When designing arcade machines, game companies didn't just have to think about the games they housed; they had to consider how the cabinet itself would attract people and encourage them to drop quarter after quarter into them.
The same was true of pinball tables -- arguably to an even greater degree, since the artwork and overall design became part of the play area, unlike traditional arcade machines, where it simply became eye-catching window-dressing.
Python Anghelo was one of those designers who was responsible for attracting players to both arcade machines and pinball tables, and he did so with aplomb, designing some of the most memorable art and logos of the '80s and '90s. Best known for his work on Joust and Sinistar in the arcade game space as well as the pinball tables Pin*Bot, Bride of Pin*Bot (seen in the header image of this article) and numerous others, Anghelo has sadly lost his long-running battle with cancer and passed away at home yesterday, aged 60.
Anghelo hailed from Transylvania in Romania and came to the US at the age of 17. Originally an animator at Disney, he took a 50% pay cut when he jumped ship to Williams to design the Joust artwork because he believed video games to have more of a future than traditional animation. He stayed with Williams until 1994, when he moved to Capcom to design their pinball table Flipper Football.
Anghelo had been ill with cancer for several years and the continuing costs of treatment had taken a significant toll on his finances, but the fact his work was so beloved by the pinball community led to a number of fundraising campaigns to help the designer out. One such example was this GoFundMe page set up by Pins and Vids host Paul Kiefert in February of this year. The campaign raised nearly $20,000 towards Anghelo's treatment in just one month, with many contributors donating $100 or more at a time.
Sadly, in the most recent update on the GoFundMe page, Kiefert broke the news that Anghelo had finally passed on -- but that the outpouring of support from his fans had made his final months to be happy ones.
"I can say with 100% certainty that with the help of this great pinball community we were able to deliver great joy and happiness during his final time on this Earth, and that the legend most people knew will continue to be honored for generations to come," wrote Kiefert. "From the bottom of my heart I thank you for being a part of delivering this happiness to Python."