This seems to be the one people have wanted me to get to, and by people, I mean like two people I talked to and one of them might not have actually said anything about it, I don’t remember. I’m actually more eager to talk about the two more recent volumes of the Irate Gamer DVDs, but in order to do that we have to get this first volume out of the way, so why don’t we do exactly that?
I was quite late to the Irate Gamer hate train. I read about him in the comments of an AVGN video and decided to seek him out. This must have been early 2009 because I know the Aladdin video was his first new release after I found out about him, and unfortunately we can’t talk about that insanity until Volume 3.
The Irate Gamer is a touchy subject in the online world, with the majority of people believing he is little more than an AVGN clone. I’ll try as hard as I can to not dwell on that too much so let me try and get it all out of my system here in the beginning. Do I think he, let’s say, “liberally borrowed” from the Angry Video Game Nerd? I do, of course I do. When you watch the videos it’s irrefutable. You can argue all you want that certain complaints will of course come up if two people review the same games (which is the case here with TMNT and Back to the Future) but there’s coincidence and then there’s “oh come the fuck on really?” This is the latter. It’s not just that the complaints are the same, it’s the wording, presentation, pretty much all of it.
So I think that gets that out of the way, although I’m sure it will come up again. However beyond the rip-off controversy, there’s a whole other mess of problems that need to be discussed.
All in all you get the first 11 episodes of The Irate Gamer in this first volume. The episodes included are:
Back to the Future
Ghosts N’ Goblins
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Super Mario Bros. 2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
All in all you get about 75 minutes worth of episodic content here.
Now I should state right up front that I don’t hate The Irate Gamer. Let me clarify that. I mean I don’t hate him in the sense that his sheer existence fills me with rage. I actually do find him entertaining, although I don’t think it’s in the way Chris Bores would prefer. I find The Irate Gamer entertaining in the same way you would find a particular act in a high school talent show entertaining. Not because it’s good, but because it’s so jaw droppingly bad that you honestly can’t believe you’re even witnessing it. You almost want to cover your eyes with your hands but you just can’t look away. You need to know just how bad the shit gets. That is The Irate Gamer to me in a nutshell.
The Irate Gamer does not work as a credible reviewer. He occasionally does make valid complaints about the controls or the graphics but for the most part he tends to focus on the most innocuous shit possible. There are also common complaints that appear in damn near every video. The biggest offenders seem to be:
This game is too Hard! – I’m not saying you can’t complain about a game’s difficulty, but try and save it for the games that are unfair in their difficulty, or where the difficulty actively takes away from the enjoyment of a game. Here the consensus always seems to be that it’s hard, so it sucks. The Ghosts N’ Goblins video in particular can essentially be boiled down to “you mean I have to fight enemies in this game? What a piece of shit!” Seriously, there’s no other complaint other than it’s a challenging game so it must be fucking garbage. Yes Ghosts N’Goblins is undeniably hard, but you know what else it is? Fucking awesome.
This ending sucks – Again no exaggeration, this complaint shows up in just about every video. I think it’s just a known fact that 90% of NES games are going to have a shitty ending. Most times you get a black screen with some white text. If you get something beyond that, it can almost be considered a treat. Besides who really plays NES games to see the ending? You play them because they kick ass and because often beating the game is an accomplishment in itself. Irate Gamer doesn’t seem to grasp that. Every ending pisses him off. The other problem is that the ending seems to piss him off no matter what it actually is. Whether it’s a screen of text, or an actual animated scene, he always says it’s shit. He never actually says what would make a good ending.
Those are the biggest standouts as they are pervasive across nearly all of the episodes featured here.
Super Mario Bros. 2 seems to be one of the more infamous reviews and the one that pushed the hatred of theIrate Gamer further out into the world. This time the game sucks because it’s not like the other Mario games. That’s really it. No legitimate complaints, just “hey this isn’t like other Mario games. What a bunch of shit cereal with a side of fuck juice!” There’s also a huge section devoted to the “controversy” that is Mario 2 ripping off a Japanese game called Doki Doki Panic. It’s treated here as this big cover-up that’s going to blow our fucking minds. The problem is that this is common fucking knowledge! It’s no huge conspiracy, literally everybody knows about this. Plus it’s not a rip-off at all, Miyamoto worked on both titles. You can’t steal shit from yourself!
