Classic Game Room
|Classic Game Room|
The Classic Game Room Mark 3 title card, as of 2016.
|Genre||Video game reviewer, sketch comedy|
|Created by||Mark Bussler
|Starring||Mark Bussler (1999–present), David Crosson (1999–2000),
Derek Buck (cameos; 2010–2015)
|Theme music composer||Tom Myers|
|Opening theme||"Flock of Cowboys"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||13|
|Running time||Varies, usually 2–9 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||Inecom, LLC|
YouTube (2008–2013, 2014–present)
Amazon Prime (2016–present)
|Picture format||1080p WMV / FLV / MOV|
|Original release||Original series: November 7, 1999 – October 23, 2000.
Revived series: February 28, 2008 - present
Classic Game Room (commonly abbreviated CGR) is a video game review show produced, directed, edited and hosted by Mark Bussler (b. 1975) of Inecom, LLC. The show reviews both retro and modern video games along with gaming accessories, pinball machines, and minutiae such as gaming mousepads and food products. The show broadcast its reviews via video-sharing website YouTube under the screen name 'Lord Karnage' until late 2013, when they moved to Dailymotion, citing issues with YouTube.
On May 8, 2014, via the Classic Game Room's Facebook Page and YouTube channel, it was announced that the show would again be posting episodes on YouTube. Usage of their own website, which has its own rating and comments system, is encouraged.
The Game Room Era
Originally titled The Game Room and presented by Mark Bussler and David Crosson, it was the first professional video game review show on the internet. Founded by Bussler, it launched on November 7, 1999 on the internet startup website FromUSAlive.
At first, the presenters planned to review mainly then-modern games, but after a segment on older games proved to be popular, the show began reviewing earlier titles. The show was run on a tight US$50 budget, so improvised special effects were used. However, the low-budget nature of the show led to slow episode production rates, and when revenue failed to cover the costs of running the show, The Game Room was canceled on October 23, 2000. Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 for the Sega Dreamcast was the last game to be reviewed on the show. Crosson moved on, while Bussler would spend the next 8 years producing and directing documentaries on American history, such as Expo: Magic of the White City, and working with actors such as Gene Wilder and Richard Dreyfuss.
The Revival (HD) Era
The show returned as Classic Game Room HD (HD standing for Heavy Duty according to Bussler) on February 20, 2008, hosted by Bussler. Dave appeared at the end of the show's first episodes, Captain America and The Avengers, where Mark asked him what he thought of the game.
On August 29, 2009 Mark announced the launch of the Classic Game Room website ClassicGameRoom.net (now ClassicGameRoom.com) on the show's YouTube channel. The website hosts links and embedded videos to all the show's episodes as well as written reviews. Later, the site began hosting reviews written by fans of the show as well as linking to their videos.
In May 2010, Inecom launched a second show titled CGR Undertow hosted by Derek. Later he was joined by TJ and a rotating cast of other reviews. The show had reviewers give their own take on games reviewed by Mark as well as other games not reviewed on the main show. In early 2012, some Classic Game Room reviews were co-hosted by Derek and TJ.
In late 2013, Classic Game Room left YouTube and began posting videos on Dailymotion. On May 8, 2014, Classic Game Room announced via its Facebook page and YouTube Channel that they will be returning to YouTube on May 10. Episodes first hosted on Dailymotion were added to their respective YouTube channels. The last episode posted on dailymotion was the review of Mario Kart 8.
On November 2, 2015, Classic Game Room host Mark Bussler announced that the show would highly slow its production following the end of the 2015 year. Changes would include the shutting down of the show store and its secondary channel CGR Undertow entirely ending production. Bussler stated that this is due to a change in his life and he would like to focus more on his writing and film making. He also said that he would continue the show as a hobby similar to how it began for him.
CGR Mark 3: Patreon and Amazon
However, Bussler later opened a Patreon for the series at the recommendation of fans in order to keep the series operating as normal, but would be renamed Classic Game Room Mark3. The first CGR MkIII was released on January 8, 2016. During mid 2016, due to declining YouTube ad revenue, Bussler experimented with a premium content delivery system. Subscribers on Patreon received full length game reviews, dubbed "Hyper Cuts", and free streaming video services received significantly shortened preview-length versions of the same reviews - effectively creating a partial paywall.
After this was met with negative reaction by fans, overall average runtime of the free streaming reviews returned to their normal length, with extended reviews available to Patreon subscribers. The extended reviews later became available on Amazon Prime in December that year.
Bussler has also conducted a number of interviews with people involved with the video game industry, as part of the CGR Interviews series, such as his interview with Tommy Tallarico, video game soundtrack composer and founder of the Video Games Live concert series. In addition, Bussler has been interviewed for the forthcoming The Art of Community book.
A documentary film, Classic Game Room - The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show was released on August 28, 2007, on DVD. It is 100 minutes long and featured footage from a number of the original reviews and commentary from Bussler and Crosson. The film was directed by Mark Bussler.
In 2015, a second film, also directed by Bussler, The Best of Classic Game Room: 15th Anniversary Collection was released on Blu-Ray and DVD. It has a run time of 280 minutes and features a collection of videos previously available on YouTube but also includes plenty of exclusive material including exclusive game reviews, an interview with Dave Crosson, a commentary track and more all wrapped in a comedic story arc involving time travel, robots, and clones.
2015 also saw the release of a compilation film from the sister channel CGR Undertow, A Great Big Bunch of CGR Undertow on DVD. It is a collection of previously released reviews presented by Derek Buck and his clone. Special features include a mini documentary and a blooper reel.
In 2014, Bussler ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a 76-page hard-cover and digital comic book titled Lord Karnage Book 1. Many of the Kickstarter reward tiers included access to digital downloads of various other Classic Game Room comic books featuring Wind Squid, Edit-Station 1 and Heyzoos the Coked Up Chicken, along with a "Deconstructed" version of Lord Karnage Book 1 containing rough sketches and background information.
In 2017, Bussler announced that another comic, Ethel The Cyborg Ninja, would be available on Amazon.
- Expo: Magic of the White City - a 2005 documentary by Bussler on the The Chicago World's Fair, narrated by Wilder.
- "Classic Game Room - CGR 2085 Podcast Making Of "My Love Affair with Star Wars"". Retrieved February 14, 2016.
- "Cool Interview with Game Room's Mark Bussler". J2games.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- "Interview with Mark Bussler on Movie Addict Headquarters via". Blogtalkradio.com. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- Mark Bussler (2007). Classic Game Room: The rise and... (DVD). Inecom LLC.
- Briggs, Tom. "Interview: Mark Bussler". Sega-16. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Projectgames.com at the Wayback Machine (archived March 2, 2001)
- Mark Bussler. IMDb.com
- Loaded Cartridge Interview with Mark Bussler Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Destructoid interview with Classic Game Room's Mark Bussler". Destructoid.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- "Classic Game Room - CAPTAIN AMERICA and the AVENGERS review for Sega Genesis". YouTube. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Classic Game Room Website! 8/29/2009". YouTube. 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Classic Game Room - CHOPLIFTER HD review". YouTube. 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Classic Game Room RETURNS TO YOUTUBE". YouTube. 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "hlopshop.com". hlopshop.com. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Second Edition Community Interviews: Mark Bussler, Classic Game Room". Art Of Community Online. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "The Best of Classic Game Room: 15th Anniversary Collection". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
- "A Great Big Bunch of CGR Undertow". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
- "Lord Karnage Book 1 by Classic Game Room". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2015-04-25.