Make Punch-Out!!! Warriors, You Cowards – Feature

I have not punched Gabby Jay nearly enough times in my life.

Dear Nintendo, you’re cowards.

Scared of your own shadow, you refuse to acknowledge the reality of the situation. You and your semi-dependent partners at Koei-Tecmo-Koei are unable to acknowledge the simple facts that stare you in the face: the future of Warriors is Punch-Out!!! Normally, argumentative writing demands evidence to back it up, but in this case it is so obvious that it would honestly be embarrassing for me to lay out all the evidence. However, in the interest of shaming you into doing the right thing, I’ll happily shame the lot of you.

1. Punch-Out!! is a good candidate for the Warriors treatment because of the deep cast of characters.

Warriors games rely on an ever-expanding list of playable characters that can be leveled up, better equipped, and used to re-clear missions over and over, creating the illusion of variety in a game series utterly bereft of it. Punch-Out!! has no shortage of characters to start as foes, and ultimately recruit into the party for subsequent replays.

Age of Calamity quickly became the best selling Warriors game in franchise history, racking up 3.5 million units in a matter of months. This is an impressive feat, considering the daily cadence of Warriors game releases. Since you entered this article over four have come to market.

Make Punch-Out!!! Warriors, You Cowards – FeatureA murderer and a jerk. And a roster slot.

Age of Calamity launched with a respectable cast of 18 fighters. To hit this number, despite being inspired by a game who’s core conceit is the lack of people in the world, must have been a chore. And yet, they found inspiration to let us play as a mummified cleric who can’t be bothered to stand and a tree who is best known for a poop joke. Truly, classics.

Relying only on combatants in the Punch-Out!! series, a Punch-Out!! Warriors could easily have 29 playable characters. I’m sure some less inspired would argue the cast would lack the appeal, but I refuse to believe Yunobo is in any way an appreciably better character than Punch-Out!! bottom of the barrel resident Pizza Pasta. Americans love Pizza. Americans love Pasta. The average Olive Garden location made $4.5m in 2020 despite a pandemic. Pizza Pasta is money.

Special: Unlimited Breadsticks – in restaurant only.

2. I’m not done talking about Punch-Out!! characters.

There aren’t just a lot of characters, they’re all well-suited to the task of being converted into a Warriors…warrior. I’ve selected three characters from the Punch-Out! franchise at random, and I’ll “design” a character for the Warriors universe.

Heike Kagero – Right off, Heike is designed with a pastiche of Heian-era styling, specifically for a woman: the painted-on eyebrows (hikimayu) and long hair would be the height of cultured courtesan, acquainted with the Chinese cultural imports of the era. This might be an allusion to the fact men played female roles in many forms of Japanese theater, he is trained in an Edo-era style of dance called Nihon-Buyo, or it could just be because Nintendo wanted to use his hair as a weapon in the ring. This is a winning plot-point that three decades later would dominate WWE for roughly four months.

Move Set: A hypothetical Heike Kagero character would work well as a Warriors fighter. He is a particularly fast, combo-heavy, boxer. He can bounce and pivot out of danger with grace, and leverages his Mirage Dance to create after-images to hide his position. This is way better than turning into a boat. As mentioned previously, his hair is a weapon. We have fist combos, into hair launchers, and his charged “Special Attack” could leverage his after images to create clones that brutalize fields of grunts. It’s very Bayonetta-chic. This is already better than half of Hyrule Warriors.

Special Advantage: Heike is a term that refers to the Taira Clan, a clan that dominated Japanese politics for a period during the Twelfth Century. One of Japan’s most famous epic poems, Heike no Monogatari, is an epic-cycle morality play that traces the rise and fall of the Taira and, as is common in epics, attributes it to the hubris of Taira retainers and members. How does this confer advantage to Heike Kagero as a Warriors character? Warriors games are full of pointless text that nobody cares about, they just want to push A. Heike no Monogatari is in the public domain. Copy and Paste, move on to the next character.

Soda Popinski – The random selection process confers me a victory by default this day. Popinski is well-known so there isn’t a need for a significant preamble to describe the USSR-stereotype anti-american 80s bad-guy-in-a-box. He does drink to gain strength, and despite Nintendo sanitizing “Vodka Drunkenski” into “Soda Popinski,” his mid-fight quotes still make it clear what’s what.

Move Set: His 2009 rendition introduced a bunch of moves with the world “soda” in front of them. His quick chain of uppercuts are probably known as “Soda Something,” but I can’t be bothered to research further. His “Soda Rage” is a series of quick jabs that he unleashes in response to Little Mac wasting his delicious “soda.” He will also drink the “soda” in order to regain health, in theory effectively rendering him invincible as long as he can keep drinking. For a Special Attack, as a proud Eastern Block athlete we know he is juiced to the gills on steroids, he can recreate the Rocky IV training scene and then enter a super-juiced mode where everything is blurry…from the soda but he’s a rippling mountain of unnatural muscle. When his charge is expended, we can just say he “cycled off.”

