Popeye no Eigo Asobi (Famicom) Retro Review

Popeye no Eigo Asobi (roughly translated to Popeye’s English Game) is an 1983 Edutainment title for the Famicom developed and published by Nintendo. Just like Donkey Kong Jr which released a month after this the gameplay uses aspects of the original game in order to teach the player things (in this case english). Please note that the game is japanese only and that my screenshots are from an unofficial translation.

The title screen is bound to look a little weird on an unofficial translation although they kept the same sort of look of the logo and the jingle obviously didn’t change. There are 3 options and like the original Popeye B is basically a harder version of B while word catcher is a 2 player game where you capture the letters olive throws in order to make words.

Getting into the first game i realised the graphics were the same as the game its based off although the ‘music’ was more of a constantly repeating jingle than an actual tune. Gameplay was quite simple, after choosing one of six categories olive would throw a number of hearts that become blank spaces and then you put in the right letters to make the word. The difference between A and B is A gives you the Japanese equivalent of the word (which is not very useful to me) while B is essentially just a guessing game. I actually found it an interesting way to learn a few japanese words like Tora which is Tiger or Hourensou which is Spinach but i can’t say it was that fun.

Word catcher was easily the hardest game mode despite being 2 player. It uses the boat level from the original game and you have to catch letters i order to speell the english equivalent of the japanese words on the left. What made this hard though was getting a single wrong letter would force you to start again. The most interesting thing about the game though was probably the fact that the 2nd player controlled Blueto (can’t remember his name). Not very enjoyable although once again surprisingly educational for an english person playing a translation.

Overall this is obviously not a game meant to be super fun but i could recommend giving it a little try if you’re a retrogamer and feel like learning a few japanese words.


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