The Angry Video Game Nerd

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James Rolfe is the Angry Video Game Nerd, formerly Angry Nintendo Nerd before he stopped focusing on just the NES (and realized he couldn't sell T-shirts with someone else's trademark on them), a misanthropic, foul-mouthed, chronically ill-tempered gaming geek with a predilection for Rolling Rock beer who plays weird, old, and, more often than not, Nintendo Hard games, some of them with the worst Fake Difficulty imaginable. We're talking truly terrible here. Epic Snark Bait. "The Nerd" holds a specific torch of hate towards licensed games, especially ones published by LJN Toys, which he sees as manipulating hopeful and oblivious kids into buying complete trash.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was a landmark in the history of video gaming - it was the first Japanese console to make a splash in the US, the first console released after The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, and the first console that most members of Generation Y have firsthand memories of playing. During its lifespan of nearly a decade, the console introduced now-classic characters like Mario, Link, and Mega Man, saw video games shift from thinly veiled excuses to kill bad guys to complex plots, and produced scores of truly great games, some of which remain classics to this day.

But it also produced some real stinkers, and that's where the Angry Video Game Nerd comes in.

His reviews inevitably spiral downward into a barely-coherent rant peppered liberally with Cluster F-Bombs and scatological references culminating in a violent frothing rage that puts the Incredible Hulk to shame. The Nerd gets frequent unwanted visits from the stars of the games he plays, from Bugs Bunny to Freddy Krueger.

Note, however, that a handful of episodes are not so much about a single shitty game as they are about a certain console or accessory (there are even a few that aren't about video games at all). Aside from giving reviews, the Nerd has also given a bit of video game history, such as a summary of the infamous Console Wars.

When he isn't getting his nerd on, James Rolfe maintains a website at where he showcases various other ventures, including his own independent films and an annual "Monster Madness" feature each October counting down to Halloween.

The AVGN had a long and violent "rivalry" with The Nostalgia Critic that came to a head with a Battle Royale With Cheese in October 2008, and another in May 2009, this time a Massive Multiplayer Crossover with his guitar guy in the fray. See the Critic's page for more details (and TGWTG Year One Brawl for said crossover). In Real Life, Rolfe and Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic) are good friends and Rolfe has even guested in several other That Guy With The Glasses projects, including Cameos in both of the site's subsequent anniversary specials.

He produced an Angry Video Game Nerd Movie, which can be viewed on-demand here.









  • Day Dreamin' Davey
  • Star Wars
    • Star Wars: The Arcade Game
    • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on Atari 2600
    • Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle
    • Star Wars: Jedi Arena
    • Star Wars on Famicom
    • Star Wars
    • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
    • Super Star Wars
      • Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
      • Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
    • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Shadows of the Empire
  • ROB The Robot
  • Spielberg Games (includes reviews of Jaws, Hook, and some Jurassic Park games)
  • The Making of The Angry Video Game Nerd (includes a review of the video game adaptation of Barbie)
  • Ninja Baseball Bat Man
  • Kid Kool
  • Nintendo World Championships
  • Dark Castle on Sega Genesis and Phillips CD-i
  • Contra Memories
  • Bible Games 3
    • King James Bible
    • Adam & Eve
    • Spiritual Warfare on Sega Genesis
    • Exodus: Journey to the Promised Land on Sega Genesis
    • Joshua on Sega Genesis
    • Bible Adventures on Sega Genesis
    • Flight to Egypt


Tropes used in The Angry Video Game Nerd include:


  • Abusive Uncle: Uncle Crunch/Paw in The Wizard of Oz 3.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Played straight. Many viewers forget that he deliberately accentuated the negative in his review of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, as pointed out on Cinemassacre's FAQ, because it was meant to be a caricature of easily-angered gamers.
    • Played straight up with Ninja Gaiden. However, the review was done this way not to emphasize how bad of a game it was, but rather how hard and challenging it was. He did the same thing with Zelda II the Adventure of Link.
    • And when he reviewed Street Fighter 2010 he stated that if you get past it having nothing to do with any other part of the Street Fighter series, limited controls, and an impossibly difficult last stage, it's actually a pretty decent game. He tends to point this out a lot, playing the trope straight.
    • Note that The Nerd doesn't always do this. He generally gives quite a lot of slack to So Okay It's Average or So Bad It's Good games, more than most Caustic Critics would, and he occasionally does whole episodes on games he loves like Castlevania and homages like Swordquest. He will also often include games that appear in the same series as the real bad ones, and often they get some praise. This is both for completion and comparison, since often it will serve to let you know there is no excuse for the company that made it. Examples include his Godzilla review and Back to The Future re-review.
    • The Nerd unwittingly tempts fate with regard to this while the Joker is forcing him to play Batman: Return of the Joker. After complaining about the game at length, the Nerd comments that it's actually a decent game overall, just an excessively hard one. So the Joker decides to make him play the much worse Game Boy and Genesis adaptations of the game, driving the Nerd over the edge.
    • There are also instances where he is obviously looking for something to make fun of.
    • Flat out stated in his Colecovision review:

Nerd: Now, I know we mainly focused on the shitty aspects, but lemme tell ya: That's the name of the game.

  • Actor-Role Confusion: Some fans seem to believe that the Nerd and his creator James Rolfe are supposed to be the same person, when the Nerd is just a character and James is an actor.

James Rolfe: It’s funny how people usually see videos on YouTube and take them at face value. The same people probably believe that I go around in real life, wearing a white pressed shirt, stuffed with pens in the pocket, and saying “fuck” all the time and talking about buffaloes taking diarrhea dumps.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: In his review of Ricky 1, you can hear him holding back laughter when he mentions the scene that parodies The Godfather is the closest the film comes to being funny. He was also amused by the Mr. Smithers ghost in Bart vs. The World.
    • Despite talking about how much he hates the "Help, I'm a turtle and I can't get up!" line in the third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, the Nerd has a hard time controlling his laughter.
      • "I mean, come on! It's not funny!" *laughs* "Okay, I'm back!"
    • During the "Daydreamin' Davey" review, he laughs at the "vultures shitting exploding bloody diarrhea" in the Western level.
  • Alliteration: Often.
    • On Winter Games: "This is a blizzard of balls!"
    • During his Star Trek review: "You're relieved to finally start walking around and doing stuff, but only then do you realize how astronomically ass this game is!"
    • The Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin
  • Adjusting Your Glasses: In the Action 52 episode, the Nerd does this by the bridge, just after he takes out a calculator from his front pocket to determine the price that each of the 52 games would have if sold separately. The whole gesture actually makes him look, well, more nerdy.
  • Agony of the Feet: The Atari 5200 episode.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Nerd is convinced that the Atari Jaguar CD is sentient, and purposefully preventing you from playing it.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: In one episode, the Nerd jokingly suggests the idea of a Lethal Weapon game where Riggs's powerups are dog biscuits. This really does happen in the Super Nintendo game based on the movies.
  • Ancient Grome: The Nerd's review of the NES game Day Dreamin' Davey has him keep mislabeling a few stages of Ancient Greece as "Ancient Rome", even though they show Hades' lair and Mt. Olympus.
  • Angrish: A staple of his reviews. Notably, Part I of his Castlevania marathon has him devolve into it mid-sentence just talking to the camera.

If all you had to do was whip the walls when you were hungry and...if this wall would break, and... if there was a fuckin' pork chop in this wall, I would SO eat it!

    • James' tantrum during the Scrooge special.

HUMBUG! BAH agabaggablughraghablugga-- HELL!!

  • Anti-Hero: The Nerd is generally pleasant to most people until they turn out to be less than wholesome themselves, refrains from killing a defeated Klingon and has fought against Satan with Jesus on multiple occasions. Then again, he is a coarse, foul mouthed rage-a-holic who brutally beat up and decapitated Bugs Bunny (Though he certainly had it coming) roughly making him a Type III.
  • Applied Mathematics: Chronologically Confused features the Nerd in front of a board filled with nonsensical equations and formulae, including at points a Triforce and a drawing of Mario.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: He LOVES this trope.

AVGN:"It sucking fucks, it fucking sucks, it fucking blows, it's a piece of shit... and I don't like it."

      • He says something similar when talking about the radar in the Independence Day episode... "It's too small, it makes no fuckin' sense, and... I don't like it."
    • From the Deadly Towers review:

This game is a chicken-lickin'-finger-fuckin' son of a bitch! This game is BALL CIDER! The assholians bow down to this piece of shit! In other words, the game sucks.

    • Here is the biggest Cluster F-Bomb in the whole series, in the Power Glove review:

"Now you're playing with power." (Pause) Now you're playing with fuckin' shit! You're better off fuckin' shit than fuckin' with this fucked up shit! Fuck this shit! You don't know shit about how fuckin' shitty this fuckin' shit is! It's so bad it sucks! It's so fuckin' suck it fucks! And I...can't take it anymore.

    • Another one, from Superman 64 when he fails to complete a stage in time:

"Fuck! Ass! Bitch! Cunt! Fart!"

      • Before that, there was also the NES Accessories episode in which he shouts "FUCK!" in place of the word "FIRE!" with the Konami Laserscope, and he also thinks he can say anything besides "FUCK!", like for example "ASS!":


    • Another much more subtle example appears at the end of his Rocky review, where, unlike many of his rants where he states what disgusting things he would rather do than play that particular game, he merely says "I'd rather eat raw eggs".
    • Actually, he does say "I'd rather take a bath in elephant feces" before the 'raw eggs' remark.
      • Also in the Rocky review:

"It's a bunch of putrid anal shit coming out of a rhinoceros's asshole. It fucks up the ass, shits out the mouth, piss out the mouth, dookie out the ears, diarrhea out the dick, shits for the birds. The control for this game is poo-poo".

    • His obscure enemy roll call for Wolverine (NES).

"It's time for the enemy roll call: We have green rotary dial telephones, Silver Surfers in flying wheelchairs, Silver Surfers air-guitaring, John McClane from Die Hard, The Grim Reaper throwing skulls, Frankenstein monsters wearing metal masks with visors like Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and bubbles."

    • In the "Making Of" video, James remarks that he has a lot of AVGN shirts, and why.

James Rolfe: "As you can see, I have plenty of Nerd shirts because they get fucked up all the time. Bloodstains, shit-stains, missing buttons."

  • Art Evolution: Mike Matei's title cards. Pointed out in the episode in which the Nerd re-visit his earliest videos, he comments on how even the title card from the Top Gun episode was crappy, just to have it replaced in that moment with a dramatically better one.

AVGN:"Oh, okay. That's way better".

  • Ass Shove: The Bat-Nerd does it to the Joker, with all the Batman games reviewed. (Except the Good one.)
  • "Ass" the Good Book Says: In "Bible Games 3", when the Nerd types out the word "ass" in the Game Boy's The King James Version, and the results got in a list of passages with the word "ass", the following passages he reads are:
    • Genesis 44:13;[1]
    • Luke 13:15;[2]
    • 1 Samuel 12:3;[3]
    • Exodus 22:9;[4]
    • Luke 14:5;[5]
    • John 12:14;[6]
    • 2 Peter 2:16;[7]
    • Numbers 22:21;[8]
    • Genesis 42:27;[9]
    • 1 Kings 13:28;[10]
    • and Numbers 22:22.[11]

AVGN: Ooh I'm going to hell.

