There’s a Nintendo commercial out right now for Punch-Out!! In it, a father brags about having played the original NES version of the video game, and that he’s now teaching his son how to play the new one on the Wii. He smugly starts playing and gleefully mentions that he’s going to mop the floor with the kid. Fast forward a few seconds and good ol’ pops is promptly crushed by his boy and left a sweaty, deflated mess. Great commercial, except I’m still waiting for my residual check from Nintendo. Yeah, that bragging poppa in the commercial might as well be me right now. Or simply put… I’m about to be schooled by a six year old.
My kids are super big fans of the Wii and when the new Punch-Out!! was announced, I was super excited. I loved the first game and couldn’t wait to play the new one. I was worried that it may be a bit too violent or scary for for my kids, though. But I remember my favorite challenger from the original game, King Hippo. He’s the one with the giant belly that you punch, and his pants fall down, displaying his star-filled boxer shorts. I just wanted to get up to him, knowing my kids would at least crack up at that fight. And I was right. They LOVED King Hippo and cheered me (and my character Little Mac) on throughout the fight. At some point they both mentioned they wanted to try playing, so I showed them how to punch. They quickly got the hang of it and fought the first guy, getting pummeled left and right.
Days went by and the kids played a little here and there. (Hey, at least they were getting a little bit of exercise!) My oldest actually got better and better, beating the first opponent, then the second and before I knew it, he was able to make it all the way up to King Hippo himself. My four year old eventually worked his way up to King Hippo too, though, it took a lot longer. I continued to play myself, making it to the final level, with just four challengers to go before I finish the game.
Before I knew it, Punch-Out!! had invaded and completely taken over our lives. We didn’t just play the video game together, we lived it. I couldn’t walk into a room without one of my kids running up to me screaming that they’re Little Mac and I’m King Hippo, which was quickly followed by a punch to my gut. Car rides to camp were spent debating which superhero could beat the teleporting boxer Great Tiger. Even the nightly ritual of bedtime stories somehow got Little Mac and his challengers involved with whatever book was in my hands. Yeah, Punch-Out!! was certainly in.
While all that was going on, my kids continued to play the Wii at times. And then, well, a funny thing happened over the last week or so. My six year old gained some serious ground on me. He managed to finally beat King Hippo. Then he beat the next crop of guys (who get progressively tougher as you move up the ladder), and before I knew it he was fighting the same guy I was. And still am. In other words, as of this writing, my son has gotten as far as I have in Punch-Out!! I can make the excuse that he’s playing it a lot more often than I am. (It’s true!) But I fear that, yeah, he may already be surpassing his old man at video games… and he’s only six.
Guess I’ve only got one choice left at this point: Make his bedtime earlier, so I can get in a few extra hours of practice.