Popeye Saves the Earth (Bally, 1994)

Popeye Saves the Earth

Pinside rating

This game received 124 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 7.044 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #236 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 6.686

Artwork: 7.774

Sounds/Music: 7.059

Other Aspects: 6.724

Rating comments

There are 73 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) Pinside.com staff & moderators rate this game. 1 of us has rated this game.


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Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 73 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 73 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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11 days ago
This is my second Popeye. very underrated game still have not made it to the end. Pick this one up as undocumented Huo comes with most of the original decals for replacements on plastics which are incredibly rare.
30 days ago
I recently got to try it out at a show. I didn't care for it.
35 days ago
Fun game that gets too much hate. I understand the theme isn’t the best but it could be much worse. Not being able to see the shots honestly doesn’t bother me that much. Good coding and great art. Excellent value.
59 days ago
Juat picked up this game and cleaned it up. Popeye certainly plays very fast and has quite challenging shots towards the top of the playfield. There is a lot going on on this wide body and it is fun and looks great with LED's. Great fun game with all the old music which I remember as a kid. A keeper in my book and brings a smile to the face when the machine is setup correctly.
78 days ago
This is another game I was very much looking forward to playing. When I found it in a lineup in Houston I was excited. I went directly to it first. I will say the game had some issues and the room was very dark. I played 5 games thinking, no, it just me. I need to get use to it. I no longer have any desire to play this game again.
7 months ago
Had for only a couple weeks. It wasn't a lot of fun and pretty hard to be honest. The flippers up top are too small and it doesn't have great over game play. It seem pretty choppy, we couldn't get into the flow. It also didn't help Brutus would spit the ball straight down the middle randomly. I wouldn't recommend, even for a famuly
8 months ago
Underrated game that is fairly deep. Family friendly game that is becoming more appreciated as time goes on. Great music and call outs.
9 months ago
"Well, blow me down!" "Oh my gosh'k" this game is good. I took a risk on this one and bought a well worn re-import needing some work because it was half the price of my STTNG and I wanted another family friendly widebody superpin with 6 ball multiball. I quickly got buyer's remorse just like when I bought my first Italian car. Like that car, this game surprised me. I got all the kinks worked out in a couple of hours, kicked the back up to a steep angle, and started playing the game like it was intended to be played. Popeye Saves the Earth is easily the most underrated game in pinball, currently sitting at #250. I agree with an earlier rating on the Colordmd, it's a must along with a complete LED set. The sound is exceptional, the loop is probably the fastest in a superpin, the upper playfield with pinball controlled video mode is extremely challenging. As a matter of fact, it was way too challenging with the factory set up. This is easy to fix by replacing the rubbers on the "save swee-pea" ramp with 1" snips off a large diameter drinking straw. Do it, this cheap mod cures the whole problem of ramp shot "bounce back" and costs nothing.
"Hidden" shots? That's a "Wimpy" complaint.
The "Save the Earth" theme doesn't make sense? What else would we expect Popeye to do if Bluto is
polluting the Earth?
The game software is incredibly deep, much more so than most games in the top 100. Full of toys, up to 6 ball multiball, a video mode that is unsurpassed in challenge and unique in all of pinball, what more could you possibly ask for a pin to do? I challenge you to spend some time with this title, but make sure it's been shopped recently, because if it isn't working right, playability suffers quickly. A machine that's been on location for years without maintenance doesn't deserve a review here. I love Steve Ritchie games and I own four of his designs. However, something had to follow STTNG in production at Williams and this game might not quite clear the bar that games set in 1993, but that doesn't mean that it didn't compete at all. I respectfully think that Mr. Ritchie's rant against this game was unfair to the designers. This game should most definitely have a place in the top 100. Give it a good day's play on a well-maintained machine and see if you agree.
9 months ago
I bought this game without ever even playing it and it has not let me down, I love it. Most of the bad reviews are from people that have not given it a chance or just regurgitate the folklore of the inner workings of Bally and the timing of the release. It's really too bad.

