Glass Joe, Piston Honda, and Bald Bull Return to the Ring!

So I rented the new “Punch Out” for my Wii this week.

Yeah, I’m 31 and have a Wii.  What of it!

Actually, it was a Christmas Gift from Erin’s mom.  Note: Not a Channukah Gift.  A Christmas Gift. Here’s a little advice for my Jew-Boy, Hebrew school alums:  Marry a gentile.  Less Guilt. Better Gifts. True, my mixed-marriage does earn me a little bit of Irish-Catholic guilt, however, that generally comes with a Coors Light chaser, which goes down much easier than Manischewitz (borei pri hagafen)!!!

Hit Him in the Belly!

Hit Him in the Belly!

So, back to Punch-Out.  I’ve been stalking my local Blockbuster for more than a week now, only to continually learn that all copies are “out”.  Finally, on Tuesday, I asked where the other nearest Blockbuster was.  Turns out, it’s on 8th Ave, and so are we. However, we’re at 54th and 8th.  The store?  20th and 8th.  And then it hits me:  I’ll run down and back (even I can’t get lost going 34 blocks south), and call it my work-out for the day!  I punch the addresses into Google Maps (for distance, not directions), and learn that it’s roughly 1.7 miles away (3.4 miles round trip).

Now generally I don’t stop mid-way through my runs, but even though I called ahead, the Blockbuster clerk refused to stand on the sidewalk and execute a video-game hand-off as I raced by.

So, my 3.4 mile run, was actually a pair of 1.7 mile runs.  And on the way home, I had the box tucked under my arm, switching hands like I’m freakin’ Walter Payton, covering it with two arms as the crowds became more congested in Midtown.

I may or may not have run down a coupla fat chicks along the way, but some 30 minutes after I had left, I returned home, sweat pouring from my chin, a smile smeared across my face, and my youth, once again at my fingertips.

I had traveled roughly 3.93 miles (or so says my Nike+), and somehow, returned to Elementary School.

That’s what it’s like playing “Punch Out”.  Ya see, I don’t spend a ton of time devoting my digits to the Wii. And when I do, it’s usually on old title (I have both Zelda, and the Adventures of Link). Maybe it’s about recapturing my younger years, or returning to my comfort zone, but all of a sudden I’m back on the couch in my parent’s den, and I’m 12 years old again.

And oh yeah.  I’m fat, too.  Like I was when I played a whole lotta Nintendo back in the day.

My dad is convinced that the gaming system is the reason I was never really able to hit a curveball:

Dad: “Hey Jas, ya wanna go down to Tusoni or Carter Field?  I’ll throw ya some B.P.?  Maybe take some infield?”

Jason: “Dad!  I’m on Level 6 of Super Mario Brothers, and I’m so close to rescuing the Princess I can taste it… Hey Ma!  We got any more bagels!”

Truth be told, my Dad played a little Super Mario Bros. back in the day, but I secretly think he gave it up when I always made him be Luigi in 2-player mode.

As time went on, I grew “into”my weight.  But, as I’ve learned, I never really outgrew Punch-Out.  Note: It’s no longer called “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out“, just simply “Punch-Out”.  Turns out, “Iron Mike” didn’t end up being such a great celebrity endorser. Something about eating people’s children, and feasting on ear cartilage.

As for the game itself, it’s just like the Good ‘Ol Days, only crisper, and in hi-def. Mac is back,and now he’s jacked.  Doc is still in the corner, and the original beat – or a similar remix – still provides the game’s soundtrack, even during bike-riding, pink sweatsuit-wearing, training sequences.

As for the opponents, well, most of them are back too, and with some variation of their age-old “moves”.

King Hippo still drops his shorts, exposing his bandaged belly.

Piston Honda brings his irritating twitching eyebrow into the 21st Century.

Hold "down" 5 Times

Hold "down" 5 Times

And The Great Tiger returns with his magic carpet, and twinkling turban.

After roughly 30 bouts, I had advanced to the World Circuit (the final “level”), but packed it in after being unable to so much as knock down Aran Ryan, a new character. (NES released a second Punch-Out game for Super Nintendo, but I never played it.)

My final victory as an adult – to this point – was over Don Flamenco, who once again taunts Little Mac, while sporting a red rose between his teeth. Only this time, he’s a much better fighter, and even goes so far as to talk smack in Spanish: ¿Qué Pasa? ¿Quieres más?

Final conclusions?  I may be 30+ years old, but after returning to the ring, I’m young again.

My thumbs sporting that trademark square indentation.  My couch showing the exact pattern of where my sculpted glutes sat, unmoved, for several hours.

With Doc rubbing my shoulders, and Little Mac’s trademark green gloves firing that special “star” punch, it’s almost like that 12-year-old boy never hung ’em up. Hopefully, I don’t start to get too fat again!



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