Nintendo is so successful in the video game industry because of the hard work and dedication they have put in to establishing franchises and characters and game universes, and making gamers continue to care about them and want to play the newest versions. It's smart business, and while they can't always be relied on for third-party titles, their in-house published games continue to strike interest in fans, touching on the nostalgic part of the heart every time. Truth is, Sony and Microsoft would kill to have several first party franchises they can reward their fans with on a regular basis.
It's not like Nintendo is lazy and puts out annual games that use the same formula over and over again and slightly upgrade the graphics every title, like other well known games are becoming notorious for. No, Nintendo treats every new game they release as if it was the first game of the series, hoping to capture the hearts of minds of new gamers with every release, never banking on the fact that there are established connections with the characters and worlds already. They take the time and care to create each game from the ground up, whether that be creating the next chapter in a series or recreating an old favorite.
One of those old favorites I decided to play again, to remind myself how special Nintendo is, was Punch-Out!!, which was an NES classic that is at the forefront in the minds of all kids from that era. Whenever a list of best sports games is ever compiled, Punch-Out!! regularly finds itself at the top or near it, and for good reason. It is a fantastic game and one I will always adore. But enough about the original - I already wrote about it once before.
No, I want to talk about the newest iteration of Punch-Out!!, which came out a few years ago on the Wii. I remember the announcement for this game, and I clearly recall being scared to death to think of a remake for such a classic. They weren't just making a new game, they were trying to recapture the magic the original one offered, by bringing back the old roster of characters. But if there is any company I trust to bring something back from the dead and remake it with the risk of disappointing an entire generation of gamers, I would trust Nintendo implicitly every time.
And boy did they deliver a knock out of a game. (Sorry for the bad pun, but I had to. You understand, right?)
Everything you liked about the original game is back in this newest version, from Little Mac being impossible to root against, to Doc Louis encouraging you all the way to the top, to Glass Joe and his winless record and of course King Hippo and his AH-HA moment when you discover the key to victory when pitted against him. It's all there, and then some, and never once did I feel like they were doing the classic game an injustice. Conversely, if this was the first Punch-Out!! game I had every played, I could totally fall in love with the franchise with just this one game. The proof is in the pudding when it comes to Nintendo delivering the magic once again.
The only thing missing from this game that the classic game had is Mike Tyson, even though late adopters of the classic game only knew of Mr. Dream as the final boss. Tyson was undoubtedly the epitome of a final boss, as when you finally beat him, if you ever did that is, the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that would rush over you would be impossible to recreate. It's completely understandable that Nintendo chose to distance itself from Iron Mike all those years ago, but a part of me wishes that they could at least give a wink or a nod to the baddest man on the planet in some form or fashion one of these days. It will never happen, and I know that, but the thought of it just makes me smile.
This remake of an iconic classic NES title was refreshing, and a great way to remind everyone how deep the Nintendo catalog is in which they can call upon at any time if they feel so inclined. In fact, I would love to see more from this franchise in the future, as I think they could do some cool things with the GamePad of the Wii U. Heck, I would even take a 3DS version, as the 3D effects could be awesome.
But again, I'm just daydreaming here. Of course, I have only Nintendo to blame for that.