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How many cases of Mello Yello would equal a Q*Bert?

Here’s the situation. You and your brother are in your 20’s, and you are in charge of ordering inventory for your father’s grocery store. Coca-Cola approaches you about a Mello Yello promotion – the more cases of the soft drink you purchase, the more points you earn towards a one of a kind Q*Bert. What would you do? Say goodbye to my mouth.

Trade a Mello Yello Q*Bert for my teeth?

I’d would have seriously considered it. Maybe not seriously, but if I was 20 and in charge of purchasing – you better believe I’m ordering so many cases of that lime green sludge that I’d be one elemental ring short of a hopped up planet saving cartoon superhero. But I digress.

I don’t think I could have written a better story, or supplied a better photo! Take a look at this photo of the old Red Owl grocery store in Garrison, ND – Population 2000. This is one of the many stores where a Mello Yello Q*Bert made some rounds, and eventually landed for good in the early 1980’s.

Red Owl Grocery Store in ND

And without further adieus or too much gratuitous editing, here is the story straight from the mouth of the daughter;

Coca-Cola was trying to promote Mello Yello to compete with Mountain Dew. The Coca Cola distributor in Bismarck, ND that supplied them was the guy who would let them know about what promotions the soda company was doing at any given time. This particular promotion involved points. The more cases of Mello Yello a store bought, the more points they got, and those points were used toward entries in a drawing for the arcade game.

While the contest was running, the game rotated around and spent some time at each of the stores that were competing in the promotion, and in the end, my grandfather’s store won it. My dad was very happy. He was the one in charge of ordering at the time, and he said he ordered *alot* of Mello Yello, because he (and one of his older brothers) wanted the game. (They were both in their 20s.) He said my grandfather was less thrilled, because the Mello Yello didn’t exactly run out the door. According to my dad they had a back room full of Mello Yello cases for a very long time. He’s not entirely sure the distributor didn’t just feel sorry for them and award them the game, just based on how much they bought. ;D

Once they won Q*Bert, it was at the store for a little while, then it moved to my grandparents’ basement for years. That’s where me and my two brothers learned to play it when we got older. Eventually, when I was in high school, my dad gave my grandpa a few bucks for the machine and added it to our basement rec-room area. It hasn’t been played much at all since we all graduated and moved out.

Q*Bert Mello Yello Photos

The game is in solid shape, the bottom isn’t too ragged, the sides look great – the control panel overlay is really the only area that shows significant wear. A couple of fixes to the main pcb, this game is ready to roll. The most interesting item of note – this machine has no coin door. Check out the photos below – click the Q*Bert photo to enter the full gallery.

Mello Yellow Q*Bert Photos

Selling the Q*Bert Mello Yello

Talk about a one of a kind machine with a tremendous story. Pepsi and Coca Cola were great at these arcade game promotion tie ins, and these machines are great collectibles.

When she listed the game for sale, she was well spoken and had done some contextual research to get an idea of the value, which she estimated $500-$800. I think that was a solid range, and considering the history and condition I would definitely have held out for at least $800. On eBay, who knows, with all of the detail of that story, as a long shot she might have gotten as much as $1000 – funnier arcade eBay auctions have finished lately.

But it sounds like the Q*Bert might be sold. Hopefully MN Jeff picked it up. Regardless, if you picked up this game, leave a comment, brag a little and make the rest of us jealous.

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Comments
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Great story and a nice looking game. I hope the game found its way into the hands of a collector that can appreciate it. Amazing that they bought so much Mellow Yellow. Did you ever try that stuff back in the day? I thought it was awful.

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I did, and sadly, I loved anything that was like Mountain Dew. I remember Mello Yello to be less carbonation and sweeter – at that time, sugar was where it was at.

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Just stumbled across this on the web, I bought the machine from the family. Currently in my bedroom, plays like a champ. My family is in love with the game. Very greatful to have the game, especially when it has a history. I will post pictures when I have it moved into my arcade. I also stated to the dad, if they were ever in the area, come over for a visit.

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Mort,

Very excited to have you come by and claim ownership on the Mello Yello Q*Bert. We would love to share a photo of it either in your room, or in the gameroom when you get it there. And of course, others are monitoring this post, so if you ever decide you want to sell it you’ll have some interested parties.

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I stumbled into the article about Red Owl. The store in North Dakota where the Q Bert was found was our Red Owl Store,101 North Main, Garrison, North Dakota 58540. My husband is deceased but he would have been most proud to see the picture in this article. We had purchased the Owl heads at an auction sale of a Red Owl store in Williston. The Owl heads cost us $2.00 each. My husband thought we didn’t neet them. They caught my eye in the photo because the first person who mounted them for us reversed them and our division manager said they had to be mounted again. I recall the Q Bert game well after reading about it now. We had it displayed at a gondola end at the front of the store. Elementary students became acquainted with it so each afternoon after school was out we had a lively group in to play. I don’t recall all of the details of our moving it but finally we had to. One of my daughters seems to recall that one of my sons took it to his home. Then Q Bert passed from my mind.

We bought the Red Owl products, rented the building and became grocers in January 1953. Sort of an investment in our future since we were married in August of 1952. Red Owl was a wonderful warehouse company. We operated our store until January 1995. In the meantime we raised 5 childre. Two girls and three boys. All of them worked in the business. They completed college, some worked with us later until their careers were formulated.

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