  • Atomic F-Bomb: The sheer intensity of the way he screams "FUUUUCK!" after seeing and playing the Godzilla games that he always wanted to play as a child, but which were released after his video game-playing prime had passed, is almost scary; it helps that the famous Godzilla roar was mixed into the scream.
    • Another one was when he ordered a custom Atari 5200 controller when he couldn't use the originals, only to discover it wouldn't fit in the controller ports.
  • Audio Erotica: In his NES Days Re-Revisited episode, the Nerd decides to call the phone number in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit game, only to find that what used to be a recorded message giving tips for the game is now a sex hotline. Audio Erotica indeed.
  • Author Appeal: It sure seems like The Nerd has an odd obsession with animal diarrhea...
    • James Rolfe loves horror movies and this fact is clearly evident in the extra work he puts into Halloween-themed AVGN episodes and Cinemassacre updates.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: "It's a Nintoaster, and yes it works!"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The 100th episode starts with the Nerd monologuing about how he have come to hate videogames thanks to shitty games, and how he wished humanity wouldn't have invented them in the first place. After going berserk, R.O.B. tries to get rid of all the videogames, replacing them with Gyromite and Stack-up, proclaiming that shitty games would no longer exist thanks to this. It's then that the Nerd realizes that he actually enjoyed the time playing all those games and battle R.O.B. to stop him.
  • Berserk Button: This is what he's known for!
    • Excessively long passwords, and using any other key besides A to jump are his two main ones.
    • Games without the pause features, such as Ghostbusters 2 on NES.
    • Seeing the LJN logo on a game cartridge has also caused him to snap.
    • Goddamned Bats!
    • The Medusa Heads in Castlevania have reportedly given him a pathological hatred of wavy lines.
    • Movie sequels that don't follow a logical numbering system.
    • Games with NO CONTINUES!?!? after you die. Turned Up to Eleven if the game combines this with One-Hit Kill or only having one life throughout the entire game.
    • Game cartridges with no end labels.
    • In Batman Part I, when he explains the utterly ridiculous controls of Batman Forever, which was designed with the Mortal Kombat engine. He actually seems to have strained his voice by the end of the review.
    • AC adapters with built-in prongs (which tend to preclude the usage of the two adjacent sockets) also greatly annoy him, as seen in the Sega 32X and Dracula reviews. Related to this, ancient consoles which force the player to make use of an RF connector box for television hookups as opposed to just plugging a cable into a much simpler coaxial converter.
    • Loading times. His annoyance with them is most pronounced in the Superman (Commodore) and Zelda's Adventure reviews.
      • Also seen in the Batman Forever review, which ironically was a cartridge game.

Nerd: ...Whenever you access a new part of the game, it says "Hold On". Hold on for what? It has to fucking load?!

AVGN: ...I got more... You're a poopy-head!

  • Bile Fascination: It's Lampshaded early on that the Nerd subjecting himself to horrible games is entirely a torment of his own making, but after the Christmas Carol parody episode, he decides that he can't handle only playing good games and goes right back to bad ones.
    • And in the R.O.B. episode, after he gets beaten to within an inch of his life and R.O.B. is in the process of destroying all games except the two it was programmed for, instead of thinking about the good games he's played, he flashes back to all the horrible piles of digital crap he'd reviewed, gathers his Heroic Resolve, and shouts, "I! WON'T! FUCKING! HAVE IT!"
  • Bladder of Steel: Discussed in his review of the NES version of Ghostbusters II:

AVGN: I mean, if you have to answer the phone, or take a shit, it's like, "Tough shit if you gotta take a shit!" You gotta take a quick shit! You gotta have turbo turds! I'm trying to play the game, I've got shit stains in my pants, and an answering machine that says "Sorry, I'm playing Ghostbusters 2 on Nintendo." What a selfish game. Bottom line, have a fucking pause button, god damn it!

"Man, these translations suck. Couldn't they just get anyone to proofread this shitload of fuck?"

AVGN: "Whoever came up with this is an ass{{[[[This Trope Is Bleep]] bleep}}]!... Ass!... Hole?... Ass[bleep]! Television makes a lot of sense."

    • In the crossover episode with Captain S, the Nerd foul language gets toned down to fit with the G-rated, Saturday morning cartoon feeling of the show. It gets lampshaded at the end when all the characters get scandalized when he says "Merry {{[[[This Trope Is Bleep]] bleep}}] Christmas!"
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the Chronologically Confused Zelda Timeline:

AVGN: We have a sequel to the original, a PREQUEL to the original, a sequel to the prequel, a PREQUEL to the prequel, and a SEQUEL to the young Link of the prequel's prequel! WHAT THE FUCK?!?

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: He offers the controller to the viewer in his Dragon's Lair review.
    • In his Nintendo Days Revisited review, the Nerd plays Top Gun again. It appears as if he is about to actually land the plane, but instead the plane flies out of the TV and out the window.
    • Long before that, he finally landed the plane with the Power Glove.
      • In the same vein as the Top Gun plane exiting the TV, in his Star Wars review, the boss's life bar in one of the Super Star Wars games is so long that it exits the TV and keeps expanding.
  • Breaking the Reviewer's Wall: Sometimes he gets into fights with characters from the games, and in a few rare occasions, enters the game he's reviewing.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The mail on his Street Fighter 2010 review.
    • Leatherface and the bicycle in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre review.
    • Mentions of "the Poopie Man" in the Halloween review.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: He coins the world's strongest expletive just to describe a set of games. It's so strong that both the audio track and his mouth are censored. Consider what does get through and...
  • Call Back:
    • In the Pitfall episode there's an small call back to The Crazy Castle episode:

AVGN: That would be like the Easter Eggs were full of diarrhea and the Easter Bunny was shitting all over your face... but I had enough with bunnies and shit lately...

    • There's a Call Back to the Super Mario Bros. 3/The Wizard episode in the Game Glitches episode:

AVGN: Moving on to Mario 3, The Glitch Gremlin usually stays away from this one. Yeah, it's a little too crowded with demonic possessions.

    • In the out takes of the Nintendo World Championship episode, Pat mocks the Nerd about how he's a better gamer than him, making reference to many of the Nerd's failures from past episodes, including his inability to land the plane in Top Gun.
    • From his Star Wars games review: "And what's this? The program engineer shows his face? I wish it was Fred Fuchs!" (referencing his "Bram Stoker's Dracula" review)
      • And before that, he mentions Fred Fuchs in his review of Winter Games: "Who programmed this thing?? Maybe it was Fred Fuchs!"
    • In his second "Bible Games" review, the Nerd ends the review by looking at BIBLE GAMES... on CD-i! Much later, in his Dark Castle review, he ended the review the same way.
      • In the same episode, the Nerd sarcastically utters that the cartoonish dragon seen in the Genesis version of Dark Castle will give him nightmares, likely a reference to James Rolfe's own short autobiographical film The Dragon in my Dreams.
    • In his re-visit of the Back to the Future game, he said he was experiencing deja vu because he stuck the game cartridge in the Nintoaster. In his first Back to the Future review, he stuck the cartridge in an actual toaster.
    • The Nerd has tried to land the plane in Top Gun four times: Initially in his Top Gun review, again in his Power Glove review (ironically, the only time he landed it successfully), again in the NES Accessories video when he used the U-Force. And finally, he revisited the game during his Back to the Future re-review, and once again tried to land the plane. This time, the plane exited his TV and flew out of the basement.
    • In his Silver Surfer review, the Nerd says that just thinking about the game makes him feel like having an anal evacuation. He says the same thing about the Power Pad in his NES Accessories review.
    • In his McKids review, he comments that the character can walk on water. Then he asks, "Who does he think he is: Jesus Christ?" He asks the same thing in his Rambo review.
    • In his review of the Independence Day video game, he thought that he should be doing something better with his time than playing the game, such as playing with dog turds. Later, when he reviewed Ricky 1, he complained about being harassed by The Nostalgia Critic, and asks, "Don't you think I have enough videos to make?! That I have nothing better to do than, y'know, play with dog turds?"
  • The Cameo: Shit Pickle turned up due to his similarity to the enemies in Action 52 's "Ooze".
    • Richard Daluz, creator of James' "Nintoaster", appears in voiceover in the Atari Jaguar video, discussing his attempts to fix the Jaguar CD that James had sent him.
    • The AVGN has a small cameo in the Cinevore's music video parody Piece of Meat
  • Captain Ersatz: The Loony Fan from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre review is based on Chop-Top from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
    • The man who sells him the games is based on Alfredo (the gas station owner) from Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, and even sings the same song at one point.
  • Captain Obvious: When criticizing the Virtual Boy's size for a portable system, he remarks, "My ass is portable!"
  • Casual Danger Dialog: When looking at the Jurassic Park game for the C Di, he notices that the mini-game where you're being chased by a T-Rex doesn't show any hands on the steering wheel. He guesses that the driver either has their hand on the bottom of the wheel or is steering with their knee, and then goes on to note that the driver must be pretty casual about the situation to steer like that, and imagines them doing this on a cell phone at the same time.

Nerd as Driver(on cellphone): Hey, I'm stoppin' at Dunkin Donuts, you want me to pick up a coffee? What's that? Oh, just some fuckin' T-Rex behind me. Yeah, what an asshole.

"What were they THINKING?!"
"What a shit load of fuck."
"Let's pop this fucker in!"
"Let's play some shitty games!"
"I would rather (do something involving animal shit) than play this game!"
"What a piece of shit!"
"What a joke!"
"Fuck. Fuck! FUCK! FUUUUUUUUUUCK!" as seen here and here.

    • Super Mecha Death Christ: FUCKERS!!!!!!
    • Bullshit Man: "You know what's bullshit?" Of course eventually followed up with: "That's bullshit!"
  • Caustic Critic: Note that this is very much just the Nerd's exaggerated persona - when James Rolfe reviews media as himself, he's actually more generous than most Internet critics. He is apparently rather soft spoken, which comes as a shock to people used to him as the AVGN. Contrast with The Happy Video Game Nerd, who inverts James' concept and even has gotten James' seal of approval—by subscribing to Happy's YouTube account.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in his review of Ghostbusters for the Sega Genesis, when he declares that the world is coming to an end due to him liking the game.
    • You'll also notice that a lot of his videos where he tries to be more informative have him be more...well, out-of-character.
  • The Chew Toy: Half the fun is simply watching the Nerd suffer and become increasingly unhinged over the course of the video.
  • Chirping Crickets: In the Action 52 episode, when he tries to play Alfred and the Fettuc (for the second time) the game never loads and the Nerd is left only with a dark screen and the sound of crickets.
  • Christmas Episode: "Bible Games" (2006), "An Angry Nerd Christmas Carol", "Bible Games" (2008), "Winter Games", and "How the Nerd Stole Christmas".
  • Clip Show: Part of the December 2010 episode is a recap of all the previous Christmastime episodes.
  • Cloning Blues: None of them want to play Nightmare On Elm Street with him. Though you can hardly blame them.
    • The Nerdy Turd is cloned from the Nerd's feces.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Doesn't even begin to describe him.
    • Parodied with a line in his Dracula video.

