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Qix - Atari - Atari 5200     HTML Manual   



  • Insert your 5200 game cartridge so the label faces you and reads right-side-up. Be sure the cartridge is firmly seated in the center of the console, but do not force it. Then press the POWER switch on. See your Owner's Manual for further details.


    1. Kick the Qix
    2. Game Play
    3. Using the 5200 Controllers
    4. Game Variations
    5. Scoring
    6. Winning Strategy
    7. Your Best Game Scores


  • Who is QIX*, and what are his powers? How can he take land that is not his? Where does QIX come from? Most important, how can he be stopped?

  • He's an erratic eccentric who strikes like lightning. He travels with patrolmen called Sparx*, who constantly guard the bordering territories. QIX moves fast, spreading like an infectious disease. His supernatural powers allow him to clone himself, thus doubling his threat.

  • Your only defense is to trap QIX and claim your territory. You must use your chromium electronic marker to partition the land, segment by segment. You plan your strategy. You calmly start plotting a path from border to border.

  • Then, when you least expect it, you encounter an additional threat called the Fuse. It hides and waits until you stop moving. Then it travels along your path, crackling all the way. If it catches you, it ignites and destroys your marker. Once you start moving again, it stops and anxiously awaits your next moment of hesitation.

  • Now you know what you are up against. You must be quick, steady, and careful, to diligently reclaim the seized territory. You cannot be greedy. Use intelligence to outsmart this devious monster.

    * Trademarks of Taito America Corporation

    2. GAME PLAY

  • The object of the game is to use your marker to partition off segments of the screen. While you are plotting these segments, you must avoid QIX, Sparx, Super Sparx, and the dreaded Fuse. To complete a screen, you must reach or exceed a threshold percentage of that screen.

  • QIX roams erratically around the interior of the screen. Sparx patrol the borders and the lines which you have drawn. If you hesitate or draw yourself into a corner, you'll get zapped by the Fuse, who also travels along the path you have drawn. If you run into any of these foes, you lose a life.

  • You use a diamond-shaped marker to draw lines which are called Stix. When you enclose a segment, these lines become your new bordering territory. You control the marker with your joystick and fire button by drawing fast or slow lines. An area claimed by fast draw is filled in blue; an area claimed with slow draw fills in brown. Note: Colors may vary on different television sets.

  • Strategy is a key element in this game. An important point to remember is that you cannot destroy QIX, but you can outsmart it. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the elements of the game. Read the following descriptions and refer to Figure 1.

    [Screenshot with the Sparx, Stix, Time Line, Qix, Fuse, and Marker labeled.]
    Figure 1


  • Your main opponent in this game is QIX. QIX is a multicolored whirling helix that dances around the screen. QIX can move anywhere on unclaimed territory, to attack your Stix. If QIX touches any part of an incomplete segment, you lose a life. Once the segment is completed and filled in, it is safe.

  • After you complete the first screen, a second screen appears with an intelligent QIX that chases you more closely. After you complete the second screen, the third screen provides a further challenge with two QIX. To complete this screen, you must either reach or exceed the threshold, or split the two QIX. Luckily, neither of these two QIX is intelligent. But, from the fourth screen on, you're up against two intelligent QIX.


  • Two red and yellow Sparx appear at the beginning of the SKILLED game variation, each traveling opposite directions from the top of the screen. The right Sparx and the left Sparx each have their own unique characteristics. Eventually they become Super Sparx, which venture onto the Stix that you've drawn, in the order that you drew them. If a Sparx touches you, you lose a life, but a Sparx cannot be destroyed.


  • A red Time Line is located at the top of the screen. As time passes, it decreases in length with different time settings for each game variation. When it runs out of time, a new Time Line and two new Sparx appear at the top of the screen. The maximum number of Sparx is four. If the Time Line runs out again, a signal sounds, and the Sparx become blue and yellow Super Sparx. Super Sparx are more vicious and travel faster than regular Sparx. They home in on your marker, making a beeline for your Stix with the intent to destroy.


