5 Facts About Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out


In 1987, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out for the Nintendo Entertainment System was considered to be one of the greatest games of all-time. Fast-forward to today, and it’s still a classic that many games go back to due to its fun, easy to pick up gameplay and memorable aesthetics. It would initially be released on the NES with Mike Tyson’s likeness, and would later be re-released by Nintendo without his endorsement. Punch-Out would go on to become the 17th best-selling game ever for the NES, having sold three million copies. Here are interesting five facts about Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, one of the best and most memorable boxing video games of all-time.

5 Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out Facts

    1. The game was marketed for three years. (source) Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out had a quite lengthy marketing window, as Nintendo promoted the game from 1987 to 1990. Punch-Out had been a previously successful arcade title for Nintendo, but when Minoru Arakawa, former Nintendo of American Founder and President went to a boxing event featuring Mike Tyson, he was very impressed and signed the Heavyweight Champion to a three year deal. With this deal, Nintendo was allowed to use Mike Tyson’s likeness and name for this game.
    1. Nintendo only paid $50,000 to use Mike Tyson’s name and likeness on Punch-Out. (source) Nintendo was able to sign Mike Tyson for his name and likeness in 1987, when he was still on his way up to becoming of the most famous boxers in history. Had Nintendo approached Mike Tyson in 1990, there likely never would have been a version of Punch-Out that utilized Mike Tyson.
    1. Mario wasn’t meant to be the referee in Punch-Out. (source) In Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, Nintendo’s iconic Mario makes a cameo as the referee for every boxing bout in the game. The creator of the game, Genyo Takeda, would later say that he never intended for Mario to be in the final version of Punch-Out, and had just added him in as the referee during the development process, all without permission from Nintendo. During the final proofing phase of Punch-Out as Nintendo prepared to release the game, no one noticed Mario officiating inside the ring, and thus he made it into the game.
    1. The password to advance to the Mike Tyson fight was Nintendo’s “Contact Us” telephone number. (source) Several games on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), including Punch-Out, had a password system, allowing players to immediately advance to fight certain opponents in the game, including Mike Tyson with the code 800-422-2602, which was Nintendo’s contact phone number for gamers. Ahead of Mike Tyson, players could also input passwords to battle classic Punch-Out fighters such as Piston Honda and Super Macho Man.
    1. The real life Mike Tyson was ever only able to defeat the first opponent in the game. (source) Initially, Mike Tyson had said that he wasn’t a fan of Punch-Out when it was first released in the late 1980s, citing that he didn’t think it would turn into such a popular video game. However, he would later say that he began to appreciate the game, but that the only opponent he could beat was Glass Joe, who is the very first boxer that players face in the game.

Today, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out is widely considered one of the best and most memorable games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. What are your memories of this classic?


Featured image photo credit: Charles Williams, 2007. Originally found on Flickr.com. Image was resized and cropped. Creative Commons 2.0.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *