Retrospective Review: Q*bert Has Almost No Endgame Content

It goes without saying that Q*bert is one of the most renowned and acclaimed video games of the classic arcade era. The isometric action puzzle game based on uniforming all colors on a board has a great hook that captures a player’s attention. After countless hours and a four-pound bag of quarters later, many players might have pondered, “Does this game have anything else to offer?” The answer is no.

The simple fact is after level nine is completed, the difficulty increase is capped with no new gameplay elements added. No new skills or classes to master after achieving the highest level. No side quests, sandbox, or free-roam mode. There’s not even PvP, an idea that could have been reality with the mere addition of a second joystick.

Game programmer Warren Davis actually alluded to the idea of endgame content in a panel he conducted at Wondercon 2017. “We toyed around with the idea of daily raids,” says Davis, “We thought it would be a good incentive for kids to keep forking up quarters if there were new challenges to face every day. Ultimately, we scrapped this idea and instead went with a pinball knocker to physically recreate the sound of the player character falling off the grid. That shit’s way cooler.”

There was an alternate version of this game called Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert that would have added gameplay elements like new NPCs that also change the color of blocks, bonus levels to gain more points, and epic multi-day raids against Omega Coily, the mighty heavily armored snake. This never made mass production after numerous complaints that the unshowered nerds gathered at the test cabinets screaming “I don’t see enough DoTs! More DPS!” bothered the other patrons at Pizza Hut.

At the very least, there should have been a new game+ mode where Q*bert’s swearing isn’t censored. That would be way @!#?@! cooler.

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