I stumbled across a working arcade version of Popeye just last week at Insert Coin(s). It seems that they are changing up some of their gaming rotation, and it makes me wonder how many machines they truly have now.

But the last time I played this was… I can’t even remember. It was in a Dairy Queen in some small Texas town between my parent’s place and my Uncle’s. In short, it’s been a while.

I did have the game for Colecovision, which was a fairly accurate port of the game. But having not played Popeye in a while, I figured it was worth the quarter to revisit.

It’s a shame, really, that this has never come to the Virtual Console. If it’s a licensing issue, then it may never come to the Virtual Console. There’s also the nagging issue that Nintendo still refuses to release any of its arcade ports to the service, meaning that we may never truly get that perfect Donkey Kong arcade experience at home outside of Donkey Kong 64.

The game came out in 1982, and was designed by Miyamoto. If I remember correctly, the experiences of Donkey Kong were meant to be a Popeye game all along, but Nintendo couldn’t get rights to the characters back then. So Mario was born, and we all know how that went.

The last version Nintendo ever put out was for the NES, as well as an educational sequel, before the sailor man disappeared into the night. Namco revived the game for modern audiences, but it remains on mobile phones. It’s about as close as we’re going to get for a recent version of the game.

It’s kind of the shame that Nintendo didn’t try to at least keep the license for one of their original titles, but it’s something of a moot point since their arcade titles don’t get much of a reference to begin with these days.

Still, there’s always eBay if you have a NES….

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