Q*bert's cube pyramid gameplay came from an "Escher Pattern", which looked like a screen full of cubes. Warren Davis saw it as a pyramid of cubes and as a programing exercise. Once Davis had a game design in mind, he asked Jeff Lee if he could use a few characters, which Lee was planning to use for another, unrelated game. According to Davis, Lee's idea for Q*bert's design was for him to shoot things out of his nose, which is why he has a long nose.
Contributed by gamemaster1991