Why does Popeye suck?

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Rompen

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Sep 19, 2010, 3:52:31 AM9/19/10
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My impression is that Popeye seems to be a standard by which sucky
pinball games are judged. I'm curious why people think this. Python
did this machine. He also did Pinball Circus. Do people feel the
same way about Pinball Circus? I was listening to Steve Kordec on
Topcast allude to how he felt Python just didn't get what pinball was
all about. So was Python ahead of his time? Heading in a different
direction? Or just a bad designer? What does RGP think? Is Popeye
that horrible of a game?

Retrogameconnection

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Sep 19, 2010, 4:18:28 AM9/19/10
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I thought Barry Oursler designed Popeye? He was a great designer.
Stern needs to contact him about designing their next machine...

SaBbRa CaDaBra

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Sep 19, 2010, 4:41:30 AM9/19/10
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Must have something to do with the rules, cuz that game is a beaut up
and down. I don't even mind the big upper playfield blocking the
lower cuz it looks so darn cool too.

Brighton Ive

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Sep 19, 2010, 6:44:51 AM9/19/10
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Well I'm in the minority but I actually think Popeye is a perfectly ok
game. I owned one for a while and would probably have another -
especially as they can be had so cheap.

I think it needs to be played in the home environment to get yr
head round the rules. That is my one major gripe with the game - it is
very poor
at communicating to the player just what the heck is happening
sometimes.

But once you get going there is much to enjoy. There is plenty going
on as
you work towards the (achievable) Wizard mode of rescuing Olive. You
are always
working on either getting the Bluto modes completed, collecting Items,
rescuing
animals etc...

Nice smooth looping shot, smooth ramp,neat elevator to the upper
pfield.

At first I thought it was kind of ugly but actually the artwork is
really cool all over, lots of nice little details. Great translite
art.

I like the DMD animations, and there are some cool little soundbites
and effects
- the animal noises always amused me when you rescue them. But again
this is
where spending time with the game at home helps.

I actually don't have too much of a problem with the upper playfield
and the
ball visibility issue. The shots are clearly marked with inserts so
although
you may not be able to see the scoop/ramp entrance or whatever you do
know where
to aim.

The upper playfield search for Swee Pea is ridiculously tricky to play
and not
the best design, but I tended to concentrate on the other shots up
there to
collect Super Animals - more great animation as they transform - or 2x
wheel
awards. Fortunately you don't have to find Swee Pea to reach the
Wizard mode.

Overall I found there was much more to the game than I initially
expected.
Completing the 'Item' multiball was always very satisfying.

Yes it has its design and software flaws - there are issues with ball
locks rules if I recall. And it probably didn't need to be a
widebody.

But I really enjoyed it. Again I know i'm in the minority but heck it
would be a dull world if we all had the same taste : )

beaver

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Sep 19, 2010, 7:02:02 AM9/19/10
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To answer the question, it is because of the upper playfield that
blocks the view to the targets.

Without seeing my target, I feel like I am just flailing around with
the ball.

Edward_Cheung CARGPB26

dcerny

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Sep 19, 2010, 7:15:08 AM9/19/10
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Barry got the design credit, but the original concept, theme, artwork,
etc was all Python's brainchild to begin with. Much like Pinbot and
other Python/Barry collaborations.

firepower

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Sep 19, 2010, 7:59:00 AM9/19/10
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Great game to buy cheap and convert to an Indy. What makes a geat
pinball game? The best description I have heard ( to paraphrase S.
Ritchie) explained the kinetics of making a shot: player and shot become
one. You feel a connection from arm/wrist/finger right through to the
target. It just feels right.

Personally, I can't get closer to it than that. You just know before the
ball leaves the flipper that you have scored the shot. For me Popeye
doesn't have that, so yeah, it misses what pinball is all about.

Never did anything for me. Same can be said for lots of the klunkier
games. Nascar springs to mind if you want me to pick a modern Stern.
Or maybe RBION, although that game has been getting some love around
here lately...

