Q*Bert is a classic arcade game that was first made available by Gottlieb back in 1982. Gottlieb was really more of a pinball game company than an arcade game company, but they made a few arcade games back in the early 80s due to a general slump in pinball sales.
In Q*Bert you play a big-nosed orange guy with no arms. Your mission in life is to hop around on a pyramid and change all the bricks in the pyramid from one color into another color. On initial stages this is very simple and bricks stay changed to the correct color no matter how many times you land on them. On later levels you have to step on a brick multiple times to get the correct color, and on some levels they will cycle right past the correct color if you jump on them again.
There are a variety of various enemies on the screen, such as Coily, Ugg, Wrong Way, Slick and Sam. These guys are best to be avoided. Coily (the snake) is the dangerous one, as he heads right for you, but fortunately you can trick him into jumping off the pyramid by taking a ride on any of the convenient flying discs located on the sides of the pyramid.
Q*Bert was available as both a standard upright cabinet and in an American style cocktail table. Both featured a yellow color-scheme and lots of the bricks from the pyramid.
The joystick to this game was a 4-way stick that was mounted at a 45 degree angle to make for a joystick that could only be pointed at angles. Only a few games ever did this, and most of those had the word Q*Bert in their title. This peculiar control arrangement makes most ports of Q*bert difficult to control.
The well known thump down in the bottom of the arcade game (which happens if Q*Bert falls off the pyramid) came from a pinball coil mounted inside the game. It was not an expensive part by any means, but it is something that was often disabled by game operators.
Q*Bert's sound hardware was of a defective design, and thus suffers from an extremely high failure rate. This is because they pump 30 volts into an audio chip that is only rated for 28. There is a way to circumvent this, but it hasn't been done to most games, and if you encounter a Q*Bert machine in the wild it will probably not have functioning audio. This is especially shameful because one of the most notable thing about Q*bert is how he speaks nonsense sounds using a speech synthesizer chip.
If the sound hardware on a Q*Bert machine is still functioning than simply replace the 30 volt Zener diode on the regulator board with a 27 volt Zener, equal to or greater in wattage. This will keep the audio chips from being overloaded. If the sound has already failed then the board will need more extensive repairs. If you have no idea what I am talking about then by all means have someone else do it for you.
Where to play
Q*bert was ported to many console systems and can also be played using the MAME emulator. In all cases the experience suffers slightly unless you actually have a 4-way joystick mounted at a 45 degree angle hooked up to whatever you are playing it on.
If you want to add this to your arcade game collection, then look for a machine that has functioning sound, preferably one that has had the audio amp problem repaired already.