X-Men ’97 Is Paying Tribute to Another ’90s Icon This Week

Mike Powers

X-Men ‘97 has so far been a nostalgia feast for fans of the much-loved X-Men: The Animated Series, capturing its 1990s vibes while carrying the stories of its characters into their next chapters (sometimes at dizzying speeds). This week brings episode four, “Motendo / Lifedeath – Part 1,” and Marvel just dropped a clip that teases a different sort of ‘90s throwback.

It sees Jubilee and Roberto blip into a version of Konami’s X-Men arcade game, which was released in 1992. That’s the same year The Animated Series debuted, but the game was based on an entirely different medium: 1989 cartoon pilot X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men. As the title suggests, it centered around Kitty Pryde, and though it was never actually made into a series, the game (and its source material) are remembered fondly by fans—which makes this shout-out over three decades later a lot of fun.

Marvel Animation’s X-Men ‘97 | Official Clip ‘X-Men Arcade’ | Disney+

Adding to the “this show was made by fans, for fans” factor is the fact that Kitty Pryde wasn’t in X-Men: The Animated Series at all; she was famously replaced by Jubilee in that show as a nod to its teen audience. And, neither Sunspot nor Jubilee were in the X-Men arcade game, despite its on-screen name in X-Men ‘97 being X-Men: The Rise of Jubilee. So there are plenty of in-jokes stuffed into this X-Men arcade game/X-Men: The Animated Series/X-Men ‘97 continuum.

So, why are X-Men ‘97‘s characters leaping onto dystopian streets within video games? The episode title offers some hints. “Motendo” heralds the arrival of Mojo, the inter-dimensional villain obsessed with violent, sensational TV shows, and his natural segue to violent, sensational video games (witnessed by extremely hyped-up crowds) is signaled by that portmanteau of Nintendo and Mojo.

As for what the rest of the title, “Lifedeath – Part 1” might refer to, that’s also quite intriguing; check out what io9’s James Whitbrook wrote regarding its comics origins and the role Storm might play in its story. You can watch “Motendo/Lifedeath – Part 1″ when it hits Disney+ tomorrow, April 3.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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