"Oh eff--I mean fuck!"

"Purple for "Putrid Gameplay", Blue for "Bad Musical Abominations", Green for "Graphical Farts and Garlic", Yellow for "Piss-Poor Lack of Loyalty to Source Material", Orange for "Orange you a fucking idiot!", and Red for "High-stress Anger-Inducing Masochism"! Put that all together, and you have all the colors of the shit-rainbow! Hooray LJN."

AVGN: "Yeah! That's the REAL Jaguar!"

  • Compilation Rerelease: The first two episodes were re-released as "Bad NES Games" together with various other shorts in the "Shorts" tape of the "Cinemassacre Gold Collection".
  • Complaining about Games You Don't Like: Pretty much the whole point of his videos.
    • Even more so in another of Rolfe's series, You Know What's Bullshit, though there it's more "Complaining About Pet Peeves", such as shoelaces, the post office not having much pens and pennies, which actually made the news.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: No surprise this happens a lot since a great part of the games he reviews are full of terrible Fake Difficulty.

AVGN: The game cheats. That's all there is to it. The game fucking cheats.

  • Continuity Nod: The Nerd mentions "Fred Fuchs" from his Dracula review in his Winter Games review.
    • When the couch gets destroyed in the Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle review, the Guitar Guy comes out from under the wreckage. He's been there apparently since the beginning of the series, though you only learn about this in the Battletoads review.
  • Cosmic Retcon: The Y2K bug caused the events of his earlier "Wizard of Oz 3" video to be wiped from existence. This is referenced in The History Of Super Mecha Death Christ.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • In his Little Red Hood review, he points out that even though the title character is shown kicking a Mooks on the cover, you cannot kick your enemies in the game.
    • In the Cheetahmen review's opening theme song movie, The Nerd plays the SNES game Phalanx, a space shooter. He then looks closely at the cover of the game, which has an old southern man with a banjo. He looks to the camera, confused. (Yes, this is real; the publishers did this hoping it would grab people's attention).
  • Cover Version: His Nintendo Power review features Kyle Justin performing a cover of the Nintendo Power jingle and the beginning of his "Double Vision" (ColecoVision & Intellivision) review, Kyle does a cover of Foreigner's "Double Vision." The Angry Video Game Nerd's theme has also been covered and remixed by fans of the series countless times in nearly every single genre of music.
  • Creator Thumbprint:
    • Rolfe is a huge fan of the horror genre, and it shows in his annual Halloween specials, dedicating daily updates on his Cinemassacre site to surprisingly thorough horror movie history.
    • He's also a fan of the Godzilla films as well.
    • His Castlevania marathon has him start by mentioning it as one of his favorite franchises.
  • Crossover: With That Guy With The Glasses. Repeatedly. And every instance of it is epic.
    • With Captain S, in a Christmas special of said series.
    • With Pat the NES Punk, for a review of the ultra-rare NES World Championship cartridge.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: In his logo. The shape also suggests a game controller's directional pad.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: James lying bloodied and charred from his fight with R.O.B. --With the trademark white shirt, of course.
  • Cultured Badass: For a guy who spends all day playing old video games and swearing like a sailor he has a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of Scottish folklore, recounting the meeting of St. Columba and the Loch Ness monster in the history of Super Mecha Death Christ. Though in his version the monster was Satan and Death Christ drove him off.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Both of the fights between the Nerd and Bugs Bunny. Bugs is the first to get his ass kicked, but he later comes back in the Crazy Castle review to exact his rabbit revenge.
  • Curse Cut Short: From the Jaws section of his Spielberg movie games review: "Smile, you son of a- Mmmmm!"
  • Cut and Paste Environments: A major complaint he has in his review of Action 52, in which he gets annoyed very quickly at the quantity of Space Shooters which are basically the same. Reaches the level of "Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? Space?"

Nerd: The rest of the street stages are all the same, except they change the color. No effort. Time is money. Don't design another stage; just change the color, and kids will think it's different. Do they think we're idiots?

  • Cute Kitten: His black cat Boo, a.k.a. "Death Kitty" has made a few appearances:
    • In the second part of the Atari Jaguar episode, the Nerd is attacked by the Atari Jaguar logo. He thus summons Death Kitty to fight it, and proves quite Badass.
    • In the NES accessories episode, it plays with the screen for a few seconds, as well as defacing the Power Pad when the Nerd references what pets can do to it. The Nerd also attempts to use him to control the Roll'n Rocker, only for Boo to walk off it 5 seconds later.
    • AVGN turns into Boo at the end of his Moonwalker review.
    • His white cat, Little Yeti, is used to torture the Nostalgia Critic into submission in the Final Battle behind-the-scenes.
  • Dark Reprise: A low-tempo version of the AVGN theme plays us into his 100th review. It reflects the Nerd's increasing disillusionment with his once-beloved NES games.
  • The Danza: The Nerd's first name is James according to the Winter Games video.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode in which "the guitar guy" (Kyle Justin) who sings the Nerd's Theme Song helps review Battletoads.
  • Decision Darts: The 100th Episode (R.O.B.) reveals that the Nerd takes a pen out of his pocket protector and randomly hurls it at his wall of games to determine his next review.
  • Defictionalization: There are a couple of episodes in which he casually mentions names of fake ridiculous games, this has caused some fans to actually google those games causing some curious results:
    • In his review of Shaq Fu, he mentions Full House Tournament Fighter. Later, someone on YouTube submmited the supposely intro of the game, and recently he even submmited a whole battle between Uncle Jesse and Joey.
    • In the review of Kid Kool, he mentions the game "Doctor Claw's Dump and Pump", there are already a couple of fake YouTube videos claiming to be the intro of the game to mislead the people that actually try to Google it.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Fester's Quest, apart from the game footage.
  • Department of Redundancy Department

Nerd: They just cut out the logo with cheap paper and they glued it on...with glue.

    • In his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review:

Nerd: And you know what pisses me off? Every time you fall down, you have to walk through the entire room all over again. All the enemies come back, so you have to fight everybody all over again.

"Once upon a time, there was a girl named Little Red Riding Hood. She liked to jump in the air and whistle out her vagina. She kicked at trees until Big Bird's ballsack would appear. --what, that's not the story?"

  • Deus Ex Machina: Literal case during his battle with The Nostalgia Critic. The Critic begins channeling the power of Satan, and the Nerd is helpless, until Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C. 4.0 Beta shows up.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In his revisit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Nerd (who himself has been transformed into Hyde) is so pissed off by the game that he goes and digs up the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson.
    • It then gets subverted when Stevenson's skeleton rises up and says 'Fuck you!' to the Nerd and foils his revenge. May count as a Funny Moments for some.
  • The Dog Shot First: Mercilessly mocked in the intro to Nintendo Days Revisited. "Jason Voorhees shot first".
  • Don't Explain the Joke: In his "Star Wars" review:

Obi Wan: Luke, choose the force!
Nerd: Get it? Instead of "use the force", it's "choose the force", that's clever.


  • Easter Egg: You can sync the episode of the review of the Wizard of Oz SNES game with Pink Floyd'sDark Side of the Moon album. Done in purpose as a reference to the urban legend that the Wizard of Oz movie could be synced to the album.
  • Edutainment Show: His reviews actually fall into this category, when you think about it. You may learn something you never knew about an old console or game, while being entertained at the same time.
    • Many of his more recent episodes (2010 and beyond normally) were a little more like a documentary.
  • Enemy Mine: He has joined forces with The Nostalgia Critic to review The Making of TMNT: Coming Out Of Their Shells as they both are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. Sure, they technically became allies at the TGWTG Brawl, but still...
  • Enforced Method Acting: Several times, those are genuine reactions, and sometimes James thinks they were so good that they're worth putting into the final take. Gameplaywise, he shows that he's actually playing the game and that he wasn't staging them. If it's a new game he's never played before (Namely Dragon's Lair), some of those are his actual thoughts.
    • Subverted in a couple of his early videos. He admits in his 'Making an AVGN episode' documentary that in his Karate Kid video he was intentionally walking into the enemies.
  • Episode Title Card: All drawn by Mike Matei, and all featuring a caricature of the Nerd.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His very first words:

Angry Video Game Nerd: This game sucks.

Nerd: You would rather listen to your own infant child puking to death. That is, choking on his own puke chunks...That's disgusting, I apologize.

    • He also apologizes for something he says in his Indiana Jones review. "I'd rather drink buffalo shizz! That's a combination of shit and jizz. Yeah, that's foul. I apologize."
    • He also draws the line when it comes to animals. In Cheetahmen, he was horrified to see a dag get ran over when he was playing Action 52 for the Sega Genesis and demanded to know why would "dead cats" be in the game.
  • Every Episode Ending: Not all of them, but it often involves destroying the cartridge of the game reviewed.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-Universe: Parodied at the end of his Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde review remake.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He is a nerd, he often gets angry, the show is about video games.

"To play the game, you need the Game Boy. Here's the game, that's the boy, this is the Game Boy."

    • Shit Pickle. He's a pickle, and he's got a big (well, relative to his size) dollop of shit on his head.
    • Also the Nerdy Turd, a large turd with the Nerd's face on it. Created for the Magnavox Odyssey review. The only sound it makes is fart noises.
    • "Hey, you like my new invention? I call it the "Gyromite Controller". ..It plays Gyromite."
    • The Nerd lampshades this in "How the Nerd Stole Christmas":

Ballz is an aptly-named travesty on SNES
That makes no sense and is a cockamamie butt-brained mess!

