Back in October of last year, Penny Arcade ran a comic strip that described “The Mega Man 9 Effect“, which admittedly, I fell victim to. I found it a rare occurrence, something mystical and wonderful, sending me back to my youth, and when I loved gaming oh so very much.

Damn it all if it hasn’t happened again….

Blame this brilliant commercial for sparking my interest:

Blame it all for this game hitting every single “right” note that endeared me to the original NES game, one of the only sports games I’ve ever truly loved.

The funny thing is aout this new Punch-Out!! is that it renders me something of a hypocrite. My last entry bemoaned the fact that there’s nothing “new” or “original” in gaming, and here I am getting giddy because Doc Louis catches himself nearly telling Little Mac to join the Nintendo Fun Club. And honestly, it’s return to classic form is one of the very reasons I’ve been loving it. It may make me a hypocrite, but I’m okay with that.

It also is a return to form for Nintendo, of which I have unapologetically criticized for being “asleep” for the better part of a year now since Mario Kart Wii. When I’ve made commentary about missing Nintendo, and wondering why they’ve seemingly given up on attempting any sort of balance between their newer expanded audience, and their fans of their traditional franchises, this game reaffirms that people within their offices and developers still love traditional, good old fashioned gaming as well.

With all of their talk of “putting smiles on people’s faces”, their new catchphrase since E3 ’08 which has made me roll my eyes each time I’ve heard it, well, they put one back on mine. Glad to see you up and awake, Nintendo. We’ve missed you. No. Really.

The game itself is charming. Unashamedly rooted in the past with funny, well animated graphics. The characters are goofier than ever, the challenge of learning and memorizing patterns is still there, and if you’ve been waiting for Nintendo to get back to its gaming roots outside of exercise programs, and cooking and math utilities, this is it. Like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, this game is a love letter to the Nintendo of old, and consider me smitten.

I can deal with the “old is new” aspect, especially when “The Mega Man 9 Effect” has transferred to Punch-Out!!, and once again made me feel like an 11 year old kid again, sitting in my room with my NES, and dreading Great Tiger’s teleport punch.

“Join the Nintendo Fun Club today” indeed….

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Filed under: classic gamingpost-scriptpunch-outretro gamingwii gaming