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 is a 1982 arcade game developed and released by Nintendo based on the Popeye cartoon characters licensed from King Features Syndicate. Some sources claim that Ikegami Tsushinki also did design work on Popeye.

The Family Computer saw an educational sequel on November 22, 1983: Popeye no Eigo Asobi, an English teaching game akin to the later Donkey Kong Jr. Math.

In Popeye, two players can alternate playing or one player can play alone. The top five highest scores are kept along with the player's three initials. Popeye was available in standard and cocktail configurations.

Steve Harris, founder of the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, holds the world record score of 1,232,250 earned on August 8, 1983 according to Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard.

The Popeye characters were originally going to be used in the game that later became Donkey Kong.


Screenshots of Popeye (arcade version).
The object of the game was for Popeye to collect a certain number of items (24 hearts, 16 musical notes, or the letters in the word "help" - depending on the level) while avoiding the Sea Hag, Brutus / originally Bluto (Brutus was the name given to the character in the King Features cartoon series, Popeye the Sailor) and other dangers. The player can make Popeye walk back and forth and up and down stairs and ladders with an 8-way joystick. There is a punch button, but unlike similar games of the period, no jump button. (Conversely, Brutus can jump down a level and also jump up to hit Popeye if he is directly above.) Each level has a can of spinach. If Popeye punches the can, he becomes temporarily invincible and can knock out Brutus just by running into him; although after a few seconds Brutus will swim back out and be ready for action again.

In Round 1 (the dock scene) of each three-round cycle is a punching bag, which Popeye can use to knock loose a nearby barrel from its position near the top of the playing field. If the barrel falls onto Brutus' head, the player earns bonus points (based on where Brutus was attacked) and renders Brutus harmless for several seconds.

Otherwise Popeye's attacks did nothing to his nemesis; although the attack button did destroy items that could hurt Popeye such as bottles, vultures and skulls.

Other licensed Popeye characters in the game are Olive Oyl, Swee' Pea, and Wimpy, though they are mostly decorative and do not add heavily to the gameplay. Wimpy appears in Round 2 (the street scene) on one end of the see-saw in the lower left corner of the field, to act as a counterweight. Swee' Pea floats high above, with bonus points to be earned if Popeye can spring off the see-saw and touch him.


The game was licensed by Atari for exclusive release in the UKmarker and Irelandmarker, and featured in an Atari designed and manufactured cabinet.


The game was ported to the Commodore 64, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, and Atari XL home computers as well as various home game consoles: (Intellivision/Intellivision II/Tandyvision/Sears Super Video Arcade, Atari 2600/5200, ColecoVision, and Odyssey²). There was even a board game based on the original game (released by Parker Brothers in 1983). A tabletop video game was also made, and it was one of the first notable such devices to have a color LCD.

On July 15, 1983, along with Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior, Popeye was one of the first three games released for Nintendo's Family Computer game console, known outside of Japanmarker as the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Most ports were handled by Parker Brothers, except for the NES version, which was ported by Nintendo themselves.

In 2008, Namco Networks released an enhanced remake for mobile phones. The game plays largely the same, though it features an Enhanced mode in addition to the arcade original, which includes a bonus stage and an extra level where Popeye must save a sleepwalking Olive, as well as some trivia segments. In the game it is possible to earn tokens, which can be used to buy some of the old comic strips.


  1. [
  2. ドンキーコング裁判についてちょこっと考えてみる Thinking a bit about Donkey Kong, accessed 2009-02-01
  3. , , , 2005, ISBN 4-9902512-0-2.

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