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Von Kaiser

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Von Kaiser

Von Kaiser, as seen in the Wii video game Punch-Out!! (2009).
Series Punch-Out!!
First game Punch-Out!! (NES)
Designed by Makoto Wada (Punch-Out!!, 1987)
Eddie Visser (Punch-Out!!, 2009)
Voiced by Horst Laxton

Von Kaiser (フォン・カイザー?) is a fictional character from the Nintendo-produced Punch-Out!! series of video games. He is a German boxer, hailing from Berlin, Germany. He first appeared in Punch-Out!! for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and again in the Wii video game of the same name 22 years later. He was originally designed by Makoto Wada, and then by Eddie Viser in the Wii game. He was voiced by Horst Laxton in the Wii version. He has brown hair and a mustache, and has military style brown pants. He has a militant personality, and in the Wii game, is depicted as weak and cowardly, saying "mommy" during the fight at several intervals. In the second encounter with Von Kaiser, he shaves his head and becomes tougher, however.

Since appearing in the NES Punch-Out!!, Von Kaiser has received mostly positive reception. He was featured as part of a Punch-Out!!-themed series of Topps trading cards, and described as a major character of the Punch-Out!! series by outlets such as The New York Daily News and Hardcore Gamer Magazine. He has been described as an easy opponent, with Operation Sports noting that he was not as easy as Glass Joe. However, GameSpy stated that his second appearance was much more difficult. He has been described as a stereotype of German people, with GamesRadar editor Brett Elston stating that Nintendo made him as close to being a "goofy Nazi" without calling him a Nazi. 1UP.com jokingly suggested that Glass Joe's original name was "Greasy Pork Sandwich Served in a Dirty Ashtray." Editor Sumantra Lahiri stated that Von Kaiser represents the stereotype that Germans are "ultra-militaristic."

Concept and appearances

Von Kaiser is a German boxer, hailing from Berlin, Germany. He first appeared in Punch-Out!! for the NES, and again in the Wii video game of the same name. He was originally designed by Makoto Wada in the NES version, and by Eddie Viser in the Wii version. He is voiced by Horst Laxton in the Wii version. While he speaks in English in the NES game, he speaks in unsubtitled German in the Wii version. He has brown hair and a mustache, and wears brown military-style pants. He has a militant personality, as demonstrated by one of his mid-bout lines: "Surrender! Or I will conquer you!" He is depicted and cowardly, though he toughens up in the second encounter with him. Von Kaiser's theme is based on "Ride of the Valkyries".[1]

Reception

Since he appeared in Punch-Out!! for the NES, Von Kaiser has received mostly positive reception. He has been featured as part of a series of Topps trading cards based on the Punch-Out!! series.[2] The New York Daily News described him as a familiar face of the series.[3] Similarly, Kotaku editor Michael McWhertor called him a veteran of the series.[4] Hardcore Gamer commented that anyone who has played the NES Punch-Out!! would recognize him.[5] The Escapist editor John Funk commented that to him, Von Kaiser looked like a "British gentleman" rather than a "German aristrocrat."[6] Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh described Von Kaiser as an "uptight Kraut."[7] Humour web site The Onion wrote an article about a series of interviews with Mike Tyson and other characters, including Von Kaiser.[8] In a humour article, ESPN created several parodies of Punch-Out!! characters based on real-life "punch-worthy palookas", including one of Von Kaiser called "Von Cuban".[9]

While considered to be more difficult than Glass Joe, Von Kaiser is still considered to be a weak opponent. Operation Sports editor Christian McLeod commented that Von Kaiser was more difficult than Glass Joe due to him "taking the fight" to player-character Little Mac.[10] G4TV editor Sterling McGarvey stated that the season finale of Split Second: Velocity was a "bit sour," adding that it "telegraphs a sequel with all the predictability of a Von Kaiser punch."[11] GameSpy editor Ryan Scott used Von Kaiser as an example of a simple opponent, stating that "you can spot Von Kaiser's weak hooks coming a mile away."[12] GamePro editor Blake Snow commented that Von Kaiser still fought like a "douche" in the Wii Punch-Out!!.[13] However, GamePro staff stated that while Von Kaiser seemed like a pushover in the first battle, his Title Defense incarnation was much more difficult.[14]

