Okay, we don’t know anything about boxing. We don’t follow the sport. And we certainly can’t stand fighting games 99.9% of the time.
But Punch-Out!! on the NES is absolutely legendary in retro gaming circles.
It’s a fun game, but the main draw now is its arrival as something as the ultimate speedrunning game. Where players compete for world records on fastest completion times.
Since 2004, that’s kind of overtaken the whole point of Punch-Out!! To have fun and that.
Its notorious difficulty, especially with the final boss Mike Tyson, sits alongside an addictive game where timing is everything.
That run is from a speedrunner called Summoning Salt. If you have any interest in gaming history and speedrunning, his YouTube channel is an essential follow..
He’s an accomplished Punch-Out!! player who has held world records.
But his interest in all that let him to document the various efforts of the speedrunning community. And it’s all rather fascinating.
And as we mention above, it’s speedrunning that’s turned Punch-Out!! into a modern day addiction for thousands across the globe.
Some lunatics have even worked out how to beat the game blindfolded. A remarkable feat of commitment.
And Summoning Salt is bloody nifty at this game—here he is knocking out Mike Tyson (in digital form, at least).
One player in particular is a Punch-Out!! legend. Matt Turk—he even met Mike Tyson to shake his hand over the various world records he has.
Why? Well, it was called Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! for a while. And, of course, he allowed Nintendo to use his likeness for the game.
Turk is so good at it, he utterly dominated the world records for years.
Many thought it would be impossible to ever beat them. That’s how far far ahead of everyone else the man was.
But Summing Salt’s most recent video on that international effort is below. Good viewing, if you have a spare hour. And are a massive geek!
Now, if you’re not going to watch that as a casual reader—the lowdown is, through a mixture of relentless perseverance and luck, some folks were able to beat a few world records.
However, others are simply mathematically impossible.
There are computer systems that can work out the optimum time, proving Turk has maxed out the records.
So, he can be matched on those. But as he set them first, he’ll never be beat. Ever! Not until time stops!
It’s fair to say Punch-Out!! has reached classic status thanks to speedrunning.
But for the casual player, you can also have a good laugh with it. Even if you’ll get your face punched in.
In 2009, we got this thing for the Nintendo Wii. Developed by Next Level Games, it pays homage to the original. Whilst getting a bit of a graphical overhaul.
It’s pretty faithful to the original, but with that Ready 2 Rumble Boxing vibe.
We never did play this on the Wii. Nor did we have any idea there was a remake, until we researched for this piece.
And guess what? The reviews are actually really good! Lots of 9/10s and 8/10s. Well, guess we’ll maybe hunt it on down.