On Friday, August 8th, 2014 at 7:30 PM, we saw the much-anticipated Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (screening dates) with a full house of raging Nerd Heads. The flick has been in production for several years now, so expectations were high and enthusiasm boundless as the lights dimmed and the picture popped onto the screen at the Sharp Theater. Would the fans get what they want, or would they go home disappointed? I was predicting the former, but you never can tell how these independent productions are going to turn out. Ready for anything, I settled into my balcony seat and watched the movie roll. Read the rest of this entry
While James Rolfe’s career continues to bring him more opportunities the longer he persists, I still feel that he could use a shout out, and so, it’s time for Attention Must Be Paid, James Rolfe edition… or, in internet vernacular, AMBP: AVGN.
While wandering around the internet, I came across a video on YouTube that delighted me: the series was called, You Know What’s Bullshit? and the episode was called, Temperature. This, I am sure, is one of the greatest things to ever grace the YouTube servers.
“Potatoes are assholes; they’re so unpredictable.”
Has a better sentence ever been uttered? I think not. Potatoes are, in fact, assholes! (Sure, they’re not on corn‘s level, but what vegetable is?)
The Bullshit series is a work of art in itself, from part 1 to part 13. I was stunned with the quality of the writing, camera work and most of all, the superior editing. YouTube has so much fatty waste clogging up its mighty heart that its easy to get stuck in the muck of loathsome dreck, a sea of unedited video with awful pop music poorly mixed in the background, and the Bullshit series was a tremendous breath of fresh air; people really were putting quality video on YouTube. Who knew?
I soon found that I had engorged on the entire “You Know What’s Bullshit?” series (I’m also a big fan of the DVD sticker and DVD collection episodes) and yearned for more. The discovery that there was more ‘bullshit’ to be experienced beyond Temperature was a revelation in itself, but I had no idea what loomed just over the horizon.
The first episode I saw of The Angry Video Game Nerd was his review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the Nintendo Entertainment System. TMNT for the NES is the worst kind of video game; it gave us the opportunity to interact as our favorite genetically altered reptiles, and in the early levels, you see so much promise. Sure, the controls aren’t great, but it’s a fun game… at first. Then it starts to suck, and that’s where James Rolfe comes in.
It sucking fucks, it fucking sucks, it fucking blows, it’s a piece of shit… and I don’t like it.
Agreed, sir. Agreed.
If you were a gamer in the mid to late eighties and onward, then you know how revolutionary Nintendo was for those of us who were used to the classic Atari 2600 (or pretenders like the ColeocoVision), as was the Super Nintendo (I know this is an old debate, but Sega sucked. The Sega Master System and Sega Genesis were inferior pieces of hardware; we can debate game libraries till the cows come home, but when games came out on both systems, Nintendo wins hands down every time… hence Sega makes games for Nintendo now? Figure that one out!), the Nintendo 64, and so on. (I’ll take another quick second to say that for the most part, the Playstation is a load-time-cut-scene-infused paperweight.) That being said, Nintendo had it’s fair share of bad games, whether licensed or not, and The Angry Video Game Nerd is just the man to exorcise the video game demons that haunt our souls from both yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mr. Rolfe’s other efforts, which can be found on his website at Cinemassacre.com. His other series, such as Board James, a partly informational series on Board Games, a convention I assume is going the way of the Polar Bear (his horror movie-esque short on Mr. Bucket is not to missed) or the annual Cinemassacre.com’s Monster Madness, which brings an assortment of monster movies to the forefront every Halloween, and I think any movie fan would enjoy, even if you’re like me and don’t spend much time watching horror, slasher or monster movies.
James Rolfe has taken the comedic review to strange and hilarious new places. Sure, it can be juvenile, profane and even downright disgusting, but that’s what makes it fun. In fact, I particularly enjoyed a long diatribe about how bad a game was involving excrement and… well, other things, after which The Nerd said, “That was foul; I apologize.” It’s over the top, it’s silly and it’s great. It’s also self aware, which may be the most important reason it works so well. The guy does a brilliant job connecting with the audience… maybe its just me, because Mr. Rolfe and I are the same age and from the same part of the country and come from a shared experience, but I think there is something for everyone in Mr. Rolfe’s catalog. Take a look, you’re bound to find something you like.
Unless you can’t tolerate profanity and vulgarity. Then you’re shit out of luck.
In 1981, Nintendo brought us Donkey Kong, the story of an Italian-American Brooklynite name Mario in his quest to save an unknown woman from a gorilla. He returned in 1982’s Donkey Kong Jr, this time as the antagonist. In 1983, Mario brought his brother Luigi along for the ride in Mario Bros, firmly establishing that they were both plumbers. This was the first video game I ever received that was mine, which I was allowed to play on my sister’s Atari 2600. It wasn’t that great, but it set things up. In 1985, things got super.
I received a NES for my birthday, and frankly, the damn thing blew my mind – frankly, it still does. Atari and ColecoVision were all well and good – I spent hours playing games on these systems, but they just couldn’t hold a candle to my NES, which came with Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt right out of the box. (I had the combo cartridge – I believe this was called the action set.)
Super Mario Bros changed everything. Video games went from something I did for fun when I couldn’t go outside to play to what I waited to play all day long while I was at school. Everyone was obsessed with Mario and if you had a Sega Master System and thought that made you different, cool, a loner, or above the crowd, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re wrong. You were wrong then, and you’re still wrong now. (That Rambo game it came with was OK, but it was repetitive and the two player mode was glitchy as hell.) I’d tell you to ask your childhood friends, but you didn’t have any, did you? That’s because no one wanted to play with you, because you had a Sega Master System – or you were the smelly kid.
Every game to bear ‘Super Mario’ in its name has been great; bare none. Some are better than others, but every single title captured our imagination in a way no other franchise ever has or will. Mario is so relatable because he’s not your typical hero, he’s a plumber with a beer belly. Mario might be the perfect American hero: he’s an immigrant (I guess; when he started talking, the stereotypical accent came out), he owns his own business, and he always saves the Princess – accept when she’s in another castle. Women, huh? She can’t ever seem to stay saved, either – despite the ability to levitate!
Happy 25th Birthday, Super Mario Bros! I hope you get more than a cake this time! (fast forward to 4 minutes – check the look Mario gives the camera.)
Finally: know your Super Mario history! (see the video)