Python Vladimir Anghelo (1954-2014) was a designer and artist best known for his work on pinball machines and arcade games.
Python was born in Transylvania, Romania on January 1st, 1954.
Because of encouragement from his Grandmother and Aunt while his parents were working, by the age of four Python could draw much better than he could speak. He would draw for 6-8 hours in a single sitting. Kids today don’t even watch TV for that long!
Python was fond of saying “Adversity is the Best University” and that growing up in poverty was a gift to his creative mind. He couldn’t go out and purchase a bike, so instead he had to procure parts and build one himself. He had to build his own traps for hunting, fix things when they broke, etc. He credits this with part of the reason he became a designer, as he was designing at a very young age out of necessity.
Python moved to the United States when he was 17.
After studying art and animation in Romania and the US, he worked as an animator for Disney until 1979. Python never really elaborated much during interviews or even casual conversation about his time at Disney as it wasn’t one of his happier jobs.
Python left Disney to go to work at Williams Electronics to create the artwork and animation for Joust. Python took a 50% pay cut when he left Disney because he believed video games had more potential than traditional animation.
He continued to work for Williams (and, later, Midway Games after they merged with Williams) for 15 years until 1994, when his most ambitious project, The Pinball Circus, was shelved.
In 1994 he left Williams for Capcom to be their Creative Director and also designed one game, Flipper Football. He was in the process of designing his second Capcom game, the legendary Zingy Bingy, when Capcom closed down their pinball division.
After leaving pinball, Python continued to design novelty games for several companies including Bay Tek Games in Green Bay, WI. He had several big hits during this time, including Chameleon Paradize which is still sold today.
The last several years Python assembled a team to help him bring his game that got away, Pinball Circus, to fruition. This team still exists today and will deliver on their promise to show the world Python’s vision of what Pinball Circus was intended to be.
Python Anghelo lost his battle with Cancer on April 9th, 2014.