Memories of Q* bert - Rerez

in gaming •  last year


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So I wanted to watch Wreck-It Ralph because I figured I like videogames, chances are I would love the movie. And I did. The movie is awesome although a little childish in parts but that's okay. It's awesome seeing all these characters I knew so well from video games be represented on the big screen. But happened. Ralph, near the start of the movie, sees an old game character who actually becomes a secondary character in the film. Q* bert. Wow I thought, Q* bert. I haven't seen him in years.

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I remembered I had his game on the NES and so I thought wouldn't it be great to go back and play Q* bert again for old times sake? So I did. I started up the game and began to remember things like the floor panels that changed colors. The blob ball things that would hop down the stage. And that coilly snake that would hunt you down without mercy, killing you instantly but from a single touch. I start to recognize all of them. Your enemies. Those that would see Q* bert dead from his floor painting exposition. I then – as it is quite easy to do – died. Again. And again and again. Then a repressed memory came back to me in an instant. I remembered Q* bert. Oh, but too well.

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Being as young as I was when I first played it...I remember I had all this trust and faith in them. The game designers. In their abilities to create a just and honest digital world. But not Q* bert. There is nothing but hatred in Q* bert. I remember the foolish hours and days I wasted as a youth thinking I could beat it. But there is no beating Q* bert. Is there? It's a game that demands you check your sanity at the door. What ease of concept it introduces in the first level. Change the colors, it says. Do it without dying, it demands. And with the first stage completed you have hope that you might go far with this game. But that hope is eradicated by an onslaught of enemies and challenges. Some might complain about the controls on the NES but I don't. They're burned into my mind forever. I know Q* bert's control scheme like no other. It holds no anger from me. But the anger and resentment I do have is for the game.

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Green little freaks with sunglasses change back your hard work. Why do they exist? This game is hard enough. And why when we get to the later stages does it demand I step on a tile twice to change it? Was that to add difficulty and frustrate my young adolescent mind? But then what reason did you have to find it appropriate to change things up in level 3 – by having me design a perfect path to change colors only once, for if you step again on that same tile that you had just stepped on it reverts back to its original color – does it get worse after that stage?

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I wouldn't know. Because as a kid I was never able to get beyond that stage. Sure others can and I've seen it on the Internet. With ease it seems they can sail through the levels but not I. For the memories of Q* bert torturing my childhood prevent me from ever moving forward. I am glad that they unplugged your machine.

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new best game!

I spent hundreds of my beloved mom's quarters in the grocery store playing Q-bert as a child. Then I remember being so disappointed when the Atari 2600 version came out and I finally got my own copy.
Thanks for taking me down memory lane this morning!

The basic scheme of QBert probably influenced a lot of other games. But I was similarly frustrated by it.