This all leads into the next big problem – Irate Gamer’s credibility as an actual gamer. The popular theory is that he purchased all of these games and systems prior to starting the videos and really has no history or nostalgia around any of them. After watching the videos, I think I’m inclined to agree. I can’t help but always feel like he is playing most of these games for the first time and has done a little Wikipedia research prior to hitting record on the camera. It’s not just a matter of not sounding knowledgeable, but often he flat-out gets shit wrong or omits information all together. He also has this bizarre habit of shoehorning references to other games into reviews that have absolutely nothing to do with anything. I assume it’s to trick us into thinking he knows about all kinds of games but it’s almost always completely unrelated and unnecessary.
The other reason I’m led to believe he’s not much of a gamer is that he flat-out does not appear to be very good at the games he is actually playing. A lot of the time it HAS to be on purpose as his on-screen character will be jumping into enemies and not even making an attempt to kill them. Game Genies, cheat codes and passwords are frequently used which honestly doesn’t bother me THAT much really but a lot of these games are not that difficult. There’s also a really bizarre event during the Ghosts N’ Goblins review where all of a sudden the footage switches from being the NES version to the Arcade version. It’s never mentioned or referenced so I think we’re not supposed to notice it has happened. Apparently this really was done because the NES didn’t offer the proper cheat code but it’s just sloppy. I can sum it all up with the following statement - he chooses the Easy difficulty on Where’s fucking Waldo!
So we’ve exhaustingly covered that the reviewing aspect of these videos is not what you would call good. How about the comedy? Well it may actually fare worse. The goal is obviously to go for a Family Guy style of humour (the back of the DVD case confirms as much) but I have the same problem with these jokes that I do with the majority of Family Guy’s – they’re completely random but not in a funny or well-done way. They’re rarely jokes, just references. Hey look, a Garbage Pail Kid! You know what that shit is right?! Oh man check it out, Wicker Man reference! Wicker Man am I right?! You have to actually tell a joke, you can’t just show me some shit I know and get a laugh.
There are a lot of jokes where I’m honestly not sure what the joke is, primarily with the side characters. Can someone actually sit me down and explain why Ronnie the Skeleton is funny? Or Cousin Joey? Or Tony? They don’t really tell jokes, they just kind of show up, say some shit and I guess that’s where the funny is? I don’t know, it really does baffle me.
I should mention that the episodes occasionally do vary slightly from the versions you would see on YouTube. It’s pretty slight though, usually just a slight tweak to a line of dialogue or two.
Needless to say, I’m not a huge fan of The Irate Gamer show, at least not a legitimate fan. As I said, it fascinates me as this entity I’m almost not meant to understand. Perhaps the whole thing is one elaborate prank on the Internet, I’m not sure but it wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case. In either case, it ain’t that good.
So here’s something I’m not too proud to admit – I actually own two copies of The Irate Gamer Volume 1 DVD. I originally planned to do this feature almost two years ago and as a result of that plan, I picked up the DVD, which at the time was 8.99 plus a few dollars more for shipping. This volume has now been re-released alongside the debut of Volumes 2 and 3. Although this version is technically no longer available, and although this now feels as though I am simply picking on the guy, I do want to touch on it a little bit before we move on completely.
The DVD came in a slim case and you know things aren’t off to a great start almost immediately when you see that right there on the front are the words “Video’s Contain Explicit Language”. It takes literally 2 seconds to spot a grammatical error. If that bugs you, maybe you shouldn’t turn the DVD case around because the write-up on the back will melt your goddamn brains. Because you can no longer get this, allow me to write it in its entirety:
“The Irate Gamer, is the new critically acclaimed video game review show. Chris Bores masterfully reviews classic video games while including skits, cut away gags, special effects and more while becoming irate in the process. The format of the show which resembles something like the cross between Fox’s Family Guy, with HBO’s Penn & Teller’s BS, is highly entertaining! This DVD includes the first 11 episodes all re-mastered specially for this release, and includes memorable moments featuring classic games such as Super Mario 2, Dig Dug, Lemmings, Ghost N Goblins, and more!”
