Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

The second major game of 1987 was Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, a home adaptation of an arcade game that Nintendo had released in 1983. Both the arcade game and the NES cartridge were designed by Genyo Takeda and Nintendo Co. Ltd.’s Research and Development Team 3, a team of engineers that generally focused on hardware. The original arcade game, which was simply called Punch-Out, was a boxing game in which players took on five fictitious fighters as they fought for a shot at a championship belt.

An early first-person game, players saw the game from within the head of an “up-and-coming boxer.” The fighter the player controlled was depicted as a wire mesh character. Although Punch-Out was ostensibly about boxing, it was really a puzzle game. In order to win, players had to learn the patterns used by the computercontrolled boxers. A fighter named “Bald Bull,” for instance, would charge at the player. If he landed a punch at the end of his charge, he would score an instant knockdown.

The player could either dodge Bald Bull’s charge and respond with a properly timed counterattack, or hit him at a precise moment in his charge to knock him to the canvas. The home version of Punch-Out featured more than twice as many opponents as the arcade game.

While the home version did include three of the original fighters—Glass Joe, Bald Bull, and Mr. Sandman (who was the world champion in the arcade game)—it also had five all-new opponents, including Mike Tyson, who had recently been crowned heavyweight champion of the world.

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