Characters / The Angry Video Game Nerd

The Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe)

The one, the only, the man who made Internet reviewing a genre singlehandedly—the Angry Video Game Nerd. A bespectacled man in a white button-down shirt with a pocket protector, the Nerd sits in his basement and vents his impotent rage over terrible video games of days gone by. He has a perennial rivalry with The Nostalgia Critic.
  • Adorkable: When he's not in a rage.
  • Angrish: Occasionally, when he runs out of curse words.
  • The Alcoholic
  • Anti-Hero: Type III
  • Anti-Role Model: A lonely, alcoholic, foul-mouthed young man with an uncontrollable temper who has nothing better to do with his life than to hole himself up in his basement and put himself through the torture of playing shitty games all day even though he knows full well he hates it. What's not to love?
  • Anything But That!: His attitude towards ET The Extra-Terrestrial on Atari.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Played with in the "ROB the Robot" episode. The episode opens with the Nerd going on a rant about all of his shitty games before simply stating "I don't like them!" In the end, after thwarting ROB's plan to turn all games into Gyromite and Stack-Up, he grabs an armful of his shitty games and hugs them.
  • Badass Bookworm: A nerd who can take on Jason Voorhees himself in a fist fight and win.
  • Badass Normal: While most of his enemies have superhuman powers, the Nerd is, in the end, just a guy who owns some light guns that function like the real thing.
  • Basement-Dweller
  • Berserk Button: This is what he's known for!
    • Excessively long passwords, and using any other key besides A to jump are his two main ones.
    • Games without the pause features, such as Ghostbusters II on NES.
    • Seeing the LJN logo on a game cartridge has also caused him to snap.
      • Which makes it even more funny when he finds out that Spiderman: Maximum Carnage on the SNES, which he considers the only Spiderman game that is good, was also made by LJN. The fact that LJN made a good game practically breaks his mind in the most dramatic way possible.
    • Goddamned Bats!invoked
    • The Medusa Heads in Castlevania have reportedly given him a pathological hatred of wavy lines.
    • Movie sequels that don't follow a logical numbering system.
    • Games with NO CONTINUES!?!? after you die. Turned Up to Eleven if the game combines this with One-Hit Kill or only having one life throughout the entire game.
    • Game cartridges with no end labels.
    • In Batman Part I, when he explains the utterly ridiculous controls of the SNES Batman Forever game, which was designed with the Mortal Kombat engine. He actually seems to have strained his voice by the end of the review.
    • AC adapters with built-in prongs (which tend to preclude the usage of the two adjacent sockets) also greatly annoy him, as seen in the Sega 32X and Dracula reviews. Related to this, ancient consoles which force the player to make use of an RF connector box for television hookups as opposed to just plugging a cable into a much simpler coaxial converter.
    • Loading times. His annoyance with them is most pronounced in the Superman (Commodore) and Zelda's Adventure reviews.
      • Also seen in the Batman Forever review, which ironically was a cartridge game.
    Nerd: ...Whenever you access a new part of the game, it says "Hold On". Hold on for what? It has to fucking load?!
    • Overly cryptic puzzles, such as in Milon's Secret Castle and Super Pitfall.
    • Any game that has annoying design element that just makes the game more irritating to play—Kid Kool is one example he particularly singled out, where he lists numerous design flaws (fittingly named "Seven Deadly Sins of Game Design") that blatantly hamper the experience, such as "One Way Bullshit" note  "Topside Aquatic Ass" note  and "Two-Gear Diarrhea" note .
    • A minor one by comparison; having the music continue when a game is paused.
    • If you don't think he can be overwhelmed by annoyance in how lacking in depth a game is, jump to 3:03 of this episode and note a problem at that point that got missed. If you're wondering, let's just say it's not exactly a challenge to get a high score in that particular game due to evidence that the game is INCREDIBLY incomplete.
    • Out of his usual complaints, games with bad controls seem to be the chief problem. Generally, he can forgive a game for having bad graphics, obnoxious music, or obtuse clues, but never if it's a chore to actually operate.
    • Games with inconsistent and/or unfair rules really throw him off the deep end. Beetlejuice for NES is notorious for this ("Diarrhetic Diversions"), where you can fall to your death if the floor below is not on screen (the "Bitch Barrier") and yet can be hurt by torches not on screen.
    • As seen with Dick Tracy and Total Recall, the idea of going to the video store as a kid and renting a game that turned out to suck, since it was the one game he could play that whole weekend, thus ruining his weekend.
