I think it’s about time I go back and review the only Irate Entertainment DVD I have yet to tackle – The Irate Gamer Volume 3. It was originally released at the same time as Volume 2, even though it was pretty clear that the two easily could have made up one individual set. But alas it’s a separate entity and hence it gets its own review!
To recap, I don’t hate The Irate Gamer but I am fascinated by his existence. Here we have someone who doesn’t seem to give a shit about video games and yet continues to stumble his way through a profession focused almost entirely around them. He makes factual errors constantly and refuses to take criticism of any kind, going as far as to delete any comments from his videos that aren’t universal praise for him. Lately it seems he even goes as far as to edit comments so they go from criticism to compliments, which is all kinds of shady. His videos are released months apart (years in some cases) and often reek of laziness, a terrific example lately being his Sonic Generations review which contained nothing but footage stolen from another YouTube user. The idea that he has been doing this, more or less successfully, for like six years now is simply astounding.
Volume 3 is special for me because these are the episodes that were coming out around the time I discovered The Irate Gamer. The back of the DVD lists eight episodes but ET is presented as a single video (it’s in two parts online) and Mario’s Time Machine and Mario Is Missing are also the same episode here, so technically you only get six. They include:
Mario Is Missing/Mario’s Time Machine
Since there are so few episodes I may as well do this as an episode by episode breakdown, although I’m not sure I’m going to have a whole lot to say about a few of them.
E.T. of course takes a look at the infamous Atari 2600 game, considered one of the worst games of all time (though countless games since have made a strong case for the title) and subject of the whole “carts buried in the desert” legend. This video acknowledges the legend by having about 2 minutes devoted to IG digging in the desert to get the carts. It’s not terribly interesting. There’s not a whole lot to say about the review of the game itself, I think at this point everyone knows why the game is terrible. There’s not really any new ground to cover there. Things do go a different route when he looks at two Game Boy E.T. games, one for the Colour and one for the Advance (though for the record, he calls them both GBA games). The games themselves look pretty unremarkable but this section does highlight another big issue of the Irate Gamer videos – his complaints are often random and forced, highlighting the strangest things as actual issues with the game.
I’ve mentioned this in the past but we’ll talk it about it again here because it’s still a very prevalent issue. Many of the complaints presented in these reviews are things that are widely accepted as being a part of video games. Things like the difficulty increasing as you progress, enemies existing, having to redo a section of the game if you die, etc. If it’s not that, its minor things blown completely out of proportion, of which we will have some shining examples in a little bit. Complaints are also very inconsistent, with some being torn apart for being too easy (Kirby’s Epic Yarn) and others being praised for the same reason (Ninja Gaiden 3). The “too easy” complaints are especially interesting considering how many games are called pieces of shit for being too hard. All of this really demonstrates one of my core problems with this series in that it never feels like someone putting the spotlight on bad games, but instead selecting a game first and then desperately trying to choke some problems out of it.
Anyway, with these latter two E.T. games, the problems consist of things like not liking the collectables or being mad that a game focusing on gardening actually focuses on gardening. He doesn’t say why those are issues, just that they are.
If you don’t already know, Home Improvement on the Super Nintendo deviates wildly from the core concept of the show, which it has to since that core concept is a man breaking things with tools and then his wife yelling at him. A game true to the source material would be nothing more than a bunch of tool related mini-games, so the fact that the developers went balls out crazy with it and has you fight dinosaurs is one of the best aspects of the game in my opinion. However this episode takes the tragically common stance of chastising the game for not resembling the show. Nobody would ever want to play that game! Though I will say that the complaints about the difficulty are fair, this game is waaaay too fucking hard. Also apparently this game sucks because you have to figure out the controls and because it has no instruction manual (something that shouldn’t matter since I remember a comment from an earlier episode of the show about how nobody reads those things anyway).
The Monster Party episode is meant as a Halloween special, bringing Satan and The Evil Gamer back into play, though each of them only appears briefly at the start and end of the episode. There’s not a whole lot to say about the actual episode as it’s your typical fare. The complaints about the actual game are all over the place, with a bizarrely large amount of them focused on the story. The jokes feel out of place and usually don’t work (a recurring bit featuring a tour bus is just….strange) and the story with Satan and Evil Gamer ends up being pretty insignificant.
