Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

HAWK TALK – Playing With Super Power (feat. Matthew Hunter)

This would usually be a skip week, but the world is still being a jerk, so we made you a bonus, entirely unedited, and almost entirely off-topic episode. This time, our producer Matthew Hunter subbed in for Jay and he and Miles talked about the video games they grew up on!

Topics, roughly:

  • Crystalis
  • Power Blade
  • Fighting robots (in general)
  • Super Mario World
  • F-Zero
  • Final Fantasy II (which is to say IV)
  • Street Fighter II
  • Rockin’ Kats
  • Shatter Hand
  • Battletoads
  • Lemmings
  • The Incredible Machine
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Turtles in Time
  • Mario Paint
  • Doom
  • Secret of Mana
  • Mega Man X
  • Disney adaptations
  • Final Fantasy III (which is to say VI)
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Super Punch Out
  • Illusion of Gaia
  • BioForge
  • DWANGO (Dial-up Wide-Area Network Game Operation)
  • Full Throttle, Quest For Glory, Gabriel Knight…
  • Wild ARMs
  • Wipeout
  • Stun Runner
  • Resident Evil
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Fallout
  • Parasite Eve
  • Xenogears
  • Baldur’s Gate
  • Tetris DX
  • Pokémon (Blue)
  • Silent Hill

You can find Matt on Twitter and his music on Bandcamp!


  1. The water level in TMNT and Turbo Tunnel in Battletoads might be crazy difficulty spikes, but if you’re expecting those games to get easier afterwards I have some disappointing news for you.

  2. Not gonna recommend that anyone who isn’t already giving money to Amazon start to do so, but if you’re on Amazon Prime you can get Crystalis, as well as a huge stack of other SNK games, for free on Twitch. The same package is pretty cheap on Steam, PS4 and Switch if you’d rather not beholden to Bezos (for which I do not blame you).

  3. So I’ll probably be doing a bunch of running comments on this one.

    I’ve been doing some ongoing blog posts and videos on my own time about old NES and other retro games.

    Funny thing about Power Blade – the game’s protagonist was originally more of an anime ninja-inspired looking somewhat bishonen protagonist in the Japanese release of the game, but it was changed to a hyper-masculine character for the US release because he looked too feminine and foreign.

    That happened… far too often with NES games. Things didn’t *really* shift until midway through the SNES era, when Anime started to build something of a wider following in the US, and US publishers would realize that people would consider buying a game even if it wasn’t Anglo.

    A lot of that Mad Libs stuff came out of that localization – it’s not that some of that wasn’t in the original games, it certainly was, but there was certainly a sense with some of those games that “American people won’t buy this if they know that this game is Japanese, so we have to change everything foreign about it.”

    Stuff sometimes slipped through (Golgo 13, Ninja Gaiden, Crystalis), but more often you got stuff like Saiyuki World 2 (based on Journey to the West) getting changed to the game “Whomp ‘Em” with a Native American theme (yikes), or turning the first Ranma 1/2 game into “Street Combat”

    1. You remind me as well of the US box art for Mega Man, where instead of the anime designs we now know and love, we got… whatever that was. Capcom, I assure you that non-Western associations would’ve gone over far better than that strangely squatting and bizarrely dressed little man holding a handgun.

      I’d never heard of Saiyuki World 2 or Whom ‘Em, but I looked them up, and… WOW. Choices were made!

    2. So – continuing with comments – I think the year that Amano went to Dark Horse was also the year where he went to Kumoricon, where he did two Q&A and Live Drawing panels and (unlike some manga artists at other anime conventions) he let people film him paint on his two sessions – one was a big painting of Vampire Hunter D, and the other of an… original character who bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain character from a franchise that Dark Horse used to have the comic rights to, who Marvel currently has the comic rights to, because Disney owns the property and has put out 3 films, 2 side story films, and one live action TV series on Disney+ based on.

      I filmed the second session, as I couldn’t get close enough seats for the first session. Also, I got one of my artbooks signed. I also got the members of Studio Trigger who worked on the show to sign my boxed set of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – I also picked a Yoh Yoshinori sketchbook from the Portland Kinokunya in the hopes that he’ll come to Portland some time and can sign it.

      Also, several of the games mentioned on this show have gotten played on GameCenter CX – a Japanese TV show where a comedian, Shinya Arino, plays old video games – I remember that he was able to beat some of the games that were brought up here – Ninja Gaiden, Battletoads, Mega Man X, Donkey Kong Country. Some of the show was licensed for a US release under the title of Retro Game Challenge, and I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out. (There’s much more to the show than that, but um, you’ll need a taste for grog to get it those episodes in English).

      Related to my blog – I was researching DWANGO for my recaps of old issues of NextGen magazine, and DWANGO’s Japanese branch still exists – they run Nico Nico and Nico Nico Douga, the Japanese equivalent of YouTube. Sort of like how Yahoo Auctions still exists, but only in Japan.

  4. My best friend in high school rented a SNES for a weekend along with F-Zero. We played it so much that when I went to bed it was all I could see when I closed my eyes.

    I’ve been able to get to the final boss in Ninja Gaiden several times but I can never beat him. Also, don’t get me started on those stupid birds…

    1. Those birds can go to hell. Them and the Medusa heads in Castlevania. Of all the places they could fly around, they choose to do so next to bottomless pits? Jerks!

  5. Also, on a second listening, I can’t believe you brought up Wipeout without mentioning that an enhanced version of the game appeared in the film “Hackers”.

  6. Had so much crossover with you two! Split my listen between 3 nights over two weeks, so I might have missed any mention of CHRONO TRIGGER? What a formative game, incredible music, strong characters, multiple endings, emotional and immersive stories… wow! I also followed a similar trajectory as Matthew, going from youthful nerd stuff to teenage punk/noise bands…so curious as to what bands Matthew was/is involved in!

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