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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

What You Can Learn From Popeye The Video Game

Have you ever played the Popeye arcade/NES game? This game, which first came out in 1982, has many hidden messages within the simplistic game-play. Whether you agree with the messages or not, you’ve got to acknowledge that they are there. (This post is based on something I wrote in 2006.)

1. A girl may give you her heart, but if you don’t pick it up right away (1), it will kill you once the time is up (2). Cause of death? Broken hearts (3), of course.

2. Girls love dropping off letters.

3. When a girl is playing music for you, you better take notes. Otherwise, you will die.

4. There is always someone between you and the girl you like. That guy is, of course, an asshole with ten times the muscles you have.

5. When the fat guy bends over, move away! Or you get killed.

6. Your only hope for beating the big muscle-y man is weed. With weed, you can feel invincible and that confidence will make the muscle-y guy run away. You can chase after him and punch him in the face, but the effect wears off very soon and things go back to the way they were. Unfortunately, while weed is useful, the supply is low. (Or wait, is the lesson: eat more vegetables instead? I am not so sure.)

Who said video games aren’t educational?


  1. Yeeray
    May 6th, 2010 | 1:27 am

    Hi, it’s my first time to visit here. Just read this writing. You have some interesting points!
    I loved this game when I was young.
    But I think that greenish thing is not weed, it should be spinach.(波菜):)

  2. May 6th, 2010 | 3:52 am

    Haha, yeah, it was spinach indeed. (In fact, the popularity of Popeye boosted the sale of spinach and other leafy vegetables.) I was just joking. 😀

    This game used to confuse me because I didn’t know what I was supposed to do to complete the levels. After I figured it out, it became more fun. The first and second stages were not hard, but I had some difficulties with level three. Realizing that it just repeats after level three was a little disappointing though!

  3. Yeeray
    May 6th, 2010 | 7:16 am

    In some levels, as I can remember, there seems another hope to beat that muscleguy. You could hit that blue ball when he is walking right below that bucket which is hung under the middle of the green floor. It will trigger that bucket to drop down to that guy. So, a good mechanism and the right timing may be helpful.

    Is vegetable better than weed to help beating the enemy or not? One thing for sure that you got to find something to make you stronger when facing your enemy! In that case, good food would be a better choice than drugs. :)

    Well… I think the title of this writings is just a good response to how you feel about ” Realizing that it just repeats after level three was a little disappointing…” THIS IS LIFE! 😛

  4. May 6th, 2010 | 3:56 pm

    Yeah, that method only works in the first level (and permutations of it).

    Haha, I didn’t catch the part about life repeats itself. Good one. Though it’s a little sad, because life not only repeats, but also gets harder and harder. What you’ve done is never good enough, and eventually, it’s game over!

    Maybe that is why you should never stretch metaphors too far, as I often do. 😀

  5. Na
    May 7th, 2010 | 12:15 am

    Hilarious! I never played the game, but I love your take on it. :)

  6. May 7th, 2010 | 1:51 am

    It’s always fun to derive life lessons from really old games. 😀

  7. Yeeray
    May 7th, 2010 | 7:14 am

    Right! 😀
    Again, thanks for this humorous writing.

  8. May 7th, 2010 | 5:42 pm

    Hehe. 😀 常來逛啊!

  9. Na
    May 8th, 2010 | 4:03 am

    I’d love to see more of these. Wonder what lessons can be made from Frogger or Pacman? 😀

  10. May 8th, 2010 | 10:46 am

    Haha, who knows? Maybe I’ll write those one of these days. 😉
    Well, I certainly was thinking about Tetris.

  11. May 8th, 2010 | 5:33 pm

    Oh, this is hilarious! I love it! What lesson does Pong teach? 😉

  12. May 8th, 2010 | 10:00 pm

    I’ll have to play that again to tell you.

  13. Na
    May 9th, 2010 | 10:13 pm

    I’d love to see a Tetris one! Life lesson one: stacking your personal belongings correctly will make them disappear 😉

  14. May 15th, 2010 | 8:13 am

    LOL Kelvin – too funny. I haven’t played the game before but I used to love watching Popeye and how big and strong he used to get after he’d smoked all that weed.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..I’m Back But I Forgot An Important Lesson

  15. May 16th, 2010 | 1:13 am

    Man, they don’t make cartoons like Popeye anymore. And I loved Tom and Jerry too.

  16. May 20th, 2010 | 10:22 pm

    Hilarious! I KNEW there was more going on in videogames than most give them credit for!

    Kelvin, I love this blog and its layout. Wonderful!

    I’m off now to see what life lessons I can derive from Super Mario Galaxy…

    Tony Single’s last blog post..Stop That Muse!

  17. May 21st, 2010 | 12:15 am

    Cool. I found more profound lessons in ancient 2D games though!

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