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At first glance, Super Punch-Out!! would appear to be the second game in the Punch-Out!! series. Sure, Mike Tyson’s name was dropped when jumping from the NES to the SNES and the graphics were a major upgrade; yet, if you spent free time at the local arcade, you already know that Super Punch-Out!! wasn’t a sequel to the NES Punch-Out!! — it was a port/sequel to the arcade game of the same name.

Confused yet?

Before the NES and SNES, Punch-Out!! had a life of its own in the gaming community. Eating quarters or tokens, there were arcade cabinet versions of Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!! in arcades, bars, laundromats — everywhere, really. The units themselves were rather unique, containing two video monitors, one stacked on top of the other. These were the games that provided the point-of-view from behind while playing as Little Mac, rather than fighting from a top-down perspective. The famous Nintendo boxer and champion also looked a bit different in these versions. That green wireframe “skin” existed so we could time our punches and watch our opponent’s pattern present itself.

So why did Nintendo bring an arcade game to the SNES ten years later? The answer is simple: the power.

Oddly enough, the “Now you’re playing with power” tagline that was used to market the NES could only be applied to the notion of having an at-home gaming unit. There are plenty of great games on the NES, so many that it has a robust roster on the NES Classic version. What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that the arcade machine market has existed since the 1970s. Depending on what game was built with what technology, chances are that certain arcade games would be more advanced than their home console counterparts. This affected the Punch-Out!! series with both Punch-Out!! and Super Punch-Out!!.

Why am I explaining all this? My first playthrough of Super Punch-Out!! wasn’t with a SNES; it involved dumping quarters into an arcade cabinet version at Disneyland, of all places. Yes, I’m completely serious. Despite being over 30 years old, cabinets of the game still exist, depending on where you are in the world. Retro arcade conventions, barcades, amusement parks, personal collections of fans and more; these relics of the past are tucked away in plain sight.

There are still differences between the arcade and SNES version, but the weaving and bobbing and knockouts are still there. The cartoon style that has been a staple of the series will be showcased in a different light, even though Little Mac looks nothing like the Little Mac of the 21st century.

For new fans, those who haven’t touched Punch-Out!! in any form, I’m curious to see what their reactions will be. Sure, the SNES Classic is a nostalgia machine for many gamers, but for those who were born into other video game generations, it’ll be interesting.

ARMS debuted on the Nintendo Switch earlier this year and the comparisons to the Punch-Out games have been made, especially concerning style. The Ribbon Girls and Spring Men of today will have the chance to dabble in a different ring with standard arms and typical gloves; and they’ll need sharp eyes and steady hands to complete KO after KO to reign as the grand champion. Will they take home another belt? We have to wait until September 29th to find out.

Looking for more SNES Classic goodness while you wait for the release of Nintendo’s newest mini machine? You can view more articles featuring the beloved games throughout the month in our Super September series!

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Written by Jennifer Burch

Illustrator, designer, writer and big Nintendo geek, you can find Jennifer with an N3DS within reach 24/7. As the oldest of three, she has survived many Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart sessions intact in addition to getting her brothers hooked on some really weird games. (Cubivore anyone?)