Top 20 Angry Video Game Nerd Freak Outs

When it comes to cyber celebrities on the Internet, the Angry Video Game Nerd is as close to a household name as you’re likely to get without entering sneezing baby-panda territory. Ever since James Rolfe – the filmmaker who brought the Nerd to life – started posting tirades about awfully ancient video games on YouTube in 2006, the following he’s gotten there has become pretty big. (His own site, www.cinemassacre.com, gets plenty of attention, too.) That should give you an idea of how many people have suffered through games like these, and the lack of competency that went into them. (Why would the people who put together “X-Men” give gamers the option of having Wolverine use his claws? What good is Wolverine if he won’t use his claws?!)

Given how bad many of these games are, where the Nerd found the patience to get through 100 episodes is anyone’s guess. (Today’s milestone episode lampoons R.O.B. the Robot, the Nintendo accessory everyone remembers but no one’s played with.) In fact, there are moments when a title gets him so stressed out that one episode isn’t enough to contain his anger, like when he took every “Batman” game he owned and lambasted them in a two-part arc. So instead of a list of the Nerd’s top 20 episodes, it may be better to settle for his top 20 freak outs, if only to enjoy them in all their glory and abstain from the sin of omission. If you have no clue who this guy is, you might as well click on some of the stuff here (the links are at the end of each paragraph) and find out what the fuss is about.

20. “Rocky” – The Nerd’s always had a soft spot for the first five “Rocky” films (he shot this just before the sixth hit theaters), but when Sega milked a video game out of the Stallone cash cow, he found out the hard way that good movies don’t always yield good games. Though he’d given tongue lashings to movie tie-ins before, “Rocky” was the first Sega game he reviewed, as if he wanted to see whether Nintendo cornered the market on schlock. You’d think developing a boxing game wouldn’t require much thought, but what does it say about a “Rocky” adaptation if the Nerd can effortlessly win against Apollo Creed without even looking? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvWuy7p5mZE)

19. “Bible Games” – There’s always been some debate over people’s interpretations of the Bible, and none of the games it inspired helped clear anything up. It seems like a fair statement, though, that Noah’s task of rescuing every species from extinction didn’t require him to lift cows and oxen above his head to bring them to the ark (as “Bible Adventures” would have gamers believe), and that he never encountered telekinetic goats who wouldn’t even have to kick him to drain his health (like in “Super 3D Noah’s Ark”). You don’t want to know what he does here with monkeys and pigs. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkNvQYiM6bw)

18. “The Power Glove” – Even gamers who were nuts about Nintendo didn’t find the Power Glove all that incredible, and judging by this, it deserved the reception it got. It’s one thing to have a wearable controller that won’t let you stop jumping in “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” or prevents jumping altogether in “Castlevania,” but when the gameplay in “Super Mario Bros.” is so hard that you can’t even beat the first level, slipping on the Power Glove to play Nintendo makes as much sense as trying to get a screw into a wall with pliers. Still, at least the Nerd got some use out of the middle finger. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYDuy7wM8Gk)

17. “The Terminator” – All fans of “The Terminator” know about Skynet becoming self-aware, but the first games to cash in on it didn’t exactly follow suit. If they had, they would’ve known how dumb it is to put enemies where you can’t fire at them, or thrown gamers a bone with a continue or two. Heck, even good “Terminator” games have their share of screwups, like the one that made it onto Super Nintendo – while it’s enough to have to deal with machines that don’t even appear in the movie, the fact that they look like sex toys ruins the mood. Not that the Nerd was in a good one to begin with. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=24sBGjAAWEY)

16. “Die Hard” – What’s funny about giving this game a title like “Die Hard” is that it’s not hard to die in it at all, particularly with John McClane so low on ammunition that he’s fresh out before he can take down a single terrorist, and a layout that makes it hard to tell if that window he’s jumping through is a shortcut to another room or to a 32-story freefall. Plus, whenever he takes a walk or throws a punch, he manages with just one leg or arm, as he’s apparently lost the other leg and has a bum hand. You know he couldn’t have been half the man Bruce Willis is in the film, but come on. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL0YWB8wMDs)

15. “Superman 64” – When “Superman” hit the Nintendo 64, it wasn’t long before it took up residence in gamers’ memories as the biggest waste of time since “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.” No one who’s played it can forget having to fly through those mazes of rings – probably because it’s so hard to get through each of them that you need to keep playing the same ones over and over again. To prepare himself for one of the worst games of all time, the Nerd kicks things off with “Superman: The Game,” whose graphics are 14 years older. How lousy does a game have to be to pale in comparison with what you get on the Commodore 64? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dJXgJ1c4vY)

