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Artist Profile: Python Anghelo

Python's signature
Python's signature

Python Anghelo is a crazy genius that changed and inspired the pinball industry. He described pinball machines as “miniature amusement parks” and is best known for his carnival themed games. He got paid to have fun. Innovator, wreck, elusive, bitter, proud, patriotic; he’s all these things and more. Read his own words, these are excerpts from a 2007 Topcast interview.

For the full audio interview, including an hour and forty minutes of Python talking about himself in the third person and trashing almost everyone in the industry, check out show 42:


I went to Great America and I paid those guys 2 thousand dollars to go on a roller coaster and turn the front seat backwards, so I could see the people. ‘Cause it seems to me you got to see what other people experience. And when we went down I see these people screaming like they were getting murdered or having multiple orgasms. So I said hang on a second, I need fireworks, and I need people screaming.

 I said to them let’s do a layout of an amusement park, like aerial view. Cause to me a pinball game is like an amusement park where you are the ball.

Pinball, to me, was a miniature amusement park that poor kids could go to fulfill their fantasies, changing to the ball, and have power at their fingertips for 25 cents.

To me the only most important thing is that I kept my promise from my childhood. That I want the kids that put a quarter in a game not to feel ripped off.

I have a sit down pinball where you sit under the playfield with your head in a bubble and the flippers are in front of your nose and balls fly around your head.

He’s my hero, George Lucas.

Read The Fountainhead.

I’m 53 going on 17.

PIN-BOT bagatelle
PIN-BOT bagatelle mini-playfield

[With] Pinbot, I started with the artwork and did the anatomy of the robot and the robot girl, The Machine, and then I built the playfield around it.
[Pinbot is] talking about our conquest of the universe through Voyager.
[I wrote] a poem about The Machine. It’s about the future of man, and that robots will conquer the universe through our fingertips.

PIN-BOT detail
PIN-BOT detail

To me a pinball machine is a robot. You’re basically controlling, like an exoskeleton robot in Alien, your fingers control the robot and through you, through your fingers, the robot is an extension of you. I wish I could do that to a woman. That would be the perfect woman. That’s why The Machine.

High Speed
High Speed

I use my art when I do a pinball game; it’s not just me making money. Or doing a stupid f***ing thing, I have social responsibility. I’m going to thousands of American bars. It’s an art form; it’s an American art form, pinball.

[John Popadiuk] is a chameleon, a lizard. And Python knows it because Python is the king of snakes.

I’d rather have people hate me for the truth than like me for a lie. I will tell you like it is, because, by the way, I’m also a wild and crazy guy and I did a lot of stuff that I regret but I take credit for it anyway.

Jack•Bot was a copy of Python’s Machine, PIN•BOT and Jokerz!. Jack•Bot: you got cards, you got the bride of PIN•BOT and you’ve got PIN•BOT. And they said “Oh Barry [Oursler], if you take the best game designs you did with Python, combine them” it’s like saying, listen to this analogy, your biggest successes on our menu were pea soup, the shrimp pizza, and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. Now you take those motherf***ers and put them all in a bowl and they’ll taste great.

Popeye cabinet
Quit being snarky about Popeye for a second and just appreciate this art.

I have a movie script where Popeye builds a space cruiser and he’s fighting the oil companies and he decides that it’s bulls*** that he has to save the Earth by getting oil on other planets.

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