For my money, there may not be a game in the NES library (at least, not without "Mario" in the title) that has aged better than the masterpiece that is Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!
Punch Out!! was one of the first sports video games to really nail it. The controls are snare drum tight, the graphics are still gorgeous today, and the gameplay mechanics strike a perfect balance between "simulation-y" and "arcade-ish". Aspects like stamina that depletes as you get punched and have your strikes blocked makes it feel like you're in a real boxing match, but at the same time the idea of your opponent teleporting around the ring while he throws punches at you reminds you that this is still a video game. It's a magical combination that works splendidly. And it makes it's insane difficulty tolerable.
Because make no mistake - this game is hard. Like, really hard. Mike Tyson is considered one of the most difficult "final bosses" in the history of gaming, and that's assuming you can even get to him. I never have. In classic Nintendo style, the first few levels (opponents) are pretty easy, slowly introducing new game mechanics and teaching you everything you need to know. But once the difficulty starts to ramp up, it punches you right in the face. Because it's a boxing game, you get it?
I've always preferred the Super Nintendo sequel to this game, but after spending some serious time with Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! in preparation for this podcast, I've remembered what an absolute classic it is. It's as fun to play in 2019 as it was in 1987, and it deserves it's spot alongside the Mario Bros, Castlevanias and Mega Mans on the list of the greatest games in the NES's legendary library.
My pal and fellow NES junkie David Rae returns to the show this week, and damned if we didn't spend almost hour talking about how we couldn't beat Mike Tyson. Enjoy the podcast!