The Angry Video Game Nerd

The Angry Video Game Nerd
The Angry Video Game Nerd
Angry Video Game Nerd
The Angry Video Game Nerd logo
Also known as Angry Nintendo Nerd
Genre Physical comedy, satire, Video game reviewer
Created by James Rolfe
Developed by Cinemassacre Productions
Written by James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Directed by James Rolfe
Creative director(s) Pickle Puffer
Starring James Rolfe
Mike Matei
Kyle Justin
Kevin Finn
Theme music composer James Rolfe (lyrics), Kyle Justin (music)
Opening theme "Angry Video Game Nerd Theme"
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 105 (as of October 6, 2011) (List of episodes)
Producer(s) James Rolfe
Editor(s) James Rolfe
Location(s) Newark, New Jersey (season 1-3)[citation needed]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (season 3-present)[citation needed]
Camera setup Liam Mulvey
Running time Varies, usually 3-26 minutes per episode
Distributor Gametrailers
YouTube (re-releases)
Original channel Internet:
Picture format 480p WMV / FLV / MOV
Original run May 16, 2004 (2004-05-16) – present
Preceded by Bad NES Games (CineMassacre Special)[1]
External links
James D. Rolfe

The Angry Video Game Nerd (abbreviated AVGN or The Nerd and formerly, The Angry Nintendo Nerd), is the main character and title of a series of farcical retrogaming video reviews created by and starring James Rolfe (born July 10, 1980).[2][3] The show generally revolves around retro game reviews that involve bitter rants against games he deems to be of particularly low-quality or poor design.[4] Such games are often associated with movie tie-ins.

The series began as a feature on YouTube, and later joined ScrewAttack Entertainment, which would later have three of its features, including the AVGN, transferred to GameTrailers exclusively. The show, formerly known as The Angry Nintendo Nerd, was renamed because the show started reviewing games on other consoles, and also to prevent any trademark issues with Nintendo.[5]

The Nerd is a short-tempered and foul-mouthed video game fanatic. He derives comic appeal from excessive and inventive use of profanity, frequent displays of explicit gestures, and a habitual consumption of beer (mostly Rolling Rock, but sometimes Yuengling). A particular characteristic, which has become something of a trademark of his character, is for him to describe, in great detail, extremely repulsive and painful, usually firmly scatological acts, and to claim that he would rather endure them than to play the game that he is reviewing. Varying amounts of physical comedy are mixed into the verbal abuses.



Viral Videos

Rolfe first started to do films as a child in the late 80s to the early 90s, but his career did not take off until he made a short review of the NES game Castlevania II: Simon's Quest in 2004 under the title "Bad NES Games". Rolfe decided to make another video which was supposed to be the last, because Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was his most hated game. At the time he was drinking the beer Rolling Rock, which went on to become a signature trait of The Nerd. The videos were produced and published on[5] On April 6, 2006, he joined YouTube and the videos were put on YouTube under the name of "JamesNintendoNerd", before his character was developed.

On September 12, 2006 Rolfe's character first gained mainstream attention when his review of the Nintendo game Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles went viral on the YouTube website. This was reported in a MTV news segment called "Viral Videos Infect the Mainstream".[6]

Later, on November 2, 2008 his videos were featured on the nationally syndicated radio show Opie and Anthony. Opie & Anthony found his obscenity-laced tirades against poorly made video games quite humorous, and took notice of one of their own Whip 'em Out Wednesdays (WOW) promotional stickers being featured quite prominently in several of Rolfe's videos. Since then, additional videos have been played occasionally on the show. Rolfe was later interviewed by Opie and Anthony on January 9, 2008.[7] Rolfe would go on to host a show on Opie and Anthony's XM Satellite Radio (now Sirius/XM) channel for their "Saturday Night Virus" block of shows, but has done only one show so far and has not returned since.

Rolfe continues to make non-AVGN related videos on his website Cinemassacre.

Angry Video Game Nerd

He later changed the name from "The Angry Nintendo Nerd" to "The Angry Video Game Nerd" to prevent trademark issues.[5] Along with the name change, the Nerd soon diversified, reviewing games on other platforms such as the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Intellivision, Super Nintendo, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32x, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, GameBoy, Virtual Boy, Atari 5200, CD-I, Nintendo 64, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Along with reviewing games, some episodes have featured other video game-related items, such as the Power Glove, the U-Force and other NES accessories, movie reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and The Wizard, and a tribute to Nintendo Power. He also references video game culture in a reenactment of the retro console wars in one video in a Wii tribute.

