Sunday, June 21, 2009
It's Qix! Man, looking at that box up there just makes me think of "Word Up" by Cameo.
This game was shipped to arcades in 1981 - Taito, a JPN company stated by a white fella, bought the game from from another white fella (and his wife?) named Randy Pfieffer - who I have never heard of since, so I hope he made a looooot of money of off Qix.
Pronounced "Kicks," it's a simple game - you control a little dot, you can "draw" across the playfield (fast or slow, depending on which button you hold down - and affecting your score). Close off a section and it will color in, and it is "claimed". Claim more than half of it (depending on your version's settings) and you win the round. Sounds easy, right?
Well.. it ain't THAT easy. The eponymous Qix is a weird swirly group of lines whipping through the open space. One touch and you're history. As well, there's little sparky guys who run up and down the lines you've drawn who can do you in as well - the longer you wait to finish the level, the more of those sparks will come to kill you.
The true challenge comes in seeing how much of the playfield you can claim, the closer to 100 percent you get the higher your bonus will be. Remember, this game released during a time when score was ALL THAT MATTERED! So if you can trap the Qix into a relatively small space, you're doing quite well! In later rounds, you'll get two separate Qix in a level - if you draw a line to separate them (extremely dangerous!), in the Gameboy version at least, you'll split the Qix and forfeit the rest of the level - but gain a bonus multiplier for the next properly completed level. If you can go on a tear and split a few Qix's in a row, you're looking at some serious points..
Anyway, that's really all there is to this game. It doesn't sound like much, it definitely doesn't look like much - and kids today would think you were nuts for even bringing up something that looks like this! But there's a helluva game in there, primitive as it may seem. Qix can be just as addicting now as it was nearly 30 years ago!
Notably, Qix has gone on to inspire a generation of "reveal the naughty picture" games. As you claim the playfield, you'd see the silhouette of a manga chick - clear the level and the silhouette will replace with a scan of a nearly (?) naked girl. Naughty, naughty... I think it was called "Gals Panic" among other things. Not hard to find - but if you want the true experience, the original is the way to go (as mentioned, the B/W Gameboycart is quite good as well). This is a game that will mesmerize you..