-Richard

cody chunn

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Sep 19, 2010, 8:39:40 AM9/19/10
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Popeye is a great game! A lister for sure.

--
-cody
--


"Rompen" <romp...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:3b506595-2027-43b1...@q18g2000vbm.googlegroups.com...

c...@provide.net

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Sep 19, 2010, 8:54:08 AM9/19/10
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On Sep 19, 3:52 am, Rompen <rompe...@gmail.com> wrote:

There's a number of reasons it's considered crappy.
1. a wide body. most people don't like them.
and it takes a GREAT design (TZ, STNG, IJ)
to get away with a wide body game.

2. Upper playfield blocks the lower PF. you just
can't see what's going on. Now on a clean game it's
A LOT better. but out in the field, where things aren't
clean, it just sucks.

3. Theme. Look popeye was about getting laid
and beating up the big dude (so pop could get laid.)
he had nothing to do with the environment.
to marry these two concepts are weird at best.
Essentially python ruined the whole popeye
concept and what people remembered
about the cartoon as kids.

4. aesthetics. could that game be any uglier?
really, it's just horrible to look at.

5. Upper playfield. It's impossible to play.

That all said, there are some modification you can
make so the game is more fun. The best mod is
to take the lower (shorter) lightning flippers and
install them on the upper playfield. Then put "regular"
williams flippers on the lower playfield. This mod makes
the game a lot more playable. Also keeping the game
clean helps a lot too.

If you look at Popeye, you can see Pinball Circus.
it's like a warm up for that. Which presents another
set of problems for Popeye...

John Wart, jr

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Sep 19, 2010, 10:16:27 AM9/19/10
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I kinda like it. I enjoy playing it when I see it, and have owned it before.

It's no MB or WCS 94, but it's fun.

--
--john
CARGPB34
http://www.myhomegameroom.com
Columbus, Indiana USA

Hugh

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Sep 19, 2010, 11:44:17 AM9/19/10
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On Sep 19, 3:52 am, Rompen <rompe...@gmail.com> wrote:

I'm in the minority here, I love Popeye. I wish I didn't sell mine.

Hugh

so

unread,
Sep 19, 2010, 11:59:48 AM9/19/10
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I've always said if they had gotten rid of that search for Olive Oyl
thing on the upper playfield and put about 10-15 drop targets up there
instead, it would have been a great game.

so

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Sep 19, 2010, 12:01:00 PM9/19/10
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I meant search for Sweet Pea.

Fred Kemper

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Sep 19, 2010, 3:37:55 PM9/19/10
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It doesn't. Not a bad player at all. On the verge of greta in fact.

It may not be a WMS Darling, but then AFM is
no El Toro either.

--
Fred
TX
CARGPB#8
******************

"Rompen" <romp...@gmail.com> wrote

Steve

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Sep 19, 2010, 6:34:57 PM9/19/10
to

> > My impression is that Popeye seems to be a standard by which sucky
> > pinball games are judged.  I'm curious why people think this.  Python
> > did this machine.  He also did Pinball Circus.  Do people feel the
> > same way about Pinball Circus?  I was listening toSteveKordec on

> > Topcast allude to how he felt Python just didn't get what pinball was
> > all about.   So was Python ahead of his time?  Heading in a different
> > direction?  Or just a bad designer?  What does RGP think?  Is Popeye
> > that horrible of a game?

Some Popeye Facts and My Opinions and Recollections:

Barry Oursler designed the game, but it was Python's theme, including
the weird euphorics-influenced eco-connection.
Python was not, and never will be a game designer. He will SAY
anything, truthful or not. This is not to say that he didn't come up
with many good ideas for the games he worked on, but he never drew
anything more than sketches except when doing the artwork for the
playfield, back glass and plastics. A pinball designer makes a full
scale drawing of his games with all components shown. He does the
fitting of components and at least some of the mechanical
engineering. A pinball designer chases down and looks after every
component and mechanism on his game. He deals with a BOM, management,
and other members on the team. Barry was the designer of Popeye.

