Qix was the name of one of the most unique
video games developed in the 1980's
). In its original release (1981
) it was a raster
based arcade game
. Because there were so many variants of Qix (i.e. Super Qix
et. al) and because it came out for so many different platforms (Arcade
, Super Nintendo
, etc), it can be thought of more as a concept
than a game.
The premise of the game is somewhat difficult to describe to people who have never played it. Imagine a rectangle playing field (Sometimes the field was different, but mostly it just filled the monitor). You control a little moving object (it varied depending on which version of Qix you played, but often it was a spaceship) that moves around the perimeter of the rectangle. Inside the rectangle is an enemy that moves around in a pseudo-random path (in the original version of qix the enemy was just a trail of vector-looking lines, similar to the classic screensaver).
Your job is to move out off of the perimeter along the inside of the rectangle from one point on the perimeter to another, creating a line along the inside area of the field without you or your line getting hit by the enemy. Once this line is complete from one point on the perimeter to another, the area enclosed by this new line is "shaded in", and you are safe from the enemy again and can move along your new line without fear of getting hit.
The rules regarding the shading of the area are a little tricky. Let's use an example. Say you're in the center of the long side of the rectangle, and you move straight up the rectangle to the other side. This is a risky move. The chances are very high that the enemy is going to cross your path, and thus hit you and make you lose a life. Therefore, the rewards are great. Each level has a predetermined percentage of the field you must shade in before you can advance, and if you complete this risky move you'll have shaded in 50% of the field that the enemy is not on. This is key. You can't trap the enemy in a line you've drawn, the game will always shade to the other side. This is where the strategy comes in. If you trap the enemy in a box to the far, far corner of the field, you've shaded in a huge amount! The problem is that it's difficult to move that fast without getting hit. To make matters worse, little "sparks" move along the lines you've drawn (but not those that you're currently drawing), and if they hit you, you die.
In order to truly appreciate the skill and reflexes that come with being a Qix master, not to mention a good understanding of the game, one must actually play it.
The very fact that it has shown up in so many different incarnations demonstrates that it was, and is, a truly original puzzle game.