King Hippo

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King Hippo
Punch-Out!! character
King Hippo.jpg
King Hippo, as seen in the Wii video game Punch-Out!! (2009)
First game Punch-Out!! (NES)
Designed by M. Wada (Punch-Out!!, 1987)
Eddie Visser (Punch-Out!!, 2009)
Voiced by Gary Chalk (Captain N: The Game Master, 1989-1991)
Scott McFadyen (Punch-Out!!, 2009)

King Hippo (キング・ヒッポー Kingu Hippō?) is a fictional boxer from Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series. King Hippo first appeared on the Nintendo Entertainment System game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, as the second competitor in the Major Circuit. Subsequent reviews have characterized King Hippo as one of the most iconic characters from the game. The character also featured prominently on the NBC Saturday morning cartoon, Captain N: The Game Master. His obese figure and his face both resemble those of a hippopotamus.

Concept and characteristics[edit]

King Hippo was originally created by Punch-Out!! character designer M. Wada. His most recent appearance was illustrated by art director Eddie Visser.

King Hippo's face and girth resemble that of a hippopotamus, hence his name.[1] He is an obese man from the fictional Hippo Island (not hailing from the real, sub-Antarctic Hippo Island). His age, weight, and height are all unknown. He is often depicted wearing a crown. He has tanned skin (blue skin in Captain N: The Game Master) and a large mouth.

In the video game, he guards his stomach while punching and blocking. When he opens his mouth and pulls one fist back, the player's character, Little Mac, can punch him in the face to stun him briefly and make him drop his guard. Mac can then repeatedly punch Hippo in the stomach, causing his trunks to fall down with every hit. Once Hippo is knocked down, he will be unable to stand under his own weight before the referee finishes the ten-count, leading to a win by knockout for the player. In the Wii version of the game, his underpants have starmen on them.

In the Wii version's "Title Defense" mode, Hippo enters the ring with a manhole cover taped to his stomach; Mac must knock it loose before he can strike at that weak spot.[2] He speaks English in the cartoon and NES game, but only makes grunting noises in the Wii version.

Appearances[edit]

King Hippo first appeared in the 1987 NES video game Punch-Out!!. He returned in 2009, in the Wii video game of the same name (voiced by Scott McFadyen). Some advertisements for the Wii game featured the protagonist Little Mac training to reclaim the World Circuit Title from King Hippo.[3]

King Hippo has a featured role in the animated series Captain N: The Game Master, as one of Mother Brain's henchmen. He has blue skin, and is often paired in a comedic duo with the Kid Icarus villain, Eggplant Wizard. He was voiced by Gary Chalk. This version of King Hippo also appears in the comic books based on the series. He makes a cameo appearance in the Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness comic book, as part of a guest comic written and illustrated by Girly creator Josh Lesnick. In it, Scott Pilgrim battles him, and has to discover his weak point.

Promotion and reception[edit]

Since appearing in the NES video game Punch-Out!!, King Hippo has received largely positive reception. Promotional merchandise was created for the Wii Punch-Out!!, which included replicas of King Hippo's crown and boxer shorts, as well as a King Hippo desktop punching bag.[4] GameDaily listed him as the 10th best Nintendo character ever, stating that he "stands out" more than the other boxers in the series, including the player-character.[5] They also listed him as one of video game's "most lovable lummoxes" and stated that he seemed invulnerable until his weakness was discovered.[6] IGN listed King Hippo as the 64th best video game villain, though they describe him as a "push-over" in the NES Punch-Out!!.[7]

Destructoid editor Colette Bennett featured King Hippo as a headline to her article "What makes a boss unforgettable?" She discussed how she became humiliated after losing to King Hippo in the NES Punch-Out!! despite her initial impressions that he would be easy. She felt that his unusual appearance made it more important to defeat him.[8] IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas stated that despite his exclusion from some Punch-Out!! titles titles, he is still popular among fans due to his role in the NES game and the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon.[9]

In his celebration of "gaming's greatest fatties", GamesRadar's Chris Antista commented that the NES Punch-Out!! was King Hippo's game, in spite of featuring Mike Tyson in its original release; he described him as being its most memorable character.[10] When asked if the Wii Punch-Out!! would bring the cast of characters into "Nintendo pantheon" games such as the Super Smash Bros. games, Next Level Games designer Bryce Holliday commented that he considered characters such as King Hippo and Little Mac as already being at that point due to their appearances in Captain N: The Game Master.[11] 1UP.com editor Scott Sharkey listed King Hippo as the fourth best fat guy in video games.[12] GamesRadar editor Brett Elston called King Hippo one of the most famous boxers in video games.[13]

In discussing his race, Retronauts discussed how King Hippo was a racial stereotype of islanders (specifically that they were all fat and lavish).[14] Bit Mob editor Brian Shirk commented that the stereotypes utilized in King Hippo were uncalled for, stating that his "subhuman caricature is particularly offensive, and it likely stems from the typically savage portrayal of Polynesians in literature and film."[15] GameDaily commented that while he is a "lovable oaf," others may see him as a "fat Pacific Islander who loves stuffing his face."[16] King Hippo's weakness is considered one of the things that makes King Hippo iconic. Game Informer writes that the "secret to beating this flabby fighter was probably even more widely known than the 30-lives code in Contra".[17] Colette Bennett echoed sentiments of the notability of his weakness and said that "anyone could tell you King Hippo's weak point".[8] 1UP.com editor Bob Mackey also listed him as the third worst dressed video game character, called the fight with him an "iconic moment in gaming." Mackey added that King Hippo's shorts falling down was "talk of the schoolyards during the 80's".[18] GamesRadar editor Chris Antista comments that his role in Captain N was his biggest achievement.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Craddock (2007-04-17). "Punch Out! Featuring Mr. Dream Wii Virtual Console Review". Shack News. 
  2. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=4160691
  3. ^ GamePro Media: (2009-05-15). "News : New Punch-Out!! documentary is a knock-out [Wii] - from GamePro.com". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  4. ^ Colette Bennett (2009-03-31). "Take to the ring in the Punch-Out!! King Hippo Contender kit". Destructoid. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  5. ^ "Excellent video game news, reviews and streaming for PS4, Xbox One, PC & more | Joystiq". Gamedaily.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  6. ^ "Excellent video game news, reviews and streaming for PS4, Xbox One, PC & more | Joystiq". Gamedaily.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  7. ^ "King Hippo is number 64". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  8. ^ a b Colette Bennett (2007-05-05). "What makes a boss unforgettable?". Destructoid. 
  9. ^ Lucas M. Thomas (2008-01-18). "Smash It Up! - Delayed Again?!". IGN. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  10. ^ a b Chris Antista (2008-02-22). "Gaming's greatest Fatties". GamesRadar. 
  11. ^ "Punch-Out!! Post Mortem Interview". Armchair Empire. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  12. ^ Scott Sharkey. "Top 5 Fat Guys". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  13. ^ Brett Elston (2009-05-09). "Exclusive boxer reveals!". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  14. ^ http://podcast.the1upnetwork.com/flat/Retronauts/R051409.mp3
  15. ^ http://www.bitmob.com/articles/racial-stereotypes-in-video-games-how-do-we-change-them
  16. ^ "Excellent video game news, reviews and streaming for PS4, Xbox One, PC & more | Joystiq". Gamedaily.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  17. ^ "Punch-Out!! Boxer Breakdown," Game Informer 188 (December 2008): 74.
  18. ^ Bob Mackey. "Top 5 Worst Dressed Videogame Characters". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.