The game designer was not always the team leader of the pinball teams
at W/B/M. If another member of a team was more suited to carrying the
vision and dealing with other members, then he would take the reins
with the designer's permission. Barry liked to let others on his team
lead things. Steve Kordek, Chris Granner and Python were probably
the most influential on Barry's teams to my recollection.

Popeye was the game that followed ST:TNG. Popeye didn't make money on
the street. The theme was stinky and the geometry was funky, chunky
and clunky. No real players liked the hidden shots and generally poor
visibility that allowed function to follow form. Its hard-to-play
upper playfield didn't win it any friends. Graphics and art were just
nasty, and speech, sounds, script and music were less than stellar.
Popeye was expensive to build and carried hefty tooling and mold costs
that were never amortized. Williams lost money on Popeye, something
that hadn't happened for many many years prior.

The real reason that Popeye is/was universally despised was that all
of the Williams/Bally/Midway distributors were signed up to take
minimum amounts of every run of machines we manufactured. They were
not upset when they had to buy minimum quantities of ST:TNGs and other
titles, but they were very angry that they had to take a minimum # of
Popeye machines. To make matters worse, Willy raised the price of
Popeye! The theme was ridiculous. Who cares about Popeye? Popeye
was nothing in Europe (our second through fourth ranked markets) even
when it was fresh. Not one distributor cared for the license. We who
were in charge should have stopped the game, because we all knew that
it was a steaming pile well before it was released. There were
politics involved, and I seem to recall that we couldn't get anything
on the line quickly enough if we did not release Popeye to production.

The distributors were screaming and making threats of lawsuits and
dumping Willy as a represented manufacturer. Eventually Williams
canceled the minimums clause in their contracts with distribs. Popeye
had a very bad stigma attached to it for a long time which, of course,
was played up by our competitors. Some people say Popeye was "the
beginning of the end" of pinball at Williams. It was hard to sell
large runs of games after Popeye. The failure of pinball cannot be
blamed on Popeye, but it sure didn't help our business.

I do not agree that less people like wide bodies than regular width
games. They were harder to design because of the slightly larger
spans of time required for the ball to get to the targets. The worst
wide body width was Stellar Wars/Superman/Pokerino. Until I/we moved
the flippers and slings into the same familiar location as a narrow
body, they were really horrible in my mind. Some designers went crazy
with more flippers and more drain space between them! The outer orbit
shots were actually miserable to make because the ball was so far down
the flipper end in order to hit them. The ball doesn't carrying much
speed or power at that angle. The widest games are the ones that I
never want to make again. The Superpin width was/is much better. I
can design in at least one more shot in a Superpin width, and more and
larger toys can be utilized.

I do have to admit that my favorite playfield size to play and create
within is the standard 20-1/4" X 46" I would like to make a longer
(48") game someday, but it is not a high priority.

I don't enjoy dumping on others games, but don't try to tell me that
Popeye was a good game. If you enjoy playing it, that's certainly
your prerogative. Most Williams engineering/management folks don't
want to think about Popeye. It was an awful time in Williams
history.

Regards,

Steve


seymour.shabow

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Sep 19, 2010, 7:11:21 PM9/19/10
to
Steve wrote:
>
> I don't enjoy dumping on others games, but don't try to tell me that
> Popeye was a good game. If you enjoy playing it, that's certainly
> your prerogative. Most Williams engineering/management folks don't
> want to think about Popeye. It was an awful time in Williams
> history.

My impression as a player back in 1994 when I saw popeye was "weird
backglass art.... but ok..... I'll play a game."

I paid 50 cents to play 1 ball and I let the 2nd ball drain, and walked
away. Played it since at expo in pinbrawl, the match was won by people
able to hit the 10 million on the skill shot.

What a pile of shit.

It's STILL better than Party Zone, though.