Racial stereotyping

Von Kaiser has been noted as a stereotype of German people. Guardian.co.uk described him as a "shamelessly politically incorrect character," citing how he would say to Little Mac "Surrender! Or I will conquer you!"[15] Editor Sumantra Lahiri described Punch-Out!! as giving players "encyclopedic knowledge of ignorant American sentiments," stating that Von Kaiser represents the stereotype that Germans are "ultra-militaristic."[16] In discussing the stereotype of Punch-Out!!, GamesRadar editor Brett Elston commented that Von Kaiser embodies several German stereotypes, such as them being "militaristic, goose-stepping nationals obsessed with victory to a fault." He added that his name was stereotypical as well, commenting that he "might as well be Wolfgang von Sauerkraut." He stated that Kaiser was just one step above Glass Joe in the "Punch-Out!! hall of infamy." He adds that Nintendo was "trying to imply he’s a goofy Nazi without actually saying he’s a Nazi."[1] 1UP.com, in discussing how Soda Popinski, jokingly stated that Von Kaiser used to be known as "Greasy Pork Sandwich Served in a Dirty Ashtray." They added that they were "making that last one up, but just barely."[17] In an interview, GamePro Germany brought up the ethnic stereotypes of Punch-Out!!, noting the stereotype of the "ambitious German."[18] They also called him a "mustachioed "Deutschman"," describing him as a disciplined boxer. He added that the only thing missing in his character was a spiked helmet.[19]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Fun with stereotypes: starring Punch-Out!!. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  2. Topps' Nintendo Game Packs - Scratch-offs. Trsrockin.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  3. Nintendo's refurbished 'Punch-Out' is a contender. Nydailynews.com (2009-06-04). Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  4. New Wii Punch-Out!! Details Sneak Out From Nintendo. Kotaku.com (2009-03-20). Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  5. Hardcore Gamer Magazine Online. Hardcoregamer.com (2009-05-18). Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  6. John Funk (2009-03-24). The Escapist : News : Wii Punch-Out!! Opponents Trailer. Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  7. Oli Welsh (2009-03-25). GDC: Punch-Out!! Wii Hands On - Page 2. Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  8. New Mike Tyson Documentary Features Exclusive Interviews With Super Macho Man, King Hippo | The Onion - America's Finest News Source. The Onion. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  9. Patrick Hruby and Kurt Snibbe: Updating "Punch-Out!!" - ESPN. Sports.espn.go.com (2009-05-20). Retrieved on 2010-08-26.
  10. http://www.operationsports.com/strategyguides.php?id=887
  11. McGarvey, Sterling (2010-05-17). Split/Second for Xbox 360 - Reviews. G4tv.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  12. GameSpy: Punch-Out!! Review - Page 2. Wii.gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  13. Snow, Blake (2008-10-02). Punch-Out!! coming to Wii in 2009, News from. GamePro. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  14. by McKinley Noble & GamePro Staff (2008-09-08). The 28 Best Wii Games, page 2, Feature Story from. GamePro. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  15. Joy of Six: Retro Sports Games | Sport | guardian.co.uk. Guardian (2007-11-02). Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  16. Huling, Ray (2009-01-13). The Escapist : Punch-Out!!'s Black Eye. Escapistmagazine.com. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  17. Top 5 Racist Videogames. 1up.com (2007-11-15). Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  18. News: Wii: Interview: Punch Out!! für Nintendo Wii | Sport. GamePRO.de. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  19. News: Retro Hall of Fame: Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! - Retro-Special NES | Artikel-Intro. GamePRO.de (2009-03-25). Retrieved on 2010-08-28.

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