Oh the Aladdin episode, this one I definitely have some things to say about. This episode was the one being advertised back when I first learned about the series and ended up being one of the first episodes I watched. It was pretty astounding. I would go as far as to say that Aladdin may in fact be the worst episode of The Irate Gamer show, for a variety of reasons.
The first is that, as many of you reading this may already know, Aladdin for SNES is actually a great game and should no way be featured in a show that is intended to highlight crap. So then what complaints are there to be made about the game? Well, the ones presented here are about as forced as you could get. The main one that takes up several minutes of the video is that Abu, who follows you around for the first few stages, doesn’t contribute much. Seriously, this “complaint” is focused on for like ¼ of the video. Other complaints include: there are collectables and some require effort to get, not every level is blatantly from the movie and the final boss is too easy, that last one being especially hypocritical as it comes not long after a complaint that the lava level is too hard.
So the review portion is not so good, but the real tragedy is the story that wraps around the review segments. This is easily the most story driven episode to date, with Irate Gamer and the Wise Sage (from the earlier Contra episodes) stumbling upon a genie while inexplicably wandering around the desert. This leads to lots of stilted acting and terrible jokes. The absolute worst is after he fails at a simple task, he holds up a ROB the Robot and says “Somebody call 911, cuz I was ROBbed!” ….You get it? Because the robot he held up is named Rob but also he feels like he had something stolen from him, and robbed is another word for that. Pretty great huh? Oh and yes, he does pause for a while after saying the line so you have time to laugh, another running theme throughout his show that I’m not sure I’ve mentioned. I understand that comedy is subjective, but to me stuff like that is painful and reminds me of a joke you would hear in a bad 90’s kid’s movie, and this episode has a number of bits like that.
I do have to say that the ending is pretty hilarious, though I’m not sure that was the intent. For reasons I won’t detail, Irate Gamer and Wise Sage end up back in the desert where they began the episode, still with no clue where they are or where they should go. Suddenly, Irate Gamer proclaims “Well that’s enough of this, time to go home” and sure enough, we cut to the credits. I…what? That’s definitely one of the worst “I don’t have an ending” endings I have ever seen in anything! You really didn’t have something better than just cutting away? At least it means the episode did give me one good laugh.
The Aladdin episode frustrated me for another reason too. I remember back when it was first released on YouTube, I saw comments from fans saying things like “LOL! Looks like a shit game! Glad you tore it a new one!” People who understand that it’s actual a quality game would respond defending it but would simply get shut down with a statement like “LOL Whatever! IG said its crap man!” That kind of thing was bizarrely infuriating to see. I know a lot of people have their own minds and wouldn’t blindly follow the words of these reviews, but the idea that people were just accepting that any game featured on this show is crap was terrifying in a way.
That is an awful lot to write about a single episode but it needed to be said. If ever you are curious to see what The Irate Gamer is all about and why a great deal of people are not fans, this is the episode that exemplifies it perfectly.
After the travesty that is the Aladdin episode, the Kool-Aid Man episode that follows is actually pretty harmless overall. Yes the bit where the Kool-Aid Man comes bursting through the wall is obvious and overdone but generally I don’t remember too much about the episode that stands out as being appalling. Hell I’ll even admit that the final sight gag that closes the episode is not bad. This one I’ll let slide.
The Mario Is Missing/Mario’s Time Machine review that closes out the DVD set attempts to do a “Sliding Doors” story where two timelines play out based on both sides of a decision that is made at the beginning. Stories like these are always pretty interesting to watch if done well as it can be fun to spot all of the differences between the two timelines. This one is not executed so well, with the biggest issue being very little difference between the two timelines. Both stories play out almost exactly the same, with only one major event not playing out the same way. What makes this especially bad is that the episode opens with a warning that “things may get confusing so you best pay attention!” I’m not sure if that’s giving himself too much credit or his audience not enough, but it does make for another unintentional laugh.