The animations are so great and even funny. Color DMD is a must. It has a fairly deep rule set, but it's not difficult to understand after a handful of games. Basically, give it more tries than a game or two. The modes are achievable, like Indiana Jones, which makes it fun.

The BS about the upper playfield booking the roll overs is a joke. I find them more visible than Fish Tales for instance.

For those considering buying the game... The design of the mechanisms is nothing short of brilliant. Very easy to maintain and clean. The upper playfield is on a hinge system. Notes should have been taken for many other designers/machines of that era.

Give this game a try. Very underrated and fun!
10 months ago
one of my favorite, fun and deep.
10 months ago
Very underrated, i don't understand why Popeye is not in the top 100. Very unique and fun, deep rules, i think is important to have it at home to realy appreciate. Beautiful machine.
1 year ago
The whole boat thing is a mystery to me. I found this game frustrating and not in a good way.
1 year ago
It has weird playfield layout but with awesome playfield art. The bigest fail of design is that most of shots are blind and you are trying to hit something under upper playfield.

Im not fan of Popeye, but I like arcade themes, so its ok. Deep ruleset could be interesting for home playing, but afterall its for sure weakest table from Widebody/Superpin series.
1 year ago
Popeye Saves the Earth suffers from trying too hard to make the theme playable. While the nautical theme is implemented with impressing results, the shots are wild, odd, and momentum is nearly impossible to maintain. The toys and design are fun, but Popeye is so easy to walk away from it won't ever make my wishlist.
1 year ago
Learn the rules! It's a Fun game!
1 year ago
Well, it's difficult to rate this machine, as it is quite "unique"... In addition, the game I play is in a bar, and it's in poor condition.

At first, it make me think of a 90's machine that played and looked like a 60's or 70's pin. Some kind of "neo-retro" stuff. It's huge, slow-paced, the slingshots are weirdly placed (no post pass possible here), but it has a certain... charm about it. The cartoon theme is nice, the sound and DMD animations are very funny... Plus, I'm having good times competing with the bar's owner for the Grand Champion title. But if I had to buy it, it definitely wouldn't be on my wish list.

PS: I had a great read about this machine's history on the forum: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/popeye-owners-why-do-you-like-the-game. Very interesting topic !
1 year ago
We just did a full restore on a Popeye. We added electric blue legs with black cabinet protectors and the game just shines. The back glass is way ahead of it's time, almost as if it had been waiting for LED's. The theme of saving the earth speaks to todays culture. It is a family friendly pinball with a green message. The play has lots going on. The biggest issue for me is that the upper playfield obscures too much. The pinball lends itself to restoration as well as any pinball. It has it share of unique features and is durable. A good family pinball at a reasonable price point.
1 year ago
Very underrated game with a great theme. Love the ship theme with the caribbean music playing. So many options: find sweet pea, save the animals, fight Bluto, find items, or shoot at Bluto for multiball.
2 years ago
This was my wife's choice and our first pin. I'm six foot tall and can see the bottom floor of the upper play field without a problem. She cannot. I find the idea of popeye saving the earth weird but the designers did a good job with the theme implementation. The game will look much better with colored LEDs (haven't done yet). Popeye has 3, 4, and 6 ball multi-ball. 6 ball multi-ball is difficult to get where as you can get 3 ball multi-ball like every time. The rule set is what makes this game a delight. You can save the animals, go for the round house loops, skill wheel, escalator award, pop and eye targets, find Swea' Pea, sea hag multi-ball, bluto multi-ball, six ball multi-ball, fight the bluto cartel, stampede mode, super jackpot, and more.

