The Angry Video Game Nerd, or AVGN, began his rise to relative internet-fame in 2004, when James Rolfe, known then as The Angry Nintendo Nerd, made two videos of himself playing and reviewing the NES games Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Originally just videos for him and his friends to enjoy, he put them on YouTube in 2006, and the rest is history.
Now, I’m fairly new to the online videos of the AVGN. In fact, I haven’t even seen all of ’em yet (although I am working my way steadily through the list). I came to them through an article a cohort at BnBGaming wrote about his video series. I was intrigued and, long story short, I bookmarked his page and became a regular viewer.
I’m not 100% sure what the biggest draw of the videos is; whether it’s the exposure of poorly designed (mostly) old-school games, most of which I’ve never heard of. Or maybe it’s the sense of vindication when he tears into a game that’s frustrated me to no end; likewise it could be the slight nose-and-forehead-wrinkling crunchiness when he berates a game I remember fondly(Metal Gear, I loved you, but the AVGN does make some valid points about your gameplay…).
Occasionally, a few AVGN episodes will string together to tell a short narrative, like the Nerd’s battle against Jason and Freddy while reviewing both of their respective games, or the multi-part showdown between the Nerd and Joker, all centered around a comprehensive review of Batman titles. Some viewers complain that the videos are trying to be too flashy, or focus has been taken off the gameplay. I disagree – the shitty games are still there, and Rolfe takes great pride in planning, scripting and shooting his videos, complete with pretty decent special effects and a catchy theme song.
Will the Angry Video Game Nerd eventually make the leap to more modern consoles? Probably not. There are many, many broken games out there he has yet to get to, and he did after all make the leap to a few N64 games – that’s quite a jump up from the 8-bit NES system he started with. Besides, remembering the games of past generations, whether fondly or nauseously, is a huge part of the AVGN’s appeal.
It’s become a bit of a ritual of mine now, when I get home from work, to turn on the computer and sit down to enjoy an episode or two of the Angry Video Game Nerd. I don’t think I’ll probably look at older games the same way ever again (and I think I just may have to give Rolling Rock a try; seriously, they should be paying him!), and I sometimes go for days at a time at work and I can’t get that damn/cool theme song out of my head! I find myself walking around the house and singing about road-kill skunk and diarrhea dumps – and somehow I feel the richer for it.
Oh yeah, that and the dozens of new expletives I’ve learned. Thanks, AVGN!