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Underrated Retro Series


Underrated Retro – Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!


The next episode of our Underrated Retro Series is the *not-so-underrated*, Mike Tyson’s Punchout.  This is the spiritual prequel to the last game we featured, Power Punch II.

Punch Out was released in 1987 in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and served as a console port from the original Punch Out!! arcade game.  It was directed by the original Arcade producer, Genyo Takeda.   Because the NES was not as powerful as the arcade hardware, Takeda and his crew realized that it would be impossible for the NES port to faithfully emulate the arcade graphics. Instead of making the playable boxer wire-framed or transparent to see an opponent, they decided to shrink the playable boxer, so that players could easily see opponents over his head. Other things added to the NES version that the arcade versions lacked were a rough plot, a background music track played during fights, animated cutscenes and a password system for saving progress.


The cover boy and final boss was a young, “Iron” Mike Tyson.  Nintendo decided to pay Mike Tyson a rumored $50,000 for his likeness in Punch Out, a period that would last 3 years.  It was a huge chance for Nintendo, since Tyson wasn’t an established champion yet.  However, it just so happens that Tyson would go on to win the WBC World Title, but later be defeated by James “Buster” Douglas.  After this defeat, Nintendo decided not to renew the licensing deal with Tyson.  They went on to create a fictional final boss, “Mr. Dream”, in lieu of Mike, and insert him into the game.

The game is centered around a fictional boxer that is trying to work his way up the ranks, Little Mac.  Mac has an extremely limited repertoire of moves compared to his many colorful opponents.

The main attacks the player …

The 80's summed up in one photo

Underrated Retro – Anticipation (NES)

The 80's summed up in one photo
The 80’s summed up in one photo



Anticipation was released in 1988 and developed by the same studio that would go on to produce Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye, and Killer Instinct:  Rare.

However, Anticipation is not your typical Rare game.  It doesn’t have adventurers, or animals, or evil bosses.  In fact, there’s no characters at all in the game.  You are a pair of high heeled shoes, a horn, an ice cream cone, or a Teddy bear.

That’s because instead of trying to save a princess or the world, you’re essentially moving pieces around a board and playing a game of pictionary.  Anticipation was the first board-game that was released for the NES.

The object of the game is simple:  Solve the puzzle, as it’s being drawn, before your opponents, and move across the game board the fastest.   The number of spaces the player moves depends upon the number on a dice, which counts down from 6 as the picture is drawn. Once a player correctly identifies a drawing for each of the four categories on a level, that player rises to the next-higher game board level. The first player to complete every level wins the game.

Four different categories are used on each game board level, tied to the colors of the spaces (blue, green, pink, yellow).

The game is very easy on “easy” difficulty, but really ramps up on “hard”.  In fact, many of the “hard” puzzles are impossible to solve before the computer, which adds a somewhat cheese-factor to the game.

The good thing about Anticipation is you do not HAVE to play with the computer.  It makes full-use of the NES Satellite peripheral, that allowed the player to hook 4 controllers up.

The game can become fun with 4 players, as speed is key to buzz in before your …