Little Mac (Punch-Out!!)
|First game||Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!|
|Voiced by (English)||Matt Harty (Punch-Out!! for Wii)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Hisao Egawa (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)|
|Portrayed by||Paul Malignaggi (Punch-Out!! for Wii US commercial)|
Little Mac (リトル・マック Ritoru Makku?) is a fictional boxer in Nintendo's series of Punch-Out!! video games. He first appeared in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, and is the starring character of the NES, Super NES, and Wii Punch-Out!! titles. In a commercial for the Wii title, he is portrayed by boxer Paul Malignaggi. He is the smallest and youngest of all the boxers in the games, and his signature attack is the "Star Uppercut". His design was changed for the SNES Super Punch-Out!!, but reverted to his original design in the Wii title. In the NES and Wii games, Little Mac is accompanied by Doc Louis, his trainer. He was originally designed by employees of Nintendo, while the company Next Level Games worked on his Wii incarnation under Nintendo's supervision. Besides his own series, Little Mac has made multiple cameo appearances in and out of video games; video games include Captain Rainbow, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Fight Night Round 2, while he appeared in a variety of comic books, including those created by Valiant Comics.
Since his first appearance, Little Mac has received generally positive reception; he has been regarded as one of the best protagonists in video games by multiple sources, including Nintendo Power, GamesRadar, and GameSpot. On February 13, 2014, he was announced via the official Smash Bros. website to be a playable fighter for the next game in the series.
Little Mac first appeared in the NES video game Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, a sequel to the arcade game Punch-Out!!, as the protagonist. He has appeared as the starring character in every Punch-Out!! game since. His next appearance was in Super Punch-Out!! for the Super NES, which gave him a drastically different design. Most recently in his series, he appeared in the Wii video game Punch-Out!!. While Doc Louis did not appear in the Super NES game, he made an appearance here.
Little Mac has made multiple cameo appearances. His first was in the GameCube version of Fight Night Round 2, where his SNES incarnation is featured as a playable character alongside the ability to play the entire SNES game. He appeared in the Wii video game Captain Rainbow, a game which featured a variety of obscure Nintendo characters. In the game, Little Mac is an "overweight has-been". He was also featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, where he could be summoned using an item called an "Assist Trophy". His green headgear was featured as downloadable content in the Wii game Animal Crossing: City Folk, which players could put on their characters in the game. The game Abobo's Big Adventure, a fan game which features numerous Nintendo characters, featured Little Mac as its final boss. On February 13, 2014, Nintendo announced Little Mac will be a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
Little Mac was featured as the protagonist in the Punch-Out!! stories featured in Valiant Comics' Nintendo Comics System, appearing in the stories "The First Fight", "Outsiders", and "Fox and Hounds." Mac also makes a cameo in the prologue short of the Captain N comic books.
Concept and creation
Little Mac has traditionally been depicted as Caucasian with black hair; he usually wears a black tank top, green shorts, and green boxing gloves. He was originally going to be named Peter Punch, but this was changed by the time of the game's debut. He is 17 years old, 4'8", and hails from Bronx, New York. This makes him the shortest and youngest boxer in all of the Punch-Out!! games he has appeared in. In the NES game, players took control of Mac against the taller opponents, where Mac could only dodge in various directions, block, perform stomach punches, uppercuts, and the "Star Uppercut". Mac can perform the Star Uppercut by collecting stars, which are obtained by attacking opponents in specific ways. Mac has a stamina meter; if it runs out, he turns pink, and must be given time to recover. If he is knocked down, players must mash the A button to make him stand up.
The identity of the player-character in Super Punch-Out!! is the source of contention; Bryce Holliday, one of the main developers of the Wii version of Punch-Out, states that the player character in Super Punch-Out is not Little Mac. However, during the North American and European Virtual Console releases of the SNES title, Nintendo of America and Europe have claimed that Little Mac is in the SNES game. The history section of the official website for the Wii version of Punch-Out!! also states that the character is Little Mac. According to Nintendo of America, the SNES title takes place after the events of the NES and Wii titles of the series; Little Mac looks different because he was given a makeover, and his repertoire has expanded since separating from Doc Louis, including the "Knockout Punch" and the "Rapid Punch". Before the SNES Super Punch-Out!! was finished and released, some screenshots and video footage of the prototype seen in gaming magazines showed him with a different look compared to his final version seen in the finished and released version. and two official television commercials Instead of using stars to do powerful attacks, Little Mac builds up a strength meter by doing well against his opponents. It will lower when he is hit or when the opponent blocks his attack.
