"Make it quick...I want to retire!"
Glass Joe was an iconic character from the classic Nintendo boxing arcade and video games Punch-Out!! (1984), Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (1986), and Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (1990, after Tyson's stunning defeat that year at the hands of Buster Douglas).
In a game laden with national stereotypes (which was the style at the time), Glass Joe was the whimpering, surrenderous, easily defeated Frenchman, and the first fighter that the player's character, Little Mac, had to face at the beginning of each game.
A lanky fellow with blond hair, a sagging face, and extremely pink skin, Glass Joe sported a record of 1-99, and was ridiculously easy to defeat. It was essentially impossible to lose to him if you hit any buttons at all, and it was even possible to knock him out cold with a single well-timed punch, as various YouTube videos demonstrate.
"This is my last match! I'm too old for fighting!"
Every fighter in Punch-Out had a "signature move", and Glass Joe's was his incredibly not-scary "Taunt Punch", in which he would take a few steps back, feebly shake his gloves a bit, flap his lips as if "taunting you" and then rush forward and unleash a right hook (if you didn't just punch him in the face and send him to the canvas mid-charge, that is).
Glass Joe was a crucial confidence builder for first time players, in a game that was otherwise filled with tricky and rather frustrating opponents who would take numerous tries to finally defeat if you ever even figured out their weakness, and allowed even your 4-year-old kid brother a chance to experience the thrill of victory at least once before Von Kaiser sent him to the mat yet again and had him angrily hurling the controller at the screen.
"Do I have time to take a nap before the fight?"
But Joe, thankfully was one big ball of weaknesses. In a game where players could not "save," Joe had to be fought again and again, every time one of those other fighters sent you packing after your one allotted second try, and you had to restart the whole game over again. But Joe was so accommodatingly willing to go down quickly, that you almost started to feel sorry for him, and he almost started to seem kind of like a friend, always loyally waiting there for you to have something to beat out your frustration on when you came home in the afternoon after getting picked on all day at school.
Since 1990, Glass Joe has apparently been in retirement, although he was heard from again briefly in 1996 as the trainer of boxer Gabby Jay in the game Super Punch-Out!! for Super Nintendo, and and allegedly is set to launch a "come-back" bid, at the age of 59, in the upcoming Wii video game Punch-Out!! Wii (expected summer, 2009).
The Tale of the Tape:
Name: "Glass" Joe
Birthplace: Paris, France
Weight: 110 lbs. (50 kg)
Record: 1-99 (1 KO)
Ranking: #4 in the Minor Circuit
Theme Music: "La Marseillaise"
"Watch the jaw!! don't hit my jaw!"