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Friday, August 19, 2022

“Competitive” Multiplayer Discovered in Super Punch-Out!!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Nintendo isn't in a hurry to acknowledge it, and I don't blame them.

On August 8 earlier this month, news broke out that shocked the gaming world: A series of debug codes were discovered for the first time for Super Punch-Out!! (which released in 1994). These work on all releases of Super Punch-Out!!, including the SNES release and the Nintendo Switch Online emulation. This makes Super Punch-Out!! go from a single-player action puzzle game to a player vs. player fighting game.

Instructions screenshot from zallard1's August 8 Twitch stream.
(He's a Punch-Out!! series speedrunner.)

First, hold Y+R on the Player 2 controller, while Player 1 advances the title screen. You can get to the above menu where you can pick to fight any of the sixteen characters. If you're playing on Nintendo Switch Online, you should make a save state at this screen. Second, the second player holds B and Y on their controller as the first player picks their character. Then it'll go into one fight with Player 1 vs. Player 2, and Player 2 has 12 possible inputs. (A, B, X, Y and neutral, up, or down on the direction pad.) After that is over, it'll go back to the title screen. (Which is why you'll want a save state at the fighter select screen to skip having to do the first debug code.)

These... clearly aren't fair and balanced fights, like the multiplayer head-to-head Little Mac vs. Little Mac fight of Punch-Out!! Wii. For example, the fighters in this game can dodge infinitely with apparently no active hurtboxes in-between dodges. Narcis Prince auto-blocks any attack and the only way to deal damage to him is to counter-attack. But if Narcis Prince never attacks under control of a human, or any character just spams dodges, Player 1 can't win. Because there is a three-minute timer to every match, and Player 1 will automatically lose the match once this timer reaches the three minutes, regardless of whatever happened leading up to that. And Player 2 can buffer their attacks so they come out, uh, instantly:

I wanted to try this out myself. So I asked fellow KoopaTV staffer Witch Princess to play with me, and she picked Heike Kagero, and I got utterly pwned, even though she's never played Super Punch-Out!! before. Like, if you think that maybe this could be a fun experience if you like handicapping yourself against lesser-skilled players, well, just random button-mashing is unwinnable:

There isn't really a way to make it a fair fight, so there's no reason to play this multiplayer more than once when you can play a real fighting game like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. ...Hahaha. Honestly, even ARMS is better! (...Barely.) It doesn't have Gabby Jay spamming YAY... which also recovers his health and can't be punished by Player 1:

Not every fighter can heal themselves, but those that can like Gabby Jay and Mad Clown are even more broken in a metagame where you can't lose if you just hold left or right on the pad for three minutes straight.

The real game isn't broken like this because the opponents still telegraph their movements and you can actually react to them. In this multiplayer mode, a lot of the punches (or kicks or hair twirls) aren't actually reactable because their frame data is that good.

Regardless, I call on Nintendo to update their Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online page in light of this discovery.

Nintendo Switch Online SNES games online multiplayer
Yoshi's Island also has a secret code allowing for multiplayer minigames and it's also in white.
Come on, Nintendo! Embrace your hidden features!
Also, I just learned that F-Zero doesn't have multiplayer.

Ludwig is one day going to write in detail about why he doesn't like Super Punch-Out!! compared to the other games in the series. This isn't that article, but it's just about the “multiplayer”. Have you tried it? Are you going to claim that you knew about this debug code for years or decades before 2022? Let KoopaTV know in the comments section!


  1. I just hope they’ll pick a little mac design and stick with it. It’s been so long since a Punchout game, I fully expect them to just redesign the character. Despite his recurring smash bros design.

    But honesty they just need to figure out a way to add more to the Punchout formula. I could not see myself paying 60 bucks for a Punchout game. Although if I put 60 bucks towards the supposedly more fleshed out new Mario Strikers game, that’d be a waste too!

    1. There's a reason I didn't refer to Player 1 as Little Mac—there's nothing in Super Punch-Out!! that states that Player 1 is Little Mac. And there's a lot that'd say he ain't, from his different fighting style to his different looks.

      Punch-Out!! Wii has more depth to it than the new Strikers game!


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