He was voiced in Punch-Out!! for Wii by Matt Harty, a sound designer for Next Level Games. Unlike his opponents, his design in Punch-Out!! for Wii has not changed much. They specifically kept him as a silent protagonist due to how similar the Wii game is to the NES game as well as the tradition of silent Nintendo protagonists such as Mario, Link, and Samus Aran. The designers also wanted Mac to be an avatar for the player. They were originally going to allow players to upgrade Little Mac's abilities; however, they felt that it would take away from the challenge of overcoming opponents, as well as diminish peoples' interests in Little Mac. He was portrayed by Paulie Malignaggi in the commercial for Punch-Out!! on Wii. In an interview, he commented that he was asked to play a "young Italian-American guy, good looking with a cocky attitude and a heavy New York accent". The Wii game adds a multi-player mode, where a second player can take control of an alternate Mac. In this mode, either player can transform into Giga Mac, a much larger and more powerful version of Mac.
Since his appearance in the Punch-Out!! series, Little Mac has received generally positive reception and is regarded as major Nintendo character. GameSpot featured him in a user poll as part of the "all time greatest video game hero" contest. Nintendo Power listed Little Mac as their 11th favorite hero, stating that he taught gamers that more intimidating foes can be overcome by patience, persistence, and "pattern recognition". GamesRadar listed him as the 68th greatest video game hero, and called him the "definition of an underdog hero", due to fighting much larger opponents than himself. GamesRadar's Mikel Reparaz listed Mac's Star Uppercut as one of the most satisfying uppercuts in video games. NintendoWorldReport's Neal Ronaghan criticized his appearance in Super Punch-Out!! due to the differences in appearance between the two. Bryce Holliday, producer of the Wii game, commented that the lack of the "connection between him and Doc Louis was the core reason that the NES game was better received than Super Punch-Out!!." UGO Networks called Little Mac "character-less". In their list of the top five racist video games, 1UP.com listed the Punch-Out!! franchise, and referred to Little Mac as the "Great White Hope" relative to the stereotypical character designs of his opponents. The Escapist's Sumantra Lahiri wrote that Little Mac was the only boxer in the game who didn't have a "negative stereotype associated with him". The band "Game Over" created a song called 'Little Mac's Confession', which follows Little Mac's "crushing KO" against Mr. Dream. A casting agency called EDP Casting at one point featured a Craigslist add seeking actors to portray Punch-Out!! characters, including Little Mac. The ad asked for a "Caucasian, 18 - 25yrs old NY native, 5"9 and under with dark hair." They were also looking for a "real fire in his eye", boxing experience, and that they be in "good physical shape". Wired's Earnest Cavalli attempted to contact them for more information, but were told to not run the story, and that casting was complete.
Little Mac is popular among fans and critics as a possible playable character to be featured in the Super Smash Bros. series. Gamasutra's Kyle Orland commented that Mac's absence from the Super Smash Bros. series was "mind-boggling". The qualities listed included his popularity, his fighting ability, and his "retro cred"; Orland felt that it didn't make sense to feature characters such as Ice Climbers and Mr. Game & Watch instead of him. 1UP.com's Kris Pigna wrote that while Little Mac's appearance in Brawl was nice, he would have preferred that he was playable. GamesRadar suggested that a boxing ring stage featured in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which they speculated was a Punch-Out!! stage, may indicate an appearance by Little Mac in the game. Official Nintendo Magazine's John Vekinis similarly hoped that the ring was a hint of Little Mac's appearance as a playable character. IGN's Lucas M. Thomas and Matt Casamassina expressed disappointment that Little Mac was not playable in Brawl, and suggested that perhaps series creator Masahiro Sakurai couldn't think of a good set of moves for Mac. Game Revolution's Ryan Bates featured Little Mac in his list of characters that he wants to see in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. G4TV's Dennis Scimeca called a playable appearance in Super Smash Bros. a "no-brainer". Official Nintendo Magazine's Tom East included Mac in his own list of characters he wanted. He felt that his boxing ability would work well in the series, and that he would play like a "more agile" version of Balrog from Street Fighter.
Little Mac has been featured in a number of merchandise items and collectibles. As part of a "boxing challenge" held by Nintendo at its Nintendo World store in Rockefeller Plaza, Nintendo awarded, in part, a training sweatshirt similar to Little Mac's. Nintendo also released a pair of Little Mac-signed green boxing gloves on Amazon.com, which were contained in a wood frame and casing.
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