The early '80s was a revolutionary time for gaming yet not every classic from that era is as celebrated as it should be. Taito's Qix is an often imitated arcade gem so let's take a look at why it's such a legendary game.
Get your Qix from Taito
Qix debuted in arcades in 1981 and its unique gameplay initially delighted gamers as you have to draw lines in order to claim sections of the playfield while avoiding enemies. However, the high degree of challenge and simplistic gameplay made its popularity die down shortly after its release. To help remedy this, a sequel was released in 1982 that awarded players extra lives for performing well. Five years later, Taito tried to revive the series with Super Qix which replaced the plain laser-filled visuals with character sprites and also had players uncover a picture as they claimed territory. This sequel paved the way for my personal favourite game in the series: Volfied. You may know it as Qix Neo on PlayStation or Ultimate Qix on Sega Genesis / Mega Drive but one thing's for sure; Volfied is awesome! The variety of tricky enemies, satisfying power-ups, and alien planet setting complete with addictive arcade audio and spot-on pixel graphics makes it an all-time classic in my book.
Having Qix outside the arcade
Of course, there were loads of Qix ports including a Game Boy game that even has Mario in it. I still have a copy of that portable gem and love it. There was also a Game Boy Color game called Qix Adventure where you work through a campaign of stages. Unfortunately, it never came out in North America but you could always import a European or Japanese version. On a more contemporary note, Qix++ is a somewhat new take on the series that released for Xbox Live Arcade. That being said, it's not very good so it's best to stick to the classics and pick up copies of the two Taito Legends compilations which thankfully include the original Qix, Super Qix, and Volfied.
All the other kids with their pumped up Qix
If you've never played Qix yet it looks familiar then that's probably because you played one of many clones. Shortly after Qix originally released, many game developers made their own interpretations of the formula and they still continue to do so to this day. An early example that I have fond memories of is Cacoma Knight in Bizyland. Heck, I even featured it on my top 10 SNES co-op games list. One thing I find cool is that most Qix clones end in "ix" which is a great way to pay homage to the original. On PSP alone, there were 3 minis inspired by Qix in the form of Urbanix, Cubixx, and Fortix. Last and definitely least, there have been multiple Qix rip-offs where you uncover naughty pictures such as Kaneko's Gals Panic series. Talk about ruining a perfectly innocent childhood pastime...
Qix certainly spawned a massive library of enjoyable sequels and clones over the years. What are your thoughts on this arcade gem? Feel free to leave a comment below and we can chat about your favourite Qix games.