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The Hows And Whys Of Punch-Out!!

Punch-Out!! flyer Nintendo's Satoru Iwata has gathered a group of developers around the table once again for another installment of the Iwata Asks group interview series, and this time the topic is Punch-Out!!.  They had planned to discuss the recently released Nintendo Wii version of the game, but actually spent most of the time talking about the original arcade and Nintendo Entertainment System releases.  Topics covered include Mario's unapproved cameo as the referee, why the arcade game used two monitors, the mysterious secret behind defeating Bald Bull, how the game was released in Japan, where the boxer Pizza Pasta earned his strange name, and plenty more.  If you've ever wondered how internal Nintendo developer culture worked in the 1980s, then this is the article for you.

Miyamoto: We had just released Donkey Kong then, and for example, to make an image like a rolling barrel, I had to make a pixel drawing for each frame.

Iwata: Everything was done by hand.

Miyamoto: That's why it took a lot of time and effort. When I asked if they could use processing on the hardware side to rotate the image, they would say, "it's not impossible." At the time, "it can't be done" was changing into "it's not impossible." A lot of new things were being created then, but most of it wasn't useful yet.

Iwata: Everything was still being developed.

Miyamoto: They said that we could make things bigger with zoom functions. But we still couldn't rotate. On the other hand, we could rotate it, but they couldn't display it larger. They also said that even if we enlarged it, we could only display one. "So we can only roll one barrel then?" (laughs)

Iwata: (laughs) You can't make Donkey Kong with just one barrel.
During the last episode of Kombo Breaker I discussed how I like to hear the stories behind the development of my favorite games, and the Iwata Asks articles always nail that sort of sweet spot for me.  I love to read what went into making titles such as Punch-Out!! and I'm glad that the discussion here spanned more than twenty-years worth of material.  As I've said before, these are the kinds of stories and development history that we need to see recorded for the ages, so I'm especially pleased that Nintendo sees the importance of sharing these tales.