AUSTIN, Texas--Mike Tyson has been a lot of things--heavyweight boxing champion, "The Hangover" character, reality show star, controversial ex-con, possessor of one of the world's most recognizable tattoos, and now the start of an iPhone game called "Mike Tyson's Main Event."
At the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) this week, game developer RockLive set up a massive boxing ring at the Austin Convention Center for a meet-and-greet with the notoriously eccentric Tyson, and CNET managed to pull him aside (along with RockLive co-founders and brothers John and Sam Shahidi) for a few minutes to learn about the new game and why he thinks it's perfect for when you need to blow off some steam because a stripper stole all your money. (Really.)
On the other celebrities that'll be showing up in "Mike Tyson's Main Event," popping up in the iPhone game's regular updates, and why we might be seeing an angrier side of John Lennon: "I'm the top guy, so you'll be fighting all these celebrities to get to me, and there's going to be an array of celebrities, you know, as a matter of fact it'll be really eclectic. You may have a weird guy like Osama bin Laden there. You may have one of the Beatles there. It's just different people, you know. John Lennon had a lot of problems with the American people back then, the tax people, the IRS was at his back, the government was at his back. Maybe he'll go in there and slug some people. Anything's possible, but it's just an awesome game and you have to think about the genius of the Shahidi brothers here. I never even considered that it'd be at a level, you know, so much of a fever pitch. It's amazing. I'm so happy to be a part of it and really humbled at the fact that these guys invited me."
On whether this summer's sequel to "The Hangover" will be incorporated in one way or another: "Well, listen, he was talking about this"--he gestures to John Shahidi--"explain what you were saying, if you're able to say it..."
John Shahidi, laughing: "I'm not..."
Tyson: "Well, we won't say it. Not yet!"
Shahidi: "We're working on something really cool."
On his Twitter account, which has more than 350,000 followers and whether it's really him tweeting: "Well, I got tweeting capabilities, of course. It may take a while to spell some of the words, but you may get a tweet from me, there's no doubt about that...I'm there all the time.
On why he's pumped to be making a mobile game as opposed to a traditional video game: "Listen, you know why? What's the closest thing to your heart, almost more important than your money--you need it to get to your money, more or less, especially if you're stranded? 'Hey, Bob, send me some money, I need some money, I got drunk and robbed by a stripper, so send me some money!' That's what you need your phone for. And while you're doing that, you can be p'd off and say, 'Well, I'm going to be p***ed anyway, so this is what I'm going to do since this stripper took my money, I'm going to knock out some people on this Mike Tyson Main Event thing!'"
(Mobile platforms are indeed intimate.)