    • He may not like a lot of the games he reviews (in fact, some of them, he hates!), but if you try to get rid of them and replace them with even crappier versions, it doesn't matter if you're even replacing Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, he will destroy you!
    Nerd: more Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde...I WON'T FUCKING HAVE IT!
  • Brooklyn Rage
  • Butt Monkey: When every popular fictional character, from Bugs Bunny and the Cowardly Lion to Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, seems to love to mess with your life, you know you're the Butt Monkey of the century.
  • Catch Phrase:
  • Caustic Critic
  • The Chew Toy: Playing all the bad games is torture to him. Sometimes, he is forced by other characters to play games he don't want to play.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A huge signature of his.
  • Comical Overreacting: With lots of swearing.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Has shades of this in a handful of episodes:
    • The Super Mario Brothers 3 episode reveals the game's ties to Satanism: inverted crosses, pentagrams, the seven Koopalings representing the Seven Deadly Sins, The Wizard and its climactic "Video Armageddon" tournament, demonic subliminal messages when the game is played in reverse...
    • In the Hong Kong '97 episode, the Nerd realizes the game, that came out in 1995, predicted the death of Deng Xiaoping in 1997. This leads to a string of logic that ultimately concludes with the game being the meaning of life. Since life is primarily about procreation and eating, and since eating leads to excretion, the Nerd ultimately concludes that the game is fucking shit.
    • In the Seaman episode, the Nerd realizes Seaman is part of a conspiracy by Sega (the Sentient Electronic Global Annihilator) to take over the world.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Might well be the Trope Namer.
  • Disco Dan: Rarely does the Nerd ever reference modern games. When he's presented with an Xbox 360, he seems to hardly know what it is.
    • A Flash Forward reveals that by the time he's 80, he'll finally be reviewing Nintendo Wii games. He dies of a heart attack playing Boogie.
    • In "AVGN Games", he uses a Commodore 64 to play games made for a modern Windows system, and uses an old rotary dial phone (which inexplicably has a screen for some reason) to play a smartphone game. However, at one point he does come clean and say, still in-universe, that he's not really playing on a Commodore/rotarty phone, it's just edited to look that way for Rule of Funny. Although he pretty much had to come clean, since one of the games kept crashing on him and giving him error messages that are very obviously from Windows 8/8.1.
    • In The Movie, he again uses a Commodore 64 to play a modern game, this time an MMO, which has 2D 8-bit graphics for him but 3D modern graphics on Cooper's modern gaming PC. He also brings along a record player to play music in the car.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Due to the Hollywood Nerd-ness.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The Nerd doesn't get serious during the Super Mario Bros. 3 review until the possessed game cartridge tells him "Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!"
  • Everyone Calls Him Nerd: It has been suggested numerous times that the character's real name is simply The Nerd or the The Angry Videogame/Nintendo Nerd. He usually introduce himself as such or as The fucking Nerd. Even when he sees his future tombstone, it is engraved with the name AVGN, and everytime he receives a package, the boxes are directed to AVGN. The only exception to this is a scene in the Winter Games episode: while he complains about how he can't type more than four letters in the name entry screen, we can see he (unsusccesfully) tries to type the name James.
    • In the Spider-man episode, Spider-man calls him James.
    • In the movie, however, he directly says that his name is "Nerd."
  • Friend to All Living Things: He is disgusted by the overly graphic animation of the dog getting run over by a car in the Genesis version of Action 52
  • Future Loser: Looks like he's stuck playing shitty games for the rest of his life. He even gets shocked when he learns that he will die from a heart attack while reviewing Boogie for the Wii at an old age, and decides to swear off playing shitty games after that incident, popping in Super Mario World and proclaiming that he will only play good games from that point onwards. Needless to say, it doesn't last very long, and he simply says "fuck it" and decides that he prefers to bash shitty games anyway.
  • Good Counterpart: The Anti-Hero to the Critic's broken wreck. You can even see it in how they deconstruct being a Caustic Critic; while Critic locks himself in a pit of self-loathing because he hates his job and what it does to his life, it's made explicit in the Nerd movie that Nerd is driven by love of his fans, not his hate of games.