14. “Friday the 13th – Even though “Friday the 13th” got some of the worst reviews in gaming history, there was at least one guy who liked it: Jason Voorhees. He and his machete think the Nerd might like his game as well, but when the best thing going for it is its way of telling players “game over,” Jason isn’t giving him much to work with. As a matter of fact, he can’t even make sense of left and right on the map, or throw stones that won’t swoop right over enemies. Jason looks silly in Nintendo form, too, although it could’ve been worse – Nintendo might’ve gotten its hands on Chucky. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=1raUvGNbZFg)

13. “The Wizard of Oz” – Merchandising for “The Wizard of Oz” has gotten so out of hand that it even includes a nutcracker who looks like a Munchkin. That’s a better investment than the video game, though. Between the useless weapons and the platforms that are too small to jump on, it makes you wonder how the Nerd managed to beat the whole thing. You can play as any of the four principal characters, but so what? Apart from the Cowardly Lion and his marginal strong points, nobody has the wherewithal to survive very long, let alone get Dorothy home in time for supper. Don’t blink – the Nerd threw in some references to that old legend about a certain Pink Floyd masterpiece. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTLUOgP21UY)

12. “The Simpsons” – Given that their show’s closing in on 500 episodes, the fact that the Simpsons starred in 22 video games doesn’t seem like much. Then again, considering how much time players have to commit to “Bart vs. the Space Mutants” and “Bart vs. the World,” they might eat up more hours than any marathon of “Simpsons” episodes, which are more intriguing than helping Bart thwart an alien takeover by picking up hats. Even when Maggie gets in on the action, she faces such strange challenges as hitting Nelson with bowling balls and winning a shell game at the North Pole with Krusty’s head. Also, when did Smithers turn into a ghost? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKnl0CvfeLs)

11. “Nightmare on Elm Street” – You know Freddy’s getting on in years when he recruits snakes and spiders to do his dirty work. He couldn’t live up to his own hype by the time he slashed his way to the NES, which gassed him up even more with a bloody “FREDDY’S COMING!” screen before every anticlimactic showdown, complete with a trademark symbol next to his name. This is another game that bore the LJN brand name, something the Nerd spots quite a bit while reviewing bad games – he doesn’t know what that stands for, but we won’t print his colorful nickname for it. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p713bNaO4A)

10. “Day Dreamin’ Davey” – While we’re on the subject of Freddy, let’s talk about Day Dreamin’ Davey, who couldn’t gain the same stardom for his sleepy shenanigans. After getting a look at everything here, it’s pretty clear why – daydreams about cowboys, knights and the Roman Empire are common for boys, but when this one cooks up an adventure to rescue his pencil, it doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade from real life. To Davey’s credit, he assembles some strange characters, like cowboys you can shoot 99 times without leaving a scratch on them, and a statue who gives you tips on how to kill a Cyclops. Wait till you get a load of the whorehouse. (www.gametrailers.com/video/angry-video-screwattack/708928)

9. “Atari Jaguar Part 1”; “Atari Jaguar Part 2” – For a dud that was only around for two years, the Jaguar didn’t waste any time in finding new ways to suck, starting with the primary act of making gamers play with gargantuan controllers. That’s to say nothing of the underwhelming gameplay, which made the 64-bit system seem less like the dawning of a new era than a lousy harbinger of things to come. Even sadder was the embarrassment it gave the folks who made it – although everybody at Atari hoped the Jaguar would lead to some kind of redemption after the video-game market crash, titles like “Cybermorph” and “Checkered Flag” did anything but. The Nerd’s attacks on it in not one but two episodes didn’t help, either. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGEGon-Qc_Q; www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LVcvkLCUtU)

8. “Dragon’s Lair” – The name “Dragon’s Lair” calls to mind two notable games: It can mean the awesome arcade game that looked like an animated film, or the Nintendo adaptation that got old pretty quickly. You can guess which one the Nerd had the misfortune of getting hold of, and he can thank his fans for badgering him to put the damned thing in its place – with all the time it took him just to make it through the first screen, think of what us novices had to endure. How’s Dirk the Daring supposed to stand up to that dragon if he can’t survive hitting a door? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=00xIvTOLrYA)