I found Olive annoying in the popeye cartoon so there is not a natural fan love for the machine. My wife loves it. I do not know the full rule sets of Jurassic Park and Terminator 3 but played at the Pizza West in KC. The popeye game play is better than Jurassic Park and not as good as Terminator 3.
2 years ago
Popeye is a wide body pin with a solid family theme. I owned one when my kids were young and we played the game a lot. Theme is better than many games ranked ahead of it...although serious tournament players may never admit it. A good game for a family game room, maybe next to a foosball table.
2 years ago
I read so many reviews about this game and glad I did not listen. I am with some of the guys that are recently catching onto this title and give it positive comments. The only good thing about the negative comments is that I was able to get one at a reasonable price. What a fun game - animations are awesome, and really look forward to installing a color DMD into this one as it will fit the theme as Simpsons does with the DMD - cartoon theme. Don't let those comments about the upper play field steer you away from this one ... it is ABSOLUTELY NOT as bad as some say it is, and doesn't even come into play as a complaint of mine at all ... I mean there is a window you can see the roll over lanes just fine, and the upper play field covers the pop bumpers - so what. I love the play on the upper play field, very cool and challenging. I also like the rules, and so much more to this then just collecting the animals. Do folks even care to give this title a change?!

I was just trying to figure out what I would change in this game looking at the negative reviews. The upper play field is a cool idea, and wouldn't change this. Honestly, the left blue ramp is more annoying and wish they would of made this transparent/blue so you can at least so the play field through it. Wish there were more call outs, but once you get to play the game it's pretty obvious so not a huge deal there.

If you're looking for something as a cartoon theme and grew up watching popeye, you really cannot go wrong. I've paid more money for the newer sterns like TRON and AVATAR LE and I hate to say this but Popeye blows them away :-)
2 years ago
Totally under rated pin in my opinion. Finally got my hands on one and I love it. Art, sounds and gameplay are neat. Find swea pee is a nice feature. Loop shots are pretty satisfying. I might upgrade to a colordmd.
2 years ago
I LOVE THIS GAME. Deeper rule set, fun call outs, animations, toys. This game is amazing!

This game really snuck up on me...and I LOVE IT! I had heard a few things about it, none really good. Then played it briefly at the Asheville Pin Museum. Didn't really make a big impression on me there. I think there were some flipper issues with that one. Also game lighting wasn't stellar there.

Then I had the chance to play it again a few months later at a league night. And it really made an impression on me. Fast forward a little and Color DMD put out the rom for the game. I took another look at it, the rules the toys, the full package and WOW.

A lot of people say it's hard to see the shots on this machine. I KINDA see where they could be coming from but I find the shots to be very intuitive. This game is just plain FUN FUN FUN! Give it a second or third look. You'll be surprised.
2 years ago
This is a fun machine that has a few things that hold it back from being top tier. While a bit odd, the saving the planet theme really isn't too much of a stretch for Popeye. The hand drawn art on the cabinet and playfield is good. As with many Python games, there are lots of little humorous details that can be found upon closer inspection. I like the integration different characters like Popeye, Bluto, Olive, and Wimpy in the artwork and call outs. The music is decent during the main game and during the multi-ball. However, the somber tunes that play during modes are a little lackluster. There is a ton of content in the dots and the DMD animations are great overall.

The game is fairly deep and there are a handful of tasks and modes that have to be completed to get to the very satisfying 6 ball "Save Olive" wizard mode. The loop shots are fun and the game offers several multi-ball modes to work for. On the negative side, the upper playfield takes up a bunch of valuable playfield space and would have really benefited from some other shots or drop targets to hit. The skillshot wheel is an interesting idea, but a bit too easy to get exactly what you want every time once you learn it. There are some visibility issues since the upper playfield partially obscures the pop bumpers and the animal ramp partially covers the left outlane.

Overall, Popeye is an enjoyable game that's much more fun than many ratings I've read would suggest. I grew up with Popeye cartoons, which makes the overall package more appealing to me. Popeye is a game that has flaws, but it features a deep ruleset, good callouts, lots of interesting shots, and great DMD animations.
2 years ago
Not a bad game for the price, but could have been so much more. Excellent theme, but the biggest knock IMO is it should have been a standard body game. I actually like the upper playfield and don't mind the fact it someone obscures the shots on the main playfield. I just found the shots unsatisfying and ball times on the longer side.
There are 73 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 3.

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