As with many of the DVD’s I’ll be covering in this feature, I’ve had this one in my possession for quite some time now. If I remember right it was back when I picked up AVGN Volume 4 that I grabbed this as some sort of pack-in deal. I don’t think I watched a second of it until now though. With like 3 other Screw Attack DVDs next to it on the shelf it felt like the appropriate time to bust out at least one of them and knock it off the list.
I should say that I am generally quite unfamiliar with Screw Attack. I know who Stuttering Craig is and I watched some of the videos way back when Handsome Tom was still a part of the site. I used to watch a few of the Video Game Vault videos and would sometimes cycle through some of their material once an AVGN video would end. It turns out this DVD is generally pretty unfriendly to those who are not too familiar with the site already.
The primary piece of content here is a whole slew of Video Game Vault episodes, all of which are focused on NES games except for a couple. VGV’s are short 1-3 minute long videos that quickly discuss a game. There’s a bit of an overview of what the game is and how it works, some general thoughts on what the narrator thinks of the game, and then boom you’re done. The game selections range from very popular titles such as Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out and the six Mega Man titles, to some more obscure titles like Sky Kid and ….others that I forget.
The actual videos are pretty decent. They do a good job of cramming a bunch of information and general thoughts into a very short run time. Sure you’re only getting a quick look at the game but you learn just enough to walk away pretty informed and for the most part NES games are generally pretty simple anyway. So in terms of presenting information, they do a solid job.
The humour I feel doesn’t succeed as well. It’s a little too ….meme-y for my taste. There are far too many instances where the punch-line of a joke is a photo of Chuck Norris or some other random photo/video clip. It’s just not for me. I mean it’s certainly not all like that and of course humour is subjective so many will disagree with me on this. It also doesn’t help that this DVD is several years old at this point so a lot of the jokes aren’t exactly timely, which can’t really be helped now. Still though, for me I found the humour not really up my alley but thankfully usually the actual information/review portion of the show made up for it.
The biggest sin of this DVD though is that there is no Play All button to watch these Video Game Vaults. The first 2 DVDs in this set contain about 30 episodes or more each and since they are so short, you’re going to be selecting new videos very often so a play all button feels particularly important. Also each video begins and ends with a quick bit of animation and holy shit was I ever tired of it by the end of watching this set as I watched it at least 60 or 70 times. It made watching this DVD somewhat of a chore and led to me having to break my viewing into several sessions as I just couldn’t watch that intro/outro anymore.
Outside of the Video Game Vault episodes, each of the first two discs contains a top 10 from the site. There are a couple of odd things here. First, unless I am completely missing something, each episode is only viewable with a commentary track running, there’s no option to watch it with the original audio. Also, the top 10 on disc 2 is part 1 of a top 20 Genesis game rundown. Part 2 is nowhere on this collection. I mean yeah all of that stuff is available on the website but then so are the video game vaults so it’s still a bizarre exclusion.
There are other issues too. The menus are not as easy to navigate as they should be, the framing seems off on a lot of the videos with parts of the screen being cut off and the audio levels fluctuate wildly from episode to episode. It’s their first DVD so some things can be forgiven but there are a lot of faults here that add up and hamper the general viewing experience.
The third disc contains the bonus content and unless you are a fan of Screw Attack there is almost nothing for you here. First up you get a bunch of bloopers for content that is not on this disc. At least the ones for the AVGN Christmas special are given an introduction but the others have no context. There’s also a series of Soulja Boy disses which I actually do remember from a few years back (at least I remember that stupid fucking Soulja Boy video he released where he talked shit about video games) but again, absolutely no context is provided for them.
There are a couple of segments highlighting features that never made it to the site such as a game show called, *groan*, Pwn or Pwned (there’s lot of uses of pwn on this DVD actually which is just really unfortunate) and something called the Screw Attack Minute which eventually became Hard News. It’s not hard to see why both were never taken any further. You get some early Hard News stuff, a random clip of the day that seems to be continuing a story we aren’t privy to, and some behind the scenes stuff. Probably my favourite extra is a quick bit where a couple of guys drive around their hometown to seek out arcades as the running gag in this episode is pretty solid.
Looking at the Screw Attack store I see that this DVD is only 5 bucks and despite my issues with it, it’s certainly worth a grab at that price, especially if you enjoy the stuff on the site. I would say it’s preferable that you’re already a fan of the site actually as much of it, primarily the bonus disc, is meant solely for people who already know the material. The video game vault videos are solid and enjoyable for those of us who aren’t familiar with the web site, but a lack of a play all feature hindered my experience with those as well. In the end it’s a pass, but just barely.