NES Tributes: Punch-Out!!

An off-beat look, at possibly one of the greatest sports games of the 80's.
October 05, 2006


When those bells went off, you knew you we're in for something spectacular. You pressed against your television set, eyes locked, with the key eaten by King Hippo. This was the world where competitive boxing took a whole new route. Where the gloves came off, and your only chance of knocking Iron Mike's toothless skull into the audience was using your Cheeto stained, sticky, orange fingers. This was the world of Punch Out!

In your conquest to be #1 in the vast, colorful world of digital boxing, you took the form of Little Mac. A 17 year old with a big heart, a big smile. and a deathwish. Now we ignored the fact that Mac was 10 times smaller than his opponent. When your a kid, it kinda embodies you. Mac was about the size of your average 10 year old, compeating against drunk russians who were about the size of a small sky-scraper. I guess the creators of Punch Out thought the size represented every kids struggle against their "always too big" teachers, parents, ect. Good hooking strategy! Sounds epic as a kid, but when you get into your teens, and so on, you just realize that Mac was an idiot with a deathwish who took a sip out of one of Soda Popinsky's (Vodka Drunkinsky) abandoned bottles before going to the ring. Pressing on...

Your first opponent in the game was Glass Joe. A poor excuse for a professional boxer, with his record at 1-99. (i'd love to fight whoever he won against) Looking at his picture, you wanted to take it easy on the sap, maybe buy him a hot-dog after the fight, but once he got into the ring, he got all tough on us. His confident look, and cocky raised fist. You let it slide, until he gets a hit on you, then all bets were off! We sent this french slime to retirement the hard way.

Everyone knows, unless you were a chimpanzee with the controller lodged in your mouth, Glass Joe posed no threat to Little Mac. If you lost against him, only title you held was the biggest loser in the neighborhood.

After clobbering Glass Joe, you became a bloody thirsty maniac. You played the game excessivly, and social life as you knew it completely went on the back-burner. Your blood started pumping whenever the training music hit, and Mac jogs behind Doc Louis as if Doc stole his bike. You wanted to be the greatest. Eventually, you got there. After months of intense, overnight play, sribbled passwords on the back of shredded coupons, and countless re-matches with Super Macho Man, you made it. The grand daddy of them all.

He was mean, he was scary, and my God was his eyes creepy. Seriously, look at his eyes! No matter we were gonna do what it took to beat him. You wanted that stupid pixelated trophy bad enough to endure whatever type of punishment Mike was willing to throw. BRING IT ON TYSON! Yea we know the story, withing seconds Mike made your face into something that resembles ran over hamburger meat. Still, after shooting Hadoken beams at the NES for a few miniutes, you feel a bit better. Still, you were the world champion, lightweight, and whatever else. Losing one fight didn't mean crap. Let's see Billy Baloney down the street reach Mike Tyson.

Overall, with our shedded tears of joy, or sorrow Mike Tyson's Punch Out! was one of the greatest sports games created, and in alot of ways ahead of it's time. Seriously, could you get away with the implied racism in this game today? A cowardly frenchman, an asian boxer who spoke total jibberish, and a fan favorite, and favorite example...

Soda Popinsky, or Vodka Drunkinsky for Famicom players. No matter how Nintendo edited the text on the bottle, or replaced his name, we all knew Soda was a complete wastoid. He was always drunk! Some of his quotes were further evidence. "I can't drive, so im going to walk all over you". It makes you miss the 80's.

Punch Out! was innovative for it's time. In made total nerds pick up interest in sports, whether it was totally cartoonish or not. It gave us a chance as the little guy to totally wreak devistation on anyone who got in OUR ring (or at least Glass Joe). One can only hope nowadays in the midst of Fight Night Round 3, or more realistic boxing games that Punch Out will make a triumphant return, or better yet Little Mac will slant for a comeback in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. You know he wants revenge on Mario for all the bad calls. COME ON NINTENDO!

Anyone who's made a time machine out of a phone booth to travel back to the 80's give me a call.

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