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LONG BLOG

Racism and stereotypes in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

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Hello again Ladies and Gents,

And welcome to the Deep South. Well, it’s actually my back yard in eastern Pennsylvania but for the sake of the show let’s call it… Pennsyltucky. As a young lad playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, the racial and cultural stereotypes found therein didn’t dawn on me. My elementary school had a solid mix of white, black, and Hispanic children and I can honestly say I didn’t know what racism was. We all played together.

I think it was in 6th grade when I really learned about intolerance and bigotry. I moved around often. From living in a middle class neighborhood in Indiana to a trailer park in Michigan and even to the mountains if Kentucky. I met kids from all backgrounds and even went to a school that had only one kid of color. And he was adopted! Andy had a similar multicultural background, minus the hills of Kentucky.

Andy and I have wanted to make a video about Punch-Out!! for quite a while now and talk about the over the top depictions of its characters. And what better way to do that than with over the top caricatures of our own? I personally don’t feel that the developers were being malicious. I see it as good natured ribbing. The Japanese are notorious for making fun of our many different cultures and idiosyncrasies. Their own especially. Well, that and tentacle porn.

Are you offended by the stereotypes in Punch-Out!!? The most recent iteration was released in 2009 for the Wii. Though the developers get kudos for using actual foreign speaking actors (Piston Hondo finally speaks contextual Japanese), the source material and humor is still present. Hillbilly Canadian Bear Hugger guzzles maple syrup, French Boxer Glass Joe hangs out at the Eiffel Tower drinking coffee and holding a big loaf of French bread. You can even knock the sushi rolls out of Piston Hondo.

Comment below and let’s talk Punch Out!

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About Arm Length Interviewsone of us since 7:32 AM on 05.14.2013

Andrew Jackson and Eddie Hall come together to talk about everything video games, through past experience videos, podcasts, and interviews with Indie developers whenever they get to a convention.