Video Game: Popeye

Popeye is an Arcade Game from 1982 by Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda, later ported to several consoles and computers. It is one of the few Licensed Games to have been made by Nintendo.

You play Popeye, trying to collect hearts, musical notes, or letters of the word "HELP" from Olive Oyl, who walks back and forth at the top of the screen and sends them floating down. Each of the three levels has four platforms, broken in places and connected by stairs or ladders. If a heart/note/letter reaches the bottom of the screen, it lands in water, and you have a limited time to get it before you lose a life. Collect them all and you advance to the next level. Unusually for a platform game, Popeye cannot jump, except in one corner of level 2, where Wimpy is standing on a seesaw.

Standing in your way are Bluto/Brutus (called Brutus here), the Sea Hag, and on level 3, a vulture. Brutus chases you around, trying to kill you with Collision Damage, and throws bottles at you. He can jump both up and down through platforms. The Sea Hag appears on the sides of the screen when you pick up something from Olive, and throws bottles at you. On level 2, and level 1 once the game starts repeating, she also stands at the top of the screen throwing skulls. The vulture on level 3 has carried Olive to the top of a pirate ship's mast; hence the "HELP" letters. It flies across the screen swooping up and down. You can punch the bottles and the vulture.

Spinach is available once per level on the side of the screen, but it keeps teleporting to different platforms. This is the only way to deal with Brutus.

There is some interesting history here, in that a Popeye game is what Nintendo wanted to make when they made Donkey Kong. They couldn't get the license, so Miyamoto came up with a love triangle that mirrored the Popeye universe. The three characters became Mario, Donkey Kong, and Pauline. After Donkey Kong, they got the license, and did this. Popeye was designed by Miyamoto, and his style is easy to recognize here.

Assets from the Nintendo Entertainment System version were recycled for Popeye no Eigo Asobi, an Edutainment Game for teaching English to Japanese children.

Lesser known Popeye video games include; the Technos title Popeye: Ijiwaru Majo Seahag no Maki, which translates to Popeye: The Tale of the Sea Hag, only released in Japan for the Super Famicom; a Game By title by Sigma Enterprises released only in Japan followed by a sequel which saw worldwide release; and Popeye: Rush For Spinach by Namco for the Game Boy Advance, released in the US and Europe. Tropes below do not apply to any of these titles.

Popeye provides examples of:

  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Popeye. Not really noticeable, until you start wondering which side of his mouth is holding his pipe...
  • Cutscene: A character introduction when the game starts, and one at the start of level 3 that shows Olive being carried in by a vulture.
  • Endless Game: It gets harder after the first round, that's about it.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Or rather, 40,000 points, an extra Popeye.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Brutus could throw beer bottles at you (up to four at a time), and the Sea Hag could throw wine bottles at you (she'd appear on both ends of the level you were on); you had to punch them out of the air before they hit you.
  • Ground Punch: Brutus shakes the screen when he falls.
  • Level Goal: Collect everything Olive Oyl throws.
  • Musical Gameplay: The music changes when something from Olive is sitting in the water, and Popeye's theme plays when you eat the spinach.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Anything that hurts you causes you to lose a life, as do some things that don't.
  • Spring Jump: A seesaw on level 2 with Wimpy standing on it.
  • Timed Power-Up: The spinach lasts for a limited time, or until you hit Brutus.
  • Video Game Lives: You'll lose them if you don't collect everything Olive drops too.
  • Wrap Around: One platform each on levels 1 and 2 allow this.