"And I am dead fucking serious. Dead. Fucking. Serious." *breaks into laughter as video cuts away*

  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Seen in the "Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle" review.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The Nerd and Captain S in the crossover Christmas special.
  • Flanderization: Kinda. His earlier reviews (back before his Screwattack partnership) had him act much calmer, with some swear words popped in at times. Now he swears much more often, and he's more over the top angry. Beer drinking was also a one-time action in his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde review, now being a staple of his series.
    • Another way to put it is that before, he was simply an "Angry Video Game Nerd" who became angry at the constant suckage of the games he played. Now, he's an insane muthafucka. Compare his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde reviews.
  • Flashback Cut: Demonstrated in his Rambo review when he briefly flashed back to a satirical remark he made in his Chronologically Confused video about what the next Rambo movie might be called.
  • Flipping the Bird
  • Follow the Leader: Inspired a glut of profanity-filled internet video game reviews, with The Irate Gamer being among the most prominent.
    • He also has some imitators in other countries, like Le Joueur Du Grenier ("The Attic Gamer") in France.
  • Foreshadowing: The Nerd mentions Richard Daluz's Nintoaster in passing during his review of the Atari Jaguar CD. It is the console he plays Action52 on in THAT video.
    • Also overlaps with Brick Joke: In his earlier review of the Back to The Future games: he stuffs the cartridge in a toaster. This overlap was lampshaded.
    • In the Making Of special, when James demonstrates how he has hooked up so many consoles to a single TV, he uses the CD-I as the example and shows us how he activates it, but adds "I don't know why I'd ever want to play CD-I again." Guess what console he uses in the Dark Castle review?
  • Fountain of Expies: He got a lot of them!
  • Frankenstein's Monster: The "Franken-Nerd".
  • Freak-Out: The Nerd goes completely fucking loco at the end of the Dick Tracy review. He starts screaming about the Nintendo Hard aspect of the game, coming closer and closer to the screen, screams, starts drinking beer like crazy (wetting his clothes in the process), starts shouting muffled nonsense while pushing his face into a pillow, a brief montage of him screaming "FUCK" in various parts of his house follows, and even then, he pierces the cartridge with a drill. Then he looks at the cartridge, spinning because he wasn't holding it and it was still on the drill, with a demented stare, at that, and the screen finally cuts to black as he destroys it with his hammer. While the cartridge is spinning.
    • It's been noted the sheer ire of this particular Freak-Out concerning Dick Tracy was because this was one of the few games the Nerd owns that he hasn't been able to beat for over 20 years and actually harbors sincere animosity for. Projecting real-life frustration via the Nerd persona equals one of his most batshit insane rants ever in the series.
    • Done again in his second revisit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. After too much time playing the game (and, arguably, too much liquor), the Nerd goes on a rage-blinded mission with a cape, top hat, and a cane to dig up Robert Louis Stevenson's grave for making the book that inspired the game; after the skeleton somehow comes back to life, proclaiming it's the devil and commanding the Nerd to play the game some more, the Nerd wakes up with the game still in the toaster-turned-NES. He has an epiphany...
  • Fridge Brilliance: The Nerd has an extreme case of this himself when he revisits Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Toward the end of the review, he begins to think it is actually a clever game, as it makes sense that Jekyll's weapon doesn't hurt people since he symbolizes good, how you get a game over when Hyde physically passes Jekyll since in that instance it would mean evil triumphs over good, and many other bits of symbolism in the game. Of course, even after realizing this stuff, he still hates the game for being awful.
    • His "evidence" for Super Mario Bros 3 being possessed had to take forever to come up with, and it's truly a spectacle of nerd theory-dom.
    • He doesn't use his 'Beat-a-Game button' on the original Ninja Gaiden, but on Ninja Gaiden 2 instead. Why? Because he never beat the first one so he wouldn't be able to use footage of the ending cutscenes.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Word of God says the Rolling Rock bottles are actually filled with water. Justified because James shoots the footage in the morning and doesn't want to drink alcohol that early.
    • In the 'Spiderman' episode, you can see that it is indeed water in the bottle (as Spidey tips it away claiming it to be 'corporate bullshit' and 'Shit Rock'), although this might be purely because of the nature of this shot; who the hell would actually tip perfectly good beer away like that?
  • Funny Background Event: In the Winter Games review, the Nerd eventually goes on a rant about how the control setup is essentially frantic mashing of random buttons. He does an example of this while saying so, facing the camera and using the controller plugged into the NES behind him. Viewers looking past him during this moment will notice the figure skater in the game doing several (relatively) impressive moves; all of which the Nerd previously noted he couldn't do when he was trying.
    • Much the same happens when he tries to beat Zelda II with the Power Glove. The Nerd is busy talking about the Nintendo Hard nature of the game and the shittiness of the Power Glove while lamenting how he's never been able to beat the game. All the while behind him, Shadow Link is handily defeated by the Power Glove's random movements, something he was never able to do when he actually tried his hardest.
  • Future Loser: During the 2007 A Christmas Carol parody, the Nerd sees his future self playing various shitty Wii games and the future Nerd eventually has a heart attack while playing Boogie to the tune of "Walking on Sunshine".
  • Genre Popularizer: Of the "angry video game reviewing" kind, if you're not going to call those others copycats.
  • Genre Savvy: The Nerd created a Frankenstein's Monster, but also added a way to shut it off.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: All the time, but there are particularly plenty of examples in his Plumbers Don't Wear Ties review:

AVGN: There's dogs applauding!! I didn't even know that dogs were fucking watching!!
AVGN: Bu... th... uh... wha... A fucking chicken mask?! ...An UPSIDE DOWN FUCKING CHICKEN MASK!

AVGN: Home Alone in the Nintendo Entertaiment System, what a buttload of crud.

"Well, I gave that a try..."

  • Gross-Out Show
  • Guest Fighter: Bugs Bunny, who intrudes the Nerd's reality just to kick the crap out of him.
  • Guilty Pleasures: According to his review of "The Making of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Out Of Their Shells Tour," he had a cassette of the tour, which he would listen to all the time, but is ashamed to admit it.
    • He also admits to liking "TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze" as a guilty pleasure, despite (or perhaps because of) thinking it's cornier than the first movie.
  • The Gump: As The History of Super Mecha Death Christ reveals, Super Mecha Death Christ has had an influence in history from its first chronological appearance in 2000 b.c., where the prototype spontaneously appeared after the events of The Wizard of Oz 3: Dorothy Goes to Hell (one of James' earlier videos) and was subsequently destroyed by the cavemen, the vikings, and the Egyptosaurus. Notable appearances in history include:
    • The discovery of the prototype SMDC2K's remains in Stonehenge (where Mechahenge was built the next morning but vanished mysteriously at sunset) in 900 b.c.;
    • The construction of Mecha Death Christ by Prince Vlad Dracula in 1476 a.d. after being haunted by visions of Death Christ (who aided St.[12] in defeating Satan in the Loch Ness 911 years prior), which eventually went on a berserk killing spree and ultimately beheaded Dracula before heading off to whereabouts unknown;
    • The recovery of Mecha Death Christ by Nazis in 1933, its upgrade to Super Mecha Death Christ in [13] (not to be confused with Super Megadeth Christ), and its killing of Adolf Hitler in 1944, the same year it was defeated and then recovered by the U.S. military;
    • The reconstruction out of the same parts a year later into Super Mecha Death Christ version 2, complete with new weapons, electromechanical interface, capability of flying, and voice synthesis (however, all it could do was shout out German swears);
    • The completion of version 3, which was given a test flight in 1947 in a desert near Roswell, New Mexico, where it was mistaken for a UFO;
    • The malfunction of version 4 (which was built in 1955 out of a red Chevrolet) on its first test run;
    • Version 5 (built in 1960), which, despite being capable of employing laser physics, suffered the same fate as the previous one;
    • The completion of Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 in 1962 with stealth flight, which escaped detection, and flew off to an unknown location, only to be found 40 years later washed up on the shore of Maldives Island (up until then, the U.S. military dropped the SMDC project, and instead focused on what eventually became the Nighthawk), and rebuilt in 2004 into SMDC 2000 II;
    • The discovery in 1972 by the NASA astronauts of what was presumed to be the remnants of SMDC2K, which was really the scrap metal from the SMDC2K prototype. They subsequently flew it back to Earth for testing;
    • The creation of Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 b.c. from the prototype in 1981, with laser, grenade, and machine gun cannons, and the upper body being mounted on a task for extreme combat;
    • The release of RoboCop in 1987, which ripped off the model of the protoype of the SMDC2K;
    • The completion of SMDC2K b.c. version 2.0 in 1989, with a ray gun equipped to its chest, and the ability to blast laser beams from its eyes;
    • The builiding of SMDC2K b.c. version 2.5 in 1997, which was updated with a new voice synthesis (but it could only scream in rage); it was abducted by Satan the next year, and reprogrammed for world domination;
    • The rampage of the automated robofied powertronic cyberbot Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 b.c., version 3.0 Beta (bitch) in the land of Oz under the control of Satan in 1999.
    • Its existence failure at the beginning of 2000, in which the Y2K bug caused the year 99 to 0, thus causing the space-time continuum to reset itself, which turned SMDC into Baby Christ (obviously, not an evildoer) who generated a force field that deflected the world-blower-upper bomb it fired into the air as SMDC and redirected it to Hell and it blew up Lucifer instead, sent the SMDC prototype to 2000 B.C.,[14] prevented the building of version 3.0 Beta, and because Baby Christ was in Oz, it made no sense for him to be in the Bible, so without Jesus, there'd be no New Testament, and Satan would have nothing better to do than sit around and stick his pitchfork up his ass, his son Damien would be playing croquet with the angels, dogs and cats would be rolling around in the mud, and Dorothy would be reincarnated as a pig taking a shit up the side of a barn (In short, the Y2K bug resulted in a Stable Time Loop, and the events in Oz no longer exist);
    • The take-over of SMDC 2000 II by Satan, yet again, after it was rebuilt, only to be intercepted by SMDC2K b.c. version 3.1, who shows up out of nowhere, destroys it in the confrontation, and sends Satan back into Hell;
    • The surprise appearance of the self-upgraded Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 b.c. 4.0 Beta after AVGN encounters Satan possessing a Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge in 2008, and again in the same year during the battle between AVGN and the The Nostalgia Critic where Satan intervenes to assist NC; in both cases Satan was defeated;
    • The final appearance of Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 b.c. (whatever version it happened to be at the moment) to date in 2009 in a pitched battle between the forces of gamers and critics, in which he did combat with Giant Robotic Donkey Kong Jesus Riding a Puff of Smoke, culminating in a nuclear blast in the middle of Chicago; Neither have been seen since.
      • The moral of this story: Good always prevails over evil, no matter how corruptive.
  • Gushing About Shows You Like: The main purpose overall of his Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania series reviews. This is especially prevalent for Super Castlevania IV, since he had criticisms for the other games, but that game garnered nothing but praise.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Our man.
  • Halloween Episode: Once a year. For the first few years, two videos per year.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: At the beginning of his review for the Die Hard game, he acknowledges this about the cover art for the game, which depicts the Nakatomi Building, which is lit in such a way that it greatly resembles the Twin Towers, ablaze.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": "It's my duty -- heh, "doodie"..."
    • In the third Bible Games review, when he types in the word "ASS" in the Game Boy video game The King James Version and a list of passages with the word "ass" shows up, one of them having the words "dumb ass":

Heh heh heh, it says "dumbass" in the Bible.

  • Hello, Insert Name Here: "ASSSSSSS", naturally.
    • Sometimes he lampshades the name entry problem in the Winter Games episode:

"The name entry screen is a disaster. You can't move the cursor up or down. It only goes left and right. Isn't that fun?! Not to mention, they only let you spell four-letter words, which I could think of plenty, but how many names would have less than four letters? If you tried to add a fifth letter, it goes back and replaces the first letter, then you gotta figure out how to start over. When it reaches the last letter, why couldn't it just stop?! The simplest thing to do is to type in all A's, then go left once to get to the end button. Because, why put in a name anyway? It's not like the game is gonna save it. But if it did, I guarantee most of the high scores will belong to "AAAA". The point is, how hard is it to program something as simple as a name entry screen? If they can't even get that right, then WOAH! Wait 'til you see the game!"

