WAIL!... The CBZ Journal
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November 2002
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Abandonware Boxing Games
By Kristian Nordestgaard

First, let this be known: neither the CBZ nor I will take any responsibility for difficulties experienced with downloaded software. This includes hardware and software problems, viruses and legal issues.

Okay, now that my back is clear, let's move on. I'm not the king of gamers, nor very big on computer history so this brief list is not the final word on oldskool boxing games - it's more of a starting point.

For those of you who wonder what abandonware actually is, let's start with this definition from the FAQ of The Underdogs:
"The term abandonware was coined sometime in 1997 by classic game enthusiasts to refer to any game, regardless of age, that has been discontinued by its publishers. Due to the natural lack of organization in such fringe area of the law, the concept has, over time, been unfortunately misused to refer to any game that is 5 years or older (or 3, in some cases) regardless of whether or not it has in fact been discontinued. We believe that the definition of abandonware as it was first conceived is the only viable definition that draws a clear and only line between abandonware and "warez": abandonware has been discontinued by the developers, while warez have not. While both are illegal, the motives and principles behind each are miles apart."
While the above is more logical, "abandonware" in this context will mean games that are discontinued and at least 5 years old. This is because I have a sense that copyrights get protected less fiercely after a few years.

I encourage anybody with the slightest interest in computer games to go to Home of The Underdogs (referred to as The Underdogs in the following). Actually I encourage everybody who'd like to see a tremendously well-made website to go there. Pound for pound, this one is up there with the best.

Lastly, I'm aware that many of these games are available on other systems and in other versions that the ones I've noted. I've sticked to the most common PC versions as much as possible because I've found that they are by far the easiest to get to work on modern computers. This is not the universal opinion, so I recommend that you experiment a bit and find out where you stand.

And now, finally...

The Games:
4D Sports Boxing (PC) | From The Gaming Depot
Electronic Arts, 1991
Ah! The classic above them all! This is still the best "arcade" boxing game that I've seen, despite the outdated graphics. Low on realism but high on fun, this game is a must-have.

TV Sports Boxing (PC) | From The Underdogs
CinemaWare, 1991
This is a more realistic game. It is also very hard. The entire look of it is very impressive for its age, but that's no surprise with CinemaWare products. Try fiddling around a bit and you can create a boxer that looks exactly like an eighties Roberto Duran!

World Championship Boxing Manager (PC) | From The Underdogs
Goliath Games, 1990
This is a very hard simulation of a boxing manager's job. Even if some of the people in this field have dubious morals, they have a lot to keep their eyes on as this game shows in great (though not gritty) detail. Also, the secretary is pretty hot.

Low Blow (PC) | From The Underdogs
Synergistic Software, 1990
This is not a very sophisticated game, but it's fun. As hinted in the title, there is a lot of foul play going on here. Also, many of the characters are parodies of oldtimers which should provide a laugh for fans of that era. You work your way up the ladder with Howard Headswell (ahem) commentating.

Boxing Legends of the Ring (SNES) | No download
Electro Brain, 1993
Couldnt't find a decent download page for this one. That's a shame 'cus it is one of the most action-packed boxing games I've seen. The game features eight real fighters who fought at middleweight, which is where the game takes place. I've never seen Graziano or Toney in other games, so fans of theirs might get a kick from playing it. Also, since the title is a very clever pun, this could be the icing on the cake of your Ring Magazine collection.

Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (NES) | No download
Nintendo, 1987
As for the missing download, same as above. I've never played this game much, nor am I very good at it. It is, however, very popular so I put it on the list anyways. It is a goofy thing along the lines of Low Blow, except that it's perhaps even goofier.


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