The Angry Video Game Nerd: AVGN X2 [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (4th June 2017).
The Film

“AVGN X2”: Episodes 101-114 (2011-2013)

Since 2004, “The Angry Video Game Nerd” with his trademark white button up shirt, glasses, and bottles of Rolling Rock beer has taken us back to the past, by playing and reliving the childhood frustrations of old video games. With more than 100 Internet episodes made almost entirely by James Rolfe himself, directing, acting, writing, and editing, plus one feature length theatrical film for the 10th anniversary, volumes of DVD and also Blu-ray releases, the series still goes strong (although not as frequent) to this day.

The 100th episode “R.O.B.” from March 2011 was the most ambitious and technically challenging production to date for the series and even Rolfe has admitted of possibly ending it at that on a very high note. Though luckily for fans, new episodes started just a month later with “Steven Spielberg Games” in April. Episodes followed in one to two month gaps which was a longer than what was the norm as production of the feature film “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie” was underway, but that did not stop the quality of the individual episodes to lack. As for quality, the upgrade to HD during this time made way for higher resolution and better looking episodes in terms of depth and color reproduction, making the productions feel more professional while still keeping the style and tone of the series as seen previously. As for the quality of the games, some are arguably worse than that had ever been seen. But that’s part of the charm! There were some surprises in the 2012-2013 episodes including one where Rolfe does NOT play the character but appears as himself in a behind the scenes glimpse, cameo episodes, episodes with tons of adlibbing, and an episode made up entirely of what is debatably not considered “video games” - the Tiger Electronic titles.

Over a year ago, “AVGN X” was released on Blu-ray, which contained the first 100 episodes in standard definition playable in a marathon run with a large amount of bonus features. The episodes were previously released on the “Angry Video Game Nerd” Season/Volume 1-5 sets, plus the first three episodes in the Season/Volume 6 set. The numbering can be confusing but this Blu-ray set consists of the remaining seven episodes from the Season/Volume 6 DVD set, plus the seven episodes from the Season/Volume 7 DVD set. The following episodes are included:

1. "Spielberg Games" (21:05)
A series of games based on Steven Spielberg movies are showcased here, including “Jaws”, “Hook”, and “Jurassic Park” on a multitude of platforms including the NES, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, and even the 3DO. As Dr, Malcolm from Jurassic Park once said, ”That is one big pile of shit.” There is a teaser toward the upcoming movie with the showing of the Atari “E.T.” cartridge and a “To be continued…” title screen.
in 480i MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

2. "The Making of an Angry Video Game Nerd Episode: Barbie" (34:56)
In a very odd twist, Rolfe talks directly to the audience as himself and not the Nerd character. Rather this is almost like a bonus feature as he explains the process of how to make an episode, from the writing, shooting, and editing, processes. And to satisfy, the viewers are treated with the finished product, a short review of the NES “Barbie” game.
in 480i MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

3. "Kid Kool" (8:05)
An NES platformer with horrible design flaws all throughout, with difficult controls and accuracy. Cute but what a frustrating experience of a game!
in 480i MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

4. "Nintendo World Championships" (16:48)
The “NWC” game cartridge is one of the rarest games ever made as it was not a commercial release. In a collaboration with Pat Contri (AKA Pat the NES Punk), the two battle for the greatest NES collection with the sought after game that doesn’t actually have much replay value. The episode itself on the other hand is one of the funniest and shocking episodes made yet.
in 480i MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

5. "Dark Castle" (11:58)
The Nerd plays what he calls the worst Genesis game ever. And to top or to bottom that even further is by playing the CD-I version of the game, which has even worse controls than the Genesis version.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

6. "Bible Games 3" (14:05)
Continuing the tradition of the Christmas themed episodes, the leftover games from unlicensed Christian publisher Wisdom Tree are played, including “King James Bible”, “Caltron 6 in 1”, “Spiritual Warfare”, “Bible Adventures”, and “King of Kings: The Early Years”. Interesting to note how many times the word “ass” is actually used in the Bible.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

7. "Schwarzenegger Games" (22:23)
Arnold’s action movies call for video game companies to make adaptations but that shouldn’t expect quality. Playing through “Total Recall”, “Last Action Hero”, “Conan”, and “Predator”, the Nerd has something to complain about for each game with the broken controls, hot pink pants, and how the games don’t follow the movies.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

8. "Ghosts n' Goblins" (17:02)
Although it is considered a classic in platforming games though the arcade edition and the NES edition played here, it is an incredibly difficult one that made gamers yell and scream for years. It’s not a game of faults but a game of frustration and the Nerd takes it to an insane level in terms of cursing and screaming. There is also home video footage from 1988 with Rolfe playing the NES for the first time with this as his first game. What a way to start!
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

9. "Atari Sports" (12:40)
As long as there have been video games, there have been sports games. The best place to start must be at the early days with the Atari sports games. Primitive as they were, there were some fun titles, but overall were games that could barely be called sports titles. In addition, the Nerd’s rant about John Madden and the Madden game series is a lot of fun.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

