Pop-up Pirate might have been the go-to birthday party game during the 90s, however, it was first released in 1975 by toy company, Tomy.

When it was first released, it was named Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu. Translated from Japanese, this means ‘Blackbeard in Danger’.

The game is relatively simple to play, but brings the element of surprise to each and every game!

How does Pop-up Pirate work?

In each game of Pop-up Pirate, you receive a barrel, a pirate and plastic swords.

Up to 4 players can play, each taking it in turns to put a plastic sword into one of the slots in the barrel. Play continues until a sword makes the pirate pop out of the barrel, and the player responsible is eliminated.

All swords are removed, the pirate replaced and a new game starts. Play continues until there is just one eventual winner! Each time, the slot responsible for making the Pirate ‘pop’ changes at random.

Therefore, Pop-up Pirate is a completely luck-based game.

Special Edition Pop-up Pirate

You might only be aware of the standard Pirate version of the game, but there have been several special editions!

These include a Pokemon, Buzz Lightyear, Despicable Me, Frozen and Darth Vader Editions – see the pictures below:

Buzz Lightyear Pop-up Pirate

Despicable Me (Minion) Pop-up Pirate


Frozen Pop-up Pirate


Pokemon (Pikachu) Pop-up Pirate


Star Wars (Darth Vader) Pop-up Pirate


Where to buy Pop-up Pirate?

The good news is that Pop-up Pirate is still available for sale.

You can get it from most toys stores, and of course, Amazon and Ebay. Prices vary, but it is usually available between £10-15.

If you are looking for the special edition Pop-up Pirate games, we found the Minion edition hereDarth Vader edition hereFrozen edition here and the Pikachu edition here.

How many swords are in Pop-up Pirate?

There are 24 swords in total, six of each colour – blue, red, green and yellow.

Is Pop-up Pirate random?

In theory, Pop-up Pirate is completely randomised, and the slot that triggers the ‘pop’ varies from game to game. However, the slot that is responsible for the Pirate to pop up, is based on the position of the pirate when it is placed in the barrel.