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Video Game / Election Year Knockout

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Punch-Out!!, but for politics.
Election Year Knockout is a game that takes heavy inspiration from the cult classic game series Punch-Out!!. The game was developed and published by ExceptioNULL Games and released on July 2nd, 2020. The game is mechanically very similar to the Punch-Out!! series, however, instead of competing against various boxers in a professional competition to become champion, you are instead facing various political caricatures to become the president of the United States.

The game is set in a universe where it is declared that instead of the president's being decided through elections, it is decided by who is the best boxer. You play as a Generic Guy who you can customize to your liking, and who is guided by a ghost named The Maverick in your quest to become the president of the United States.

After you beat all the main opponents and become the president of the United States, you unlock three bonus characters to fight, as well as EX versions of each challenger who seeks to take the presidency from you. Each opponent gets progressively harder, and each EX character ramps up the difficulty from their first fight.

The game can be found here on Steam.

This game contains examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: This game is one for the Punch-Out!! franchise. The game takes the basic idea of the series and makes it so you are facing against thinly disguised political parodies to become the president of the United States.
  • Alternate History: A pretty humorous example of one. This game is set in a world where it has been determined that instead of the president of the United States being decided through elections, it is decided through who is the best boxer.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Even by the standards set by Punch-Out!!, the opponents in this game have basically no respect for the real-world rules of boxing. This includes, but is not limited to, multiple illegal moves; forbidden accessories like A-Oh!'s lipstick and Chief Warrin's earings; characters using weapons in the ring like Cap'n Crenshaw's cannon and sword, Chief Warrin's bow and arrow, and Kim Jong BOOM's rockets; and two separate characters using literal magic in Ted Bruz and Mike Pious. In comparison to Punch-Out!!, since nearly every character here is based on someone that is over 40, that means almost everyone would be too old to compete in an actual boxing match.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Takes place in a world where the US presidency is determined by boxing.
  • Attack Animal: Birdie Sanders's main gimmick is sending birds (which somehow are able to fly while wearing boxing gloves) to attack you.
  • Badass Preacher: Mike Pious has a very heavy religious theme to him, which is based on his real-world inspiration's deep religious beliefs. It apparently works for Mike Pious, though, as it gives him the ability to use magical attacks and allows him to become the second-to-last opponent.
  • Creepy Uncle: While he is never shown doing anything outright to young girls, Uncle Joe is very much intended to give off this vibe from his massively creepy behaviour, where a lot of his attacks involve him getting very up close and personal, and he makes a lot of very creepy comments towards you about how you smell good. It isn't known who he is an uncle too, but his name does have "uncle" in it.
  • Dance Battler: A-Oh certainly likes to dance, in and out of the ring.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Cap'n Crenshaw wears one as part of his pirate getup, and because his real-life inspiration wears one as well (due to losing an eye to an IED during his service as a Navy SEAL).
  • Final Boss: Donald Thump serves as this in the traditional mode, as he is the last opponent you face to become president of the United States. There are three Optional Bosses, however.
  • Fragile Speedster: Chief Warrin' hits fast and hits often, so you'll have to focus on your reflexes to beat her down. In exchange, she can't take too many hits. Manage to stun her, and it pretty much guarantees a knockdown.
  • The Generic Guy: Your player character doesn't have much personality other than being some guy or girl that wants to become the president. They aren't even given a name.
  • Loophole Abuse: When this version of the US embraced boxing as a means of determining the country's leadership, they failed to specify that only US citizens were eligible. Justin Turbeau, Kim Jong Boom, and Vladimir Bootin take full advantage of this.
  • Mighty Glacier: Donald Thump has the best defense in the game, bar none. Even if you manage to hit him once, he'll put his guard up, forcing you to punch him in a specific way to persistently break through it... and if you do, you need to hit him at exactly the right moment if you want to deal any significant damage. This is hugely draining on your stamina, so it's easy to get winded if you're not being careful. Coupled with his absurd health pool, it's going to take a while before he hits the mat. It doesn't help that he's slinging some of the strongest attacks in the game at you in the meantime. Fortunately, you only need to knock him down once to win the match.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Each opponent in the game is a very obvious parody of a Real Life political figure, which becomes apparent from simply their name. Jab Bush is a parody of Jeb Bush; Uncle Joe is a parody of Joe Biden; A-Oh! is a parody of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, better known as AOC; Ted Bruz is a parody of Ted Cruz; Cap'n Crenshaw is a parody of Dan Crenshaw; Birdie Sanders is a parody of Bernie Sanders; Chief Warrin' is a parody of Elizabeth Warren; Mike Pious is a parody of Mike Pence; Donald Thump is a parody of Donald Trump; Justin Turbeau is a parody of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau; Kim Jong BOOM is a parody of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un; and Vladimir Bootin is a parody of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
  • Optional Boss: The game has three that, instead of being political figures from the United States, are ones from other countries. These are Canadian Justin Turbeau, North Korean Kim Jong BOOM, and Russian Vladimir Bootin.
  • Orphaned Punchline: The news report cutscenes open with the female anchor ending a report on some Noodle Incident, with only the last line of her report given without context.
  • Overly Long Name: Your political party gains a new part to its name every time you win a fight in the initial campaign, resulting in it eventually having around nine parts by the time you challenge Thump for the presidency. The news anchor that reports on your fights will comment on this, saying that it really needs an abbreviation.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Cap'n Crenshaw dresses, talks, and fights like a pirate, including his own ship, cannon, and cutlass.
  • Reference Overdosed:
    • If you know the Real Life versions of each character, you will notice just how many references there are to various aspects of them. Just one example is how Ted Bruz uses attacks from the Zodiac signs, which is a reference to the internet conspiracy/meme that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer.
    • Not only that, but there are so many references to punch-out scattered across each fighter's move sets. Jab Bush is the Glass Joe expy, Ted Bruz takes after Great Tiger with his duplicate move, Birdie Sanders has Bear Hugger's animal sidekicks, A-Oh! has the same rhythm of Disco Kid, and Donald Thump is basically a beefed up King Hippo.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Well, Boxing Wizard, but Mike Pious certainly counts with his levitation and magic spells.
  • Repetitive Name: One of the options for words added to your party's name is "Party". Meaning that after the first fight, you can represent the "Party Party", which then becomes the "Party Party Party" and so on and so forth.
  • Speaking Simlish: All dialogue (except for the fight announcer) is done this way instead of having actual intelligible voice lines, while the actual dialogue is subtitled on-screen.
  • Superboss: Vladimir Bootin. He relentlessly uses your own momentum against you by countering blocked punches and stringing attacks together quick enough that dodging him usually results in you getting smacked anyways. That's not all, though. Even when you get used to his regular patterns, he finishes the fight with a whole new Russian dance attack. And if that wasn't scary enough, his EX fight pits you against an enormous bear. As a warmup. His only weakness is that his sheer quantity of attacks means you can build up haymaker energy quickly... if you've mastered the art of perfect blocking.
  • Trumplica: Since he was President at the the time, it's no surprise that a parody of Donald Trump serves as your final opponent.