Feature: Thirty Years Ago, Little Mac Became a Champion in Punch-Out!!

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Another game is passing the 30 year mark. After all, in 1987 the NES was available worldwide, with lots of titles being released – Punch Out!! being one of them. Originally made as a prize giveaway for a Famicom Open Golf contest in Japan in 1987, it was a home conversion of the arcade games Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!

The western NES port gave you the chance to fight Mike Tyson, the real heavyweight boxing champion of the world (at the time). But before that, you had to win the title of world champion at video boxing through Little Mac. Then the “Dream Fight” between the best real boxer and best video boxer could take place. So who was the champion standing in the way? The Super Macho Man, a tough opponent in his own right.

As you can see from this screen shot (spoiler alert) the headline is dated 1st April, 1987 and talks about the match “last night”, which would mean that the fight was held on 31st March – virtual boxing fans were reading the news 30 years ago today!

Even though the Punch Out!! series is best remembered with Mike Tyson on the bill, he was only featured in the game until 1990, when the three year arrangement with Nintendo ended. This was also shortly after he lost his title to James “Buster” Douglas, who later had his own game on Sega Mega Drive. He was replaced with a new character, “Mr. Dream”, as Punch Out!! was re-released in the U.S. in 1990 and Europe in 1991. The limited edition prize version of the game has Super Macho Man as the final fighter. Mike Tyson’s version was later released in Japan too, with Mr. Dream’s revamp never making it to Japan.

While that all might be a little confusing the lineage of the title gets clearer in future games. In Super Punch-Out!! on the SNES from 1994 the Super Macho Man is champ again. In Punch Out!! for the Wii from 2009, it’s Mr. Sandman.

I think it’s fun to look back at certain dates in video games, whether they try to predict the future or reach an anniversary. To celebrate this event, I’ve joined with some friends to share our memories of the big match, as well as re-enacted a replay of that match as if it had actually been live on TV.

So, which Punch Out!! fighter was your favorite? Be sure to leave a comment and tell us!!

If you liked this video be sure to check out Gaijillionaire’s Club for all things retro, Nintendo and Japan.

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