Matt Ezero is a YouTuber who is known for his work under the name Cygnus Destroyer 20XX, the host of Innocent Until Proven Guilty, and most importantly as the LJN Defender. Between his three shows Ezero covers a wide array of games and systems, all while throwing in his own wacky taste in movies, music, and other pop culture, as well as a few oddball characters who pester him along the way. Matt took some time to talk to me about his career, and try to explain why his channel might be right for our fans.
BlankManInc: The big question: LJN has a lot of negativity associated with it—perhaps some of the worst in NES and SNES era—so what made you decide to defend it with such fervor?
Matt Ezero: I guess it’s because I’ve always liked a lot of the games that they released for those consoles when I was a kid. I owned Wolverine and loved it. That game is actually where the LJN Defender theme came from. It’s the title screen track, written by Geoff Follin, and I can never get enough of that song. Anyway, I also rented Terminator 2, Back To The Future Part 2 & 3 (which admittedly isn’t that good. I’ll have a tough time with that one), and SNES games like Maximum Carnage and WWF Royal Rumble. I never thought those games were crap, and after seeing all of the hate that the company was getting online, I decided to stick up for these games that I liked. Thus, the LJN Defender was born.
BMi: What are the best and worst LJN games? Why?
ME: My absolute favorites are definitely Friday the 13th, The Punisher, Maximum Carnage, A Nightmare on Elm Street, WWF Royal Rumble and Wolverine. The worst…hmm…can I just say MLB and NFL since I’m not a sports guy? 😉 In all seriousness, though, of the games that I’ve featured on the series so far, it would definitely be Spider-Man 2 for Game Boy. That game was just too complex for its own good. It got pretty confusing at times. Plus, it only had one music track that just looped throughout my playthrough. I will say that while I like X-Men, I wish it had been a lot different. An X-Men game in the style of Bucky O’Hare or the G.I. Joe games would have been amazing. It’s definitely a disappointment.
BMi: How did you get started doing YouTube videos?
ME: I’ve been watching gaming videos for many years now. It all started with the AVGN back in 2007, but I eventually branched out to watching a lot of the Retroware contributors, ScrewAttack, etc. In late 2012, at the lowest point of my life, I decided that I wanted to try it out for myself. So, I bought a Panasonic HD camcorder, a cheapo tripod from Amazon (which I still use to this day), and an Elgato capture device in late October of that year. I started work on my Bucky O’Hare review soon after, and the rest is history.
BMi: I have heard you say before that the Angry Video Game Nerd was one of your inspirations. What is your favorite AVGN video? Who else inspired you?
ME: Yes indeed. Even though what I do is the complete opposite of James, he’s always been my number one influence. Watching his making of video played a big part in inspiring me to start doing reviews of my own. As for my favorite episode, that’s a really tough question, but if I had to choose just one, it would have to be the first Bible Games review. I recently finished my own Bible games reviews event on Innocent Until Proven Guilty, and I went into my story about this at the end of the Bible Adventures review. Basically, my cousins owned that game when we were kids, and it was my memories of that blue cart that lead me to watching that episode of the AVGN. Doing so rekindled my love for the games of my youth and it ultimately lead to the creation of my own channel. Because of that, the Bible Games episode will always be at the top of my list.
As for my other influences, the two other big ones are Pat The NES Punk and Derek Alexander, who used to be known as the Happy Video Game Nerd, but now goes as Stop Skeletons From Fighting. As for my visual style, the person who’s had the biggest influence on me is BeneVolentDick NES. I learned how to do sprite stuff from him. I saw this composite shot that he did in his Ghoul School review (which is excellent, and anyone who hasn’t watched it should definitely do that) of the characters from Ghoul School in front of the first level stage of Bart Vs. The Space Mutants. It blew my mind at the time. Now, of course, I know it’s very simple to do, but his videos are still top notch and he’s one of my favorite YouTubers.