In context: Most people who played video games in the 1980s and 90s probably remember cheat codes with an element of fondness. There were even entire publications devoted to the subject, and finding one on your own was pretty exciting. Nowadays, cheating in video games mostly happens in multiplayer titles and is generally frowned upon since cheaters ruin other people’s experiences rather than keeping their spoiling to themselves.
Today, the excitement of finding hidden secrets in games is still alive as new Easter eggs and cheats occasionally pop up in decades-old games. Recently Unlisted Cheats uncovered a couple of “new cheats” in 1994’s Super Punch-Out — Nintendo’s followup to Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out from 1987.
Now to be clear, these are not necessarily “cheats” in that they give you an unfair advantage in the game. Instead, they are the more generic meaning of the term — as in, something that happens after a specific button sequence. Like previously known cheats in Super Punch-Out, these new ones use the two-controller combo. So plug in a second gamepad to do these.
The first allows players to have a single bout with any fighter in the game, including those from Super Circuit matches. While on the start screen, hold Y + R on the P2 controller and then press Start or A on the P1 gamepad. This sequence brings up a fighter selection screen with all the characters. Pick one, and you will fight a single match against that character.
Considering how fleshed out this character select mode is, it’s somewhat surprising that it just wasn’t integrated into the game as a regular reward for completion. It certainly wouldn’t have taken that much code to add it to the main game menu.
The second code is a bit more interesting. It seems that Nintendo included a two-player mode buried in the game. You can access it by doing the first cheat. After selecting an opponent you will see his stats. On that screen, hold B and Y on P2 and press Start or A on P1.
This trick allows player one to fight as Little Mac against the selected character, except a second person can use the P2 gamepad to control the fighter. Whatsmore, player two can perform the fighter’s signature moves. For example, IGN Senior Editor Kat Bailey notes that if player two holds Down and B while playing as Bald Bull, it executes his charge move.
You don’t even have to own the old hardware to use this trick. If you own a Nintendo Switch and have a subscription to the online service, you have access to the retro NES/SNES game catalog. According to Good Vibes Gaming, the cheat works on that version of Super Punch-Out (masthead video).
It’s somewhat surprising that such a simple combination of buttons has remained hidden for 28 years. However, there could be even more. Now and then, someone finds long-hidden elements in decades-old games like Doom II, Super Mario World, and more. Even the original Punch-Out still has some undiscovered secrets.
In 2016, Nintendo game designer Makoto Wada revealed a 22-year-old cheat in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out involving timing your strike with a flashbulb in the crowd to knock out Bald Bull. At the time, Wada said many other hidden tricks and Easter eggs remain uncovered in the title, but didn’t elaborate.