  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Happens briefly in part 2 of the Zelda CD-i reviews, upon seeing the infamous "You've kiiiilled meee!" "Good!" cut scene exchange.
    • Also the end of the his Rambo game review.
    • Ninja Gaiden did this to a Ninja Master!
    • The Action 52 review has various degrees of this, with probably the best example being his stunned silence during the clip of "Timewarp Tickers".
    • Happens yet again with his Star Wars episode, this time as a result of Darth Vader's transformation into a scorpion when he's reviewing the Famicom version of Star Wars (1987).
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Try to watch the "Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle" outtakes and not laugh from watching James repeatedly laugh himself silly trying to say a convoluted scatological rant.
    • There's also a video entirely made up of outtakes from his Ninja Gaiden episode. Kevin Finn (the ninja mentor) improvises when they forget a line or something unexpected happens, all without missing a beat.
    • Occasionally, James will stick an outtake during or after the credits, such as The Wizard of Oz review where James kept cracking up at Mike Matei's Cowardly Lion, or James cracking up at Kyle Justin's "There are no other couches to go behind!" in the Battletoads review, or this gem from Castlevania Part 2:

Nerd: This game is like playing shit tennis with an orangutan while having a hyena's head up your ass... (Beat) or your head up its ass! (laughs)

"I would never do this, I take good care of my games!"
(Cut to his over-the-top destruction of the Dick Tracy game.)

    • In the Wizard of Oz review, he says "Hey man, did you just swear!?" to the Cowardly Lion.
    • Once the Nerd introduces the Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 BC 4.0 Beta (Bitch), said robot blasts him while shouting "WATCH YOUR FUCKING LANGUAGE!!"
      • He did this in response to the Nerd going "Holy shit!" which suggests that he's pretty fine with vulgarity, but will not stand for blasphemy.
    • When discussing the fourth Friday the 13 th film he asks, in response to the actions of Corey Feldman's eccentric character, who on earth puts on a mask to play a video game. Cut to existing footage of the Nerd playing Batman games in a Batman mask.
    • While reviewing Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, the Nerd proclaims that he won't be using Game Genie because he wants to beat the game legitimately. Cue the Nerd using an Extra Life code.
    • After a torturous run of Super Pitfall, followed by a lame ending, the game has the audacity to offer a "Second Quest":

"What kind of masochist would you have to be to beat this game more than once? If you did it one time, what would you have to prove to do it again? You'd have to be some kind of fucking idiot!" [resumes playing]


  • Ice Cream Koan: The Ninja Master (Kevin Finn) improvised many of these for the Ninja [15] episode, and they were so random that they ended up being cut.

Ninja Master: A hummingbird with no song will never... be a pop star.
Ninja Master: A cherry blossom, that gets eaten by a possum, isn't that awesome.
Ninja Master: A wren... that looks like a hen... is more a hen than a wren.
Ninja Master: ...If you want to catch the moon in a net, you must get a net required for the bigness of the jump.

  • Idiot Savant: An inanimate example with the Power Glove. Besides being completely useless with every other game, it helped the Nerd land the plane in Top Gun and aided him in beating Dark Link in Zelda 2, much to the Nerd's astonishment.
  • If You Taunt Him You Will Be Just Like Him: During one exchange with the Nostalgia Critic. For the longest time, he appeared to be taking the high road for a change...
  • Ignored Epiphany: Done for comedic effect. In the Star Trek game review, the Nerd is about to destroy another game he doesn't like. He then decides not to, thinking that maybe the game designers did the best they could. The guest character says, "By sparing the shitty game, you have shown the advanced trait of mercy!" The Nerd replies, "Mercy this, motherfucker!" and kills him for no reason. The Nerd goes back to physically attacking bad games in later reviews.
    • In the Christmas special, he found out that the future is not going to be good for him as he ended up being a Future Loser who plays terrible Wii games. It turned out to be a dream and then he played Super Mario World and realized how good the game was. He decides to just play good games before he said "fuck it" and starts playing terrible games again, starting with the Virtual Boy.
  • I Got a Rock: When he unveils a childhood halloween tape of his (He dressed as Dick Tracy.).
    • Instead of candy, the Nerd gives a shitty Atari game (and an Atari 2600) to one of the children that come trick-or-treating to his house, after taking a crap in the other kid's bag.
  • Imagine Spot: Both Pat the NES Punk and the Nerd daydream about how awesome it would be if they had the two Nintendo World Championships cartridges for themselves.
  • I'm Going to Hell For This: The Nerd's response to him looking up the word "ass" in a Game Boy version of the text of the King James Bible and laughing at the results.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • He had called out the Who Framed Roger Rabbit game for using a cheetah\cheater pun.
    • His reaction to "Lights! Camera! Action 52!".
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Zig-zagged: he drinks so much Rolling Rock that the impact generally associated with the trope is lost, but he will also drink hard liquor (in one case, an entire bottle of what appears to be scotch) on the rare occasion that beer alone won't do. And in the Transformers episode, he drank hot sauce, but not for the same reason—it was endorsed by a world-champion gamer, and thus he was trying to use it as a performance enhancer.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: Subverted in the Terminator review. The Nerd is so fed up with constantly losing all of his lives that he decides to take action. Finding a location where Terminators infinitely spawn, the Nerd clamps a wrench down on the "Fire" button to rack up points and lives while he can go do other things. He comes back to the game the next morning to find that the extra life counter maxes out at six.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the Haloween review. It's not chocolate, nor is it poop, it's shit!
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: In the Ninja Gaiden review, he gets help from a ninja master who helps him progress in the game.
  • Instant Home Delivery: In one episode he orders an Atari controller and then goes outside and has it thrown in his face.
  • Insult to Rocks: You thought Godzilla for the NES was bad? "(Godzilla 2) is an insult to the first game!"
    • "Why does Darth Vader turn into a fucking scorpion? That didn't even happen in the Special Editions!!"
  • Interface Screw: The Glitch special spoofed, discussed, and deconstructed this trope for the sake of humor, in that order.
  • In the Style Of: At a few other times in "How the Nerd Stole Christmas!", the Nerd talks out in rhymes, which is more like rapping them in the style of Eminem.
  • Ironic Echo: Hammertime! in the TMNT 3 review.
  • Item Get: Parodied in the Legend of Zelda CD-i episode, when the Nerd pulls out Zelda's Adventure in a pose to the music that is played when Link pulls out the Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • I Thought It Meant: When ROB asks for his gyros, The AVGN makes him a gyro.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": ""I AM ERROR." Well, maybe that's just his name? Maybe it's pronounced "Ear-oar."
  • I Want My Jetpack: The Nerd comments on this in the Street Fighter 2010 episode.

AVGN: It's crazy! Remember how futuristic the year 2000 seemed? My whole childhood, it seemed like every movie, every video game, it was always 2000... it sounded so high-tech and far away. But now, fuck that! It's the 10 year anniversary of the year 2000! (Back to the Future's 2015 footage) In five years, we're gonna have flying cars, and hoverboards and self-lacing shoes... It better happen, otherwise they should have make it the year 3000. If they ever made it 2100, we'd all be dead. It wouldn't make any difference anyway. Better be a mystery than to be wrong.

  • Jump Scare: Played for Laughs in the Nintendo Power video. AAASSSSS!
  • Katanas Are Better: For slicing a videotape in half.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: He includes Boo/Death Kitty in a number of videos, and has posted at least one picture of Yeti, his white cat, sitting with him at the computer. (Keep in mind James' actual personality - not his Nerd persona - for the "kind-hearted" part.)
  • Kung Fu Jesus: Super Mecha Death Christ, bitch.
    • That's Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C. Version 4.0 Beta, bitch!
  • Large Ham: The Nerd in rage mode. Sometimes, even silently, like the Kaiju impersonation in the Godzilla episode.
    • Mike Matei, in all of his appearances.
  • Laughing Mad: Mike Matei's rendition of the Joker. He makes Caesar Romero look a paragon of restraint.
    • Playing Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon" reduces The Nerd to this state.
  • Leitmotif: Variations of the opening theme appears elsewhere in the videos from time to time.
  • Let's Mock the Monsters: All the time.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Lampshaded in the Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout episode, showing his wardrobe containing only white shirts.
    • Averted a few times: He wore an Atari coat for Winter Games and the Star Wars episode. And let's not forget the Halloween episodes, specifically the Dracula ep, wherein he wore a black-and-red cape reminiscent of said Count.
  • Loony Fan: The evil hippie in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre episode.
  • Luke, I Am Your Brother: The Critic tries to pull this off when the Nerd corners him during the Final Battle.

AVGN: Then surely you know the name of our mother?
Nostalgia Critic: eh... Of course I know the name of our mother! it's... Ee...liza...? *The Nerd puts the Super Scope on his head* Oh, can't blame me for trying!

  • Ludd Was Right: We failed in our existence when we were cursed with the technology to invent such horrible mind-rotting catastrophes! We were better off in the fucking medieval times! I wish I was just sitting on a riverbed playing with FUCKING ROCKS!
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Arguably the main theme.


  • Mad Scientist: The Nerd is slowly but surely getting there. His resume already includes a video game-playing Frankenstein and a sapient poop clone.
  • Manipulative Editing: Averted; but you can see that he actually does do this in the Castlevania (Nintendo 64) video. He claims that there is no freaking music; and then proceeds to tell you to listen on an outdoor stage where there is no music. His claim makes less sense later on; since he shows a lot of the stage he got stuck on when he was youger and it clearly has audible music.
  • Manly Tears: The Cinemassacre 300 The Dragon In My Dreams video may cause this.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: The nerd is violent, foul-mouthed, and has an incredibly short temper, whereas James Rolfe is by accounts very pleasant and even claims to enjoy some of the games the nerd lambastes.
  • Metaphorgotten: In his review of Independence Day:

AVGN:"What do you get when you take a movie that's ass, and make it into a game. You get a piece of shit. Now if you get a piece of ass, that's a good thing, but if you get a piece of shit, you don't want that!"

  • Memetic Badass: The Nerd acknowledges that Noah—despite being an old man—is strong enough to pick up five cows and horses over his head without any problems, and that he can run with all of them without getting tired and even run faster than the screen can scroll.

AVGN: Noah, man, nobody fucks with him. Not even Chuck Norris.

  • Memetic Mutation: The 2019 "You're a Poopy Head" video meme takes a clip from the Nerd's response to the Nostalgia Critic and plays on the joke that streamers react to the Nerd's childish insult with extreme anger, as this compilation shows.
  • Mercy Invincibility: You'll notice he points out why this trope is needed.
  • Mid-Review Sketch Show: About 50% of his premise is about this trope, usually involving the many ways in which he can destroy the games he reviews, or the characters who appear in them.
  • Milestone Celebration: The 100th episode features the Nerd reviewing the Robot series, Gyromite and Stack-Up... and saving the world from a superpowered R.O.B.
    • And the 75th featured the return of Bugs Bunny as the Nerd reviewed the Crazy Castle games.
  • Mind Screw: Describing Attack of the Mutant Penguins. It was even worse when he tried to describe his own even more screwy game until he mimed his brain being blown up and drank some beer.
  • Mock Guffin: James eagerly rips through a package for his "rare" copy of Nintendo World Championships (NES) ...only to discover that it's a cheaply-made reproduction cartridge. Then, after he's already let Pat the NES Punk have all the games, it turns out there's a real one in the box too.
  • The Moral Substitute: The Nerd devoted three episodes to trashing Christian games.
  • Most Annoying Sound: He has had a few unfortunate experiences:
    • The most flagrant one was in his review of Cybermorph on the Atari Jaguar episode:

Floating green head:"Where did YOU learn to fly? Where did YOU learn to fly? Where did YOU learn to fly?".