  • Good Is Not Nice / Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is notorious for his very short temper and legendarily colorful language, but the Nerd is unmistakably a force for good, and he can be quite friendly and passionate about a game he loves when he's not railing off on a bad game or dueling another foe—but he isn't afraid to call things as he sees it when it comes to crappy games, or even flaws in things he likes (i.e. the Zelda II review, a game he admires as a legitimate classic, but isn't above acknowledging it's flaws, such as it's schizophrenic, hair pulling difficulty), and he is more than willing to give his foes more than a taste of their own medicine.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper
  • Hidden Depths: Many of the Nerd reviews have him trashing the games, swearing his head off, and probably destroy the disc or cartridge in the process, or beat up the character from the game. Every now and then James Rolfe will put the Nerd persona aside in a Nerd video and give an in depth and detailed look at topic like the Jaguar or the 16 bit wars, where the Caustic Critic only occasionally comes out.
  • Hollywood Nerd: He has a lame dress code, occasionally bad hair days, and mouth breathing tendencies, coupled with frequently-seen deranged caricature art. Aside from those, he is actually pretty good-looking.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Has been sporting a hell of a pair recently, and well, he's certainly... enthusiastic.
  • Iconic Outfit: Nerd Glasses, a white dress shirt with a pocket protector and pens, and khaki pants. In the "Making Of" video, James says that he was subject to an Internet Backdraft when he forgot the pocket protector for one episode.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Now and then.
  • Large Ham: Debatable. He can switch between being calm and composed or screaming frothing rants at the drop of a hat.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Man Child: A central part of The Nerd's character; he is very immature, short tempered and foul mouthed, and has an obsessive passion for old video games and 80's pop culture (right down to still owning a huge collection of video games, board games, movies and vintage toys) and he literally lives in his basement, spending his days complaining about games he hates. Sometimes these traits are celebrated, but usually they're played for laughs.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: James Rolfe bears little similarity to the Nerd in personality. He was recently given an award for it at his latest expo, too. "For a character defined by his anger, there's never been a nicer and better person."
  • Nerd Glasses
  • One of Us: Besides being a fan of video games from all eras (although he specializes in older stuff) he's also a huge movie buff, particularly a Godzilla fan.
  • Pet the Dog: His Swordquest review. Rather than lampoon the game series' rather apparent flaws, he instead praises it for the worldly symbolism it uses in its level design as well as the overarching Atari contest that the games were a part of, where gamers would compete using clues found in-game and in the enclosed tie-in comic books to win actual treasures made of gold and precious stones. Ultimately, he laments how the Video Game Crash of 1983 terminated the contest halfway through, crushing a lot of nerds' dreams, and at the end of the video he rallies the viewer to help him solve the mystery of exactly where the three treasures that were never given away have ended up.
  • Serious Business: He took bad video games rather serious.
  • Specs of Awesome
  • Sir Swearsalot: Swears so much that he makes you almost never even notice his rival the Nostalgia Critic swearing when watching the two in comparison.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: The Nostalgia Critic. "CRITIIIIIIC!!"
  • Sophisticated as Hell
  • Split Personality: He has one... Board James. Although the Nerd seems to be the original personality, and manages to do a Split Personality Takeover by making Board James realize that he isn't real, and put on the glasses and white shirt willingly.
    • ...only for Board James to assume control at the end of the 2015 Halloween special.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: The nerd is able to beat Jason in a fight, but has trouble beating The Nostalgia Critic. And is completely out of his league when fighting Bugs Bunny.
  • Superpower Lottery
  • Talks Like a Simile: and how. With many of the similes usually related to animal diarrhea.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: Rolling Rock beer, though he'll get out something stronger if the game is shitty enough.
  • Unkempt Beauty: When he has a bit of Perma Stubble and slightly messy hair.
  • Unstoppable Rage
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: He hates bats, although really it's just because they're so overused in games. He is genuinely terrified of E.T Atari, though. At least, until he plays it at the end of The Movie and concludes that it's actually not the worst game of all time.

