Saturday, September 6, 2014

Angry Videogame Nerd - Volume 7

I remember when I first heard of the Internet/YouTube series, The Angry Videogame Nerd. It was around 2004 when I caught a link off an old gaming forum I use to frequent. Initially I found his first episodes a bit too hyped up and could not really buy into the "Nerd" character James Rolfe has been portraying for nearly a decade now. In case you are not familiar with it, you can catch his entire library of episodes on his website right here for free. Basically, it is the ultimate gaming nerd raging out to (mostly) undesirable NES games while on a Rolling Rock binge.

He was pumping out videos pretty regularly for several years, but his output has been sporadic the past couple of years with him putting most of his efforts on the recently released The Angry Videogame Nerd Movie. For the last seven years, AVGN has been releasing a DVD at the end of the year with the latest year's worth of shows. I love the show, and James Rolfe has been doing this as a passion project on the side and releasing his shows for free, so I do not feel terrible supporting the show by purchasing a DVD at the end of the year, and of course Rolfe makes it worth your while by including a bunch of bonus content on each DVD. These last couple years I went in a little trepid into the annual DVD with far lesser shows released last year than usual, but Rolfe somehow bundled in a ton of extras to make his latest DVD I am reviewing here, AVGN Volume 7, another three disc set like the previous six.

Disc one is all the AVGN episodes released from October 2012 through October 2013. Once again, all these episodes are free on the AVGN website. The disc one episodes total out to just over two hours of content and there are far more hits than misses on this release. Ghosts 'n Goblins is universally recognized as one of the toughest and challenging games out there, and it is a delight to see the Nerd go bonkers at its mercy. The Atari Sports episode is a montage of the very first generation of sports games from the late 70s and early 80s, and I can tell you from my playtime with them that most of them are brutally awful, and the Nerd has a lot of fun tearing them apart.

Ikari Warriors was one of the first NES games I owned, and I remember it for its many unique traits like the insanely long levels, unforgiving controls and the A, B, B, A code for extra lives. The Nerd makes sure to highlight all these traits and more as he busts out his occasional coop gaming partner and theme song composer, Kyle Justin to suffer along with him in a classic episode. There is one other episode on here though that just barely squeezes by as my favorite on this disc, which is an episode dedicated to Tiger Games. That is correct, if you grew up in the 90s like me you know what I am talking about, those godawful LED games our parents gobbled up for us for $20 that are based on nearly every license imaginable. And yes, the Nerd makes sure to dedicate precious time and hatred towards other Tiger atrocities like the 'late to the GameBoy party,' Tiger and 'yes, we even tried to rip off the Virtual Boy,' Tiger R-Zone.

Disc two is the first bonus disc, and the main attraction here is a near half hour long feature where Rolfe profiles his own account of the 16-bit wars between the Genesis and Super Nintendo. James is not in character for this video, but still makes it interesting by splicing in old home movies of him reciting old Nintendo Power passages as an eight year old on why Nintendo is the superior brand. There is plenty of classic 'Sega Does What Nintendont' propaganda featured in here, and Rolfe does a fine job at making his own to show what devastating fuel Sega was unleashing on the playgrounds during the 16-bit wars. It is a fun video that brought back a ton of memories growing up. Also on disc two is a mini commentary on the year in general, not on each video, but on how the year went for James and what went on in making each episode. Rounding off disc two is outtakes from a handful of episodes, the annual tour of the Nerd room with the latest additions, and several assorted collection of clips from Q&A Panels James Rolfe attended throughout the year.

I do not know who put them together, if it was James himself, or a group of fans or the gang at that AVGN is associated with, but disc three is made up entirely of a series of top 10 moments throughout the history of the show. There is around 20 of these top 10 videos, totaling just over a whopping three hours in length. At first I thought this seemed like a throwaway extra to pad out the DVD set, but it was great relieving many classic moments of the 110+ episodes of the show. Some of my favorite clip collections on this disc I recommend first checking out are the 10 Worst NES Games, 10 Worst Endings and 10 Worst Consoles.

Again, I only picked this up because I am a huge fan of the show and want to support James to keep the videos coming. It is also nice to have a tangible back up copy on the shelf too with some exclusive extras. One more time, if you are not that familiar with the show, I linked to a lot of the videos in this blog, so make sure to watch any or his entire collection for free on the AVGN website before you decide on ordering some of the DVDs. If you have ordered past DVDs though and were a little skeptical on the content to value ratio on this release, then rest assured that AVGN Volume 7 does not disappoint and is packed with nearly as much content as past releases. Yeah, there are not as many main AVGN episodes as before, but the extras easily make up for it.

Previous TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
Seinfeld Final Season

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