      • Also turns into an unfortunate non-musical Ear Worm to the Nerd since he couldn't be able to get it out of his head after a while.
  • The Movie: Currently in the planning stages, and will apparently contain the long-awaited Atari E.T. review.
  • MST:
    • Since Plumbers Don't Wear Ties 3DO game has barely any gameplay to speak of, the Nerd ends up doing this for a review of that "game." And it is awesome.
    • The Sega CD review has elements of this too in the FMV sections.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Everything from shooting a 32X with a bow and arrow and setting it on fire to fighting off a Super Mario Bros.. 3 cartridge possessed by Satan.
    • "I just killed a duck with a piano!" / "I just shot down a duck by saying "fuck!""
    • "I'm drinking ROLLING ROCK! On THE ROLL & ROCKER!!"
    • The episode about Swordquest is surprisingly stirring, with the Nerd treating the Swordquest contest as less of a promotional thing and more of an actual adventure. It even comes complete with an orchestral version of the Nerd's theme tune. Ironically, he makes a joke in the review itself about the game making an overly-dramatic (almost explosive) sound effect for walking through a door.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Mocked by The Nerd when he reviewed games involving Frankenstein. One of the games includes an enemy called "Dark Warrior", prompting him to sarcastically call it scary and then suggest alternate names such as "Death Guy" or "Mr. Kill".
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: The full version of the theme song refers to him as the "Angry Atari Amiga CD-i ColecoVision Intellivision Sega Neo Geo TurboGrafx-16 Odyssey 3DO Commodore 64 Nintendo Nerd".
  • Narm Charm: His words, not ours; "Despite all the shitty things in this game, this [[FREDDY'S["Tradesnark|™]] COMING!"] screen is so cheesy, that it's just awesome!"
  • Nausea Fuel: The Nerd himself mentions things that make him nauseous when he reviews things. For example, in McKids and Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout, he commented how the screen effects made him wanna throw up. In his Nintendo Power review, he talked about how disgusting some of the ads were, such as one that showed a jar full of toenail clippings and another that showed a barf bag. He also mentioned that one ad was so gross that he stapled the page shut so he didn't have to see it.
    • This turned out to just be the toenail clipping ad (you can see the issue number of the magazine AVGN stapled.)
  • Never Live It Down: The Nerd deploys this himself:
    • "Kill all babies?!"
    • Fred Fuchs.
    • "One guy?! NO CONTINUES!!!?"
  • Never Say "Die": Its notable aversion in Friday the 13 th is lampshaded heavily.
  • Never Trust a Title: In his review for Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, he pointed out how you can't even trust the title when it shows John wearing a tie (although the title of the game does not mean "The plumber in this game wears a tie" but "Plumbers are not supposed to wear ties").
    • "He's a plumber, and I don't see him wearing a tie." *cut to John wearing a tie* "What the fuck?!"
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Hinted at in the Lester the Unlikely review.

It's all gonna be dust anyway.

  • Nostalgia Filter: Averted so hard it's not even funny.
    • Not always, though. The Nerd gets pretty wistful about pop and videogame culture from the mid 80's to early 90's. Watching how the (genuinely) good memories of the past get mangled by bad videogame adaptations is half of the fun.
    • Outright inverted in his review of various Godzilla games, when he wished he was born later because the ones or the Xbox and PlayStation 2 were monumentally better than the ones on the NES, SNES, or Game Boy.
  • No Export for You:
    • His disappointment to learn that the Godzilla Fighting Game that he just wanted never came out stateside, instead getting the lame Godzilla games he grew up with until the games for the XBox and PlayStation 2 came in:
    • He admits this is probably a good thing in his Transformers review, as the Famicom-only TF side-scroller is truly awful.
    • In the Back to the Future trilogy review, he was pissed off that the Back to the Future SFC game didn't leave Japan, and that instead America had three crappy games. Two of them distributed by LJN nonetheless.
  • No Video Games Were Harmed: At the very very end of the Nintendo World Championships review, James shows that the two ultra rare video games he destroyed in the episode were replicas, and the originals are unharmed.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Power Glove. He beat Zelda 2 without even REALIZING IT when he turned his head away from the screen to look at the camera. In the original review for the glove, he actually had better luck landing on the carrier in Top Gun with it.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:

"I am dead fucking serious."

Kevin Finn, a.k.a. The Ninja Sensei: Normally they say, Ninja Gai(Gay)-den.

  • Pac-Man Fever: Played intentionally when the nerd tries to figure out how to use newer console's controllers. Otherwise averted, wherein shots of him with a gamepad usually have him pressing the buttons slowly and methodically. In his Winter Games review, he does a Lampshade Hanging, saying that people that perform random Button Mashing pretending to play video games are playing that game.
    • During the crossover Brawl with TGWTG, the Nerd is seen playing a Nintendo DS, with the music from Mario, and sound effects from Pac-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Padding: In-universe: A lot of the Atari 5200 review is just him trying to set the system up.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: In the intro of the series we see the Nerd playing games while Kyle Justin appears in the background singing the theme song with a guitar, then the song ends and the real episode starts, but in the Battletoads review after the song ends, the Nerd starts talking to the audience while Kyle is still visible in the background. Kyle sits down by the Nerd side, and it's then that he notices Kyle presence and abruptly interrups his monologue.

AVGN: Who the fuck are you?
Kyle: I'm the guitar guy... *the Nerd looks utterly confused* ...that sings your theme song?... from behind the couch?

  • Password Save: He's noted that some of these are longer than others, for example, his first review where Castlevania 2 requires five 4-character sections inputted for a single password, with boring letters and numbers that can sometimes be confused for one another.
  • The Pen Is Mightier: Sometimes the Nerd had thrown his pens as a threat, in the Team Brawl he actually throws one of his pens as a weapon. Lampshaded in the first response to the Critic with an small disclaimer.

AVGN: Yeah, I got pens, and I'm not afraid to use them.
IT'S SATIRICAL Nobody throws pens. I mean yes the pen is mightier than the sword, but that's just an expression meaning the communication is more effective than brutality.

AVGN: Number 9 - "Alfredo", or... "Alfred and the Fettuc". Yeah, "Fettuc"! You never heard of "Fettuc"?

AVGN: There's no skill involved, you never know wheter or not you're hitting a monster or the monster's hitting you. It's just as random as rolling a dice or playing the lottery, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose... but I guess it's better than using drugs or alcohol, because with drugs and alcohol (specially drugs) you always lose.

    • This PSA is a quote from a film that is referenced in a number of AVGN reviews.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Seeing just how much he can continually outdo himself in emphasis while shouting "You know what's bullshit?!" and "It's Cinemassacre's Monster Madness!" is pretty damned impressive.

They made. A Cheetahmen. Sequel!

    • During the "Plumbers Don't Wear Ties" review: "It's NOT. FUCKING. NIGHT!"
    • During the Superman 64 review:


    • From the Dark Castle episode:

"I got Dark Castle on C...D.........I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (fire erupts all around him)


  • Rage Quit: Because it would be impossible to play scores upon scores of awful games without getting so frustrated with at least one that you can't finish it.
  • Rasputinian Death: The Nerd gives out one to the Winter Games catridge. "Do not store in extreme temperatures, do not immerse in water, do not clean with benzene, thinner alcohol ot other such solvents, do not hit or drop cartridge, do not attempt to disassemble." Cue montage of AVGN doing all of the above which he finishes with burning the game inside his fireplace.

AVGN: Burn, motherfucker! BURN!

  • Read the Freaking Manual: As mentioned on the page; he was mistaken by the controls on Top Gun and kept thinking that he was supposed to press the controls.
    • Likewise; a couple of his complaints could be rebutted by this trope; but it's actually justified why he can't do this because for a lot of the games he has, he doesn't have the manual. In order to obtain a lot of his games he has to buy them second-hand; and if you buy a cartridge game second-hand nowadays, you're lucky if it comes with a manual.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: James has stated he would review Big Rigs Over the Road Racing, but he doesn't have a PC to play it on (using a Mac). His general rule that he can only play games he owns falls under this as well.
  • Really Dead Montage: With R.O.B. on a rampage, a dying James reflects on all the shitty games he'll no longer have to play.
    • Subverted and defied at the last second before the montage finished.
  • Rearrange the Song: On some clips, he uses a remix of his theme tune.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In his "Wii Salute" video, The Nerd provided voices and characterizations to various game systems, most notably the Genesis and the Super NES. After Genesis gloated in vain about his supposedly superior hardware (even though it undermined its points by introducing all sorts of add-ons like the Sega CD and 32x), Super NES finally got fed up and delivered this:

Super NES: 32-bit, my ass! What's wrong with you?! You say CDs are the next big thing, but then you switch back to cartridges? You say you're more powerful than me, but then why do you need all these extra add-ons? What are you gonna do next? Add something else on top?
Sega Genesis: Uh, yeah. (a second 32X is added onto the first 32X)
Super NES: OK, go ahead, keep stacking shit on top. You've already needed like three power adaptors to run that colossal mess you've made. Look at you: You're a fucking disaster.

AVGN: "We're not going to fight with our hearts, we're going to fight with our balls! Now sound off like you? got a pair!"

  • Rule of Seven: In his review of Kid Kool (whose full name is Kid Kool and the Quest for the Seven Wonder Herbs), the Nerd says that the game has a story that says that the king has a terminal illness, and that Kid Kool has to find the aptly named Seven Wonder Herbs.

AVGN: Yeah, I bet the game designers were smoking seven different herbs.

    • That is not all. In addition to these seven herbs, he says that the game has "seven horrible design flaws", which are called "Seven Deadly Sins"; and he even has a name for these flaws as follows:
      • 1. Not Being Able to Go Back -- "One-Way Bullshit"
      • 2. Running Too Fast -- "Two-Gear Diarrhea"
      • 3. Jump Control -- "Jump Fuckness"
      • 4. Skipping Over Water -- "Topside Aquatic Ass"
      • 5. Vertical Scrolling -- "Air Suspension Shit Lift"
      • 6. Invisible Items -- "Inviso-Bitch"
      • 7. Having to Drop Down -- "Free-Falling Fuckballs"
  • Rule of Symbolism: He realized the Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde game was this during his re-visit episode. That or it just fucking sucks.
  • Running Gag: Among others:
    • Whenever he encounters a strange game mechanic, he uses the first Super Mario Brothers game as an example to show how ridiculous that mechanic would be (e.g. only being able to jump or run).
    • He used Super Mario World, Contra, plus The Legend of Zelda and Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link a couple of times as well.
    • Does the game have some sort of crippling gameplay or logic flaw? Bank on him comparing it to Simon's Quest. Lampshaded in his Castlevania I review.
    • His inability to succeed at "Top Gun."
    • His flipping out over games made by LJN.
    • His hate for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for NES.
    • He's also mentioned 'Fred Fuchs' a few times.
    • CDI games are now introduced with "flick the shit switch, turn up the diarrhea dial"
  • Sadistic Choice: Invoked on him by Jason Voorhees. Jason has the Nerd cornered and is prepared to kill him, while he pleads, "Don't kill me!" Jason then holds up a copy of the Friday the 13th NES game. The nerd, still scared out of his wits, says, "Kill me!"
  • Sarcasm Mode: Enforced in Friday the 13 th review: If he said anything negative about the game, Jason Voorhees would threaten to kill him. However, he did not understand sarcasm.
  • Saving Christmas: The subject $ of the aforementioned Fake Crossover with Captain S.
  • Schmuck Bait: The easiest way to die in Jaws (NES) is to go near the ocean floor—where the power-ups inevitably drift.

