GrizZ's Ultimate Guide To Popeye - The good , the bad and the spinach

M4carp

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I’ve got one and like it but just found this and thought I would share, is it Steve Ritchie?

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
 
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M4carp

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Got to say this right up has helped me understand what the hell to do👍
Just need to sort the right lane ball feed as it’s not going straight down the lane but instead bouncing out quite a bit, seems to be hitting the top of the slingshot no matter what adjustments I make.
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Got to say this right up has helped me understand what the hell to do
Just need to sort the right lane ball feed as it’s not going straight down the lane but instead bouncing out quite a bit, seems to be hitting the top of the slingshot no matter what adjustments I make.
Something must be amiss. I never have a problem on mine.

Try a different rubber? - sounds weird but I have found some rubber is fatter then others

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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Jammed some sponge by gate to restrict it and seems right although the sponge will get weaker/move pretty soon.
Nothing to adjust except legs and that’s not working. I’m stumped at the moment.
View attachment 83190
I'm mostly up mountains and away from the good ship Popeye for the next week or more, so can't really look and compare mine till then.

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M4carp

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Looks very happy at the end.
The ball coming out of the wheel and down the lane looks very satisfying
I managed 909 mil after a few goes somehow and haven’t come close since😂
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Looks very happy at the end.
The ball coming out of the wheel and down the lane looks very satisfying
I managed 909 mil after a few goes somehow and haven’t come close since
909 mill is a very good score!

I think my highest over the years has been around 1.4 billion

If you just concentrate on Multiballs / spinach doubling the Jackpot then the points are there! Though as with White Water the multiball gets progressively tougher to start.

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M4carp

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My son got about 901 mil after a few and couldn’t believe it when I told him I beat it.
He has never let me forget when I removed the batteries from FT which lost his high score😛
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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My son got about 901 mil after a few and couldn’t believe it when I told him I beat it.
He has never let me forget when I removed the batteries from FT which lost his high score
Good scores but iirc you have regular size flippers fitted don't you? not the factory lightnings ... Bigger flippers = bigger scores

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M4carp

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Yes they are regular flippers that were fitted previously, looked for Lightning flippers for FT quite a while back but could never find any.
Think I read someone saying Popeye should have regular and lightning on upper playfield😱
So was Popeye designed with lightning flippers or added for European market like FT ? As I’m sure I read FT was supposed to be normal flippers.
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Yes they are regular flippers that were fitted previously, looked for Lightning flippers for FT quite a while back but could never find any.
Think I read someone saying Popeye should have regular and lightning on upper playfield
So was Popeye designed with lightning flippers or added for European market like FT? As I’m sure I read FT was supposed to be normal flippers.
Seem to hear all sorts of theories and opinions on the Lightning flippers. It seems Fish Tales was the first but some say it was designed with full flippers in mind, some that it wasn't. I don't think we'll ever really know.

I just stick to what shipped from factory back in the day.

I can't imagine Lightning on Popeye mini playfield - surely make it too easy? You could keep the ball up there all day. It should be tough to find Swee Pea!


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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Never heard of these lightning bats @Sgt GrizZ, what is it about them that makes it easier?

They are slightly shorter than regular flippers so in theory will make a game tougher.

Though in regard to replacing the mini flippers on Popeye upper playfield with them as some people have, they would make it easier... being bigger than minis

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taz turbo

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Lightning flipper bats on my FT and BSD , on both machines when I bought them.

That’s why I’m crap on these machines I guess, doesn’t explain why I’m crap also on my other machines!

Chris.
 
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Sgt GrizZ

Sgt GrizZ

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Jul 21, 2011
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Morning Popeyes

A Pinsider Popeye fan has recently added the Red animal ramp ( available at Pinball Life, also in Blue, Yellow and Black) - I'm warming to it, kind of matches the Red skill wheel. He also added a spotlight to the Skill Wheel , which helps in low light play environment.

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