Chopemon Phase Paradox rules! I barely ever know what’s happening in that game due to my extremely tenuous grasp on any Japanese whatsoever, but the connection to Philosoma is fascinating. I picked up a copy a few years ago on John Linneman’s recommendation and while it took some time to track down, it was well worth it, I think the box art alone is ice cold. Love it.
@exodus idk if this is at all helpful but my understanding with the Def Jam games (well, the first two) is that it’s a combination of a few main factors. First and foremost being that Aki Corp was the team making all those N64 wrestling games in the 90s, which have a massive following and huge nostalgia pull amongst a pretty wide age bracket. Then the license was passed on to some other teams and etc. etc. it seems like that crowd views those Aki N64 wrestling games as a golden age of sorts. Aki’s follow up after losing the WWE (WWF? one of those) license was this project with Def Jam records to bring together a bunch of the biggest names in hip-hop at the time and have them Do Wrasslin’ Moves on each other. That license also brought in a massive crowd at the time, and you’re right, those games sold a bazillion copies. And now all those kids are in their 30s and have built something of a new FGC scene around those games, which is wild. But that’s driven demand way, way up. The Xbox ports (which are more desirable from a tech perspective) are still relatively “reasonable” by comparison, but as always, PS2 and GC ports are in the stratosphere. That scene exists somewhat separated from the retro games collecting scene, so it’s not a lot of people looking to import a Japanese PS2. Def Jam records has teased the idea of reviving the franchise in some fashion but it’s an absolute minefield of legal problems. I mean, some of these guys are no longer with us in this mortal coil, and it’s full of brand partnerships and sponsored apparel and stuff. It gets real messy real fast. Also, the Japanese release of Vendetta, the first game, has j-rappers Dabo and S-word as exclusive bonus characters, so theoretically I’d say you came out on top of you picked that one up.
Source: I have never watched wrestling and have zero desire to but I really love hip-hop and played these games at a neighbor kid’s house back in the day.
Anyway, as others have said, these travelogue episodes are big time classic insert credit material. This has been a pleasant and welcome distraction from all the wildfire smoke I’ve been breathing all week, I appreciate it immensely.