DK’Tronics‘ 1985 release Popeye is notable for its use of large, colourful animated character graphics, the likes of which had not been seen before. At least not at the time of release on the humble ZX Spectrum.
These large character graphics came from Popeye‘s owner – King Features Syndicate – who wanted the characters to actually look like their comic counterparts, and not just a squishy mess of pixels.
Popeye‘s programmer, Don Priestley devised a way of creating large character graphics by bolting together lots of character graphic squares (8×8 pixels), and making them look like ‘sprites’ (although they are not actually sprites, as many seem to call them), and he first used it in this game.
The same graphical technique would later resurface in Trap Door, Benny Hill’s Madcap Chase and Flunky, all programmed by Priestley on the ZX Spectrum.