Christmas Memories: Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

One year, I thought I got screwed out of my No. 1 gift on my Christmas list. Every kid has a pecking order of what they want. If they don’t get No. 2 or No. 3, so long as they got No. 1, they are happy.

I couldn't wait for this man to get into my living room.

That year, I think it was 1988, it wasn’t as if I was pissed that I was – to a point – getting screwed out of my No. 1 gift. It was the year the Dodgers won, what I thought would be many, World Series (Nope!) and it was a year where the Lakers had earlier won a title. So, I was playing with house money when it came to really getting what I wanted.

Then, Christmas morning, I got my gifts and as a kid on Christmas morning, was obviously excited. I don’t remember if it was the year we got our beagle, or if it was another one of Santa’s great gifts, followed by a bounty of toys from my folks.

Yet, my No. 1 gift, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, had never materialized on Dec. 25. Maybe I hadn’t asked Santa enough, or dropped enough hints to my parents that I wanted the game all my friends were playing and talking about. Was this my fault?

A few days after Christmas my dad took us to visit his parents and to celebrate Christmas with them. When I unwrapped my final gift, it was a calculator box.

“Thanks!” I said with as much enthusiasm as a kid who gets new underwear on Christmas morning.

I was urged to open the box, but said “It’s OK, I’ll play with it later.” Then I was urged some more to open the box. Fine, I thought, I can write 55378008 and 710773435 on it and turn it upside down and get a laugh (Boobless and Shell Oil).

Inside the stupid calculator box was my No. 1 gift – Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Rejoice! I was excited. Not N-64 kid excited, but I was happy. I had received my No. 1 gift. Finally.

Problem was … my Nintendo was at home and we were at my grandparents for another three days. Talk about buzzkill.

Now, I know my family all coordinated to get me what I really wanted that Christmas and ultimately it came true, but why leave a kid to experience all that dry-humping? What is this, Penn State? (sorry, had to) From not getting the game to finally getting it on the 27th or 28th, to having to wait to play it, it wasn’t nearly as much fun to finally get to play it three days later.

From racist characters to a drunk, Mike Tyson's Punch-Out had it all.

Eh. I made sure to play the snot out of that game for the rest of my Nintendo’s days. I never did beat Mike Tyson, but I had a helluva lot of fun knocking around Piston Honda and Soda Poppinski and even doing some great battles with Super Macho Man and developing Nintendo Thumb. (Tangent: I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out might have been the last game released that completely throws every stereotype out there and celebrates it – from Piston Honda’s overly slanted eyes and how he talks to the German talking about drinking to “Soda” Poppinski actually drinking and Great Tiger wearing a turban, Punch-Out was ridiculous and probably helped all kids develop their stereotypes.)

Was it well worth the wait? You bet. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play right now. Thanks so much, Internet.


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