Wednesday, November 3, 2010

1987: It Was A Good Year

1987 was a landmark year for popular culture.

Moviegoers were astounded by the Shakespearean acting talents of Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Gutenberg in Three Men and a Baby.

George Michael was shaking his denim-clad booty in up-close camera shots in the “Faith” video. (And still no one accurately concluded, “You know what? I think he might be gay.”)

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” premiered on TV, and somehow a quartet of crime-fighting reptiles and their rodent sensei seemed like a perfectly reasonable set-up for a show.

All of these pop culture phenomena pale in comparison to Nintendo’s release of The Best Game Ever in the History of Recorded Time on This Planet or Any Other. I am referring, of course, to “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.”

If you were one of the three people alive on Earth in 1987 who didn’t own a copy of “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out,” you missed out on the perfect video game. In “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out,” you play as Little Mac, a plucky seventeen-year-old boxer from The Bronx. Your goal is to guide Little Mac through a series of boxing matches and work your way up to the world championship fight against Mike Tyson.

In your corner is your trainer, Doc, who probably isn’t an actual doctor since he looks like he weighs about 280 and has been munching PCP for the last three days.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not. Standing in the way of your journey toward a world championship belt are some of the most colorful characters in the history of video games. Here are rundowns of your opponents:

Minor Circuit:

Glass Joe:
To begin your quest, the game offers up Glass Joe, who is a complete and utter pussy. There’s little strategy involved in beating him; just wail away until he falls.

Von Kaiser:
This guy’s a little tougher, but still kind of a pussy.

Piston Honda:
Ahh…your first real challenge. Piston Honda is a huge, badass-looking Asian dude who will happily turn your face into a spattering lump of Hamburger Helper. This is where dodging and counterpunching really come into play.

Major Circuit:

Don Flamenco:
Also kind of a pussy.

King Hippo:
If you were a kid playing “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” in 1987, King Hippo was likely a thorn in your side for weeks. That is, until you figured out the key to beating him, which was a well-placed punch in the mouth, causing his pants to fall down. How did Nintendo know that the sight of a fat dude in heart-print boxers would be so hilarious?

Great Tiger:
After the frustration of King Hippo comes the frustration of Great Tiger. This dude looks like some kind of gypsy-terrorist with his turban and douchey facial hair. Come to think of it, he sort of resembles “Cigar Guy” from that Tiger Woods photo.

Bald Bull:
After the frustration of King Hippo and Great Tiger comes the aggravation of Bald Bull. There are dudes out there who started playing this game in 1987 and still haven’t beaten Bald Bull.

World Circuit:

Piston Honda:
Wait a minute, didn’t I already fight this guy? Yes you did, and you have to do it again, only this time he’s more difficult.

Soda Popinski:
Ya see that, kids? Drinking excessive amounts of soda pop will make you big and strong. It will also make you a Polock, though, so it’s a trade-off.

Bald Bull:
Wait a minute, didn’t I already fight this guy? Yes, you did, and you have to do it again, only this time he’s more difficult.

Don Flamenco:
Wait a minute, didn’t I….ah, you get the idea.

Mr. Sandman:
This dude freaking sucks. He’s quick, he’s strong, and he’ll mop the floor with you and laugh over your dilapidated body. He’d probably spit on you too, if Nintendo had possessed that sort of pixelation capability in 1987.

Super Macho Man:
This dude also freaking sucks, only not as badly as the last guy. Super Macho Man is a Jersey Shore-style arrogant, over-tanned douchebag, so beating his ass is pretty darn fun.

The Dream Fight:

Mike Tyson:
Welcome to the ultimate fight in “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.” This bout features a pre-rape-allegation Tyson in all his gap-toothed glory. If you’re not careful, this fight will be over in three seconds. If you are careful, it will be over in five seconds. Either way, you’re toast.

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