Qix is a fun little arcade game than seems to defy any standard one would care to throw at it. Qix was an arcade release from Taito back in 1981 and by all accounts it was a modest success and it was all about drawing rectangles, hmmm. Qix was very slow to reach a home audience with the first home releases being for the Atari 5200 and 8-Bit computer line in 1983 with it finally reaching other consoles and computers in 1989 and into the early 1990’s, the Apple ][ version didn’t come out until 1989, 12 years after the computer was released. Qix it seems was a late bloomer, but it seems that it has gained perhaps a cult following as games bearing the Qix name have been released as recently as 2011. I only have the 5200 version of Qix, so that’s what I’ll be reviewing, I can probably also play the 8-Bit version on my Atari 800 but they’re identical apart from some slight control tweaking on account of the 5200’s unique controller.
Qix is a frugal game, both in graphics and sounds. It only displays what is necessary and will only play sounds if it needs to, and since most of the graphical element the game does have tie in directly with the gameplay I will just condense this down to a single paragraph.
In Qix your one goal is to section off a certain percentage of the screen without getting destroyed. In order to section off the screen you must draw lines and connect them with the border of the screen or other shapes you’ve created to create rectangles and various other shapes, once you’ve created the shape it then gets filled in and the edge becomes the new border of the screen. In order to keep things from getting too easy you will be contending with the randomly moving Qix, a series of strange lines that flits across the screen, and the two Sparx that will move along the border and will destroy you on contact. Eluding the Sparx is fairly simple as they will only move along the border but not along the lines you’ve drawn before they get filled in, you can just draw a rectangle around them. To keep you from cheating the game by just drawing a line and waiting there, or just moving back along a line the Fuse will appear and begin chasing you along the line, it will go away when you complete the shape. As the game goes on the difficulty will ramp up, fairly soon there will be two Qix to contend with and they will only get more and more erratic until all your lives are gone and it’s time to try again.
Qix, despite being so simple, nails the ‘one more time’ mentality perfectly. Every time I lose I feel like I have to try again, to see if I can get a little bit further or try a new strategy I hadn’t thought about before. Qix is a masterpiece in gameplay above all else. Qix is an incredibly common game for the 5200 and 8-Bit computers with loose copies starting at less than six dollars for the 5200 version and less than ten dollars for the 8-Bit version. You don’t really need this game in the box as the game is so simple and straightforward that it would only be a waste of space.