The Angry Video Game Nerd

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The Angry Video Game Nerd
Avgn logo.png
He's gonna take you back to the past
To play the s****y games that suck a**!
He's the angriest gamer you've ever heard
He's the Angry Nintendo Nerd...
He's the Angry Atari-Sega Nerd...
He's the Angry Video Game Nerd!
Genre: Review
Comedy
Running Time: Varies
Country: United States
Release Date: May 25, 2004 - present
Network(s): Cinemassacre.com (2004–present)
YouTube (2006–present)
ScrewAttack (2007–13)
GameTrailers (2007–13)
Amazon Video (2018–present)
Created by: James Rolfe
Distributed by: ScrewAttack Entertainment (2007–13)
Screenwave Media (2015–present)
Starring: James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Kyle Justin
Seasons: 17
Episodes: 209


The Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN for short and originally called Bad NES Games and The Angry Nintendo Nerd) is a comedy/review web series created and starring independent filmmaker James Rolfe, owner of Cinemassacre.

While he was originally the Angry Nintendo Nerd, he changed it to Angry Video Game Nerd to focus on other consoles (and of course merchandise).

As of June 30, 2023: The series has produced 209 episodes.

Plot

The series is about a foul-mouthed, ill-tempered gamer who often forces himself to play terrible old games (like for example Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or any of the LJN-published games) from older consoles such as the NES or Atari 2600. He becomes more and more enraged the longer he plays these games and sometimes destroys them out of anger.

Why It Takes You Back to the Past

  1. His series is heavily responsible for popularizing internet reviews, which has inspired other internet reviewers from around the world such as the Nostalgia Critic, Angry Joe, Joueur du Grenier (English: "Attic Gamer"), ColoniaContraAtaca (Portuguese for "Colony Strikes Back"), Irate Gamer, just to name a few.
  2. Not to mention that AVGN's style of skits inspired more internet reviewers as an influence like Caddicarus, Dex The Swede, and JonTron as an example to list a few.
  3. He turns swearing into an art form.
  4. Not to mention that his energized movement & gestures are entertaining (Whether they were edited or not).
  5. While his series is heavily focused on humor and unusual events happening to the Nerd, he does give legit reasons why a game sucks.
  6. Speaking of humor, it ranges from wild, goofy, hilarious, consistent, and awesome from the classic age to the more modern age mixing those comedic skits from the original seasons into new, creative ways for newer episodes. Sometimes done in a style of a story (e.g. the Pepsiman review or the Berenstain Bears review as examples) or for dark comedy or just comedy itself.
  7. With that said, some episodes follow a plot (comedically or not), like R.O.B. The Robot plotting to replace all video games with Stack-Up and Gyromite.
  8. The Nerd's battles with memorable antagonists like Jason Voorhees (from Friday the 13th), Freddy Krueger (from A Nightmare on Elm Street), The Joker (from DC Comics), Bugs Bunny (from Looney Tunes), and R.O.B. The Robot.
  9. Popularized videogame collecting.
  10. Showed people that the Virtual Boy had some decent games despite being a bad console.
  11. In addition to just playing video games, he's also reviewed consoles like the Philips CD-i, accessories like the Power Glove, and even some video game history like the SwordQuest contest.
  12. Despite the low budget, The special effects in earlier episodes are so cheesy, but they're awesome. Newer episodes have significantly improved production values (sometimes AVGN lampshades this as well).
  13. Had a famous crossover feud with the Nostalgia Critic in 2008.
    • James Rolfe and Doug Walker confirmed that they never antagonized each other and the feud only applied to the characters they portray. AVGN and NC did reviews together for the 2014 Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, the 2016 sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows along with Andre The Black Nerd, and the 2017 reboot of The Mummy.
  14. Has even defended some games like Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and only focused on why they were difficult rather than bad, unlike typical critics who hate everything without any reason.
  15. He's not paid to give good reviews on bad games, unlike certain mainstream reviewers. Which just shows how genuine AVGN's content is.
  16. Every year, he has an annual Halloween special related to crappy horror-related games, and (except 2012) a Christmas special focusing on religious or holiday-themed games.
  17. The Nerd's iconic catchphrase, "What were they thinking?".
  18. The theme song for the show is vulgar but well made and sometimes awesome such as the heavy metal covers of it and how catchy it is.
  19. He recently brings guest stars or other video game reviewers that are related to the games that he reviews, which can be also enjoyable to watch; for example, he brought Mike Butters (who plays the TV Game Guy in Pepsiman), Macaulay Culkin for the Home Alone games, in the Life of Black Tiger review, he brought Gilbert Gottfried (if not as good as other crossovers) to play the Nerd's previously unseen nemesis Fred Fucks, and in the Aladdin Deck Enhancer review, he brought lots of video game reviewers to appear with a comedic & hilarious pace to each appearance (e.g Rerez or Gaming Historian for example).
  20. Speaking of crossovers, he also brings crossovers along with music composers like the "Crash" vocals by Elsie Lovelock and the Parody instrumentals and mixing by Epic Game Music from the Incredible Crash Dummies review and one example related to AVGN's theme was in the Dirty Harry (NES) review was both collaborations that had the editor of the scenes and the composing from Uncle Fassbender, an example of how an AVGN fan along with other fans got to collaborate with AVGN like in more prime examples like the Wizard Of Oz (Super Nintendo) review and the Deadly Towers (NES) review.
  21. Even for AVGN still having the consistent crude humor, it can avert the literal metaphors for how shitty some games are (e.g AVGN reading the metaphor of what shit should be looked upon as in the Super Hydlide & Virtual Hydlide (SEGA Genesis) review); Which can also be a prime reason for the aforementioned WIR#3 about his swearing to an art form.
  22. Even after the classic age of AVGN, new AVGN episodes still contain the consistent AVGN tone with adding unique plot twists or intelligent writing to its style of destroying or removing some games from existence so that there isn't much repetition to the series overall.
  23. Speaking of AVGN skits, their new skits get even more imaginative and consistently more comedic than the next.
  24. He made a small but cool crossover with Scott The Woz.
  25. He accepts criticism unlike most YouTubers nowadays, as every once in a while he either fixes the problems with him or he points out why he did what he did (see BQ#1).
  26. James Rolfe avoided almost every drama, with the only drama he's involved in being his refusal to review Ghostbusters (2016).
    • Said drama even calmed down quickly due to the movie's bad reception, proving that he was right.
    • He even find a way to resolve the drama from the 2021 controversy for his Monster Madness 28 Days Later reviewing video in which he discovered that one of the writers plagiarized the script with the article reviewing the aforementioned film from one of the movie blog sites.
  27. "You're a poopy head!"

