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Arcade flyer
Designer(s) Randy Pfeiffer and Sandy Pfeiffer
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Standard and cocktail
Arcade system Qix Hardware [1]
Display Vertical orientation, Raster, standard resolution: 256x240

Qix is an arcade game, released by Taito America Corporation in 1981.


Screenshot of Qix gameplay

The objective of Qix is to fence off, or “claim”, a supermajority of the playfield. At the start of each level, the playing field is a large, empty rectangle, containing the Qix — a sticklike entity that performs graceful but unpredictable motions within the confines of the rectangle.

The player controls a small diamond-shaped marker that can move around the edges of the rectangle, with the goal to claim as much of the screen as possible via drawing lines. When the player completes a closed shape, the captured area (defined as the side of the Stix opposite to where the Qix is) becomes solid and points are awarded. To complete a level, the player must claim most of the playfield (the game was shipped at 75 percent for level completion, but the arcade operator could adjust the requirement between 50 percent and 90 percent).

The player's marker had the option of moving at two different speeds; areas drawn at the slower speed (red on the screenshot shown) were worth double points.

The player has a limited number of lives and can lose a life if the Qix touches a line as it is being drawn, or by being touched by spark – enemies that traverse all playfield edges except uncompleted lines. Additionally, a fuse appears if the marker stops moving while in the process of drawing Stix, disappearing when the player starts moving again. The player has no defenses thus all enemies must be outmaneuvered.

A time meter located at the top of the screen is responsible for the countdown of the entry of additional Sparx and the mutation of all sparks to Super-Sparks, which have the ability to chase the player even up an unfinished line.

After the player completes two levels, the difficulty increases. This includes multiple Qixes and sparks, speed increases, and the eventual appearance of only super sparks. In levels with two Qixes, the player can also complete the level by drawing a line that splits the playfield into two regions each containing a Qix, thereby increasing the multiplier and starting a new level.

Ports and re-releases[edit]

Taito produced their own ports or licensed Qix for porting to various platforms over its lifetime. This includes ports for the Atari 5200 (1982), Atari 400/800, Apple II (1989), Commodore 64 (1989), DOS (1989), Amiga (1989) (graphically enhanced), Apple IIGS (1990), Game Boy (1990) (available on 3DS Virtual Console), NES (1991), and Atari Lynx (1991).

The Game Boy version was developed by Nintendo and features at least two intermissions in which Mario is involved: in one, he is in the middle of a desert wearing Mexican clothing and playing a guitar with a vulture looking on; in another one, he's with Luigi and Princess Peach.[2]

In 2000, a port for the Game Boy Color was released called Qix Adventure. This version features a new "Adventure" mode where the player travels a map screen, taking on various opponents which appear on the playing field. Although optional, enclosing this opponent in the box will open a treasure chest, which can also be enclosed, giving the player an item.

The original arcade version of Qix has been re-released in various Taito game collections which include Taito Legends 2 (PS2, Xbox, Windows) and Taito Legends Power-Up (PSP). It’s also available via the online game-playing services Gametap and Arcade Boss.


Electronic Games in 1983 reported that the arcade version of Qix "grabbed the gaming world with its color and imaginative design. Almost immediately it rose to the top of the charts." Its popularity quickly declined, however; Taito's Keith Egging stated "Qix was conceptually too mystifying for gamers ... It was impossible to master and once the novelty wore off, the game faded."[3] Computer Gaming World in 1989 called the computer version of Qix "a fascinating game. It is highly recommended to those who are at one with the universe ... I do love and hate it so".[4]


Qix spawned a minor revision called Qix II-Tournament in 1982, which was followed by Super Qix in 1987. Another sequel, Twin Qix, reached prototype stage in 1995, but was never commercially released. The later game Volfied, also known as Ultimate Qix on Sega Genesis/Mega Drive or Qix Neo on PlayStation, was created as an additional sequel to Qix and also released on several mobile phones.

Clones of Qix include the 1983 MS-DOS based clone Styx, the Gals Panic series of games, and Art Class, a mini-game in the 2006 PS2 game Bully.[5]

Another clone with a special gameplay twist is Fortix made by the Hungarian game development studio Nemesys Team. The game was released in October 2009 on the PSP "minis" portal and ported to Microsoft Windows. Fortix introduces stationary forts in the old gameplay.[6]

On December 9, 2009, Taito released for the Xbox Live Arcade an improved version of Qix: Qix++.

Qix appears in the film Wreck-It Ralph. It is seen in Fix-It Felix Jr.'s 30th Anniversary party.


  1. ^ http://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=633
  2. ^ Qix Good Ending - YouTube
  3. ^ Pearl, Rick (June 1983). "Closet Classics". Electronic Games. p. 82. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Sipe, Russell (November 1989). "What Do You Do For Qix". Computer Gaming World. p. 39. 
  5. ^ Bully Review - PlayStation 2 Games - CNET Reviews
  6. ^ Fortix review from PSPMinis.com