SGDQ 2019's Blindfolded Punch-Out Wii Run Is One For The Ages

Jason Fanelli,

June 28, 2019 3:12 PM

The major speedrunning event Summer Games Done Quick got a massive shot in the arm with Zallard1's impressive blind Punch-Out Wii run.

Summer Games Done Quick 2019 has been firing on all cylinders this week, raising a ton of money for a worthy cause in Doctors Without Borders while showcasing some of the best speedrunners in all of video games live on Twitch. The week long marathon has seen plenty of notable moments, from the Zelda 1 Randomizer race to the Last Action Hero run that took all of nine minutes, but there’s one session in particular that sent us jumping from our seats: a one-hour playthrough of Punch-Out for Wii, with the player blindfolded. 

Blinded for Charity

When Zach “Zallard1” Allard registered to play Punch-Out Wii at SGDQ 2019, he added on a slight caveat: if viewers donated a certain amount of money in a certain timeframe, he’d run through the game blindfolded. Punch-Out is difficult enough as it is, especially in the Title Defense half of the game, but he was willing to put the blinders on for charity. 

Granted the concept wasn’t completely foreign to him -- he had done similar runs in previous Punch-Out games for other marathons -- but that familiarity doesn’t make the task any easier. Depending on audio clues and knowledge of attack scripts alone takes months if not years of practice, and Zallard1 was about to show the world that practice can indeed make perfect. 

Zack "Zallard1" ALlard puts on the blindfold. (Image Credit: GamesDoneQuick Twitter)

Making It Look Easy

In the beginning of the run Zallard1 was in the zone, breezing through the initial Contender run of 13 fights with ease. Most of those matches were finished via the game’s secret KO sequences. Zallard1 was not only winning but he wasn’t getting touched in the process. This is an impressive feat on its own, but let’s not forget that his man can’t even see what he’s doing. 

The beginning of Title Defense mode started smoothly as well, breezing past names like Glass Joe and Von Kaiser with no problems. King Hippo slowed him down a little bit, but that was more due to the added obstacle during the fight than the fighter himself. Zallard1’s precision got the live crowd energized, the cheers growing louder with every win, until they reached a fever pitch in the most climactic moment of the whole run.

Bald Bull Beckons

For those unaware Title Defense Mode runs Little Mac through the same gauntlet of 13 fighters, only this time there are elements that make the fights a bit tougher. Glass Joe, for example, wears protective headgear for more defense, while Disco Kid adds more dance movement for faster punches. Bald Bull in Title Defense, on the other hand, can only be knocked down using a Star Punch earned throughout the match, regaining health and laughing at the player every time he hits zero on a regular punch. That makes for a tough time.

Zallard1 didn’t seem fazed by this, however, and jumped right into the fight. What followed was a tense back and forth between player and game, with Bull scoring the first knockdown before Zallard1 recovered and knocked Bull down twice. In the final minute of Round 1 Bull dropped Zallard1 again, only for the speedrunner to jump up and get Bull down to zero health...on a regular punch. 

Bull laughed, and his health gained back 25% of the life bar. The crowd hushed, as time in the round was running out and a new round would mean big trouble for the speedrun as a whole. When Bull returned Zallard1 landed a quick combo, and then a gift: Bull posed and laughed while flashing yellow, a sign that a star punch was available. Zallard1 connected and earned the star, and when Bull gnashed his teeth right afterward the crowd rose in elation as they watched Little Mac deliver that one-star punch, Bull fall in a heap, and the letters “TKO” flash onto the screen. Bull was vanquished in Round 1, and the run continued unabated.

Finishing the Run

Only two fights remained after that close call with Bald Bull, but Zallard1 was not intimidated. As if he knew the hardest work was behind him, the speedrunner dropped both Super Macho Man and Mr. Sandman and ended his run in 1 hour 4 minutes. When Zallard1 heard of his finishing time, all he could say was “well, that was a PB” (personal best time). His official time is 1 hour 10 ten minutes, as the game’s Last Stand mode requires three losses before the true end credits actually appear, but the impressiveness of the run is not diminished. Oh, and just for kicks he went and beat the secret opponent Donkey Kong blindfolded too, because why not?

If you haven’t been watching Summer Games Done Quick, this is the kind of insane action you’ve been missing. Zallard1 put on a show for everyone watching, raising nearly $40K for Doctors Without Borders in that single hour of play time. As of this writing the marathon has raised nearly $1.1 million with two full days of speedruns left to go as of this writing, putting the event on pace for a record year. Go watch the stream, donate to a worthy cause, and revel in the joy and good that video games can accomplish. 

For more, check out our look at Twitch’s new subscriber-only livestream option, as well as guides on how to play the new take on League of Legends, Teamfight Tactics.

(Header Image Credit: GamesDoneQuick Twitter)


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