The Angry Video Game Nerd

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The Angry Video Game Nerd
Angry Video Game Nerd
The Angry Video Game Nerd logo
Also known as Angry Nintendo Nerd
Genre Insult comedy, surreal comedy, physical comedy, slapstick comedy, black comedy, off-color humor, review
Created by James Rolfe
Developed by Cinemassacre Productions
Written by James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Directed by James Rolfe
Starring James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Kyle Justin
Theme music composer Kyle Justin (music)
James Rolfe (lyrics)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 119 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) James Rolfe
Producer(s) James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Editor(s) James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Location(s) Newark, New Jersey (Season 1–3)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Season 3 – present)
Cinematography James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Liam Mulvey
Matthew von Manahan
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time Varies, between 3–35 minutes per episode
Production company(s) Cinemassacre
Distributor GameTrailers
YouTube (re-releases)
Original channel Internet:
YouTube (2006-present)
Picture format 480p / 720p WMV / FLV / MOV
Original airing May 16, 2004–present
Preceded by Bad NES Games (Cinemassacre Special)[1]
External links

The Angry Video Game Nerd (also referred to as AVGN or simply The Nerd, and formerly known as The Angry Nintendo Nerd) is a web television series of comedic retrogaming video reviews created by and starring James Rolfe.[2][3] The show revolves around his commentary of old and typically unsuccessful video games which he deems to be of particularly low-quality, unfair difficulty, or poor design.[4] Rolfe's character, "The Nerd", is a short-tempered and foul-mouthed video game fanatic. He derives comic appeal from excessive and inventive use of anger, profanity, and habitual consumption of alcohol while reviewing video games.

The series began on his website, Cinemassacre, in 2004. Later in 2006, Mike Matei persuaded James to put his work on YouTube, and later became a program on ScrewAttack Entertainment before moving to GameTrailers and Cinemassacre exclusively. The show was renamed The Angry Video Game Nerd to prevent any trademark issues with Nintendo, allowing him to also review games from non-Nintendo consoles such as Atari and Sega. A feature-length film, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, will be released in summer 2014.


The Angry Nintendo Nerd[edit]

James D. Rolfe as the Nerd

The series began in 2004 when James Rolfe made a short review of the NES game Castlevania II: Simon's Quest under the title "Bad NES Games". He then decided to make another video about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.[1] The videos were produced and published on[5] and released outside of the website as "The Quickies" tape, part of a four VHS tape set called the "Cinemassacre Gold Collection" that he had put together himself.[1] On April 6, 2006, a friend, Mike Matei, made him a YouTube channel under the name of "JamesNintendoNerd", now changed to "Cinemassacre", although the URL still includes the original name.

The YouTube channel reached 1 million subscribers in March 2013 and 1.5 M in June 2014.

On September 12, 2006, Rolfe's series received mainstream attention when his review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles went viral on YouTube. It was reported in an MTV segment called "Viral Videos Infect the Mainstream".[6] On November 2, 2008, his videos were featured on the nationally syndicated radio show Opie and Anthony. Rolfe was soon interviewed by Opie and Anthony on January 9, 2008. Rolfe soon went on to host a segment on Opie and Anthony's XM Satellite Radio (now Sirius/XM) channel for their "Saturday Night Virus" block; however, he completed only one episode before leaving the program entirely.[7]

The Angry Video Game Nerd[edit]

Rolfe later changed the name of the program from The Angry Nintendo Nerd to The Angry Video Game Nerd to prevent trademark issues with Nintendo.[5] Additionally, Rolfe began to diversify his reviews of games to other platforms such as the Atari 2600, Super Nintendo, Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Some episodes began to feature other video game-related subjects, such as console accessories like the Power Glove and U-Force, films such as The Wizard, and the Nintendo Power magazine. Rolfe stated almost every episode has a reference from the documentary American Movie.

As stated by James Rolfe on his website, his first videos were intended as "just a joke", and he had no intentions of making them public, showing them only to his friends.[5] After two years, Mike Matei suggested he put the reviews online. He soon did, and since then, his reviews have become increasingly popular and eventually developed a large fanbase.[8][9] Rolfe's videos grew longer and soon transformed into a formal series complete with title cards, a song as an introduction, official merchandise, and DVDs of past seasons.

