Mike Tyson Ate My Children


Mike Tyson is famous for a lot of things. On top of being one of the greatest boxers of all-time, he’s also a legendary last boss in the world of video games. He’s so brutally hard, that Nintendo freely gave away the code to skip directly to Mike Tyson, if you dared. You may think, “Oh man! I can skip to the end; this will be a cake walk!” but then Iron Mike hits you with a lightning-quick punch you didn’t see and you instantly hit the canvas. It’s then you realize, you’re screwed.
Anybody could skip to Mike Tyson, but you really needed to develop your skills at Punch-Out by playing through the entire game before even standing a chance. I can’t think of any other game where it’s basically impossible to beat it without players growing with the game.

Having played this game on and off for over 20 years, it is with a bit of shame that I have never beaten Mike Tyson. As a kid, I would see my older cousin’s give him the business, but I wouldn’t last past the first three punches he threw. But then again, I wasn’t even good enough to beat Piston Honda.

Over the years, I’ve beaten Super Punch-Out many times over and I’ve beaten Punch-Out on the Wii, too (Title Defense mode aside). However, Mike Tyson is still WVBA champ and I can’t knock him off the top. When I play through the NES game now, I can get all the way to Mike unscathed. I can even dodge a few of his punches and land some of mine. But alas, my attempts of sending Mike to the canvas are futile. Over time, the medium has evolved to be while more complex in terms of controls and gameplay, games are less difficult to complete. Mike Tyson is the antithesis of that design philosophy. It’s really easy to pick up and play, but if you want to take out the champ, you need to have precision timing and reflexes with practically no room for error.

What I find even more remarkable about that game looking back, is that there were a lot of kids at the time who could give Mike Tyson the business. In today’s era of gaming, kids get stuff like Spongebob games or heavily-simplified games aimed at them. Back then, those kids got freaking Mike Tyson…and still managed to win. I couldn’t win then and I can’t win now. Odds are, I’ll never beat that game and I’ll be bitter about it till the very end.

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