This should go without saying, but proceed with caution before clicking if you’re at work or in mixed company.
5. King Hippo’s tighty whities
Your bout with King Hippo begins with him demonstrating an incredible sense of defense, blocking every one of your punches with a speed that shouldn’t be possible for someone of his immense size. Sooner or later, he amps himself up and decides to pull out his big punches, which involve him raising his fist high into the air and letting out a…sound. It is a laugh? A burp? A hiccup? Whatever it is, you need to punch him square in his big open mouth, which then causes him to grab his face in agony, resulting in his trunks falling to the ground and revealing a tiny pair of cotton briefs that are surely hanging on for dear life. As you pummel his massive belly – right in a helpful bandaged X over his navel – a cycle begins of his shorts dropping (revealing said underwear), him quickly pulling them back up again, and them falling again, over and over until he can’t take anymore and he staggers to the ground. King Hippo is only the 5th opponent in Punch-Out, and the ones before him aren’t terribly difficult, so it’s all but a guarantee that any halfway skilled gamer will reach him each and every time they play. This means that King Hippo’s underwear has probably been seen by more gamers than all of the schoolgirl upskirts in all video games put together.
4. Mr Pants and his lack thereof
Legend has it that when Rare needed a mascot for the first version of its website in 1998, everyone was too busy to sit down and design one, so one of the team members quickly sketched a pudgy man in a bowler hat, thick mustache, and red underwear. He was then ironically named Mr. Pants (since he wasn’t wearing any). Mr. Pants became a favorite among the frequent visitors to Rare’s site, and eventually became something of an unofficial mascot for the company. He spent most of the ensuing seven years appearing in many of Rare’s games in some form or another as an easter egg, until finally Rare decided it was time for the crudely-drawn naked man to appear in his own game (albeit one that began life as a Donkey Kong-branded game). It’s Mr Pants, a block-based puzzle game because why not, was released for Game Boy Advance in 2005 and on mobile devices soon after. Even though that was the last time Mr Pants ever appeared in a game in any capacity beyond being tucked away in the tiniest corners of Rare’s other games, many fans still consider him the company’s mascot and have fond memories of the man and his red cotton briefs. The fact that he doesn’t act as a makeshift tour guide as you navigate the menu for Rare Replay is a major boner on Rare’s part. What, you didn’t think there’d be any body part puns in an article about underwear?
3. Metal Slug’s fully-loaded underwear
The Metal Slug games aren’t just about blowing up everything in sight in ridiculously well-drawn and well-animated pixel environments. The levels are also full of POW’s to rescue, who have presumably been captured for so long that they’ve grown long scraggly beards and have only a tattered pair of pants left to their name. Not so fast…there are also surprisingly clean boxers under those pants, which the prisoners pull off in a Flashdance-style remove-the-bra-without-removing-the-shirt kind of way. They then hold up these boxers like a magician about to make a rabbit appear behind them, and sure enough, they do conjure up something from thin air – a power-up! They then salute you and run off. It is definitely one of the stranger – and less-sanitary – methods of earning a power up that has ever been seen in a game. It’s just interesting how willing we are to pick up something that has been stashed away in a filthy man’s unwashed boxers if it means getting a kick-ass gun out of the deal. It’s probably the most G-rated “prize” that anyone has ever gotten from inside a pair of underwear – and, depending on who you ask and how well such things have gone for them, the most rewarding.
2. Erdrick’s boxers
Erdrick is the legendary hero that you are descended from in the original Dragon Quest and appears in several other early games in the series. Most of the time, if an item or piece of armor bears his name, you can rest assured that you have found the best weapon, item, armor, etc in the game. Well, unless you have found Erdrick’s boxers. Dragon Quest has been a more humorous and light-hearted take on fantasy RPGs from the beginning – with its cutesy Slime enemies, cheerfully boisterous soundtrack and intentionally cheesy dialogue – but once you opened a treasure chest and were rewarded with a pair of boxer shorts, you definitely knew that Final Fantasy this was not. Since then, boxer shorts – sometimes named after Erdrick, other times not – have been a staple of the DQ games, generally being a jokey low-level armor item with such meager stats that there’s usually no point even bothering to equip them. Still, I don’t know about you, but I tend to leave them in my inventory for a lot longer than I should, as the smirk I get each time I open the menu and see boxer shorts amongst my swords and potions and actual armor is worth the valuable inventory slot they take up.
1. Sir Arthur’s royal drawers
Before video game characters had health bars, the games where your character wasn’t automatically killed with one shot had to be creative with how they indicated “health.” In Super Mario Bros., of course, Mario would grow and shrink. In Ghost ‘n Goblins, Sir Arthur would shed armor as he was hit: first just his helmet, then everything else. Everything, that is, except for his patterned boxer shorts. It was definitely one of those moments you could only ever have once, the first time you watched his armor fly off to reveal a naked man in his underwear, still throwing spears/axes/etc at all types of ghastly ghouls. This aspect of the game became such a staple of the franchise and the character that it has since been featured in a number of games since: In the pseudo-reboot Maximo series, the titular character not only takes damage in the same way but can purchase various types of boxers that add various stat effects and abilities; In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, every one of Arthur’s costumes gives him different boxers, with strawberries as the default; and you can even see and wear Arthur’s boxers in games that don’t feature him, such as Dead Rising. However, it should be noted that there’s a misconception that Arthur’s boxers are always heart-printed; in actuality, most official Capcom artwork has actually shown his boxers to have strawberries on them rather than hearts. The fact that a pair of boxers can be a source of myth and debate speaks volumes to just how famous they really are.