"I'm happy to report that everybody whose face I've wanted to punch on Earth has already been punched." -Greg Kinnear
Based on two arcade game predecessors, this game put you in the shoes of unnoticed and unskilled boxing novice, Little Mac. You'd work your way up by fighting various european and asian stereotypes; they begin as relatively easy opponents, but progress through tougher, larger, more powerful characters. Each character had strengths, special attacks and secret weaknesses, and it took a combination of know-how and execution to defeat each one.
When you reach various milestones in the game, you become champion of the circuit you were fighting on, and get rewarded with a cutscene, such as (now-famous) Rocky-esque training montages of your character preparing for the upcoming battles.
If you can become champion of the world circuit before losing three times, you make it all the way to the final showdown with then-undefeated-world-champion Iron Mike Tyson. It took many months for me to get to Tyson, and many times getting knocked out before I finally managed to defeat him!
This game was one of my favorites, as I'm sure it was for many of you who are anywhere around my age. There have been a number of homage/tributes to it, including these amazing hand-crafted action figures of all the characters, below.
But the coolest tribute I've ever seen was a video imagining Little Mac's comeback against Mr. Sandman, who's the third-to-last character in the NES version and the final character from the original arcade version. I can't believe I've been remiss in sharing this with you for so long, so without further ado, here's Team Awesome's entry from the 2007 Nintendo Short Cuts competition: the Punch-Out!! trailer!