-scott CARGPB#29

homebrood

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Sep 19, 2010, 9:13:53 PM9/19/10
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Yes, yes it is! Why? Because it is just ridiculous, it's like someone
put the playfield together at the end of someones driveway, with the
junk they happened to throw out that particular day, but really and
mostly because it sucks incredibly huge donkey balls!

Tom

c...@provide.net

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Sep 19, 2010, 11:46:56 PM9/19/10
to
On Sep 19, 6:34 pm, Steve <king...@aol.com> wrote:
> > > My impression is thatPopeyeseems to be a standard by which sucky

> > > pinball games are judged.  I'm curious why people think this.  Python
> > > did this machine.  He also did Pinball Circus.  Do people feel the
> > > same way about Pinball Circus?  I was listening toSteveKordec on
> > > Topcast allude to how he felt Python just didn't get what pinball was
> > > all about.   So was Python ahead of his time?  Heading in a different
> > > direction?  Or just a bad designer?  What does RGP think?  IsPopeye
> > > that horrible of a game?
>
> SomePopeyeFacts and My Opinions and Recollections:

>
> Barry Oursler designed the game, but it was Python's theme, including
> the weird euphorics-influenced eco-connection.
> Python was not, and never will be a game designer.  He will SAY
> anything, truthful or not.  This is not to say that he didn't come up
> with many good ideas for the games he worked on, but he never drew
> anything more than sketches except when doing the artwork for the
> playfield, back glass and plastics.  A pinball designer makes a full
> scale drawing of his games with all components shown.  He does the
> fitting of components and at least some of the mechanical
> engineering.  A pinball designer chases down and looks after every
> component and mechanism on his game.  He deals with a BOM, management,
> and other members on the team.  Barry was the designer ofPopeye.
>
> The game designer was not always the team leader of the pinball teams
> at W/B/M.  If another member of a team was more suited to carrying the
> vision and dealing with other members, then he would take the reins
> with the designer's permission.  Barry liked to let others on his team
> lead things.  Steve Kordek,  Chris Granner and Python were probably
> the most influential on Barry's teams to my recollection.
>
> Popeyewas the game that followed ST:TNG.  Popeyedidn't make money on

> the street.  The theme was stinky and the geometry was funky, chunky
> and clunky.  No real players liked the hidden shots and generally poor
> visibility that allowed function to follow form.  Its hard-to-play
> upper playfield didn't win it any friends.  Graphics and art were just
> nasty, and speech, sounds, script and music were less than stellar.Popeyewas expensive to build and carried hefty tooling and mold costs
> that were never amortized.  Williams lost money onPopeye, something

> that hadn't happened for many many years prior.
>
> The real reason thatPopeyeis/was universally despised was that all

> of the Williams/Bally/Midway distributors were signed up to take
> minimum amounts of every run of machines we manufactured.  They were
> not upset when they had to buy minimum quantities of ST:TNGs and other
> titles, but they were very angry that they had to take a minimum # ofPopeyemachines.  To make matters worse, Willy raised the price ofPopeye!  The theme was ridiculous.  Who cares aboutPopeye?  Popeye

> was nothing in Europe (our second through fourth ranked markets) even
> when it was fresh.  Not one distributor cared for the license.  We who
> were in charge should have stopped the game, because we all knew that
> it was a steaming pile well before it was released.  There were
> politics involved, and I seem to recall that we couldn't get anything
> on the line quickly enough if we did not releasePopeyeto production.

>
> The distributors were screaming and making threats of lawsuits and
> dumping Willy as a represented manufacturer.  Eventually Williams
> canceled the minimums clause in their contracts with distribs.  Popeye
> had a very bad stigma attached to it for a long time which, of course,
> was played up by our competitors.  Some people sayPopeyewas "the

> beginning of the end" of pinball at Williams.  It was hard to sell
> large runs of games afterPopeye.  The failure of pinball cannot be
> blamed onPopeye, but it sure didn't help our business.

