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Qix Poster.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Taito (arcade)
Alien Technology (AMI)
Atari, Inc. (8-bit, 5200)
Knight Technologies (Lynx)
Nintendo R&D1 (GB)
Takara (FM-7)
Novotrade (NES)
Designer(s)Randy Pfeiffer
Sandy Pfeiffer
Platform(s)Arcade, Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIGS, Atari 8-bit, Atari 5200, Lynx, Commodore 64, FM-7, Game Boy, NES, MS-DOS
Mode(s)Up to 2 players, alternating turns
CabinetStandard and cocktail
Arcade systemQix hardware[1]
DisplayVertical orientation, Raster, standard resolution: 256x240

Qix (クイックス, Kuikkusu) (pronounced "kicks") is an arcade game developed by Taito America Corporation and released in October 1981.[2] 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 stick-like entity that performs graceful but unpredictable motions within the confines of the rectangle.

Qix was ported to the contemporary Atari 5200 (1982), Atari 8-bit family (1983),[3] and Commodore 64 (1983), then was brought to a wide variety of systems in the late 1980s and early 1990s: MS-DOS (1989), Amiga (1989), another version for the C64 (1989), Apple IIGS (1990), Game Boy (1990), Nintendo Entertainment System (1991), and Atari Lynx (1991).


Gameplay screenshot

The player controls a marker that can move around the edges of the rectangle. Holding down one of the draw buttons allows the marker to move into unclaimed territory and draw lines ("Stix") in an attempt to create a closed shape. If completed, the captured area (defined as the side opposite of where the Qix is) becomes filled in with a solid color and points are awarded. To complete a level, the player must claim 65% of the playfield (adjustable by the arcade operator to be between 50% and 90%).

The player's marker can move at two different speeds; areas drawn exclusively at the lower speed (orange-red on the screenshot shown) are worth double points. It cannot cross or backtrack along any Stix in progress. This means that if the marker starts a spiral, it gets smaller and smaller until the marker cannot move and there is no way out, and hence is known in the game as a spiral death trap.

A life is lost if the Qix touches any uncompleted Stix or if the marker is touched by any of the Sparx – enemies that traverse all playfield edges except uncompleted Stix. In addition, if the marker stops while drawing, a fuse will appear and burn along the uncompleted Stix toward the marker; if it reaches the marker, the player loses one life. The fuse disappears once the player moves the marker again. The player has no defenses against the enemies and must out-maneuver them in order to survive.

A meter at the top of the screen counts down to the release of additional Sparx and the mutation of all Sparx into Super Sparx, which can chase the marker along uncompleted Stix.

After the player completes two levels, the difficulty increases by the inclusion of multiple Qixes, additional Sparx, speed increases, and the eventual appearance of only Super Sparx. In levels with multiple Qixes, the player can also complete the level by splitting the playfield into two regions, each containing at least one Qix.

If the level is completed by exceeding the threshold percentage of area (generally 75%), a bonus of 1000 points per percentage point above 75% is awarded. If the level is completed by splitting the Qix, no immediate bonus is awarded, but all scores for all levels for the remainder of the game are multiplied by a bonus multiplier. This multiplier starts at double after the first time the Qix are split up to a maximum possible multiplier of 9.


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."[4] Video magazine reviewed the Atari 5200 version of the game in its "Arcade Alley" column, reporting similar reactions among home console gamers. Reviewers described the game as a "sleeper hit" and a "cult phenomenon loved by a few and ignored by the blasto brigade". Qix was praised as "the territorial imperative in game form", and it was suggested that the game had been the inspiration for a new "area-filling contest" genre.[5]:38 Qix received a Certificate of Merit in the category of "1984 Best Videogame Audio-Visual Effects (16K or more ROM)" at the 5th annual Arkie Awards.[6]:42 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."[7]

In 1997 Electronic Gaming Monthly listed the NES version as number 100 on their "100 Best Games of All Time", commenting that "The risks are clearer in Qix than in any other game. You can either play it safe and build lots of little boxes, thus earning squat for points, or draw enormous boxes, earn a better score and run a greater risk of getting zapped by the ever-unpredictable Qix."[8]



Qix II - Tournament (1982) is a version of the original Qix with a new color scheme and which awards an extra life when 90% or more of the screen is enclosed.[9]

Super Qix was released in 1987. Another sequel, Twin Qix, reached a 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.

The 1990 Game Boy port of Qix was developed by Nintendo and features intermissions in which Mario is involved; in one, he is seen in the middle of a desert wearing Mexican clothing and playing a guitar with a vulture looking on.[10] The Mexican clothing later appears as a costume that Mario can wear in Super Mario Odyssey.[11] The Game Boy port was released as a Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console title in Japan on June 15, 2011,[12] and in North America and Europe on July 7.[13][14]

In 1999, a remake 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 an opponent in the box would open a treasure chest, which can also be enclosed, giving the player an item.

