I could have beaten that video game. I could have but I didn’t. Why? Too much work, man. Once you get to Tyson, Punch Out! is a really hard game, at least if you don’t use the cheat codes. Nothing is as intimidating to a ten year old video game nut than those big, lightning quick badasses the game throws at you in the final stages. Soda Popinski, The Sandman, Super Macho Man. And of course the King of the Ring himself.
Even making it to the final match was a huge deal. Before anyone had done it, Tyson was a myth, a holy grail. No one could even get to him, no one ever had, not even the game’s designers. Then one night, my friend’s brother “got to Tyson”, and my friend called to say “Guess what? My big brother got to Tyson! Wanna come over?” And I said no. Maybe that’s why I never bothered to beat the game: my false pride displayed at that moment kept reasserting itself – I was above Tyson. Plus, it had already been done, you know, that particular mountain had been ascended. There were other, newer, cooler new games to beat.
But probably it was mostly that I was scared to death of Tyson. That fucker was so fast!
I tried playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out! again a few years ago, and I was terrible. I couldn’t remember any of the opponents’ patterns, and what I did remember was exactly the opposite of what they actually were. Glass Joe kicked my ass like six times. This was around the time I discovered I had become terrible at all video games, great and small, even (especially) ones at which I had once been indisputably the master. Kid Icarus, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda. When I was 11 I ruled, and now I sucked at them all, and even more at the newer, faster, brighter, more aggressive games they’re marketing today. Super Mario Kart? Forget it. My female friends kick my ass at that. My reflexes are molasses.
So I’m left here with my $4,000 gigahertz-up-the-ass-mostly-for-game-playing PC, waiting impatiently for the release of SimCity 4 (the time between Punch Out! and SimCity could usefully be called The Rise of the InterCaps in VideoGame Titles), and I’ve become the dorkiest of dorks: the “mature” video game player. What’s next, flight simulators and massive “joysticks”?
God, I want a Playstation 2 for Christmas! I want that youth back! Gimme it back! Just for one day! I swear I can beat them all. I swear it.