After his fourth gaming review on YouTube, ScrewAttack invited Rolfe to have his own section on their website[citation needed] and became employed by MTV Networks'[10] Beginning July 23, 2012, with the 107th episode entitled "Schwarzenegger Games", the series returned to YouTube.

As of December 22, 2011, Rolfe is currently focusing most of his efforts on producing Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie. He has stated on his website, the film is mostly finished with the exception of a few key scenes, and many special effects. It is to be released "this lifetime", as stated on the teaser poster. Rolfe released an update in April 2013 stating that he did not know when it would be finished, believing that "it will be a long time" and "any attempt to guess would only prove us wrong". Until then, he and Matei will continue to put out AVGN episodes, and other content regularly.

On February 4, 2013, the character, along with Nostalgia Critic, made a background cameo appearance in the anime Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited.[11] In November 2013, co-host/writer Mike Matei began uploading Top 10 Nerd-related videos.[citation needed]


Special guests[edit]

Lloyd Kaufman guest stars in the Toxic Crusaders episode of the show.

Occasionally, "special guests" based on famous film and television characters make appearances on the web series. These guests often provide additional commentary on the games, mock the Nerd's anguish, and act as parodies of the character whom they had derived from. The roles have included characters such as Jason Voorhees, The Joker and Bugs Bunny, among others. Freddy Krueger was played by Rolfe, Matei taking on the role when both the Nerd and Freddy were in view.[12] The show's musician, Kyle Justin, played both Spider-Man and Cousin Itt in separate episodes, accompanied by him performing the theme songs from Spider-Man and The Addams Family, with reworked lyrics. Justin was also featured in the Battletoads, the Ikari Warriors, and the second Bugs Bunny (Crazy Castle) episode as The Guitar Guy. Kevin Finn played a ninja master inspired by Ryu Hayabusa in his Ninja Gaiden review as well as the "Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin" in the game glitches episode and the Zelda II: The Adventure of Link episode. Cult filmmaker and Troma president Lloyd Kaufman guest-starred on the Toxic Crusaders episode, making him the first celebrity guest to appear on the show.

Some episodes have a basic storyline inspired by the plot of the game or the movie the game is based on (e.g. in the Halloween review, the Nerd is stalked by Michael Myers while he goes babysitting). In these cases, guests are used to play the episode-specific characters. The Nostalgia Critic appeared in the Nerd's house and together they had a violent duel, in which the critic is nearly killed by the "Super Mecha Death Christ" character (more specifically "Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 BC Version 4.0 Beta!... bitch"). In the Nerd's take on A Christmas Carol, Stuttering Craig and Handsome Tom, co-founders of ScrewAttack, appear as the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Present, respectively. A Dracula sprite from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest represents the Ghost of Christmas Future.[13][14] Another guest is Robotic Operating Buddy (or R.O.B.), which is voiced, puppeted and stop motion animated by Rolfe. R.O.B. appears in episode #100, demanding that the entire world should play the only games that he can play: Gyromite and Stack-Up. Fellow game reviewer Pat Contri, AKA Pat the NES Punk, appeared as a guest star in the Nintendo World Championships episode, in which he and the Nerd fight one another for ownership of both versions of the rare cartridge.

Original animated characters[edit]

The show also makes use of original animated characters to add commentary or advance an episode-specific plot. The review of Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu uses a character named "Shit Pickle" to provide commentary on the game play (which simply consisted of him repeating the words "shit" and "pickle" sometimes, although not always together). Shit Pickle did not appear again until Rolfe jokingly compared him with certain enemy sprites in his Action 52 review, and Shit Pickle also appeared as a supporting character in Cinemassacre's fully animated Oz parody Wizard of Oz 3: Dorothy Goes to Hell.[15] In the Wizard/Super Mario Bros. 3 review, the Nerd calls upon the "Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 BC Version 4.0 Beta", which is voiced by Rolfe and created by Matei. Rolfe explained on his website that Super Mecha Death Christ was created as a spoof on the numerous Mecha-characters found in the Godzilla movies, such as Mechagodzilla.[16] During his review of the Magnavox Odyssey, "The Nerdy Turd", a piece of fecal matter with Rolfe's head and face on it, was introduced out of necessity as the Odyssey does not support single player games (Matei helped Rolfe play with the system during shooting). In the Star Wars games episode, the Nerd introduces the "Beer Droid", a beer supplying Droid that is a vacuum animated through stop motion effects.