>
> I do not agree that less people like wide bodies than regular width
> games.  They were harder to design because of the slightly larger
> spans of time required for the ball to get to the targets.  The worst
> wide body width was Stellar Wars/Superman/Pokerino.  Until I/we moved
> the flippers and slings into the same familiar location as a narrow
> body, they were really horrible in my mind.  Some designers went crazy
> with more flippers and more drain space between them!  The outer orbit
> shots were actually miserable to make because the ball was so far down
> the flipper end in order to hit them.  The ball doesn't carrying much
> speed or power at that angle.  The widest games are the ones that I
> never want to make again.  The Superpin width was/is much better.  I
> can design in at least one more shot in a Superpin width, and more and
> larger toys can be utilized.
>
> I do have to admit that my favorite playfield size to play and create
> within is the standard 20-1/4" X 46"  I would like to make a longer
> (48") game someday, but it is not a high priority.
>
> I don't enjoy dumping on others games, but don't try to tell me thatPopeyewas a good game.  If you enjoy playing it, that's certainly

> your prerogative.  Most Williams engineering/management folks don't
> want to think aboutPopeye.  It was an awful time in Williams
> history.
>
> Regards,
>
> Steve

Steve, you kind of recanted what i said about
popeye, but in the long version. That's cool, it's
great to have that inside view. (where my view
was a the far less informed outside view.)

But anyway, while we're on the subject, i should
raise the point that apparently you didn't learn
as much as i would like from the Popeye experience.
I'm working on a World Poker Tour right now.
Specifically the mini playfield. And i can't tell
you how many times i uttered your name and
an epithet right behind it. What the hell
were you thinking???

I mean at least with Popeye, it's like 3 screws
and the mini playfield is up and out of the game.
On World Poker Tour, MY GAWD, i have to
remove screws i can't even access without
removing coils, ramps, etc. And then i have to
remove BOTH mini flippers. And only then can
i get the mini playfield up to clean it and clean
the (dirtest part of any playfield) pop bumpers.
Talk about time consuming and a general PIA.
It was like you never wanted anyone to clean
that clear playfield. If that was the case, you
should have made it black and saved us all the
trouble.

My only other choice is to use a flexible rod
with a cloth on the end to get into the pop
bumper area. And let me tell ya, that doesn't
work so well.

And of course i had to service the Optos in
the Ace in the Hole area, which was a total
PIA too. This required mini playfield removal too.

So i think you may need to take a trip back
to "mini PF design school" with Python to get
this straightened out. Remember, some guys
like to keep their games clean and working.
And some design compensation to help that
cause would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
for listening to my spew of BS by the way
(if you got this far.)

(Sorry in advance, I'm a bit steamed up over
this issue, as i just got home from doing this
work, and i'm tired and pissed off from the
aggravation it provided.)

pinfan

unread,
Sep 20, 2010, 4:16:12 PM9/20/10
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had it - sold it

nice art and graphics and liked the idea that the whole playfield was
a boat.. (it just seemed neat)

audio clips okay
game play okay - SOME neat shots.
upper playfield a little wierd (but neat shot to get it up there)
YEP - upper playfield hides the whole upper part of the main
playfield... The 2 tier playfield is hard to pull off.... really.
(on a game with a clear new blue plastic disk - you can see the ball
shoot around in the pop bumpers.. but once the plastic piece clouds
up in a routed game- well that is SHOT.

What i hated about it was the left channel to rescue the animals..
what a waste of a playfield area.. YEAH its a wide body but if you
look at it.. the "wideness" use of the game is LOST in that left
animal rescue channel/ramp. DUMB

I would say - ahhhh yeah cute game if you have kids.. but like one of
the previous RGPer's mentioned .. Kids barely know who popeye is/
was. Its the 40-50 somethings that recognize it and for us its a
pretty childish game.

Thus it goes for much less than other Bally/Williams games of that
time.

Glad i sold mine

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