10. "Ikari Warriors" (20:38)
With the theme song being gone for a while from the show and some help needed for the two player option, the hard as nails “Ikari Warriors” gets a little help from musician and theme song composer Kyle Justin. Unlike the rest of the AVGN episodes there are a lot of improv moments especially with the songs. “Where did they’re hair go?” is a standout obviously.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

11. "Toxic Crusaders" (14:40)
It’s amazing to think that a Troma film would become a crossover hit with kids to lead to 8 bit games being made in the 80s. But the Nerd doesn’t play the games along. None other than the founder of Troma films Lloyd Kaufman appears as himself ready to play the video games based on the nasty monster flick. Considering that Kaufman is not the type to stick to script, he goes all over the place adlibbing and riffing against the surprisingly restrained Nerd.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

12. "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" (17:50)
The LJN rainbow of bad quality graces the cartridge of the game based on the beloved slacker time travel adventure movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, but nothing can prepare for the Nerd going off on what he calls possibly the worst film ever on the NES, and that is saying a lot. The game is anything but “excellent”.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

13. "Tiger Electronic Games" (18:38)
With over a hundred episodes of bad games, there was one genre of games that the Nerd had yet to cover, but what may have been because these were barely considered video games at all. The handheld Tiger Electronic Games. Addictive for about 5 minutes these budget line of games were all over the plce in the 80s and even early 90s for some odd reason. In addition the Tiger Game Com and the headache inducing R-Zone machines are also introduced.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

14. "Alien 3" (10:16)
The third movie in the Alien series had so many production problems from the get go that there was no way the video game could also survive. And with an LJN logo to boot, there was absolutely no hope for the game that barely follows the movie.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray which can be played back on any Blu-ray player worldwide

Video

Cinemassacre/Screenwave Media presents the episodes in their original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, with episodes 1-4 in 480i, episodes 5-6 and 8,9 in 1080p, and episodes 7 and 10-14 in 1080i 60hz, in the AVC MPEG-4 codec. The 1080p episodes look excellent with sharpness and color reproduction, especially on the “Atari Sports” episode being a standout. The 1080i episodes on the other hand have some issues during sudden movement, such as in the “Schwarzenegger Games” episode exhibiting ghosting in the frame. “Alien 3” has strobing effects but there are issues with pixelation in the transfer - something not evident in the YouTube version. In the bonus features the outtakes for the “Tiger Games” and “Alien 3” are both in 1080p while the episodes themselves are presented in 1080i, and the outtake segments look better with the progressive transfer. Finally for the 480i episodes they do not look that bad but it is evident that quality is lacking due to the standard definition source material. Colors, depth, sharpness are all average though not distracting for viewing.

The 14 episodes are uncut and have a “play all” function on the menu. Each can also be selected individually.

Audio

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
The original stereo audio is presented in Dolby Digital. Dialogue is always centered while music and effects are spread to the left and right channels for a full effect and for the most part sounds very good. There are a few episodes such as “Spielberg Games” having a bit weaker audio for the on-camera segments, but overall there are no issues of audio distortion or audio errors. Music is very lively especially n episodes such as “Ikari Warriors” and “Alien 3”.

There are no subtitles available on the set.

Extras

“AVGN X2” is a 2-disc set, with all 14 episodes on the first disc plus a commentary episode which is a single layer BD-25 disc, while the extras are all placed on the second disc which is a dual layer BD-50 disc.

DISC ONE

Audio Commentary on “Nintendo World Championships” by director/writer/actor James Rolfe and actor Pat Contri (Pat the NES Punk) (16:53)
Rolfe and Contri give their input on the episode, including the collaboration process, the behind the scenes aspect of recreating the carts for the destruction scene, and more. This commentary was previously available on the Season/Volume 6 DVD set.
in 480i MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

DISC TWO

Bonus Features

- "2013 Commentaries" featurette (13:02)

