Crispy Gamer

Have I Aged Well?: Super Punch-Out!! on the Virtual Console

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I downloaded Super Punch-Out!! (800 points) bright and early on Monday morning, and I've been playing it obsessively ever since. I'm a fan of Punch-Out!! I worked in a rundown amusement park when I was a kid (http://www.sylvanbeach.org/amusementpark/), and on breaks, I'd hustle across the park to the arcade and dump quarters into the dual-screened Punch-Out!! machine. "Body blow! Body blow!" Good times.

The NES version was aesthetically crude by comparison, but it was no less exciting. And when Super Punch-Out!! shipped for the SNES in 1994, I skipped my afternoon classes--I was a graduate student at Syracuse University at the time--and drove to the nearest game store to buy a copy.

Super Punch-Out!! provided my brother and me with one of our great bonding moments. He'd crash in my off-campus apartment a few nights a week, and we'd stay up through the night trading the controller back and forth, trying to work our way through the ranks. To this day, it's my brother who owns all the fastest-knockout records on the old SNES cart; not me. And there's a record of all of our respective Careers, including the not-very-clever names we came up with for our fighters. (There was Ass, Ass2, and so forth.) Funny how these old game cartridges can become documents of not only our statistics, but also of another time and another place.

Super Punch-Out!! has aged quite well. Some of the ethnic stereotypes won't sit right with everyone. And Heike Kagero still appears to be very confused about his/her sexuality. But like all great games, there's a tremendous amount of depth to be found here underneath a deceptively simple surface.

When you get to Mad Clown, that devious bastard, be sure to tell him that I sent you.