== Nixon Computer ==

GAME CLEAR No. 172 -- The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (Deluxe)

video games game clear freakzone games retroware ps4 playstation

The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (Deluxe) (2020, Multiplatform)

Compilation: The Angry Video Name Nerd I & II Deluxe (2020, Multiplatform)
Remaster of: The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (2013, Multiplatform)
Original Developer: FreakZone Games
Original Publisher: ScrewAttack Entertainment
Remaster Developer: FreakZone Games
Remaster Publisher: Retroware, Screenwave Media
Clear Version: PS4
Clear Platform: PS5
Clear Date: 6/4/24


Why should I care?
This loving tribute to the Nerd succeeds in bringing the character to the medium in appropriately rage-inducing fashion.

It’s not shit!

While writing about the Nerd’s influence leading to the rerelease of Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, I was reminded that some months ago I had started The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures. I hadn’t just started it, though, I’d gotten to the final stage. That stage is the culmination of an already tough game, though, so I took a break from it for what ended up being quite some time. I was careful to leave the box out near my TV, though, so I wouldn’t forget to return to it. I finally did and knocked out that last stage after about an hour of tooth gnashing.

So, my experience with the game is a bit disjointed, but the final level at least reminded me of the vibes, which are generally good. This is a sound jump-and-shoot platformer with solid feel and fun level design. It draws a lot of obvious inspiration from the games James Rolfe grew up with, like Mega Man and Castlevania, but it never seems to be totally lifting any particular style.

The deal with the game is that the Nerd is trying a new game with his friends one day, when suddenly it sucks him and his buddies into the TV and the game itself. Armed with his trusty Nintendo Zapper, the Nerd must blast his way through eight themed stages filled with references to classic episodes of the eponymous web series. Once he beats all of them, then he gets access to the final stage and the mysterious architect of this particular Shitty Game. The Nerd regularly tosses out quips and one-liners regarding his distaste for what he’s being put through, which makes it feel a bit like an episode of the show. Additionally, resourceful players will be able to find and add ally characters to their party, such as the Guitar Guy (Kyle Justin) who plays the show’s theme song.

All of this really served to remind me what a Thing AVGN really is. By infusing his auteur filmmaking prowess into Angry Video Game Nerd, Rolfe genuinely created a little universe of characters and memorable moments that make the show much more than just a guy yelling about old games. I’ll concede that the humor is sometimes a bit too juvenile or doesn’t quite land, and sometimes his critiques can be a bit surface-level, but on the whole, the Nerd is genuinely a high-effort affair. To this day, I look forward to new episodes, which says something about its quality, since Rolfe’s priorities have clearly shifted away from the show and toward his family.

It’s interesting because Rolfe’s true love is obviously film, not video games. He recorded a couple rants about old NES games that went viral in the infant days of YouTube, and suddenly a career in caring about video games was thrust upon him. But because it was still in video format, he was able to twist this situation into an avenue for him to make a bunch of short films about wrestling with the demons of the ill-advised Blockbuster rentals of his youth. And good for him!

But back to the game. The reason it succeeds is not because it’s a reference-a-minute (although it is), but because it combines that with actually-good stage design. It’s brutally hard, mind you, and does occasionally step into “I couldn’t have known that without dying to it once” territory, but it feels great to play and is generously checkpointed. While almost every enemy and stage hazard is a reference to either a character of Rolfe’s creation, an element from a shitty game he has played, or something from the great games of the ’80s, they are all there in service of making fun platforming challenges. It’s everything an AVGN game should be without ever relying solely on love for the show to make it worth playing.

I had a great time with it, and I understand the sequel is bigger and better. The Angry Video Game Nerd I & II Deluxe compilation that I played this on even includes a bonus chapter for players who beat both games. I reckon I’ll get around to that eventually, but I mostly returned to this just to get it off the backlog. The sequel will have to wait.

Until then, I’ll keep watching the show, which somehow remains one of my very favorite things out there.