Fun with stereotypes: starring Punch-Out!!

The Irish: Are uncontrollable, rage-filled brawlers that cheat to win, love to fight and have no choice but to wear four-leaf clovers somewhere on their person. Because they’re Irish. Get it?

Aran Ryan was fairly sedate in Super Punch-Out!!, only occasionally cheating with some questionable moves like holds and a headbutts. The Wii version though… wow. He’s all over the place, barely standing still because he’s just so Irish, spouting off in his thick accent and getting all up in your shit. Oh, and of course he has red hair.

Above: “Fightin’s like breathin’, Mac!”

Tasteful Irish trivia: You’ve probably heard of the Blarney Stone, a world-famous Irish attraction kissed by some 300,000 people a year. No one knows exactly how long visitors have been dangling to smooch the underside of the rock, but we do know the word “Blarney” came from Queen Elizabeth I. Much morehere.

Great Tiger

Indians: Still use the old-style flying carpets despite years of modern flying carpet technology, live in structures that have to look like the Taj Mahal and, because Westerners don’t know dick about India, wear turbans that grant them magical powers.

Great Tiger teleports all around the ring like an over caffeinated Jafar, and plays up in the mystical side of Indian culture so much we’re surprised they didn’t work in a snake charmer joke in there somewhere. Tiger was MIA for Super Punch-Out!!, so this is his first appearance in the series since 1987.

Above: What endangered species list?

Tasteful Indian trivia: India accounts for a large percentage of the world’s Bengal tiger population, which is likely the reason for Great Tiger’s name. Bengal tigers are the world’s largest land-based carnivore. Take that, stupid lions!

Don Flamenco

Spaniards: Are expert bull fighters, always have a rose in hand and are utterly obsessed with their good looks.

Don Flamenco, as the name suggests, always begins a fight with a quick dance. His bit has always been goading Little Mac into throwing the first punch, showing off his cocky, confrontational spirit. He also continues the stereotype shared with Street Fighter II’s Vega that Spaniards obsess over their appearance.

Above: Only the finest scents touch this proud skin

GR’s resident Spaniard, Mikel Reparaz, knows a thing or two about his Spanish heritage, and had this to say:

“Don Flamenco is just the latest example of a stereotype Spaniards have struggled against for centuries – namely that we’re all fiery-blooded, severe-nosed flamenco dancer/matadors who trill every “R” and clench roses between our teeth at every opportunity. Nothing could be fartherfrom the truth. In reality, we are friendly, mildly overbearing louts who talk way too fast and center our lives around eating food that would terrify most Americans.”

Above: Don using his gloves like Spanish-standard castanets

Above: Knock his toupee off and he becomes enraged

Tasteful Spanish trivia: The word “flamenco” is thought to come from Flemish soldiers of long-ago Spain/Belgium territories. They were “renowned for their self-confidence, style and ostentatious pride.” Read up on the Don’s dance here.

See, wasn’t that fun? We’re all friends now.

May 20, 2009

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Brilliantly walks the line between casual punchy-punchy and “serious gamer” depth