Rolfe has stated on his website that the first videos he made were "just a joke" and he had no intention of making them public,[5] instead showing them only to friends. After two years passed, Mike Matei suggested he put the reviews online. They soon did, and since then, his reviews have become increasingly popular and have developed a large fanbase.[8][9] Rolfe's videos grew longer, soon turning into an actual series complete with title cards, an intro song and official merchandise and the AVGN Volume 1 DVD (2004 and 2006 episodes), followed by the Volume 2 DVD (2007 episodes), the Volume 3 DVD (2008 episodes), and the Volume 4 DVD (2009 episodes). After his fourth online review on YouTube, ScrewAttack invited him to have his own section on their website and has since been employed by MTV Networks'[10] Since then, new videos are GameTrailers exclusives released once a month with Rolfe posting episodes on his YouTube account over a year after its original GameTrailers release.

On March 17, 2010, Rolfe said he was suffering from burnout as a result of consistently writing, directing, and starring in the videos, and that the show would be entering a brief hiatus. It was scheduled to return in May 2010; however, an episode was released on April 30. Episodes are now scheduled to be released the first or second Wednesday of each month,[11] as opposed to two episodes per month due to other work.



Special guests

Occasionally, "special guests" based on famous film and television characters make appearances. These guests often provide additional commentary on the games and mock the Nerd's anguish. Most of the characters are played by Mike Matei, who also illustrates the show's title cards. His roles have included characters such as Freddy Krueger and Bugs Bunny, among many others. Freddy Krueger was also played by James Rolfe, with Matei taking on the role when both the Nerd and Freddy were in view.[12] The show's musician, Kyle Justin, played both Spider-Man and Cousin Itt in separate episodes, which were accompanied by him performing the theme songs from Spider-Man and The Addams Family, with reworked lyrics. Justin was also featured in the Battletoads and second Bugs Bunny (Crazy Castle) episodes as himself. Kevin Finn played the Ninja in his Ninja Gaiden review as well as the "Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin" in the Game Glitches episode and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link episode. The Angry Video Game Nerd series had many of Jame's friends star in his productions including Ryan Zadow who was featured in the Dark Castle episode. Ryan has a successful YouTube channel and works with Jame's. Ryan is still at school at Burnside School in Australia.

Some episodes have a basic storyline inspired by the plot of the game or the movie the game is based on being reviewed (e.g. in the Halloween review, the Nerd is stalked by Michael Myers while he goes babysitting). In these cases, guests are used to play the episode-specific characters. The Nostalgia Critic appeared in the Nerd's house and together they had a violent duel, in which the critic is nearly killed by the "Super Mecha Death Christ" character. More specifically "Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C Version 4.0 Beta!... bitch".

In The Nerd's take on A Christmas Carol, Stuttering Craig and Handsome Tom, co-founders of ScrewAttack, appear as the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Christmas Present, respectively. A Dracula sprite from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest represents the Ghost of Christmas Future.[13][14]


The Angry Video Game Nerd theme song was composed by independent musician Kyle Justin, who has ceased activity since 2009 for unknown reasons. The lyrics were the work of both Justin and Rolfe.[15] Some of the lyrics come from comments made by Rolfe in his review of Back to the Future.

For numerous episodes, musical scores and covers were performed by Chris Holland that were subsequently used in episodes which includes the Batman, the Nerdy Christmas,and many others. The episodes of Board James Tornado Rex and Donut Disaster have music by Bootsy Spankins, P.I., also known as Kevin Finn.

Animated characters

The show also makes use of original animated characters to add commentary or advance an episode-specific plot. The review of Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu uses a character called "Shit Pickle" to comment on the game play (which simply consisted of him repeating the words "shit" and "pickle" sometimes, but not always together). Shit Pickle did not appear again until Rolfe placed him in his own animated shorts. In the Wizard/Super Mario Bros. 3 review, the Nerd calls upon the "Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C Version 4.0 Beta... bitch" to assist in the destruction of a demonically possessed Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge. This character is a combination of Jesus, robotic components, assorted weapons, and a tank. Both Shit Pickle and Super Mecha Death Christ originated from Rolfe's early animated film "The Wizard of Oz 3: Dorothy Goes to Hell"[16] and are voiced by James Rolfe and created by Mike Matei. Rolfe explained on his website that Super Mecha Death Christ was created as a spoof on the numerous Mecha-characters found in the Godzilla movies, such as Mechagodzilla.[17] During his review of the Magnavox Odyssey a character called "The Nerdy Turd", a piece of fecal matter with Rolfe's head and face on it, was introduced out of necessity as the Odyssey does not support single player games. In the Star Wars games review, the Nerd introduces the "Beer Droid", a beer supplying Droid.