  • Once you have drawn segments off of the screen border, you can't return to that section of the border, nor can you stop drawing. As soon as you stop, a Fuse appears where your Stix began. The Fuse crackles as it moves toward your marker. If the fuse reaches your marker, you lose a life. To stop the fuse in its tracks, press the fire button and start drawing again. If you stop again, the fuse reignites where it last stopped.


  • To draw Stix, use your marker which is located at the bottom of the screen. You can draw any combination of lines. Once a segment is partitioned off, you score points and the area claimed is yours.


  • Use your 5200 controllers with this ATARI game cartridge. Be sure to plug the controller cables firmly into the jacks at the front of the 5200 console. Plug the controller into jack 1 for one-player games. Use jacks 1 and 2 for two-player games.

    [Photo of a 5200 controller.]
    Figure 2 - 5200 Controller


  • For your convenience, two keypad overlays are included with this game. Slip the tabs into the slots above and below the keypad on your controller (see Figure 3).
        --------    --------    --------
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        --------    --------    --------
        --------    --------    --------
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        --------    --------    --------
        --------    --------    --------
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        --------    --------    --------
       GAME LEVEL              1-2 PLAYER
        --------    --------    --------
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        --------    --------    --------
          Figure 3 - Keypad Overlay
  • When not in use, your keypad overlays can be stored on the back of your game cartridge. Simply slip the tabs into the slots that are provided on the cartridge.


  • After you insert the QIX cartridge and turn the console POWER on, the program automatically plays QIX. Use this opportunity to watch how the game is played.

  • When you are ready to begin playing, press RESET and a game selection screen appears.

  • Press the right # key to choose a one or two-player game (on your overlay the square marked 1-2 PLAYER). The screen displays the message--PLAYERS: l or PLAYERS: 2. (See Figure 4.)


  • Press the left * key to select your desired game variation (on your overlay the square marked GAME LEVEL). The message LEVEL: NOVICE, SKILLED, ADVANCED, or EXPERT is displayed on the screen (see Figure 4). Refer to Section 4, GAME VARIATIONS, for more information about each level.

    [Screenshot of the starting menu.]
    Figure 4


  • Press START when you're ready to begin playing. If you press START before selecting a game level or number of players, the program automatically sets to a one-player game at the SKILLED level. When a game ends, press START to begin the same game variation again.


  • Press PAUSE to suspend the game in progress. All action instantly freezes. Press PAUSE again to continue game play.


  • During game play, press PAUSE and then RESET to reset the game back to the selection screen (see Figure 4).


  • Use the joystick to move your marker around the screen border. Press the fire button while moving the joystick up, down, left, or right to move your marker off the border. Press the top fire button to draw slow; press the lower fire button to draw fast. The slow draw scores double points. Changing fire buttons before completing a segment scores the same points as fast draw. (See Section 5, SCORING.)


    NOVICE: This is an easy game for beginners. The QIX dances slowly around the screen without really chasing you. The Sparx, Fuse, and Time Line do not appear. The game threshold (percentage of territory claimed in order to clear the screen) is 50%.

    SKILLED: In this variation QIX moves at medium speed, but still lacks the intelligence to chase you. Sparx, Fuse, and a slow Time Line appear, but there are no Super Sparx. The game threshold is 65%.

    ADVANCED: This game variation is the same difficulty level as the original arcade version. The Sparx, Fuse, Super Sparx, and a medium-speed Time Line appear. The QIX is fast and somewhat intelligent. The game threshold is 75%.

    EXPERT: This is the game for all of you expert QIX players. The Sparx, Fuse, Super Sparx, and a fast Time Line all appear. The QIX is fast and intelligent. The game threshold is 85%.

  • All game variations begin with one QIX on the first and second screens and are followed by two QIX on each screen thereafter. When a game ends, the message GAME OVER appears on the screen as shown in Figure 5.

