Saturday, July 4, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Popeye

Popeye by Nintendo - a long-forgotten treasure from the past. It's not one that ever gained too much fame, and considering it's heritage (Nintendo - releasing aroudn the same time as Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., etc) you'd think it would have held a little more clout. Alas, the comic book and cartoon property of Popeye hasn't really made it past the cultural threshold with whatever else has passed into the 21st century, and so this game is mostly forgotten. At least not for today, however..

A simple one-screen arcade title released to arcades by Nintendo in 1982, it was a simple and enjoyable little game - your girlfriend Olive Oil is emitting hearts and you have to catch them before they "drown." Catch them all and you advance the level. Meanwhile, Popeye's nemesis Brutus wants to punch your lights out and the Sea Hag tries to throw bottles at you. Grab an occasionally-appearing Spinach to get the "Pac-Man Energizer Effect," if only briefly, and turn the tables on your foes (you don't eat them! Just punch them. Haha)

As mentioned, it's a simple game with a simple mechanic. Not much to it, each of the 3 levels has a special feature (for example, in the 1st level you can drop a bucket on Brutus' head).

It looks it's age, but at the time it was considered quite colorful and perky, a hallmark of the Nintendo arcade games at the time (and certainly a sign of things to come). The characters all certainly "felt" very lively, Popeye had a bouncy little jaunt to his walk. This game is memorable for being one of the early titles that successfully imbued some character into our limited-pixel avatars.

Popeye doesn't necessarily hold up very well, after all of these years - but it's a fun little game which I spent a lot of time with as a kid. An interesting look back into Nintendo's early archives.

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