Mike Tyson never beating Glass Joe is one thing. He's the first opponent in the boxer's titular Punch-Out!!, so this means Iron Mike played the game once or twice, gave up, and went back to tending pigeons in his spare time. But not being able to defeat King Hippo is a different brand of shame.
Joakim Noah, the goofnut center for the Chicago Bulls, tells ESPN in an upcoming feature on the history of sports video games, that he never could get past Hippo (at 1:00 of the video above). To me, that's worse. You could argue that Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! is not a sports game but a puzzle game, even a rhythm game, as winning depends upon recognizing and responding to patterns. A two-year-old could figure out that you hit King Hippo in the face when he opens his mouth and then pound on his beer gut until he falls down. Come on!
ESPN's E:60 unit—the network's in-depth reporting team—is taking a look at sports video games on the magazine show's broadcast this Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT. From this B-roll promotion it seems to be a collection of luminaries reminiscing about their experiences—though they did go to Atari founder Nolan Bushnell for his thoughts on PONG.
But I'll be interested to see how they address (or don't) sports video games' relevance to and influence on the larger culture today—particularly considering their role in the litigation brought by former college players against the NCAA. Will E:60 bring up the exclusive licenses that have shrunk the field of sports titles? Will they talk about ESPN's own history with titles like NFL 2K, NCAA Football and Basketball and, assuming it finally comes out, NBA Live? Tune in.