Hot Air: Punched (Out)

Nintendo was forced to erase one of its major mascots early on.

By Aaron Roberts. Posted 01/13/2011 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Hot Air Masthead

The funny thing about Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! is that Mike Tyson wasn’t even originally supposed to be involved.

Nintendo made a Punch-Out!! arcade game before the NES game itself, which featured a wire-frame boxer facing opponents one at a time.  This kind of trick would be pretty…. tricky for the NES/Famicom, so instead the player character was made a tiny boxer who was dwarfed by his opponents, making it still quite easy to see both.  This was the origin of Little Mac, proud Smash Bros. veteran (though unplayable).

In Japan, it was still just Punch-Out.  Mike Tyson was not involved, and Super Macho Man was the final boxer.  Iron Mike was added to the scenario when Nintendo of America readied the game for its US launch.  This was a solid marketing move as Tyson was reigning heavyweight champion at the time, and licensed sports games like Dr. J Vs. Larry Bird were solid sellers in the American territory.

You already know it was a big hit.  It was so big that Nintendo re-released the Mike Tyson version in Japan, too.  Of course, then there was the… unpleasantness involving Tyson, and the boxer was abruptly dropped from the title, replaced with some random dude named Mr. Dream.  This version of the game is the one available for download on Wii Virtual Console.

Did you know…?

We all know that sequels Super Punch-Out!! and the Wii version of Punch-Out!! were both released as sequels to the NES original, but did you also know that a sequel featuring Mike Tyson was planned?  Developed under Nintendo’s supervision by Beam Software, the game involved Tyson traveling to outer space to box aliens and other monsters.

Since the game was so terrible and Mike Tyson himself was now persona non grata amongst the video game publishers, the game was rejected and Nintendo disavowed any knowledge of its existence.  Beam Software later convinced American Softworks to publish the game under the title Power Punch II, curious since there had never been a Power Punch I.  Tyson’s character was modified slightly and renamed Mark Tyler, and the public was never the wiser… until now.

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