There’s not much more to say, it really all speaks for itself. I don’t even need to point out the unnecessary commas, the fact that BS is not actually on HBO, or the bizarre egotism of statements like “masterfully reviews”.
When Volumes 2 and 3 were released, Volume 1 was re-released alongside them. It now comes in a proper DVD case, the photo on the front actually depicts anger this time around, and the “video’s” line has been removed. The disc is still a DVD-R however, despite the claim that they have been professionally pressed. Let’s keep this cruelty train going and I’ll tell you what the back of this one says:
“The Irate Gamer is a video game review show were the host is just alittle on the short fused side. This collection includes all 11 episodes from the first season of the Irate Gamer Show. Including the famous Super Mario 2 review which was featured on the front page of youtube! Also included is the critically acclaimed TMNT and Ghost N Goblins episodes!”
It’s also worth nothing that “extras” also contains an extra apostrophe on the back of the case. Once again, I don’t even really need to say anything here. What I don’t get is that even typing this passage out here, there are numerous red lines indicating that shit is wrong. A second read through would indicate that as well! How did this make it on to the final product?! If you’re going to charge money for a DVD you have to at least try but again, it all just comes off as sloppy.
I could see it and hear it so sure.
This section could be the biggest offender of this DVD, and considering the slew of insanity you’ve just read through, that’s saying a lot. Here is what you get in terms of special features for this DVD:
The Making of Special
A Few Bloopers
Episode 10 Teaser
Episode 11 Teaser
It’s also worth pointing out that on the Special Features menu, Featurettes also has an unneeded apostrophe at the end. It’s definitely the most consistent theme across this entire DVD.
All in all, these special features total about 6 minutes when you watch them all in a row. I know right? Movies can sometimes get away with bare bones special features since you can’t legitimately watch them for free online. But when you release a DVD of your free all the time Internet show, you have to give a little extra incentive to the buyer. Six minutes of bonus content, almost half of which is already available online, is not that extra incentive.
It doesn’t help that what little we get is not interesting. The Making Of Special has Chris explain how he came up with the concept (which already won’t sit well with a lot of people) and then shows him kind of altering his garage for the Indiana Jones video, while acting like we should be super fucking blown away that he used his garage for that footage. Then it ends. NEXT!
A Few Bloopers is definitely an apt title as this runs for about a minute. You see Chris flub a few lines in a way that seems like he is actually doing it on purpose. Then it ends. NEXT!
Hotel Gaming is a video you can already find on Youtube. It’s also less than a minute and it’s about how Chris almost plays games on a hotel TV, but then he doesn’t. And the episode teasers are exactly that.
It’s a really disappointing crop of extras to say the least. When the DVD initially came out the theory was it was hastily tossed together to compete with the first volume of AVGN, hence the quickly assembled bonus content. But with the re-release of Volume 1, there was a perfect excuse to add a little extra content. This did not happen. But it does cost more now…so there’s that?
Is It Worth It?
Back when the DVD was 8.99, I could almost say yes if you were a legitimately huge fan of the Irate Gamer. The newly re-released version however has inexplicably increased the cost to 13.99 and for that I don’t think I can recommend it for even the biggest fan. There’s barely over an hour of content here across the entire DVD and what is there is, shall we say, not of high quality. You get brief, lame bonus features and general sloppy presentation, and the whole thing feels real, real fuckin’ lazy.
The first DVD of the feature that I can say is not worth it.
For each of these reviews I will be showing at least a part of it to my wife in order to get a quick perspective from someone who is not that familiar (if at all familiar) with the material.
What did my wife think? - "Wow he’s not even hiding that he’s a rip-off is he? And shouldn’t he be more irate?”
And for the record, this review was 2720 words. Jesus Christ right? Volumes 2 and 3 will be saner, I promise.