On December 9, 2009, Taito released a new version of Qix for the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Portable: Qix++.


  • Fill 'Er Up (1983, Atari 8-bit, ANALOG Computing) [15]
  • Stix (1983, Commodore 64) [16]
  • Styx (1983, MS-DOS, Windmill Software)
  • Frenzy (1984, Acorn Electron and BBC Micro, Micro Power)
  • Qiks (1984, Tandy Color Computer, Spectral Associates) [17]
  • Quix (1984, Tandy Color Computer, Tom Mix Software) [18]
  • Torch 2081 (1986, Amiga, Digital Concepts) [19]
  • Zolyx (1987, Commodore 64, Commodore 16 / Plus-4, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum, Firebird) [20]
  • Maniax (1988, Atari ST, Kingsoft)
  • Gals Panic (1990, arcade, Kaneko), which started a subgenre of adult-themed "uncover the image" games.
  • Cacoma Knight in Bizyland (1992-1993, Super NES/Famicom, Datam Polystar/Seta USA)
  • AirXonix (2000-2001, Microsoft Windows, AxySoft)
  • Fortix (2010, Microsoft Windows, Steam, Nemesys Games)[21]
  • Fortix 2 (2011, Microsoft Windows, Steam, Nemesys Games)[22]
  • Space Xonix (2015, Microsoft Windows, Steam, SRF Games)[23]
  • Cubixx HD (2016, Microsoft Windows, Steam, Laughing Jackal Ltd)[24]
  • Pretty Girls Panic! (2016, Microsoft Windows, Steam, Zoo Corporation)[25]

In 2011, Den of Geek included Qix on a list of the top 10 most cloned video games.[26]


  1. ^ Taito Qix Hardware (Taito), System 16
  2. ^ "Qix: The Arcade Video Game PCB by Taito Corp". Arcade History. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
  3. ^ I Break for Arcadians: Good news, bad news - new games, joystick reviewed: Qix, By Joaquin Boaz, InfoWorld, 8 Aug 1983, Page 23
  4. ^ Pearl, Rick (June 1983). "Closet Classics". Electronic Games. p. 82. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  5. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (November 1983). "Arcade Alley: Wintertime Winners". Video. Reese Communications. 7 (8): 38–39. ISSN 0147-8907.
  6. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (January 1984). "Arcade Alley: The Arcade Awards, Part 1". Video. Reese Communications. 7 (10): 40–42. ISSN 0147-8907.
  7. ^ Sipe, Russell (October 1989). "What Do You Do For Qix". Computer Gaming World. p. 39.
  8. ^ "100 Best Games of All Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. November 1997. p. 102. Note: Contrary to the title, the intro to the article explicitly states that the list covers console video games only, meaning PC games and arcade games were not eligible.
  9. ^ "Qix II Tournament arcade video game". Gaming History.
  10. ^ Orland, Kyle (February 4, 2011). "The Strange Career Path of Super Mario". 1UP.com. IGN. p. 18. Archived from the original on October 11, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  11. ^ Plunkett, Luke (June 13, 2017). "Super Mario Odyssey's Outfits Are A Nice Throwback". Kotaku. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  12. ^ Bivens, Danny (June 15, 2011). "Japan eShop Round-Up (06/15/2011)". Nintendo World Report. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  13. ^ Langley, Ryan (July 7, 2011). "NA Nintendo Update - Fortified Zone, QIX, Roller Angels And More". GameSetWatch. UBM plc. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Langley, Ryan (July 7, 2011). "EU Nintendo Update - QIX, Fortified Zone, ANIMA: Ark of Sinners And More". GameSetWatch. UBM plc. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  15. ^ Hudson, Tom (March 1983). "Fill 'Er Up". ANALOG Computing (10): 100.
  16. ^ Dillon, Roberto (2014). Ready: A Commodore 64 Retrospective. Springer. p. 141.
  17. ^ Boyle, L. Curtis. "Qiks".
  18. ^ Boyle, L. Curtis. "Quix".
  19. ^ "Torch 2081". Lemon Amiga.
  20. ^ "Zolyx". Lemon64.
  21. ^ "Fortix".
  22. ^ "Fortix 2".
  23. ^ "Space Zonix".
  24. ^ "Cubixx HD".
  25. ^ "Pretty Girls Panic!".
  26. ^ Lambie, Ryan (May 6, 2011). "The top 10 most cloned video games". Den of Geek.