The Angry Video Game Nerd theme song was performed by Kyle Justin. Justin and Rolfe both constructed the song's lyrics.[17] Some of the lyrics come from comments made by Rolfe in his review of Back to the Future. Justin appeared with Rolfe at a MAGFest 2010 panel and performed the theme song live. He has also appeared in a video with Rolfe and Matei recalling their experience in video stores. For numerous episodes, musical scores and covers were performed by Chris Holland that were subsequently used in episodes including Batman, Nerdy Christmas and many others.


  • On November 18, 2007, the first AVGN DVD set was released. It includes all of the episodes up to the first Bible Games episode. Some material, such as movie clips from Back to the Future and Rocky, were removed to avoid copyright infringement and replaced with new material. The DVD includes extended versions of the "Wally Bear and the NO Gang!" and "Rocky" reviews as well as an original documentary, deleted scenes and most of the videos posted exclusively on In all, the DVD set contains approximately three hours and 15 minutes of content. According to Rolfe, the initial pressing of the DVD sold out in less than a week.[18] In addition, 100 DVDs were sold with Rolfe's autograph on the front cover.[19]
  • Around November 15, 2008, the second AVGN DVD set, which spans three discs,[20] was released. It includes the episodes[21] from the Atari 5200 review to An Angry Nerd Christmas Carol as well as a scene from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III review, the trailers posted on YouTube, commentaries,[22] outtakes (from the 2007 videos as well as some from 2008) and other material.[23]
  • On December 12, 2009, the third AVGN DVD set, which spans three discs, was released. It includes the episodes from Chronologically Confused about the Zelda Timeline to Bible Games 2; however, the review for The Wizard and Super Mario Bros. 3 has been reduced to cover only SMB3 to avoid copyright infringement. Three of the episodes have been extended. The DVD set also includes outtakes, a tour of the Nerd's room and other material.[24]
  • On December 15, 2010, the fourth AVGN DVD set, spanning three discs, was released.[25] It includes the episodes from Michael Jackson's Moonwalker to Winter Games as well as bonus features such as a look at Sega 3-D Glasses, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage and other material.[26]
  • On December 8, 2011, the fifth AVGN DVD set, complete with three discs and special features, was released. The packaging parodies the cover of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde NES game. All DVD packaging is done by Matei.
  • On December 1, 2012, the sixth AVGN DVD set, again with three discs and special features, was released. The packaging parodies the cover of the NES Contra game. Packaging was done once again by Matei.
  • On December 7, 2013, the seventh AVGN DVD set was released alongside of the first official "Board James" DVD release. All of the episodes are contained on disc 1, ranging from "Ghosts & Goblins" to "Alien 3". Discs 2 and 3 contain outtakes, behind the scenes, as well as commentaries and more. The accumulative run time between all three of the discs totals at 6 hours and 45 minutes.


Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie is an upcoming independent film based on the series. Rolfe is serving as director, producer and co-writer and reprises his on-screen role of The Nerd. The film is to be released July 21 2014 in limited theatrical releases before being released online, on DVD and Blu-ray by the end of the year. The budget of the film came entirely from fan donations. The story centers around the alleged burial of over 1 million copies of the proclaimed "worst video game of all time", E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600, as The Nerd embarks on a quest to prove that there is nothing buried there after being pressured by fans to review the video game, while being pursued by federal authorities who believe he is investigating Area 51 and the crash of an unidentified flying object.[27] As of December 2013, shooting on the film is complete.[28] The film will also have an appearance by the late Justin Carmical, known as JewWario by fans and peers, in an improvised scene shot at the 2013 MAGFest with other online reviewers.[29]

Video game[edit]

In 2013, an official video game titled The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures was announced. It was released on September 20, 2013 on Steam.[30] The game follows the Nerd attempting to rescue his friends (Mike Matei, Guitar Guy, and the Bullshit Man), all of whom were sucked into the Nerd's television set (done in a Cheetahmen-esque style). The Nerd uses a NES Zapper as his main weapon, and a character known as Naggi the Patronising Firefly, a parody of Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, guides him through the tutorial. Throughout the game, he faces zombies, Mr. Hyde, Custer, The Giant Claw, Fred "Fucks" (Fred Fuchs) and both Jason Voorhees and an oversized version of Freddy Krueger's right arm (both references to the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street games) and more.[31]

