A common complaint from many foam at the mouth types is that the imagery in popular culture is racist. I am not about to address this concern. But after sitting around playing Mike Tyson’s Punch Out during the recent vacation I can make a profound conclusion that the people who made this game are fucking racists.
You start the game as a little white kid from the Bronx. They don’t bother to tell you from where in the Bronx “Little Mac” comes from. Maybe they did this to protect him from hypothetical muggings that happen in this racist world of ours. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But right from the time you press start to the very end of the game you’re smacked over the head with a cavalcade of racial and ethnic stereotypes that would make Nazis blush. Tagging a long with “Little Mac” is a strung out, balding, and crack addicted black man that shows no enthusiasm for “Little Mac” in-between fights and tells him to go to other places for help. He can’t be bothered. Doc tells Little Mac to contact the “Nintendo Fun Club today” he says.
But “Doc” in the grand scheme of things is a minor player in this ethnocentric parade of hate. Your opponents are the worst offenders. Glass Joe is a weak Frenchman that begs for surrender and is easily defeated. Von Kaiser has a thick German mustache and threatens to conquer you in a hopefully non-sexual way in between rounds. Piston Honda is named and looks like every Japanese stereotype in the book. He even asks you questions about the cameras and asks for sushi. Don Flamenco has hair so greasy that bowling alleys pay him by the hour to wax their lanes. He has a Spanish rose in his mouth and dances to a cheap knock off of “La Cu Ca Racha.” And while it may be funny to get your ass beat to "La Cu Ca Racha" I don’t think people in Spain are laughing.
But it doesn’t stop there with your opponents. There is King Hippo who makes fun of the obese and may even offend people from Hippo Island. Tiger Sing teaches impressionable youths that Ski Indians can vanish and punch you at will. Bald Bull talks like a mental patient and gives off the impression that he may smell like a Turkish sailor. Soda Popinsky laughs like a Russian and has a mustache to rival Stalin and his wacky cohorts. And while I understand Nintendo made an effort to remove the often rumored “I’m going to drink and drive all over you” comment he says between rounds, I’m surprised they didn’t just correct the racism. Mr. Sandman is another black stereotype, and the Macho Man is a harsh take on aging steroid pushers from Hollywood.