    [Screenshot with the GAME OVER message displayed. Like you'd really need to consult the manual to figure out what this means. Sheesh.]
    Figure 5

    5. SCORING


  • Scores appear in the upper right corner of the screen. In two-player games, the first player's score (player 1) appears above the second player's score (player 2). The game threshold and the percentage you've captured are displayed at the upper left side of the screen. The game threshold appears above the percentage of territory that you have captured. (See Figure 6.)

  • Points are scored for the color-filled portion of the segment. You do not score points for the areas covered by Stix. For example, if you capture 50% of the territory, your score could be 4971.

  • Bonus points are scored when the percentage of territory captured exceeds the game threshold. Additional bonus points are scored after two QIX are split.


  • Fast Draw = 100 X % of Territory Captured
  • Slow Draw = 200 X % of Territory Captured
  • Bonus Points = 1000 X % Points Over Game Threshold


  • First Time Qix are Split = 2 X All Points
  • Second Time Qix are Split = 3 X All Points
  • Third Time Qix are Split = 4 X All Points, and so on.


  • Each game begins with five lives which are indicated by five brown dots displayed to the right of the score. The white dot indicates which life you are using. A game ends when each player loses all five lives. (See Figure 6.)

    [Screenshot with the Threshold %, Captured Territory %, Lives, and Scores labeled.]
    Figure 6

    [Screenshot of the bonus-award screen between rounds.]
    Figure 7 (never referenced in the text of the manual)

    [Screenshot with the player about to split the Qix.]
    Figure 8 (never referenced in the text of the manual)


  • Strategy and patience are the keys to winning at QIX. A good rule of thumb: Use fast draw to set up a pattern; use slow draw to complete the pattern. Slow draw scores twice the point value as fast draw.

  • Another theory: Never draw yourself into a corner. Always avoid drawing a spiral, or you'll wind up in a spiral deathtrap. You cannot go in reverse, so you will have to stop and wait for the fuse to zap you. See Figure 9 for an example of a spiral deathtrap.

    [Screenshot demonstrating the Spiral Deathtrap.]
    Figure 9 - Spiral Deathtrap

    Listed below are several different strategies to help you win at Qix.


    1. Carefully erect a trunk up the center of the screen. It may take six or seven moves.

    2. Draw as many branches as you can from the trunk of the tree and from the sides of the screen. Your primary aim is to leave small spaces that are big enough for QIX to enter, but small enough to seal off quickly.

    3. When QIX enters one of these spaces, move toward it and use a slow draw to seal off the space. Thus, you trap QIX and capture the majority of the screen. (See Figure 10.)

    Figure 10 - Tree-Branch Strategy


    1. Use the fast draw to build two columns, one from the top, and one from the bottom. This splits the screen into three vertical rectangles.

    2. QIX can move into only one of these areas. Using slow draw, begin blocking off the area that QIX is not in.

    3. When only one rectangle remains, move toward QIX and block it into a small space. (See Figure 11.)

    Figure 11 - Triple-Arena Strategy


  • Use the same method of dividing the screen as in the Triple-Arena Strategy, but divide the screen into four parts. (See Figure 12.)

    Figure 12 - Quadrant Strategy


    1. Start at the bottom of the screen, and build horizontal columns. Try to force both QIX to the top of the screen.

    2. Use the slow draw to claim the bottom portion of the screen as you continue up.

    3. After you capture about 1% less than the game threshold, split the QIX with a fast draw up the center of the screen. Thus, you split the two QIX and can claim most of the screen for a high score. (See Figure 13.)

    Figure 13 - Twin Qix Strategy


    Name:            Date:     Threshold:  Score:
    ______________   _______   _________   _________
    ______________   _______   _________   _________
    ______________   _______   _________   _________
    ______________   _______   _________   _________

    Typed by Jay Tilton

    for Atari Gaming Headquarters

    Used with permission from Atari Gaming Headquarters