July 30, 2011

Days Gone By: The People Who Make “Classic” Gaming a Genre

Many of you read­ers prob­a­bly start­ed gam­ing fair­ly ear­ly on. I’d be will­ing to bet many of you have quite a few good mem­o­ries of a favorite game or con­sole. Maybe you had a Nin­ten­do 64, and The Leg­end of Zel­da: Oca­ri­na of Time pos­i­tive­ly blew your mind. Maybe you had a Playsta­tion, and you cried when Aeris died (There’s no “maybe” about the cry­ing, you def­i­nite­ly cried. Don’t lie to me. I write things.) in Final Fan­ta­sy VII. Maybe you had a Dream­cast, and were a fan of Son­ic Adven­ture. No mat­ter what sys­tem, com­pa­ny, or gen­er­a­tion you start­ed with, you have some good gam­ing mem­o­ries, as well as some not so good ones. Want to relive those mem­o­ries?
I know of some guys who can help you live them all over again, with nos­tal­gia and humor com­bin­ing to make an excel­lent expe­ri­ence. Hope­ful­ly, you’ve already heard of at least one of these guys. If not, I apol­o­gize in advance for suck­ing all of your time away. It’s very dif­fi­cult not to watch every episode by every per­son.

My per­son­al favorite review­er and reviv­er, who I’ve been watch­ing since Episode 1, is James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd (or, if you’ve been with him for a while, the Angry Nin­ten­do Nerd.) Of all the video pro­duc­ers on this list, the Nerd is prob­a­bly the one you know. He goes back to some of the old­est con­soles, and reviews some of the worst games from them with delight­ful vul­gar­i­ty and gal­lons upon gal­lons of Rolling Rock (and for an episode, Yuengling). He hits the bad, the worse, the good but hard, and the absolute­ly atro­cious games from almost every series. If you’ve nev­er watched him before, you’re in for a treat. James has made more than 100 episodes of Angry Video Game Nerd, as well as quite a few board game reviews (under the clever name “Board James”) and point­ed out many annoy­ances in every­day life in a just-as-delight­ful­ly-vul­gar series called You Know What’s Bulls**t?. While you’re on his web­site, I rec­om­mend that you check out the video “Cin­e­mas­sacre 200”, a sort of auto­bi­og­ra­phy and aut­ofil­mog­ra­phy by James that best describes what he does and why he does it.

While James often finds him­self try­ing to find the good in bad games, anoth­er char­ac­ter has found a way to find the bad in games that are often con­sid­ered good. Make no mis­take, most of his reviews cov­er the cream of the crap, but some of his longest and great­est reviews are of games that are clas­sics in the mind of most who have played them: Final Fan­ta­sy VIII and Final Fan­ta­sy X. He goes by the name Spoony, and he’s pos­i­tive­ly hilar­i­ous. All of his videos seem to tie togeth­er, with plen­ty of recur­ring char­ac­ters, as well as com­plete non-sequiturs. He does­n’t only cov­er games; Spoony has tak­en pot­shots at plen­ty of movies, as well as pro­vid­ed legit­i­mate, infor­ma­tive-rather-than-fun­ny reviews on a num­ber of top­ics, notably 4th Edi­tion Dun­geons and Drag­ons.

Maybe you did­n’t play a lot of games. Per­haps you were more into movies, or just all around pop-cul­ture. Enter the Nos­tal­gia Crit­ic, who “remem­bers things so you don’t have to.” He’s tak­en pot-shots and low blows at some of the worst movies of the last thir­ty years, and also has a large num­ber of movies under his belt. He has his share of run­ning gags and recur­ring char­ac­ters, but what makes him spe­cial is his abil­i­ty to show up every­where. He reg­u­lar­ly attends con­ven­tions, and has appeared in videos with both of the pre­vi­ous pro­duc­ers on this list. He’s a real­ly fun­ny guy who has an uncan­ni­ly good abil­i­ty to toss appro­pri­ate clips from oth­er films and shows into a review at just the right moment.

“Alright,” you may be think­ing, “these guys are good at toss­ing some clips togeth­er for a video, but I want the full expe­ri­ence. I want some­one to take me all the way through a clas­sic, with hilar­i­ous com­men­tary the whole way.” That’s… an inter­est­ing thought, to say the least, but you aren’t alone. Let’s Play is a genre of videos in which a com­men­ta­tor takes you through an entire game, talk­ing the whole way through about the game, or in many cas­es, just what­ev­er. There are tons of these guys out there (I’m work­ing on becom­ing one myself), and quite a few good ones have made a name for them­selves. How­ev­er, my per­son­al favorite LPer goes by the name Nin­ten­do­CapriSun, a com­bi­na­tion that could only be bet­ter if Capri Sun made big­ger pouch­es so I would­n’t have to make repeat trips to the fridge. Some of his most notable works are from the Mega Man series, but he’s touched on quite a few clas­sic Nin­ten­do games, span­ning from the NES to the N64.

Last­ly, but cer­tain­ly not least…ly… is a musi­cian who real­ly stands out from the crowd. Brentalfloss got his start on Youtube by play­ing arrange­ments of clas­sic game themes on his key­board (he’s an AMAZING pianist), but he real­ly took off when he set lyrics to the Mega Man 3 title screen theme. Since then, he’s made a num­ber of videos with lyrics set to game tunes, and every sin­gle one of them will get stuck in your head imme­di­ate­ly. This guy has put music, games, and humor into a blender and made a fin­er fig­u­ra­tive bev­er­age than any alco­hol (it’s kind of hard to get drunk on fig­u­ra­tive alco­hol).
I only men­tioned five spe­cif­ic guys, but there are plen­ty more peo­ple out there who do all kinds of videos, writ­ings, and oth­er works of art that make the nos­tal­gia well up in you. Ready for an expe­ri­ence? Grab a bev­er­age, plug your charg­er in if you’re on a lap­top, and get com­fy. You’re gonna be here a while. Here are your links.
Angry Video Game Nerd: http://www.cinemassacre.com
The Spoony Exper­i­ment: http://spoonyexperiment.com
Nos­tal­gia Crit­ic: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com
Nin­ten­do­CapriSun: http://www.youtube.com/user/NintendoCapriSun
Brentalfloss: http://www.brentalfloss.com


  1. STA_Adam - July 30, 2011 7:55 pm

    THIS is why we have you list­ed as one of our part­ner sites. That was awe­some.

  2. Billy - July 31, 2011 7:21 am

    i have not been into gam­ing from long. i always feel i was atleast 5 years back from mod­ern gam­ing. (my recent com­ple­tions are total over­dose, sin­gle play­er mis­sions of con­di­tion zero, and quake 3 are­na.) and alwayz pc gam­ing. so, noth­ing much nos­tal­gic. 😛

  3. Billy - July 31, 2011 8:20 am

    any­wayz i have done cod and bf series. 😀


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