Task: Play Qix on Your Atari 8-Bit Computer
Needed: Qix cartridge, ROM, or ATR file
Time: 15-30 mins
Qix was one of the first cartridges I owned for the Atari 400 and 800. I still love this game. It has simple rules, good graphics, and is yet deceptively difficult. The goal of the game is to move your player to draw rectangular boxes before the Qix (moving set of lines) touches you or the unfinished lines you have drawn. The goal is to fill at least 75% of the screen with boxes. The more you fill, the higher your score. There is also a spark that travels along the lines that will end your turn if it touches you. These can be avoided by staying in motion and drawing perpendicular lines. This element is designed to keep you from waiting too long for the perfect moment to draw your box. As you progress, the levels get harder with a faster moving Qix. Two Qix appear in later levels as well. I recommend giving this one a try if you have never played it before.
The ROM for Qix is available on Atari Mania. This can be loaded into Altirra emulator to play on a PC or onto a flash drive device such as the Atarimax Maxflash cartridge for play on original hardware. You can find loose Qix cartridges on eBay for about $10. They are quite common.
According to Wikipedia, the popularity of Qix faded fast with players because there was no real strategy to the game. In other words, you are completely at the mercy of the random number generator. I had never really thought about this before but it is true. Nonetheless, it is a really fun game as long as you don’t expect to get past more than a few levels.
Qix was also released on the Atari 5200 but not for the 2600. I think it would be really difficult to implement on the 2600.