube, so that eventually the entire pyramid becomes the destination color. The destination color indicator is to the left of the pyramid.

Be careful not to hop Q*bert off the sides of the pyramid or off the bottom row of cubes. If you do, he falls and you lose that Q*bert. When this happens, the next Q*bert will appear on the topmost cube ready to try again to complete the pyramid.

Red Ball

When Red Ball starts rolling, get Q*bert out of its path or it will squash him! If this happens, the next Q*bert will appear on the cube where the last one was squashed.

Purple Ball

Poses the same kind of danger as Red Ball, except that when Purple Ball reaches the bottom of the pyramid, it hatches Coily the snake!


He's the snake with the perilous pounce! The only way to get rid of Coily is to lure him off the pyramid by hopping a flying disc.

The best way to do this is to hop Q*bert onto the exit cube. (There is only one correct exit cube for each flying disc.) Then, as soon as Coily approaches the exit cube, hop Q*bert aboard the flying disc. Q*bert flies off to safety while Coily falls into space.

Flying Discs

When Q*bert's in trouble, he can board a flying disc that will whisk him off to safety at the top of the pyramid. The number of discs and their placement to the sides of the pyramid will differ, depending on the level and round. Just make sure Q*bert boards the flying disc from the correct exit cube or else he'll fall off the pyramid.

Ugg and Wrongway

Ugg and Wrongway appear on the lower portion of the pyramid and travel sideways and upwards, ready to jump on Q*bert. If one of them does, the next Q*bert will appear on the cube where the last one was jumped.

Slick and Sam

Even though Slick and Sam can't catch Q*bert, they're still very crafty fellows. They change the cubes' colors so Q*bert's got to retrace his tracks. If Q*bert can stop them, however (by running into them), you'll earn bonus points.

Green Ball

Green Balls the other green character that can't catch Q*bert either. But if Q•bert catches Green Ball, all the characters except Q*bert freeze for a moment, Q*bert can continue to hop, and you'll earn bonus points.

End of Round

The round ends when you complete the pyramid. As long as you have a Q*bert remaining, a new pyramid will appear with a new destination color.

Round Progression As you progress from round to round, Q*bert's speed, the speed of the other characters, and the frequency of the other characters' appearances will increase. End of Game The game ends when you run out of Q*Berts.

To play the same game

again press the Fire Button. To change games press the Function key and the "+" at the same time. This brings you back to the initial screen. See instructions under Setting the Console Controls.

Two-Player Games

Player 1 goes first; players alternate turns. When it's your turn the word "Player" will flash. Your turn ends when you lose a Q•bert; you resume playing with your remaining Q*berts. The game ends when both players have lost all their Q*berts.


Q*bert changes cubes to destination color ... 25 points
Q*bert changes cubes to intermediate color .. 15 points
Q*bert catches lick or Sam ...... 300 points
Q*bert catches Green Ball. . . . . . . . 100 points
Q*bert lures Coily off pyramid ....... 500 points
Extra points for unused flying discs ........ 50 points for each disc
Bonus points . . . . 1000 points for completing the first round; amount increases 250 points for each successive round, up to 5000 points
Bonus Q*berts . . . . . . One for the first 6,000 points you score; thereafter, one every 12,000 points



External Links