"You gotta tell that ocean floor to go fuck itself!! I don't want your starfish and crabs!! ...Asshole."

"[Duck Tales for NES] stars multibillion-dollar rich fuck Scrooge McDuck on an intercontinental quest to become even richer. Now, imagine flying into someone else's country, killing them with a cane and then taking all their treasure. Well, he's Scrooge McDuck, and I guess he can do whatever the fuck he wants."

    • He also notes that Scrooge is perfectly content to bail out of a speeding minecart, leaving Huey, Duey and Louie to fall into a pit and die.
  • Sequel Escalation: In the Friday the 13 th review, he says that if they made a sequel, its Game Over screen should be even worse than the original, and makes one up himself.
    • In the Lester the Unlikely review, he hypothesizes what the sequels would be like, making the protagonist (and then even the cartridge itself) more incompetent each time.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • A parody of this appears at the end of his NES accessories review. R.O.B. the robot shows up in the background as the Nerd says that the viewer probably knows what is coming up next... but is saying this while putting on an Indiana Jones hat. He then reviews Indiana Jones games in the following episode.
    • Two of his 2006 reviews foreshadow what will happen next. At the end of his Friday the 13 th review we see him about to be attacked by Freddy, whose game is next. At the end of the A Nightmare on Elm Street review he magically acquired a Power Glove, and sure enough ends up reviewing the glove afterward.
    • During his battle against the possesed Mario Bros 3, he wears his Armor made of NES accesories. At the end of the battle, Super-Mecha-Death-Christ asks him "What the fuck is that shit?", the Nerd looks at his armor "This shit?" and announces to the audience "I'll tell you all about it". The next episode was of course about NES accesories.
    • His 2010 reviews have had a couple sequel hooks. The Action 52 review ended right before The Nerd started playing Cheetahmen; guess what the next review was. And the ending to his Back to the Future review suggests he will revisit Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde next time.
    • The Christmas crossover with Captain S ends with Santa Claus punishing the Nerd for being foul-mouthed by giving him the Home Alone 2 cartridge for Christmas. The AVGN's Christmas Carol 2-part episode starts with the Nerd reviewing that game.
    • The episode about Superman NES games ends with the Nerd announcing that the next game is the so long awaited Superman 64 review.
      • Which he teased with a little in the following episode when he said he'll be reviewing Superman... On Commodore 64.

"Oh, wait; you meant... Aw come on, you really want me to play that?!"

    • The Spielberg games episode ends with the Nerd refusing to even touch the infamous Atari E.T. game, but a sign announces "To be the AVGN movie".
  • Shaped Like Itself:

"'Milon's Secret Castle'. If you don't know who Milon is...well, he's the guy from 'Milon's Secret Castle'."

AVGN: The better way to sum this up is to recite a very famous quote from Wiliam Shakespeare: Fuck it!

    • Especially prevalent in the Star Trek review, parodying the series.

AVGN: To begin with, the music and the graphics are quite good. But my senses indicated a large deposit of bullshit.

  • Sound Effect Bleep:
    • In the Godzilla video games' review, as a rare use that Unreveals a new curse word.
    • Used at the end of his crossover with Captain S, using the "Mario dies" sound effect from Super Mario Bros..
    • Used in his Action 52 review when he showed what a TV version of his review would be like when he gets bleeped for saying asshole. Obviously this was parodied:

Nerd: Whoever came up with this game is an ass$#&%! (looks at the screen) Ass. Hole? Ass$#&%! (shakes head) Television makes a lot of sense.

"Wow, that's great. Just what you need, some really upbeat music to go along with Noah getting murdered by a bunch of fucking goats."

  • Spin-Off: Board James; started out as the Nerd doing a review of a board game, then diverged into a distinct character after the first review proved popular.
  • Spit Take: In the Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout review.
  • Spock Speak: Done intentionally in the Star Trek review.
  • Spoiler Opening: Averted. Many of the opening sequences actually depict stuff that The Nerd has actually not covered yet. Such as him with large Neo Geo cartrdiges in 2006. Not to mention, he is also shown in a video playing "Phalanx", as well as having a game box dropping down on them.
  • Squee: Being the collectors they are, Pat and the Nerd had their moment of this when they realize they have a gold Nintendo World Championships cartridge.
  • Staggered Zoom: On the LJN logo during his Terminator review.
  • Stock Footage: Used in some of his reviews as a Call Back to a previous review. An example is showing footage from his Simon's Quest review in Super Pitfall or Milon's Secret Castle.
  • Stunned Silence: Not as frequent as some of his other reactions, but they do happen. Typically with his mouth agape. James has said these are his favorite moments in the AVGN videos.
  • Superpower Lottery: The Nerd can shoot fireballs, clone himself, fly into space, fire lasers out of his eyes, and summon Super Mecha Death Christ 2000. Many of his videos feature him beating up a character from the reviewed game. And that's when he's not wearing his NES suit. Seriously, The Nostalgia Critic is lucky to be alive. Or undead, or whatever.
  • Super Serum: He uses Billy Mitchell's Hot Sauce to give himself sufficient gaming powers to beat the ultra-Nintendo Hard Famicom Transformers game.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The Nerd's theme is this for "Smells Like Teen Spirit".
    • In the DVD version of the Rocky review, he uses a Jimmy Hart version of Gonna Fly Now, due to copyright issues.
    • The Nerd notes how the main music in Hydlide is the Indiana Jones theme with just a few notes changed. In fact the only other piece of music is just a similarly altered bit of a different part of the Indiana Jones theme
    • "How the Nerd Stole Christmas" features a sound-alike to "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker.
  • Sword Over Head: The Nerd grapples with his urge to vaporize Star Trek (NES) with his phaser. Uncharacteristically, he spares it.
  • Take Our Word for It: The Nerd is so angry at the end of the Godzilla episode that he has to invent a new swear word, which is bleeped out.

Nerd: Oh yeah, it's that bad.

AVGN:"Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, you know what? Everybody, happy holidays, and if you have a problem with happy holidays, then happy shut-the-fuck-up."

    • In his "Best of Godzillathon" compilation he adds the M. Bison OF COURSE! from Street Fighter: The Movie in response to his comment about aliens always wanting to take over the world. The Nostalgia Critic tells him to knock it off after stealing his joke.
    • The Nerd's suggested changes at the beginning of the Nintendo Re-revisited[16]/Back to the Future trilogy review video reference the changes made to the Star Wars films (especially A New Hope[17] and Return of the Jedi[18]).
    • In his Star Wars Games retrospective, he makes fun of players who use cheat devices and emulator save states to remove the difficulty of hard games with his invention, the Beat a Game Button. For added measure, when he rants at his games that they should all consider themselves beat now that he has the button... the imperial march theme plays.
    • Sega's questionable business practices are exaggerated in the Console Wars video.

Super NES: Why don't you just make a completely new system?!
Genesis: Fine, I will: Sega Neptune.
Super NES: Really. Well aren't you coming out with the Sega Saturn?
Genesis: Yeah, we're hurrying it along.
Super NES: Then what about the Neptune?
Genesis: Uh, that? It's cancelled.
Super NES: Too many systems, huh?
Genesis: Uh... fuck you.
Super NES: Fuck you! Try making some games next time!

  • Taking You with Me: The end of his Crazy Castle review.
  • Talking Poo: The Nerdy Turd (which allegedly is cloned from his own fecal matter) in his Odyssey review. It doesn't really talk (it farts) but same system.
  • A Taste of the Lash: The punishment of the Dark Castle cartridge and CD.
  • The Teaser: Many episodes have this kind of intro before the theme song:
    • His look at Nintendo Power starts silently with a pile of magazines, when The Nerd jumps out and screams "ASS!"
    • The first CDi episode features a scene where The Nerd shows off a stuffed Donkey Kong figure.
    • His review of Milon's Secret Castle features pre-title gameplay footage of the character getting killed by lightning and The Nerd replying with "Fuck."
    • Plumbers Don't Wear Ties episode features a scene from the game.
    • The Zelda CDi episodes feature animated sequences from the games (and the Nerd reaction to them).
    • The Pong consoles episode starts with him playing Pong by himself.
    • The Action 52 episode starts with the Nintoaster.
    • The Wayne's World episode starts with the intro from the SNES version of the game.
  • Technology Marches On: The Nerd's analogue TV can't tune into TV signals any more.
    • And the reason he still owns an analogue TV is because certain games—such as those that use a light gun—interface strangely with a flat panel.
  • Tempting Fate: The ending of the Winter Games review begins with a listing of safety tips for handling the cartridge. He follows through all of them, albeit substituting the contents of his hip flask for a cleaning solvent.
    • This exchange from "Plumbers Don't Wear Ties":

AVGN: Why is all of this necessary? Do we really need to see their whole daily routine? Changing clothes, lifting weights, playing with cats, trying on more clothes, playing air guitar with a plunger? Oh, so is [John] a plumber? Well, the game's called "Plumbers Don't Wear Ties", so I guess it makes sense. He's a plumber, and I don't see him wearing a tie-
Cue shot of John wearing a tie.
AVGN: What the fuck?? You can't even trust the damn title!

    • Lampshaded and deconstructed by AVGN in "Atari Porn":

AVGN: Can you imagine just sitting around, minding your own business and all of a sudden, some naked chick breaks in and starts humping the crap out of you?
(looks expectantly at the door, but nothing happens)
AVGN: You know, that's really not fair. I get Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger and Spider-Man, Bugs Bunny, but no naked chick. Fuck this shit.

  • That's All, Fucks!
  • Theme Tune Cameo:[context?] Played for laughs with the Christmas Carol ghost, who announces he's going to "Take [the Nerd] back to the past!" The Nerd stares skeptically and retorts, ""To play the shitty games that suck ass"? No thanks."
    • Also in the Captain S crossover, sort of:

Captain S: You must be the angriest guy I ever heard.
AVGN: Well, I'm the Angry Video Game Nerd. that's kind of my thing.

  • Theory of Narrative Causality: Subverted at one point while reviewing the plot of a pornographic game and remarking how weird it would be if a chick came into the room and started humping the crap out of you... and it didn't happen.

AVGN: You know, thats no fair. I mean I get Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Bugs Bunny, Spider-Man, but no naked chick.

AVGN:"You're dead. Your friends are dead. Your family's dead. Your fucking pets are being skinned alive. Your mom's a fucking whore. You suck at life. The whole world hates you. You're going to hell. Live with it. Game over."

    • Then there's the Power Glove in his eponymous review part 3 of his first Halloween special as the Nerd.

