koolmoecraig on the Killer List of Video Games arcade forum recently posted about finding the “first” Q*bert game – one that was still technically a prototype!
He says the following:
I scored probably my ultimate “grail”, the 1st Q*bert machine ever made. Complete with hand-drawn marquee artwork and one-off CPO artwork, the machine was purchased by a Gottlieb executive after being out on test and stored in his basement for the past 30 years. The cabinet is a 9.5 out of 10!
Notice that Q*bert wasn’t even in his final stage at this point. He still looks roughly drawn and more similar to concept drawings. He even looks different on the CPO artwork. Also, the Gottlieb trademark is above the “How To Play” instructions on the left side of the CPO. On production games it’s within the instructions.
The prototype cabinet has stencil painted side art. I assume they hadn’t decided on side art yet. There are no graphics on the monitor bezel. Just black paint on glass.
Lastly, I noticed the Gottlieb trademark on the attract screen itself. I’m pretty sure this is different than production versions but I have to confirm that.
Interestingly, this version does not appear to have the knocker installed… (the arcade version of Q*bert features a physical “knocker” that makes a BANG! sound against some wood in the cabinet when you lure Coily off the pyramid, or fall off the pyramid yourself!)
There’s more photos — including some gorgeous pics of the inside of the cabinet — and discussion on KLOV.