On November 18, 2007, the first AVGN DVD set was released. It includes all of the episodes up to the first Bible Games episode. Some material, such as movie clips from Back to the Future and Rocky, were removed to avoid copyright infringement and replaced with new material. The DVD includes extended versions of the "Wally Bear and the NO Gang!" and "Rocky" reviews as well as an original documentary, deleted scenes, and most of the videos posted exclusively on In all, the DVD set contains approximately three hours and 15 minutes of content. According to Rolfe, the initial pressing of the DVD sold out in less than a week.[18] In addition, there were 100 DVDs sold with James Rolfe's autograph on the front cover.[19]

Around November 15, 2008, the second AVGN DVD set, which spans three discs,[20] was released. It includes the episodes[21] from the Atari 5200 review to An Angry Nerd Christmas Carol as well as a scene from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III review, the trailers posted on YouTube, commentaries,[22] outtakes (from the 2007 videos as well as some from 2008), and other material.[23]

On December 12, 2009, the third AVGN DVD set, which spans three discs, was released. It includes the episodes from Chronologically Confused about the Zelda Timeline to Bible Games 2; however, the review for The Wizard and Super Mario Bros. 3 has been reduced to cover only SMB3 to avoid copyright infringement. Three of the episodes have been extended. The DVD set also includes outtakes, a tour of the Nerd's room, and other material.[24]

On December 15, 2010, the fourth AVGN DVD set, spanning three discs, was released.[25] It includes the episodes from Michael Jackson's Moonwalker to Winter Games as well as bonus features such as a look at Sega 3-D Glasses, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage, and other material.[26]

Film adaptation

On September 23, 2010, Rolfe released a video on his website detailing his plans for The Angry Video Game Nerd Movie to be released in the near future. Rolfe's long-time friend, Kevin Finn, helped him finish the script and it is said to be in the vein of Wayne's World in the sense that it will be a movie about a person that reviews games, rather than a feature length review or multiple reviews adding up to a feature length.[27] In his review of Steven Spielberg movie games, it hinted that he would be reviewing the infamous Atari E.T. video game in the movie.[28] On June 20, a video was posted on Cinemassacre in which James confirmed that ET would be reviewed in the film.[29]

James Rolfe decided to finance the film independently, using donations from his fans, and through the fundrasing website IndieGoGo.[30][31] Rolfe had initially planed to put the production of the AVGN web series on hiatus to allow him time for the production of the film,[32] but eventually settled for making shorter, less time consuming episodes instead.[30] On June 1, Rolfe released another video on his website, detailing more about his plans, also calling for casting, giving the contact information related to the movie. Open casting calls were held in Philadelphia[33] and Dallas Texas,[34] with another casting call hosted by Channel Awesome held in Chicago, with live auditions held by Douglas Walker, the actor of The Nostalgia Critic.[35] Rolfe also is holding calls for visual effects artists who specialise in the fields of miniature effects, animatronics and puppetry,[36]as well as miscellaneous other roles as crew-members, agents, and promoters.[37][38][36]


The Angry Video Game Nerd was voted Best Online Web Series in Mashable's 3rd Annual Open Web Awards on December 16, 2009.[39]