Bad Qualities

  1. The Nerd can make some inaccuracies, such as often complaining about LJN being terrible game developers, which is technically incorrect because LJN only published games (he mentions getting corrected in Episode 121 that they were publishers). This has led to a general misconception that LJN were actual developers due to the show's popularity.
    • James Rolfe has also stated that referring to LJN as "developers" is supposed to be a running gag of the Nerd character.
    • In fact, LJN assists developers in the games' creation many times (examples being Software Creations, Rare, and Beam Software).
    • In the end of the 200th episode, The Nerd finally realized that LJN never used to design bad games before these games aren't made to be bad, and made amends with his collection of games he reviewed.
  2. Some episodes have the Nerd yell and scream highly bloody murder, which can be cringe-worthy, disturbing, and hard for viewers to listen to, although some are funny due to being parodies; not helping is that modern episodes are usually written by an outside team rather than Rolfe himself. Some episodes have toned down the loud yelling and instead, focus more on the Nerd getting angry at the strange things happening around him.
  3. Not all episodes give a good reason why the games are bad, such as Paperboy, with most of the criticism being about the logic of the game (although it is a funny episode however).
  4. Some vulgar humor (including potty jokes) can still appear (even for the original vulgar tone to AVGN and even with occasional aversions to it), and it can also still be there quite literally, which are quite related to gross-out comedy as well. Not to mention some minor adult puns or crude dialogue can be quite unfunny at times.
  5. The movie for the series, wasn't as good as the web series. Due to the bad acting, low budget values, etc. (Though knowing the series' nature, it could be intentional and as a result, it's somewhat faithful to it, just like Uwe Boll's Postal film.)
  6. Some episodes of AVGN are not good, such as Sega Game Gear VHS, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006) (Xbox 360) Parts 1 + 2, Life of Black Tiger (PS4), Toxic Crusaders (NES), and Shrek: FairyTale Freakdown (GameBoy Color).
    • Also in the Shrek episode, the Nerd gets killed just for having a different opinion from Shrek. Not only that, the scene is an unfunny parody of The Wicker Man's ending.
  7. ScreenWave Media’s influence has damaged the reputation by a little bit, such as having different writers write episodes due to James Rolfe's family life, resulting in the humor being a downgrade and the acting being wooden.
    • There have been many ads in most episodes nowadays, with the most common being ExpressVPN, this led to fans making memes about it.

Reception

The Angry Video Game Nerd has such a large following that most of the games in James Rolfe's home were donated to him by his fans. His full-length film, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie was entirely fan-funded.

The Angry Video Game Nerd currently has an 8.5 out of 10 on IMDb.

The series created three spin-offs: Board James (2009-2015), You Know What's Bullsh*t? (2007-present) and James and Mike Mondays (2013-2020).

Trivia

  • James is a big fan of hard rock and heavy metal music and his favorite band is Black Sabbath. His other favorite bands are Iron Maiden and Pantera.
  • In an episode of Game Theory, it is suggested that the Nerd suffers from Paranoid schizophrenia (which is why he presumably hallucinates of encountering The Joker, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees) as well as Crohn's disease (which is where his very bad bowel movement consistency comes from). However, none of this is confirmed.
  • James Rolfe has reviewed two movies as The Angry Movie Nerd, the movies being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and Ricky I.
  • James' favorite film of all time is the 1963 epic comedy film It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World while his other favorite films are King Kong (1933), The Wizard of Oz, Back to the Future, Rocky, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Godzilla (1954), Universal monster movies like Frankenstein (1931) and Dracula (1931), Halloween (1978), etc.
    • In his "Top 10 Popular Films I Don't Love" video, James mentions that he is of Italian descent.
    • He is a huge fan of the Godzilla franchise and made his second Monster Madness season in 2008 solely focusing on the franchise. He reviewed every single Godzilla movie from 1954 to 2004 (including the 1998 American remake).
  • The series has been unofficially translated into many languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, and Italian versions with subtitles and or/dubbed versions.
  • There's been some misconceptions among fans regarding the Nerd character. "The Nerd" is strictly a fictional character portrayed by the actor James Rolfe, as such all of his angry yelling and tendency to use terms like "sh*tty" are purely a characterization given to "The Nerd", not James Rolfe's real personality.
    • The same often occurs with the Nostalgia Critic, who also is only a fictional character portrayed by Doug Walker who has a similar style of angry humor.
  • James has appeared at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo every year since 2016.
  • Before creating The Angry Video Game Nerd, James worked as an independent filmmaker, creating several short films and features. He also worked as a production assistant on the film "Clerks."
  • In addition to the Angry Video Game Nerd, James has created some other characters over the years, including Board James, a character who reviews board games, and the Cinemassacre Monster Madness character, who reviews horror films.

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