Python Vladimir Anghelo was an artist and game designer best known for his work on Physical Pinball Tables and Video Games. Born in Transylvania, Romania in 1954, Python showed amazing aptitude for art at a young age, and was enrolled in the Nicolae Tonitza Art School for prodigy children. After his family emigrated to the United States at the age of 17, Python worked as a Disney animator until 1979, when he joined Williams Electronics due to the potential of video gaming.
At Williams, Python worked on a variety of games, with most of his output in their pinball tables. In 1994, after the cancellation of The Pinball Circus (an experiment in creating a pinball machine in an arcade video cabinet), Python joined Capcom to work in their newfound pinball division. After developing Flipper Football, he left with the dissolution of Capcom Pinball, and would later work at Bay Tek Games.
Python described himself as "a wild and crazy guy"; his friends and colleagues describe him as a never-ending font of inspiration, full of energy and original perspectives. In 2010, Python underwent treatment for Stage 4 cancer; though he had apparently made a full recovery, it returned in 2013, requiring additional treatment. He passed away on April 9, 2014.
Python Anghelo's body of works include:
- Bubbles (Williams, 1982)
- Joust (Williams, 1982)
- Sinistar (Williams, 1982)
- Star Rider (Williams, 1983)
- Comet (Williams, 1986)
- High Speed (Williams, 1986)
- Pin*Bot (Williams, 1986)
- Big Guns (Williams, 1987)
- Cyclone (Williams, 1988)
- Taxi (Williams, 1988)
- Police Force (Williams, 1989)
- Bad Cats (Williams, 1989)
- Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
- Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball (Bally, 1991)
- The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot (Williams, 1991)
- Popeye Saves the Earth (Bally, 1994)
- The Pinball Circus (Midway, 1994; unreleased)
- Flipper Football (Capcom, 1996)
Python Anghelo and his works demonstrate the following tropes:
- Amusement Park: Python likes amusement parks and carnivals, and several of his games (such as Comet, Cyclone, and Pinball Circus) use them as settings.Python: "To me, a pinball game is like an amusement park where you are the ball."
- Brutal Honesty: "Id rather have people hate me for the truth than like me for a lie."
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Python can come off like this at times.
- Creator Killer: The rumored "Zingy Bingy" project was allegedly this for Python and Capcom Pinball. According to Mark Ritchie and composer Bryan Hansen, "Zingy Bingy" was a pornographic-themed pinball game; players would use penis-shaped flippers to shoot the pinball into vagina-shaped saucers, while breast bumpers knocked the ball around.
- Doing It for the ArtPython: "I use my art when I do a pinball game; its not just me making money. Or doing a stupid f***ing thing, I have social responsibility."
- Manchild: Python once described himself as "53 going on 17".
- The Nicknamer: During productions of both Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball and The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot, Python called John Trudeau "Dr. Flash", a nickname that stuck with him for the rest of his career.
- Ridiculous Procrastinator: Python was known within Williams for waiting at least three days before the deadline to get the artwork done.
- Shapeshifting: A regular motif in his non-game artwork.
- Shown Their Work: In preparation for his work on Comet (a pinball machine about a roller coaster), Python went to Great America and paid them two thousand dollars to reverse the front seats on a roller coaster, just so he could observe the riders' reactions.Python: "...when we went down I see these people screaming like they were getting murdered or having multiple orgasms."
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Most evident in his audio interviews.