Popeye - Atari 7800



You are POPEYE. Your goal is to catch all of Olive's hearts, notes, and cries for H-E-L-P before they hit the water and sink. It isn't that easy though. Your arch nemesis, Brutus, is trying to get between you and Olive. He has recruited help from the mysterious Sea Hag and Bernard, the vulture. You must dodge bottles, thrown by the Sea Hag and Brutus, as well as Bernard. On later rounds, you must also dodge the Sea Hag's magical skulls. Each time you finally complete a round, you move onto the next. Difficulty increases as the game progresses.

Popeye Box


When you begin each round, Popeye starts near the upper left platform. Popeye must win Olive’s affection by catching all of her hearts, notes, and cries for H-E-L-P, depending on which round you’re playing. When an item reaches the bottom, Popeye must rescue them before they fall into the water below. Brutus, the Sea Hag, and Bernard will do their best to knock Popeye over.

Spinach: While Popeye cannot punch Brutus directly, a spinach can will appear in specific places, depending on the board. The spinach periodically changes position on some boards. This means Popeye has to really be on his toes.

When Popeye is lined up with the spinach, he must punch to consume the spinach. At that time, Popeye can get even with Brutus. If you punch Brutus, you gain 3,000 points.

During this time, Olive’s tokens will freeze. This can be a life-saver if one is about to fall into the water. Additionally, Olive’s tokens are worth DOUBLE THE SCORE!

The game ends when you run out of Popeyes.

Popeye Cart and Manual


Popeye features three unique boards, each of which has the same goal, winning Olive's affection. They are described briefly below:

  • SWEET HEARTS – BOARD #1: In this round, you must catch all 24 hearts before they fall into the water and sink – and without being stopped by Brutus or the Sea Hag. Each time you catch a heart, one will appear on the side of Popeye’s house, located at the top of the screen. Once you’ve collected 24 hearts, you’ll move onto the second round.

  • LOVE NOTES – BOARD #2: Here you must catch all 16 love notes before they sink into the water, and without being knocked over. Once you’ve caught all 16 notes, you’ll automatically begin the next round.

  • H-E-L-P! – BOARD #3: This time, Olive Oyl is crying for HELP, and Popeye must catch all of the letters: H-E-L-P. Each time you catch a letter, another rung is added to the ladder, located in the center of the screen. When the ladder is completely built, you’ll automatically return to Round #1, but at a greater difficulty level.


  • Three Difficulty Modes: Novice, Arcade, Expert
  • Features POKEY Audio built-into the game cartridge using our new HOKEY chip
  • One or Two Players
  • High Scores for each level saved with AtariVox or SaveKey


Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot Popeye Screenshot

Built-in HOKEY chip for POKEY audio!

Popeye includes POKEY audio to faithfully reproduce the original arcade music and sound effects. The POKEY was included in Atari's 8-bit computer line, the Atari 5200, and in two 7800 games (Ballblazer and Commando). Unfortunately, as the POKEY was a proprietary Atari chip that hasn't been manufactured in decades, they can only be found in limited quantities at high prices these days.

Hardware engineer Fred Quimby has developed a new POKEY-compatible chip called the HOKEY, and we have several new 7800 cartridge board designs that feature this chip. This means we can offer more games with POKEY audio at a lower cost than including a POKEY chip. This allows for significantly higher-quality sound effects and music for new 7800 homebrew games. Popeye is one of the first games to feature the HOKEY!

AtariVox Support

If you have an AtariVox or SaveKey plugged into the second controller port, or a 7800 High Score Cartridge is inserted into the console, five high scores are saved for each difficulty level (Novice, Arcade, and Expert). Players are prompted to enter their initials after the game is over.

Additional Information

Included with Popeye is the game cartridge, full color 12-page manual, and professionally printed box.

Number of Players 1 - 2
Controller 7800 Proline Controllers
Cartridge Size 144K
Programming Darryl Guenther
Packaging and Manual Artwork John Calcano (Atariboy2600)
Manual, Box, Label Layouts Darryl Guenther
Keith Sheehan on 05/16/2023 07:14pm
This as close to the arcade version of Popeye as you'll get (including the NES version). I've only made it past all 2 levels once so far. I've got some work to do. :)

The graphics, sound and presentation are all top-notch. The box art is a mash-up of Parker graphics and arcade side art and fits right in with the other 7800 Nintendo ports. Well done, indeed!
Val on 05/15/2023 06:22pm
Finally a version of Popeye to top the NES! 100% perfect conversion!
PJ Steele on 05/13/2023 08:27pm
This game is no joke! I've been waiting since the 80s to play Popeye has n my 7800, and now I finally can. I've only payed the arcade setting so far, but the game is fast, graphics and sound are great, and it's an incredibly strong port. One of the top games in my 7800 collection.
Jamie P on 05/13/2023 05:21pm
I was a fan of the 2600 Popeye. The bottles were squares. There was no Sea Hag. There was no basket. The characters sprites were mono-colored. 7800 Popeye improves everything from 2600 Popeye. This version is prettier. The playfield can seem to have slightly less area to move than 2600 version. Overall, though, this puts back in everything missing from the 2600 version. All the same, the fun level is about the same. This is worth it for anyone who even slightly liked the 2600 version.

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