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The Angry Video Game Nerd, initially known as The Angry Nintendo Nerd, is a YouTube personality portrayed by James Rolfe, an online video game critic known for his witty and irreverent reviews of bad games. Rolfe began uploading his rant-filled reviews on his personal site Cinemassacre before they were hosted on ScrewAttack and Gametrailers.
Rolfe began his video blogging career as the host of The Angry Nintendo Nerd with a review of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, uploaded to Cinemassacre on May 7th, 2004:
He uploaded his second review eight days later for the game Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Unlike the first episode featuring his voiceover dub, Rolfe made his debut camera appearance in this video. He can be also seen drinking a Rolling Rock beer, which soon became a recurring theme throughout his videos.
No follow-up videos were posted until Rolfe joined YouTube as JamesNintendoNerd in April 2006 and uploaded an episode about The Karate Kid. The last episode he completed before getting picked up by the videogame site ScrewAttack was on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III movie tie-in game.
Rolfe’s episode about Back to the Future, uploaded July 29th, 2006, was his first review to receive news media coverage, appearing in a Viral Video special on MTV in September 2006. Over the years, Rolfe has uploaded 97 episodes covering titles of multiple consoles including the original Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, Commodore 84, Game Boy, Odyssey, Jaguar, and Vectrex among others. As of September 2011, Rolfe’s YouTube videos receive 136,412 average views per day.
In September 2010, Rolfe announced that he had future plans to make an Angry Video Game Nerd feature length film. According to the official announcement, the film is said to be set in the style of Wayne’s World featuring a critic who reviews a series of bad videogame titles, including Steven Spielberg’s movies-turned-videogames.
Irategamer’s Plagiarism Controversy
In April 2007, a YouTube channel was created by Chris Bores for Irategamer, another web series about videogames. Very similar to the AVGN, the Irate Gamer’s pilot episode involved a screencast featuring an angry voiceover peppered with curse words. On June 6th, 2008, Uncensored Net Noise interviewed Bores, calling him out for his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video being a nearly word for word copy of the Angry Video Game Nerd version. He denied the plagiarism and said he had spoken to Rolfe but would not share the correspondence publicly.
Collaboration with Nostalgia Critic
In 2008, the Angry Video Game Nerd also was pitted against the Nostalgia Critic, a web TV series starring Doug Walker as the film critic and the show’s host. This began when the Critic uploaded a video asking the Nerd to keep his fans under control when commenting on his videos:
After a series of video responses back and forth, they met for a final battle in which the Angry Video Game Nerd appears to defeat the Critic.
The Angry Video Game Nerd was voted “Best Online Web Series” in Mashable’s 3rd Annual Open Web Awards on December 16th, 2009.
James Rolfe was born July 10, 1980 in New Jersey Outside of the AVGN, he is a writer and director. At age 16, Rolfe made his first live-action movie completely on his own titled “Spread of Malevolence,” in which he played every character. For his 200th video, he uploaded the following documentary about his life and how he got started making films:
According to his site’s FAQ, he began editing analog with a two VCR setup and hand-splicing 16mm film. Early on he used Adobe Premiere and Avid to edit, but has used Final Cut Pro since 2004. When asked why he drinks in his episodes, he states that “The nerd drinks to soothe the pain of playing bad games.”