7. “Silver Surfer” – In Dirk’s defense, that gave the Silver Surfer a hard time, too. The horrendous game he found himself in had some obsession with putting him in harm’s way, and made him dodge evildoers left, right and sideways. Like a satanic parody of “Operation,” you’re not supposed to touch, well, anything – logs, pipes, columns, temples, boardwalks, craters, stalactites, you name it. These enemies shouldn’t even be that threatening to a superhero, unless you consider jack-o’-lanterns and eyeballs dangerous. If this guy’s going to save the world, he should at least come up with a way to arm himself against a pot. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvnRBywkUZ0)

6. “Atari Porn” – YouTube couldn’t handle all the action in this one, but don’t get the idea that this is one of those NSFW affairs. While games like “Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em” and “Jungle Fever” are even dirtier than they sound, the fact that you play them on Atari 2600 should give you some idea of how lame the graphics are. To call those pixilated porn stars anatomically correct doesn’t seem right, either – not for the perv whose member is bigger than he is, or the sexpot who looks a lot like Swamp Thing. Do you suppose Tiger Woods played Atari as a kid? (www.gametrailers.com/video/angry-video-screwattack/23884)

5. “Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties” – The only thing worse than sex games from the Dark Ages is one that’s got more realistic graphics but cheats you out of the sex. In fact, there’s a sense “Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties” isn’t even a game – it’s more like a PowerPoint presentation about a particularly dull Penthouse Forum letter, one whose heroine had the foresight to show up with handcuffs and a whip for a job interview. Then you’ve got the filters that distort everything, which fit into the story about as well as the panda in the racecar. If you never played this, quit while you’re ahead. (www.gametrailers.com/video/angry-video-screwattack/52921)

4. “Little Red Hood” – Fairytales follow their own logic, but at least they’re rational enough to make sense of. The anarchy of “Little Red Hood” is such that stairways snap into existence after you pick enough cherries, and your deus ex machina comes in the form of a dog living under a rock. What’s even more bizarre is it’s not an official Nintendo game – like the crap fests that the Nerd spotlighted in “Atari Porn” and “Bible Games,” it’s an indie job that just happens to work with a big system, which would explain why you have to override the lockout. Since it’s all uphill from here, you know the remake that’s hitting theaters next week has to be better than this. (www.gametrailers.com/video/angry-video-screwattack/59650)

3. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – Kids would’ve eaten up just about anything in the ‘80s that had the Ninja Turtles in it, so Nintendo’s move to give them a game was a no-brainer. With the phenomenon becoming as huge as it was, nothing could’ve held this back from hitting it big – not even the fact that power-ups are so hard to get, or that these turtles are the only ones who die by touching water. As a matter of fact, during one level where they remember turtles can swim, they have to make it to the end before the clock runs out while duking it out with electric algae. Splinter must be hanging his head in shame. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjUz8IT0CYg)

2. “Dick Tracy” – It’s hard enough for Tracy to go after bad guys like Flattop and Numbers, but this game doesn’t make the job any easier. For starters, you don’t even get continues or extra lives, and you can’t take your car anywhere without snipers firing at you. That last part’s really where the game goes overboard – between the fact that they get you so quickly and that you can hardly see them, Tracy doesn’t stand a chance of getting past those snipers, at least not in a car that the Nerd says has the worst steering he’s ever seen in a game. Maybe drilling a hole through the cartridge will ease his pain. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9nxIUhZCCw)

1. “Ghostbusters”; “Ghostbusters: Follow-Up”; “Ghostbusters: Conclusion” – It took three episodes to cover the early “Ghostbusters” games, and Nintendo’s first was so execrable that it’s almost all the Nerd can talk about in two of them. Though other games have sent him over the edge, when the going got so tough that he caved in and brought out a Game Genie to scale 22 grueling flights of stairs, he found out just how unbearable games can get. It’s abominations like this that make you wonder why he’d endure something that’d make him bust balls this much, but if seeing him play “Ghostbusters” proves anything, it’s that busting makes him feel good. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLVGmvmNitg; www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF2snKCmqJo; www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZfq-IPlLF8)

This article originally appeared on AllMediaNY.com

About David Guzman 207 Articles
I just received my degree in journalism at Brooklyn College, where I served as the arts editor for one of the campus newspapers, the Kingsman. When it comes to the arts, I’ve managed to cover a variety of subjects, including music, films, books and art exhibitions. I’ve reviewed everything from “Slumdog Millionaire” (which was a good film) to “Coraline,” (which wasn’t) and I’ve also interviewed legendary film critic Leonard Maltin.

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