  1. ^ James Rolfe. (2007). What Was I Thinking?: The Making of the Angry Video Game Nerd. [DVD]. ScrewAttack. 
  2. ^ James Rolfe (August 8, 2007). "AVGN: Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 1, 2007. 
  3. ^ James Rolfe. (2008). CineMassacre 200. [YouTube]. CineMassacre. 
  4. ^ Guzman, David (3 March 2011). "Top 20 Angry Video Game Nerd Freak Outs". Retrieved 10 March 2011. "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." 
  5. ^ a b c d "Cinemassacre FAQ". The CineMassacre Productions. 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  6. ^ MTV (September 12, 2006). "Viral Videos Infect the Maintream". MTV. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ Opie and Anthony (November 2, 2008). "Angry Video Game Nerd Opie and Anthony Interview Pt 1". Opie and Anthony Radio Show. Retrieved November 2, 2008. 
  8. ^ Weprin, Alex (2 June 2008). "Spike TV Revamps Web Presence". Broadcasting & Cable (Cahners Publishing) 138 (14–25): 28. Retrieved 10 March 2011. "The new features a high-resolution full-episode video with the ability to embed episodes of Spike programming on outside sites, social-networking features and exclusive original content from YouTube stars such as "The Angry Video Game Nerd" and established entertainment brands such as Playboy Enterprises and Ultimate Fighting Championship." 
  9. ^ Carlo Carrasco. "Do you play?". Sun.Star Publishing, Inc.. Retrieved December 4, 2007. [dead link]
  10. ^ James Rolfe. "James Rolfe resume". Cinemassacre. Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved August 14, 2007. 
  11. ^ "AVGN: Episode 90 – "Action 52″". April 30, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN: Nightmare on Elm St commentary". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 30, 2007. 
  13. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN: A Christmas Carol Pt. 1". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 25, 2007. 
  14. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN: A Christmas Carol Pt. 2". GameTrailers. Retrieved December 25, 2007. 
  15. ^ Kyle Justin. "Kyle Justin's AVGN Music Page". Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  16. ^ "The Wizard of Oz 3: Dorothy Goes to Hell" at Cinemassacre[dead link]
  17. ^ James Rolfe (2008-10-13). "Godzillathon #20 - Godzilla Vs. MegaGodzilla (1993)". Retrieved 2008-10-25. [dead link]
  18. ^ James Rolfe (November 25, 2007). "AVGN DVD SOLD OUT!". Cinemassacre. Retrieved November 25, 2007. 
  19. ^ James Rolfe (March 12, 2008). "AVGN DVD Autograph". Cinemassacre, ScrewAttack. Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved March 16, 2008. 
  20. ^ James Rolfe (August 8, 2008). "Updates from me". Cinemassacre. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Angry Video Game Nerd DVD FAQ". The CineMassacre Productions. Retrieved March 25, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Official AVGN Merchandise". ScrewAttack, Yahoo!. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  23. ^ James Rolfe. "AVGN DVD - Volume 2". Cinemassacre, YouTube. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  24. ^ "AVGN DVD Vol. 3". Cinemassacre. Dec. 12, 2009. Retrieved Dec. 12, 2009. 
  25. ^ "AVGN DVD Vol. 4". Cinemassacre. Retrieved Nov. 3, 2010. 
  26. ^ James Rolfe (December 15, 2010). "AVGN DVD VOLUME 4 IS HERE!". YouTube. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  27. ^ James Rolfe (September 23, 2010). "Future Plans – AVGN: The Movie". Cinemassacre. 
  28. ^ James Rolfe (April 7, 2011). "Angry Video Game Nerd: Spielberg Games". GameTrailers. 
  29. ^ James Rolfe (June 20, 2011). "AVGN (James) Q&A at TooManyGames 2011". The Cinemassacre. 
  30. ^ a b James Rolfe (August 16, 2011). "AVGN Movie – Accepting PayPal Donations". Cinemassacre. 
  31. ^ James Rolfe (October 17, 2011). "AVGN: The Movie (Fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo)". Cinemassacre. 
  32. ^ James Rolfe (March 28, 2011). "Upcoming projects and AVGN plans". Cinemassacre. 
  33. ^ James Rolfe (August 30, 2011). "Philadelphia Casting Call – AVGN Movie". Cinemassacre. 
  34. ^ James Rolfe (August 18, 2011). "AVGN MOVIE – Casting Call for Dallas, Texas area". Cinemassacre. 
  35. ^ James Rolfe (September 26, 2011). "AVGN Movie – Chicago live auditions". Cinemassacre. 
  36. ^ a b James Rolfe (September 28, 2011). "AVGN Movie Help – Visual Effects department". Cinemassacre. 
  37. ^ James Rolfe (May 28, 2011). "AVGN movie - Misc roles". Cinemassacre. 
  38. ^ James Rolfe (May 23, 2011). "AVGN MOVIE - Agent wanted". Cinemassacre. 
  39. ^ Cashmore, Pete (2009-12-16). "Open Web Awards 2009: The Winners". Mashable. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 

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