Hamster has added another classic to its massive Arcade Archives range, and they don’t get much more classic than this — Taito’s simple but fiendishly compelling hit Qix is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
The brainchild of husband and wife team Randy and Sandy Pfeiffer, Qix was one of the most inventive and aesthetically odd titles of the early arcade era. Published by Taito in 1981, before being ported to a range of home computers and consoles, Qix sees players control a simple pixel as it patrols the perimeter of the screen itself. The player’s task is to venture into the screen and annex off sections of the playing field, drawing boxes to envelop erratically shaped zones.
Once a target percentage of the screen has been captured, the stage is complete.
Working against you is the titular “Qix” (“kix”), a silent, stick-like anomaly that gracefully and unpredictably spins its way throughout the remaining playfield. Should the Qix come into contact with the player, or any incomplete drawing zone, then a life is lost. Thus, Qix is something of a game of chicken, as players brave swallowing up large areas of the playfield before quickly scurrying back to the safety of the perimeter. You can check the action out in the Old Classic Retro Gaming’s video above.
Incredibly simple, but uncannily smart, The Pfeffers’ title was a game-changer. While its bizarre style and gameplay would not see it surpass the arcade greats of the golden age, Qix would help produce a burgeoning army of bedroom coders to create their own fun vector titles, inspired by the realization that you could make fun and artistically interesting titles with the most basic visuals and concepts.
Qix is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at around $8.