Peel Here #99: @$$#%&$ and Elbows!!!


By Shawn Robare

Today’s Peel Here dives back into a segment of sticker branding that I haven’t much luck tracking down, video/arcade game stickers.  It’s certainly not for lack of merchandising back in the 80s, it just seems like of all the 80s toys and brands, arcade game merch is one of the most highly coveted by collectors.  That’s why I was so happy to find these stickers at a very reasonable price…

Q*Bert was introduced to arcade fans in 1982 by Gottlieb, and featured an iconic orange fuzzball with one heck of a schnoz and an intriguing potty mouth.  The game revolves around a pyramid of colored blocks that change color when Q*Bert hops on them.  The goal is to change the color on all the blocks before you either fall off an edge or run into one of the enemy characters (Coily the purple snake, Ugg & Wrong Way, Coily’s perimeter purple henchmen, or Slick and Sam, a couple of green teardrop shaped guys who can revert the color on a cube.)   Q*Bert does have a couple of saving graces, namely two rainbow discs that he can use to float up back to the top of the pyramid.

I never had a copy of the game for my Atari 2600 system, and I never seemed to run into it at the arcade very often so I think I’ve only played the game a handful of times over the years.   I loved the character design though, and was jazzed to see the game turned into a cartoon as part of the Saturday Supercade (alongside Frogger and Donkey Kong.)  The show always reminded me a bit of the Archie’s and Happy Days as Q*Bert cartoon design was sort of the amalgamation of Richie Cunningham, Archie, and an orange tennis ball.

As far as these stickers go, they were released in 1983 by Mark 1 and are much larger than your typical sheet of Hallmark stickers.  The full package is around 7″x12″, and the paper backing on the stickers is actually a thicker cardstock, which is a little strange.  I really dig that the sticker company (as well as Mylstar, who acquired the property in the Coca-Cola buyout of Columbia Pictures in ’83) decided to go with production art instead of straight up game graphics as they make fore more dynamic stickers.   I’m also glad they stuck at least one speech-bubble of profanity laden symbols on the sheet so that you could use it to make some other sticker in your collection curse.  I think it would fit perfectly hovering over an R2-D2 puffy sticker actually…

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