Special Advantage: Brand tie-ins. Ads in games are the future, and what better way to embrace the world of boxing than having your warrior do a drink of a sponsor’s product in interviews before and after a match. Given his professed drink, and his semi-spoken actual drink, we have two distinct markets to seek cross-promotional bidders. You could even localize it: Suntory can provide Haku Vodka to Drunkenski between rounds if the Switch console is geo-located in Japan, perpetually brand unsavvy Pepsico could fuel Popinski in the US with the gamer’s drink Mtn Dew® Game Fuel® Courageous Sherbert, and in the nanny-state that is the EU Healthinski would sit empty-handed while getting lectured by a bureaucrat.

Bob Charlie – Oh.

Move Set: He does spinning uppercuts in triplicate. He also can fake out of them into a different attack making him confusing to fight against. He’s also particularly evasive, which is good for… reasons. His Special could come from his post-knockdown attack where his coach yells at him that “Bob it’s time to…” yeah he yells at him and says things. It’s not important. Charlie then jumps around and lands some attacks. Let’s move on.

Special Advantage: Parody is protected, so I don’t think the Marley estate can do anything about it. The bar is already pretty low here, so anything they do to improve Bob might provide coverage for other characters. Rastafarian music is something Nintendo could add to the 300 days of music already in Smash and it be new. I guess? I’m not going to go verify that statement; I’m just trying to change the subject now.

3. I’m now changing the subject to brand revival.

It feels like only yesterday that Punch-Out!! 2009 came out, and that would be true if we currently lived in 2009, or in theory a brief window of 2010. It’s 2023. In case you’ve actively been trying to forget that, I’m sorry. The gap between Super Punch-Out!! and Punch-Out!! Wii was 15 years, and we’ve already gone 14 years since the 2009 title. There’s a concern that it would be hard to make a new game in the series these days for… reasons and a Warriors game could ease that transition.

Nintendo has used spin-off games in the hands of third parties to prime the pump for a full sequel. For example, after a long period of lying fallow, the Metroid franchise was in dire need of a kickstart and Nintendo hired then-external studio Next Level to make Federation Force, a game that in my head-canon was well received, and look now, in 2021 a new 2D Metroid game and a CG logo for a 2029 3D game.

Punch-Out Warriors!! would fill a gap in the Punch-Out!! franchise that Nintendo hasn’t even realized they have: a 90+ hour experience. This will introduce the series to people who are only interested in games where they can spend Herculean timescales to level up characters. And any concerns people may have with Punch-Out!!, not that I can think of any and I’m sure they don’t exist, could be desensitized after three to four lifetimes of crushing hoards of local-retiree Gabby Jays in the face.

Let’s call it a Brand Awareness campaign, part of a trans-media plan reminiscent of the infamous 2017 Fire Emblem Direct, where Nintendo announced roughly forty Fire Emblem titles. What other Punch-Out!! titles? I don’t know, a mobile game. And a new Punch-Out!! And maybe a rhythm game? I don’t know, I’m not going to give away every issue in this twenty-two part series.

4. Let’s talk Waifus.

Generally speaking, I don’t encourage this. Think about the potential outcomes: your parents discover your kinks, your friends discover your kinks, you discover your friends’ kinks, and terrifyingly you discover your parents’ kinks. However, with a Warriors game you have to consider the topic. Age of Calamity seems pretty well bereft of the form, and achieved great success. That’s not to say it’s utterly bereft, I’m sure there are people who will ride or die for Purrah, but there’s no Warriors-original character like Lana or Cia from Hyrule Warriors.

However, this game will set precedent. If we ever want to have a gacha mobile Punch-Out!! then this is a Rubicon we need to cross, and how better to handle it than Linkle. Not every character needs the Linkle effect, but Little Mac and a selection of the more popular pugilists could have a female iteration created to further fill our trans-media future vision’s mobile game with pulls-a-plenty.

Can it be a sister? No no. We wouldn’t want this Warriors title to conflict the Wind Waker canon.

  • Mrs. Sandwoman
  • Aoife Ryan
  • Referee (female alt)
  • Dulce Flamenco
  • Glass Jane

Well, maybe not that one.

5. The elephant in the room

Look, it’s impossible to tiptoe around the political incorrectness of Punch-Out!!! Lord knows I’ve been trying. It’s a game that boils nationalities down into a handful of caricatures, and then asks you to beat the crap out of them. I would argue Punch-Out!! Warriors confronts this challenge head-on and are uniquely suited to defang the criticisms.

You could argue the characters are largely grandfathered into “acceptable” because of their established history. This seems congruent with Nintendo’s effort in 2009, where they only introduced a single new character. Notably Super Macho Man was an American stereotype that is common in film and TV, meaning he may have been perceived as “safe.” It didn’t matter, ultimately the character still received significant criticism. Punch-Out!! Warriors would rely on these pre-approved stereotypes; there would be some complaints but a lot of people would roll over it due entirely to nostalgia.

Another way the criticism of the stereotypes could target Punch-Out!! would be a direct critique of our American white guy beating up foreigners all over the world. In the post-Rocky boom, nobody would have cared. Today, that’s going to be a harder sell. But here’s where Warriors would be immune, you can fight anyone AS anyone. This critique is isolated to the more traditional format, allowing Warriors to reframe the game away from this particular concern.

Lastly, this could renew the grandfathering of the various characters in the Punch-Out!! franchise by putting them in the least threatening context imaginable: playable hero. This saves them for the real future of Punch-Out!!

DK’s Punch-Out!!

Original Source Link

Related Articles

Back to top button