AVGN X is a tough Blu-ray to review because I feel like it is aimed at a very specific group of people. The set contains the first 100 episodes of the Angry Video Game Nerd, with a second disc devoted to a variety of extras that have appeared on the first 6 DVD volumes. If you look back in this section of the site, I have already touched on a lot of the specific content that is contained in the AVGN X set as I have reviewed those individual DVD releases. So if you are looking for far greater detail about the episodes themselves, go back and check out some of those. In the meantime, let’s touch on this quickly.
I like the Angry Video Game Nerd. Quite a bit actually. As with many people, I do prefer the earlier stuff. I would say the first 4-5 years of the show are pretty consistently great, with only a few weak ones in the bunch (Deadly Towers and The Odyssey episodes are two I would put at the bottom of the AVGN’s overall output). Still, the track record during this period is remarkably impressive. I discovered the show just after the Bible Games episode was released, so I was pretty late in joining. I then spent a day marathoning all of the previous episodes. I was 100% on board right away and have kept up with the show ever since.
The thing to remember is that back then, the idea of someone making detailed/angry video reviews of video games that were decades old was actually a pretty novel idea. Now you can type just about any older game title into YouTube and get a host of matches, many from people who are directly influenced by James Rolfe and this character. You could argue that has actually not been a great thing as now we’re stuck with a bunch of reviewers who call all old games “pieces of gorilla shit comin’ out of a dolphin’s dick” or whatever (though this trend has dissipated in recent years it seems), but you can’t deny the tremendous influence this character has had on internet game reviews, and gaming culture as a whole. Love him or hate him, he has made his stamp on this universe.
The big draw for the AVGN X set is that you get these 100 episodes on a single disc, with a Play All option. This leads to about 19 hours’ worth of episodes. That’s pretty insane and even more insane is that I actually went through all these episodes again in the span of about a week (the disc always remembered where I left off when I fired it back up, making it easy to hop right back in). I feel it says a lot about the quality of the show that I was able to watch that much of it in that short a time span and not have it feel like a chore by the end.
There are a few detriments to watching all of these episodes in a row. For one, I’ve said before that I’m not a huge fan of the reliance on shit jokes (something Rolfe himself even acknowledges in later episodes) and you really notice how much of it there is when you watch this much in quick succession. Granted this was earlier in the run so the idea of someone pooping on a game was funny in its willingness to take things to that place, but by the fifth or sixth time that happens, it’s difficult to muster up much enthusiasm.
While I have a huge amounts of respect for the episodes that up the production values, ones like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle and ROB the Robot, I will always prefer the simple ones that are focused entirely on the game(s). Many of the games reviewed are ones that were a major part of my childhood, such as Battletoads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mario Is Missing (I seemingly remain the sole person on Earth who is willing to defend that game) and MC Kids, so it’s fun to see them highlighted here, even if I often don’t agree with the comments being leveled against them. Then there’s the games I had no familiarity with at all, such as Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, the Atari horror games and the CDi Zelda games. In addition to the vulgar humour, I’m always impressed with the level of detail provided about each game. These episodes are impressively thorough, showing damn near every aspect of each game. So even if the humour doesn’t always work for you, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had simply learning about these obscure titles.
Outside of the ones I mentioned earlier, I enjoy nearly all of the episodes featured here, but I’ll throw a special mention to these ones as being truly representative of just how good the AVGN can be:
· The Nightmare on Elm Street/Friday the 13th Halloween specials
· The Ghostbusters Trilogy
· Spider-Man (likely my all-time favourite episode)
· Atari Porn
· The CDi episodes
If you have somehow made it this long without seeing a single episode, I would recommend starting with any of the above choices. If you’re not on board afterwards, then this may not be for you.
The bonus disc is absolutely loaded with content as it contains nearly everything that was included on the first six DVD sets. I get into those special features in greater detail in the individual reviews so I won’t say much more here, other than I was always impressed with the amount of extra content these DVDs put out, so you can imagine what it’s like to see all of it together like this. Not everything from those DVD volumes are here – with the lack of You Know What’s Bullshit being the most notable exception. So if you’re a completionist who already owns the DVDs, you may want to hang on to those for now. The quality is pretty consistent, though I still think including clip compilations for episodes that are here in their entirety is completely unnecessary. There’s a variety of documentaries, outtakes, commentaries, and way, way more. Unfortunately, there is no Play All option on this disc, so be prepared to do a lot of scrolling through menus.
While lack of content may not be an issue with the bonus disc, there are some bizarre technical issues. A couple of the features are skipped over when you’re scrolling down through the menu, but then are selectable when you scroll back up. A few features I couldn’t access at all. Contra Memories is listed on the menu and from what I can tell, cannot be selected no matter what you do. If I remember correctly, this was the case with a couple of the outtakes as well. I wouldn’t call any of these hiccups deal breakers, but it’s definitely a bummer, especially when you can see the feature sitting there but can’t actually watch it.
I should also mention that even though this is a Blu-ray, no work has been done up the quality levels of these episodes. This is something Cinemassacre has been very transparent about at least, but still worth highlighting.
The AVGN X collection definitely seems geared towards a specific audience. If you don’t have any/most of the DVD’s that are ported over here, then this is an easy recommendation. The $50 price tag may seem high, but there’s over a day’s worth of material here so I do feel it’s worth the price. If you already have the DVD’s, this is a tougher sell as there is nothing being offered here you don’t already have. As someone who does have all of the DVD’s, I personally bought this for 2 reasons: 1) the convenience of having all of this content in one package, and 2) to support Cinemassacre in general. I don’t regret the purchase as I can definitely see a world where I make my way through these every so often, and I would love to see more Blu-ray releases come out of Cinemassacre, so I feel good about supporting this endeavor.
Wow, that did not turn out to be a quick thing at all…