AVGN: "The only kids who own this (the Power Glove) were usually the richer ones who thought they were cool. Well, they're not cool. I'm not cool either. Look at me, you think I'm cool? I got a fucking glove on my hand. I'm trying to play a fucking game with it. I look like an idiot with a fistful of shit!" * Cue in for his pistol gesture towards his hand that comes down to his middle finger.*

AVGN: "This is the kind of game, that you'd rent for the weekend. You'd play for about five minutes. Get stuck. And then, your whole weekend is wasted!"

    • From his review of The Terminator on NES:
    • During his "Karate Kid" review:

AVGN: "I hate this game, but why am I playing it? Well, that's the question everyone has asked themselves, and they all have the same reason. Because you're angry and you want to win. You want to beat the Nintendo, but the cold fact is that nobody cares but you".

    • When he starts playing the Ghostbusters game, after explaining how many expectations he had for that game when he was a child:

AVGN: "This is it, this Ghostbusters on Nintendo. This is my wasted childhood you're looking at..."

    • From the conclusion of Simpsons episode:

AVGN: "I just wanted to point out that for a game titled Bart vs The World, there really isn't a lot of the world in the game. No shit, right? Just Egypt, China, the North Pole and Hollywood, pretty fucking educational, right? When I was eleven years old, my whole world was videogames, just locked up in my room playing Bart vs the Space Mutants and all this crap. I wasted all my time on this shit, I want it back. It ruined my life."

    • From the Nintendo Days Revisited episode:

AVGN: "Jeez, I could do something much more productive with my time. I could learn a new foreign language. I could study microbiology. I could train Siberian tigers. Instead, I'm degenerating my brain cells into 8-bit pixels!"

    • His monologue in the R.O.B. episode:

AVGN: "Fucking video games. We wasted so many hours of human life with this vile crap. We failed in our existance when we were cursed with the technology to invent such horrible mind rotting catastrophes. We were better in the fucking medieval times. I wish we were just sitting on the riverbank playing with fucking rocks!"

    • Even in his Godzillathon video there's a similar theme:

James: "There's nothing more sad than a grown man all alone, wailing in his sorrows, watching Godzilla's Revenge. Let alone making a video about it."

    • He points out that Lester the Unlikely really doesn't work because of this trope, and it makes Steve Urkel look badass.
  • This Trope Is Bleep: Discussed in the Action52 review:

Whoever made this game is an ass****! Ass! ...Hole? ...Ass****! ...Television makes a lot of sense.

  • Title Montage: The opening song is often accompanied by clips from the series, and occasionally not (such as AVGN holding up "Mischief Makers"). The clips change with most every video, which is pretty neat.
    • The Title Montage is averted in certain videos; for example, CDi Part 1 merely features the camera panning over the massive amount of video game memorabilia he owns.
  • Toilet Humour: Used fairly frequently, mostly in reference to feces, and particularly diarrhea.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Bugs Bunny when he returns to force the Nerd to play the Crazy Castle games. Rather than a punching bag, he gives the Nerd just as bad a beating, and he even takes a shit on his head.
  • Totally Radical: Upon playing The Adventures of Dr. Franken", The Nerd imitates the on-screen character by putting sunglasses on the Franken-Nerd.

"Frankenstein's coooool." [cue beatbox music]

    • From the Atari Jaguar episode there's this line (And at the end of the credits of the episode there's the Super Cool Version of this same line, as an outtake):

AVGN: Check part 2, and we'll actually play some Jaguar games... or if you wanna be cool, you say Let's play some Jag!

You know, I'm disappointed. Couldn't there have been lava on top of the spikes? With fire sharks swimming in it? Couldn't there be more spikes coming in from the sides ready to close in squash me while stabbing me at the same time? How 'bout some laser cannons or upside-down volcanoes?

    • An earlier review of Die Hard showed that John McClane will happily oblige if you tell him to walk through an exterior window of the building, which just leads to a fall to his death.
  • Truly Single Parent: To the Nerdy Turd.
  • Tsundere: In his own words (from the Independence Day for PlayStation review):

AVGN: Top Gun may be a piece of shit, but at least it has a nostalgia factor to it. It's a piece of shit I might have some affection for.


S.C.A.T. stands for "Special Cybernetic Attack Team",
But "the droppings of carnivorous mammals" is what the word "scat" really means!
It's as close as you can get
To a Nintendo game called S.H.I.T.!

  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Guess who.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The Nerd is fond of using "ass" in place of other profanities, such as "What the ass?" or "Son of an ass!" Not that he isn't willing to use legitimate swears, of course...
  • Up to Eleven: In his "Dragon's Lair" review, he found it odd that most of the time, you die in one hit, yet the bat only takes away one unit of health, and eleven hits from a bat will kill you. "Why ten, when it can take eleven?"
  • Uranus Is Showing: "Sonic boom to the Moon and hadouken up Uranus!"
  • Verb This: At the end of the Star Trek review:

Metron: By sparing that shitty game, you have demonstrated the advanced restraint of mercy.
AVGN: Mercy this, motherfucker! [shoots the Metron]

  • Video Review Show: He is so prominent in this domain that almost anyone else who attempts to do this has a high chance of getting a They Copied It, So It Sucks reception. The spin-off series Board James differs from the main series in that it lies far on the "Show" end of the scale.
  • Viewers are Morons: Notes this in Back to the Future Re-Revisited when most of the levels are the same running stage only colored differently. "Do they think we're idiots?"
  • Visual Pun: During the Star Trek episode when a Klingon attacks. He asks "You want Genesis?" *holds up a Sega Genesis* "You can have Genesis."
    • In the Action52 review, he says "This game is shitting me." Cut to a picture of the Action 52 cartridge with the Nerd coming out of the back of it, while fart noises play.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having:

No more shitty games... [...] I WON'T HAVE IT!

  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: R.O.B. wants to turn all games into Gyromite and Stack-Up because the Video Game Crash of 1983 was a result of the market being oversaturated by shitty games. He tells the Nerd that in this new world, all the things he came to hate about games would be gone.
  • What Is This, X?: In the Game Glitch episode, the Nerd is distracted by the Glitch Gremlin messing up Rocky Balboa (Bug-Eyed Balboa) and Spider Rico (Spider Rico with no jaw) on the Rocky PS2 game:

AVGN: They're like zombies! What is this, "Rocky: The Undead Edition"? You are really one sick fuck, you know that?

    • In the Pong episode:

AVGN: "You get 4 different kinds of Pong, like... what the hell is this, Reverse Pong? Okay... Oh, now what's this? Asshole Pong? That's not fair!"

AVGN: "Does it suck? You bet Jur ass ic sucks!"

    • The Nerd is ecstatic at the beginning of the Nintendo World Championships episode, as he believes he has purchased a box of games containing one of the incredibly rare original cartridges which would normally be unimaginably expensive. It turns out to be a dime-a-dozen reproduction cart. But at the bottom of the box, however...
    • At the end of the first Terminator review, the Nerd said that they've gotten some really bad Terminator games out of the way, so from here on out, the Terminator games should improve in quality. But then he looks at the front of the Terminator 2 NES cartridge, where LJN's logo is shown, and gets a horrified look.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: The 2007 Holiday special. He didn't learn a shit.
  • You Bastard: Parodied. He calls his audience sick bastards for wanting to watch more of his review about Atari Pornography, with full awareness that he's even more sick for actually owning the games.
  • Your Head Asplode: Occasionally, he mimes this when he's especially confused by something. The best example would have to be at the end of his Rambo review, when he falls out of his chair.
  • You Keep Using That Word: The Nerd seems to use the word "asshole" as referring to an idiot, rather than its more common meaning. For example, in his Virtual Boy review, he states that no one would want to wear the console in public because "you look like an asshole".
  • Your Mom:
    • In his Die Hard review, as he's grunting insults while trying to punch out a villain after running out of bullets, he blurts out "Your mother!"
    • In the game glitches episode, after the Glitch Gremlin messes up the graphics, making the game difficult to make out, the Nerd tells the Gremlin "It's ugly... like your mom!"
    • The possessed NES during his Super Mario Bros. 3 review constantly said "Your mother!" after revealing itself.

Possessed cartridge: "Your mother sucks cocks in hell!"
Nerd: "...the fuck did you just say?"
Possessed cartridge: "I said, your mother sucks cocks in hell!!!"

    • Also during one of his many deaths in his Silver Surfer review:

"Aw fuck! Your mother!"

    • During his Dick Tracy review, he grunts "ugh, your mother!" while trying to grab a seemingly unreachable clue.
    • In the Ninja Gaiden episode, when he fails at one part in the game:

"Ugh, your mother!!!"

  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In the "Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle" episode, just when the Nerd thinks he has beaten Bugs Bunny into submission, an Iris Out starts occurring, about to signify the end, but Bugs pops the iris back open, indicating that he's not done yet, and the episode still continues.
    • In the Transformers review, the Nerd is about to end it shortly after defeating Megatron, until the game reveals that there is one more stage to get through.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: R.O.B. sought to recreate The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 and replace all games with Gyromite and Stack-Up, the only games he was programmed to play.

  1. which is about eleven of Jacob's sons tearing off their clothes and reloading their donkeys before returning to Egypt
  2. which is about Jesus rebuking the synagogue officials for telling him not to heal on the sabbath day, saying to them, "Does not each one of you untie your ox or your ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?"
  3. about Samuel asking the Israelites whether he has committed any sins or not
  4. about a person handing an animal to another, and the animal dying or being stolen or maimed without anyone addressing the fact, although the next passage (22:10) has said giver swear an oath that he did not harm anyone else's property, and the owner may accept the oath
  5. about Jesus asking the scribes and Pharisees if one among them would not help their ox or ass (although "ass" is replaced with the word "son" in most modern versions of the Bible) out of the cistern on the sabbath day
  6. about Jesus finding an ass' colt and sitting upon it before riding in triumph to Jerusalem on what is now Palm Sunday
  7. about St. Peter retelling the story about how Balaam got a rebuke for his crime via a mute donkey that spoke with a human voice and restraining his madness (although Balaam is not portrayed in a bad light in Numbers 22, which is soon to follow, and the words "dumb ass" are replaced by "mute beast" in modern versions of the Bible)
  8. about the same Balaam riding off to Balak with the princes of Moab on God's command
  9. about one of Jacob's sons opening a bag to feed his donkey when he is surprised to find money in the mouth of the bag
  10. about a prophet finding the servant of God lying dead on the road, with both the lion and the unharmed donkey standing next to his corpse
  11. about the angels of God standing on the road to Balak to make a sneak attack on Balaam as he was riding on his donkey (as mentioned before in the passage preceding it, 22:21), which the Lord possessed to make it talk to Balaam
  12. Columbo
  13. Hitler was looking for the Lost Ark of the Coventant because he wanted to mount it atop SMDC to combine the powers of God! Probably the most insane weapon to have ever been conceived!
  14. Because this model was labeled as 2000 B.C, it denies its existence in the present time
  15. Gaiden
  16. The original videos revisit his childhood, and the new reviews are redoing these revisits. This is why the official titles say these are re-revisits.
  17. Planar Shockwave and The Dog Shot First
  18. A dancing sequence