The Angriest of all the Video Game Nerds.

Anyone who plays video games has probably experienced a very specific misfortune.  The misfortune of a well-meaning relative buying them a game without consulting you first.  On the face of it this is a good thing, after all games are expensive and as long as it’s not already in your collection, what’s the harm?  So with your relative watching you sit down and load it up.  Then you start to play it and blood begins to pour from your eyes.  Not real blood of course, metaphorical blood.  But still you turn around and with a great, big, pasted on smile you say “Aww thanks, you really shouldn’t have.”

What’s the harm you asked?  Well I’ll tell you the harm.  The game they so lovingly picked out for you turns out to be a steaming pile of horse manure.

I was one of the lucky ones, suffering this metaphorical ocular bleeding very rarely during my childhood and teens.  But I did suffer it and so it was with absolute joy, that one day  I discovered, the Angry Video Game Nerd.  Real name James Rolfe, he has become for a certain generation of gamers, nothing less than the standard-bearer for our anger at the crap games, sometimes indescribably so, which were inflicted on so many of us as children.

I found the AVGN videos by accident.  I was in London looking after an ill friend.  At the time I had a habit of randomly clicking on videos in YouTube.  So, after an hour of watching such unforgettable things as, people bursting boils and bad music videos from the early 90’s, I stumbled onto a review of Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest on the Nintendo NES

Now I had actually owned that game back in the 90’s and it really is a hateful piece of digital faeces.  It is genuinely my least favourite game of all time, and here was this geeky looking guy, complete with glasses and a pocket full of pens reviewing it.  What’s more, he was being so funny doing it, that I actually started to cry from laughter.  I was instantly hooked.  Over the next month, as I helped my friend to recover, I would watch two or three episodes each day.  Then when I ran out of new episodes I actually found myself watching them all over again. They’re that good.

So almost two years later I sit here, still hooked.  The reasons why are simple to explain.  James Rolfe has firstly created a character I identify with.  Like the Nerd, I too loathe lazy game design, sloppy graphics, sloppy controls, cheap developement.  In short all the things which, individually or combined spell doom for game quality.

Secondly the writing in each episode is fresh, fun, funny and holds a nice consistent pace throughout, Rolfe is quite simply a good comedic writer, who has shown the good sense to write a character and scripts which he can actually pull off.

Thirdly the way he shoots each episode is almost spartan.  Everything is done simply with the minimum necessary to tell the story he wants told.  To me it seems that he doesn’t allow anything to get in the way of the script.  So yes it looks cheap, but it also looks very high quality.  That makes AVGN very easy and enjoyable to watch.

And watch is something I for one will be continuing to do for as long as he continues to make new episodes.

So Rolfe’s Nerd character may well be a beer drinking, Rolling Rock by preference, foul-mouthed, usually scatologically so, pocket protector wearing embodiment of gamer anger.  But he is always funny and I simply can not recommend his videos highly enough.  So if you’re a gamer or you just like really well written hilarious nerd humour, log onto YouTube or the Cinemassacre website and watch them all.

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