Popeye was an old arcade game released by Nintendo way back in 1982.

The story

You are in control of the world famous "Popeye the Sailor Man" in his quest to win the love of "Olive Oyl". Standing in your way are "Bluto" and the "Sea Hag", but fortunately you have a secret weapon on your side in the form of spinach!

This game was created just a bit after the Robin Williams movie of the same name. It has a lot in common wih the film too, mainly in that it was sort of popular, and is still well known today, but somehow seems to be lacking something.

The game

The first screen is probably all that most of you will ever see. Olive Oyl drops hearts from the top of the screen and you have to catch all of them before they hit the ground and break. This would be fairly easy, except that you face constant harrassment by both Bluto and the Sea Hag. Your main weapon against Bluto is a bucket that you can punch and drop onto his head (which must be timed correctly), and the one can of spinach, which you can eat and then become powerful enough to knock out Bluto.

The second screen is features musical notes instead of hearts, and has two guest stars in the form of Wimpy and Sweet Pea. While the third screen has you catching letters to spell "HELP" and build a ladder up to Olive Oyl. After the third level you get to watch a little intermission screen, and then the game starts over again with increased difficulty.

The Machine

Most Popeye machines were upright cabinets, but cocktails were also available. This game was simultaneously available from Nintendo of America, Nintendo of Japan, and Atari-Ireland. The cocktail was a rather plain Japanese "school desk" style cocktail. Many different games were available in these cocktails.

The upright was in the standard Nintendo cabinet, the same one used in Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, Radar Scope, Donkey Kong 3, and Sky Skipper. Almost all other Nintendo titles used alternate versions of this same cabinet, Mario Bros. was wider, Punch Out!! was taller, etc, but they were still nearly identical. A dedicated Popeye machine will be blue, although you will sometimes see them in different colors (non-blue Popeyes are conversion cabinets).

The sideart was a large sticker showing Popeye and all his friends. This sideart is commonly available as a reproduction, which is a good thing, since people tended to peel off sideart stickers. The marquee shows Popeye and Olive Oil on a blue background, while the monitor bezel has a plethora of characters from the cartoon involved in different scenarios.

The control panel has game instructions, pictures of Popeye and Bluto, along with a joystick and a punch button.

The Atari-Ireland version of the game plays the same, and has similar exterior graphics, but came in a cabinet similar to the Tempest one, and had silk screened sideart instead of a sticker.

Where to play

All the Nintendo arcade titles were fairly popular and are easy to find in private collections. You might still bump into one from time to time in an out of the way place (bar, laundrymat, etc), but don't count on it.

This is a good game for any arcade game collection, as it has pretty decent replay potential. This game seems to be fairly cheap, when compared to other Nintendo brand arcade games from the same era.