In this featurette, Rolfe talks to the audience about the productions of the 2013 episodes and why it was such a busy year for him, especially with the production of the feature film and the birth of his first child. He discusses how improvisation brought something new to “Ikari Warriors”, how “Bill & Ted” was a hugely requested title, and much more. This featurette was previously available on the Season/Volume 7 DVD set.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "Bubble Bobble" part of Pat Contri's NES marathon for charity 2012 (4:32)
Organized by Pat Contri (Pat the NES Punk), the yearly NES marathon raises money for the Children's Miracle Network, and this short episode is the Nerd’s contribution. “Bubble Bobble” is a fun classic, and while it is not “bad”, it can be frustrating. This featurette was previously available on the Season/Volume 6 DVD set.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "Magfest 2013" featurette (13:02) (720p)
Taking place on January 5th, 2013 at the Music and Gaming Fest in Maryland, Rolfe gives a talk session where he takes questions but also unusually asks the audience questions as well. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 7 DVD sets.
in 720p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "Mike Talks About AVGN" featurette - extended version (25:34)
Mike Matei has a sit down talk with Rolfe on the Nerd couch, talking about the experience of getting into the AVGN productions from the start and how his involvement evolved over the years. This featurette was previously on the Season 6 DVD set. The Volume 6 set also had this featurette but was an edited 18 minute version.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "Nerd Room Tour 2013" featurette (8:34)
Rolfe gives a tour of the entire Nerd room in full HD for the first time in handheld mode. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 7 DVD sets.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "NWC Premiere" featurette (4:57)
During a talk event at PAX on August 26th 2011 with Rolfe and Kevin Finn, they premiere the latest episode “Nintendo World Championships” for a live audience and their reactions and screams are priceless. Pat Contri also makes a special guest appearance on stage. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 6 DVD sets.
in 720p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "Secret Scout" an abandoned and unfinished AVGN review (4:32)
This Color Dreams game on the NES was bad and had potential for a full episode but was technically “abandoned”, with no full view of Rolfe in character, similar to the early “Simon’s Quest” episode where he explains the technical faults of the game. This was previously on the Season/Volume 6 DVD sets.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "SGC 2013" featurette (21:38)
At the ScrewAttack Gaming Convention 2013, Rolfe and Matei give a dual talk event taking audience questions. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 7 DVD sets.
in 720p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "SNES vs Genesis" featurette (26:27)
Rolfe gives a breakdown on which is better, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or the Sega Genesis. Graphics, games, controls, design, all aspects are compared. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 7 DVD sets.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "The Original Nerd Room" featurette (4:15)
Rolfe goes back to the original bedroom where he first made the original episodes. There are clips of his home movies made in the 90s as well as some Nerd episodes. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 7 DVD sets.
in 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "TMG 2013" featurette (18:01)
Rolfe, Matei, and Kyle Justin appear together in a Q&A session at Too Many Games. Nathan Barnatt (as Keith Apicary) makes a surprise appearance crashing the panel, who would later appear in the AVGN episode #143 “Sega Activator and Aura Interactor” three years later. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 7 DVD sets.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

- "Year and a Half Commentary” (14:21)
This featurette concentrates on the year and a half between 2011 and 2012, as Rolfe talks about the upcoming production of the movie, changing from 4:3 to 16:9 and shooting the episodes in HD, and more. This featurette was previously on the Season/Volume 6 DVD sets.
in 1080i 60hz MPEG-2,in 1.33:1/1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Outtakes (with Play All) (26:48)

- "Nintendo World Championship" (4:13) (480i)
- "Atari Sports" (3:49) (1080p)
- "Ikari Warriors" (6:22) (1080i)
- "Toxic Crusaders" (7:32) (1080i)
- "Bill and Ted" (1:11) (1080i)
- "Tiger Games" (0:59) (1080p)
- "Alien 3" (2:37) (1080p)

Flubs, mistakes, and adlibs gone badly are all presented here. Note that the “Tiger Games” and “Alien 3” episodes are in 1080i yet the outtakes are in a sharper 1080p transfer. These were previously available on the Seasons/Volumes 6 and 7 DVD sets.
in 480i, 1080i 60hz, 1080p MPEG-2, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Top 10's (with Play All) (166:34)

- Top 5 Most Ingenious Nerd Ideas (3:41)
- Top 5 Musical Episodes (7:45)
- Top 5 Worst Gaming Accessories (6:20)
- Top 5 Worst NES Music (2:20)
- Top 10 Epic Nerd Moments (22:24)
- Top 10 Hardest NES Games (9:18)
- Top 10 Moments the Nerd Lost His Mind (6:03)
- Top 10 Most Hated Weapons or Items (6:49)
- Top 10 Most Unfair Gaming Moments (5:36)
- Top 10 Nerd's Game Abuse (8:53)
- Top 10 Nerd's Unexpected Moments (12:40)
- Top 10 Problems with Games (12:33)
- Top 10 Toughest Video Game Jumps (7:47)
- Top 10 Worst NES Games (7:55)
- Top 10 Worst Video Game Consoles (10:16)
- Top 10 Worst Video Game Controls (16:16)
- Top 10 Worst Video Game Endings (7:30)
- Top 20 Weirdest Video Game Moments (12:17)

While labeled as “Top Tens”, there are some Top 5 and Top 20 lists in here, being compilation montages of Nerd episodes over the years. These were previously available on the Seasons/Volumes 6 and 7 DVD sets.
in 720p MPEG-2, in 1.33:1 and 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with no subtitles

All the relevant bonus features from the 6 and 7 DVD sets are included on this Blu-ray edition. Some might lament over the fact that there are only 14 episodes on this set rather than the 100 (!) episodes on the first Blu-ray edition. But with the hours of great extras and high replay value, there shouldn’t be much in terms of complaints with content.

Overall

Even after 100 episodes the “Angry Video Game Nerd” series still goes strong on YouTube and Cinemassacre, with more than 140 episodes at this point. The “AVGN X2” release collects “only” 14 episodes but quality is here more than quantity with a load of extras and extremely high replay value. For fans that have not picked up the DVD releases, the Blu-ray releases are an alternative, though note the two Blu-ray editions consist of all the content from Seasons 1-7, while for DVDs the most recent release was “Season 10” so the DVD sets are slightly ahead. Still comes very recommended.

The Film: A Video: B Audio: A- Extras: A Overall: A-

 


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