On July 12th, 2014 it was announced that the game will also be released for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.[32]


The Angry Video Game Nerd was voted Best Online Web Series in Mashable's 3rd Annual Open Web Awards on December 16, 2009.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c James Rolfe (2007). What Was I Thinking?: The Making of the Angry Video Game Nerd (DVD). ScrewAttack. 
  2. ^ James Rolfe (August 8, 2007). "AVGN: Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 1, 2007. 
  3. ^ James Rolfe (2008). CineMassacre 200 (YouTube). CineMassacre. 
  4. ^ Guzman, David (March 3, 2011). "Top 20 Angry Video Game Nerd Freak Outs". Retrieved March 10, 2011. "Ever since James Rolfe – the filmmaker who brought the Nerd to life – started posting tirades about awfully ancient video games on YouTube in 2006, the following he’s gotten there has become pretty big." 
  5. ^ a b c "Cinemassacre FAQ". The CineMassacre Productions. 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ MTV (September 12, 2006). "Viral Videos Infect the Mainstream". MTV. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ Opie and Anthony (November 2, 2007). "Angry Video Game Nerd Opie and Anthony Interview Pt 1". Opie and Anthony Radio Show. Retrieved November 2, 2008. 
  8. ^ Weprin, Alex (June 2, 2008). "Spike TV Revamps Web Presence". Broadcasting & Cable (Cahners Publishing) 138 (14–25): 28. Retrieved March 10, 2011. "The new features a high-resolution full-episode video with the ability to embed episodes of Spike programming on outside sites, social-networking features and exclusive original content from YouTube stars such as "The Angry Video Game Nerd" and established entertainment brands such as Playboy Enterprises and Ultimate Fighting Championship." 
  9. ^ Carrasco, Carlo. "Do you play?". Sun.Star Publishing, Inc. Retrieved December 4, 2007. [dead link]
  10. ^ James Rolfe. "James Rolfe resume". Cinemassacre. Archived from the original on July 16, 2007. Retrieved April 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ Saabedra, Humberto. "AVGN and Nostalgia Critic Cameo in "The Unlimited: Hyobu Kyosuke"". Crunchyroll. 
  12. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN: Nightmare on Elm St commentary". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 30, 2007. 
  13. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN: A Christmas Carol Pt. 1". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 25, 2007. 
  14. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN: A Christmas Carol Pt. 2". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 25, 2007. 
  15. ^ "The Wizard of Oz 3: Dorothy Goes to Hell" at Cinemassacre
  16. ^ James Rolfe (October 13, 2008). "Godzillathon No. 20 – Godzilla Vs. MegaGodzilla (1993)". Retrieved October 25, 2008. [dead link]
  17. ^ Kyle Justin. "Kyle Justin's AVGN Music Page". Retrieved March 24, 2009. 
  18. ^ James Rolfe (November 25, 2007). "AVGN DVD SOLD OUT!". Cinemassacre. Retrieved November 25, 2007. 
  19. ^ James Rolfe (March 12, 2008). "AVGN DVD Autograph". Cinemassacre, ScrewAttack. Archived from the original on June 12, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2008. 
  20. ^ James Rolfe (August 8, 2008). "Updates from me". Cinemassacre. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Angry Video Game Nerd DVD FAQ". The CineMassacre Productions. Retrieved March 25, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Official AVGN Merchandise". ScrewAttack, Yahoo!. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  23. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN DVD – Volume 2". Cinemassacre, YouTube. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  24. ^ "AVGN DVD Vol. 3". Cinemassacre. Dec 12, 2009. Retrieved Dec 12, 2009. 
  25. ^ "AVGN DVD Vol. 4". Cinemassacre. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  26. ^ James Rolfe (December 15, 2010). "AVGN DVD VOLUME 4 IS HERE!". YouTube. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie". 
  28. ^ "AVGN Movie update - December 2013". Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures". Steam. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Let's Play AVGN Adventures - Part 4". YouTube. September 24, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Wii U & 3DS Announcement". Twitter. July 12, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  33. ^ Cashmore, Pete (December 16, 2009). "Open Web Awards 2009: The Winners". Mashable. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 

External links[edit]

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