As for the review part, there really isn’t much left to say about either game. This review takes the usual stance that they’re educational games and therefore they suck. I won’t lie, as a child I had an affinity for both games. Sure I was disappointed at first when discovering they were educational, but I then played them for what they were intended to be and kind of didn’t mind them. It would be refreshing to see a review that actually discusses how they perform as the educational products they were intended to be, but alas I don’t think that day will ever come.
In addition to the full episodes, we also have three “mini-sodes”. The first is a video done for Christmas where he breaks down his top 5 NES games. The second is a weird one where he talks about this supposed scandal involving a Scrabble DS game. The third is a review for the Retro Mini, a portable device that you can play your NES games on, which looks pretty clunky to be honest. I don’t have a whole lot to say about any of these really.
That concludes the episodes that come on Volume 3. At this point, I almost miss the days when the IG episodes were more or less simply emulating the AVGN. There is something strangely captivating about those early episodes. Now the focus on skits and characters makes it feel like a bad kid’s show, that also happens to have a ton of cursing and gross jokes.
Since I highly doubt there will ever be a Volume 4 DVD (the amount of copyrighted footage in the most recent Power Rangers episode should all but guarantee that) I may as well go a little deeper into my thoughts on the whole Irate Gamer situation. I feel that normally this could just be another forgettable Internet review show, however when you take into account that this is his actual job, it becomes a little more frustrating. There are so many people out there who would absolutely love to get paid to talk about their passion for video games, but instead we have this guy who just seemed to stumble into the gig, despite having seemingly no real knowledge or even interest in the whole thing.
Someone once said to me that there was no hard evidence that he in fact does not really care about video games, but I would argue that the proof is every video he has basically ever made. A few mistakes here and there would be forgivable, but the mistakes are so constant that he either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is purposely fucking around. The amount of times he’s gotten the name of a game wrong or simply thrown out incorrect information as a whole is pretty astounding and what’s worse is that he never makes any attempt to correct these moments, instead choosing to stick his fingers in his ears and scream “la la la la!” while deleting any comments that aren’t singing his praises. I believe in a past written review I said that he has a Kanye West style ego and he really does, which is all the more tragic when you consider his output into the world.
Wow ok, anyway, let’s move on to our usual moment of writing what is on the back of the DVD box. Here we have the following:
“Chris Bores, the Irate Gamer is back in 8 all new episodes dishing out the best and worst that the video game world has to offer. From “E.T.” which has been labelled as the most worst game ever created, to “Aladdin” which is critically acclaimed by many, The Irate Gamer holds nothing back as the reviews take him to places never imaged.”
Yes “imagined” really is spelled that way at the end of the blurb. Again I swear I don’t post these to be mean, but simply point out the blatant laziness behind all of these DVD releases. Who doesn’t have time to proofread a few lines on the back of a product they are planning to sell?! At least the front design, made to look like an original NES game case, is pretty good, even though it’s very similar to the Awesome Video Games DVD cover. I have to find at one positive thing to say though right?!
Alright, let’s finish this up by discussing the included bonus content, which won’t take long because as usual, there is very little of it here. We got some bloopers, more than usual actually with about 3 minutes worth. It’s mostly the usual flubbed line stuff though it’s kind of interesting to see bloopers involving other people such as the Wise Sage. Also I presumed Bores was also playing the Wilson character in the Home Improvement episode and yet here they are interacting with one another. So who is that mysterious other actor?! We have the 8-bit sprite intro that already plays at the start of the Aladdin review so I’m really not sure why it got separated out into its own feature. There’s a commercial for the show which is just a clip from an old episode. Finally there are a few deleted scenes from Home Improvement, Aladdin and Mario is Missing, as well as YouTube trailers for the episodes featured on this disc. Overall it’s about 10 minutes worth of stuff.
It has been about 2 and a half years since Volumes 2 and 3 were released simultaneously and there is absolutely no sign of a Volume 4 so I’m guessing that this is the last review I will ever write for an Irate Entertainment DVD. It has been an interesting ride to say the least.