The Evolution of Boxing Games

Gamers today can find a huge variety of boxing games available, but can you imagine a time when these games were in short supply? Although fighting games have been around since the earliest days of video gaming, games that focus on boxing have at times been a rarer breed.

Arguably the first of such games was the simply titled Boxing from Activision, released in 1980 for the Atari 2600 game system. Boxing features a minimal top view of the ring and incredibly simple gameplay. Landing a punch will score one or two points, with close range punches valued above long range punches. The first player to score 100 points, or whoever has the most points after 2 minutes are up, is the winner. Boxing only included one opponent and one “level,” and lacked many of the sophisticated gameplay techniques common today.

Perhaps the best known of the early generation boxing video games is Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, launched seven years later for the NES platform. Punch F95zone Out introduced many features that would come to define the modern boxing game – a variety of attacks, multiple rounds of fighting, a cast of colorful characters each with unique abilities and fighting styles, and graphics that were superior to any other boxing game of its day.

Punch Out was followed by Super Punch Out, a sequel with further gameplay enhancements and even more realistic graphics. Prior to that was Ring King, launched the same year as the original Punch Out. This game included similar features such as multiple characters and advanced fighting techniques. Although a more humorous interpretation of the sport of boxing, Ring King attempted to create a realistic experience with varying punch, stamina and speed attributes for the player.

Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing, launched in 1992, and Ready 2 Rumble, released in 1999, were among the first boxing games to feature genuine 3D action. Electronic Arts raised the bar for boxing games with its Knockout Kings, a series of six games released between 1998 and 2003. EA followed this with the Fight Night series, which debuted with the game Fight Night 2004. The latest and fifth installment of this series is Fight Night Champion, which came out in 2011.

The retro games can still be lots of fun, and may provide some nostalgia for those old enough to remember when they were new, but today’s gaming technology allows for a much wider array of boxing games. The genre is no longer limited to arcade machines and gaming consoles. Boxing games can be found in mobile apps, PC games and even online versions.

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