The Game: The sweet science of bruising is brought down to the pixellated level, as one or two players take control of a boxer seen from a view directly above the ring. The object is simple: knock your opponent out without letting him do the same to you. (Activision, 1980)
Memories: One of a handful of Activision‘s first releases, Boxing was one of those early sports video games that raised the bar on that entire genre by looking reasonably like the sport it was portraying, rather than something which could be described as an abstract representation at best. It also had the knack of being very easy to pick up and learn – there are no complicated combo moves here.
Boxing may well have the distinction of being the first mano a mano fighting game available on a home console; it’s not terribly dissimilar from the first arcade game to claim that coup, Warrior, which also used an overhead perspective. (Boxing doesn’t have swords and bottomless pits, though, which makes it much easier to enjoy right out of the box!)
Some early sports titles on the 2600 – Football, Home Run – were quickly outclassed by games depicting the same sports on the Intellivision. Others, like Atari‘s Basketball, were more than fun enough on their own that the upstart Intellivision games really represented a primarily graphical improvement. Boxing belongs to the latter category; once Intellivision showed the boxing ring in 3-D, there was no going back, but even today this simple game is good fun.