The Bullshit Man (James Rolfe)
You know what's BUUUULLLSHIT?!

A frustrated gentleman who vents his annoyance at modern life. Eventually revealed to be a giant turd with glasses.

The Guitar Guy (Kyle Justin)
(The one on the left.)

A guitar player who lives behind the Nerd's couch, and writes songs based on the Nerd's angry utterances. He occasionally joins the Nerd in playing co-op games.

Motherfucker Mike (Mike Matei)
It's a moniker he wears with pride, funnily enough.

The Ninja Master (Kevin Finn)

The Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin (Kevin Finn)
Mmm, glitches! Ya like 'em?

Shitpickle (James Rolfe)

Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C. v4.0 Beta (James Rolfe)

Nerdy Turd (James Rolfe)

R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy)

Death Kitty (Boo)

Bugs Bunny / Woody Woodpecker

The famous character of Looney Tunes fame, who is a minor foe of the Nerd. He appears in three reviews, Bugs Bunnys Birthday Blowout, Bugs Bunnys Crazy Castle and Mega Man Games.
  • Amusing Injuries: Zigzags between this and giving some really brutal injuries to the Nerd in Crazy Castle.
  • Annoying Laugh: He gets this when he transforms into Woody Woodpecker near the end of Crazy Castle.
  • Back from the Dead: He inexplicably returns, no worse for wear, at the end of the Mega Man Games review, although he's not back for revenge—in fact, he's willingly playing the crappy games so that the Nerd doesn't have to play them anymore. The Nerd gives him a beatdown and takes his job back.
  • Body Horror: When the Nerd rips off his head, he immediately sprouts another one, albeit the head of another character altogether.
  • Butt Monkey: Has shades of his in Birthday Blowout, with the Nerd smashing a beer bottle on his head, offhand backhanding him, and lunging at him, all before his birthday beating at the end. He goes through the routine again at the end of the Mega Man Games review.
  • The Bus Came Back: He makes a cameo appearance at the end of the Mega Man Games review, saying he's taken the Nerds place while he was time traveling so that the Nerd doesn't have to play bad games anymore. The Nerd will have none of it and delivers another brutal beatdown to him.
  • Continuity Nod: In the Crazy Castle review, he's back for revenge on the Nerd, and he references the Nerd defecating all over his face at the end of his last appearance. In the end of the Mega Man Games review, he gets yet another brutal beatdown, courtesy of the Nerd.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Nerd effortlessly beats him to a pulp in both the end of the Birthday Blowout and Mega Man Games review. Averted in Crazy Castle, where Bugs is more than a match for the Nerd in combat.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Sent there with the nerd at the end of huge Crazy Castle review.
  • Humiliation Conga: Bugs gets his worst since Tortoise Wins by a Hare by the end of the Birthday Blowout review, where the Nerd goes ballistic at the games ending, and delivers a well earned No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Bugs, topping it off with him crapping all over Bugs' face.
  • Karmic Trickster: This being Bugs Bunny, he still has shades of this despite being more aggressive.
  • Killer Rabbit: A literal one, mainly in the Crazy Castle review.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After heckling the Nerd throughout all of the Birthday Blowout review, the Nerd is more than willing to turn the tables on him at the end. Bugs returns the favor in the follow up.
  • Made of Iron: In both of his appearances, he takes an excruciating amount of punishment from the Nerd, and even gets his head ripped off in his second appearance, and still keeps on kicking. It takes a Cartoon Bomb to bring him down.
  • Mythology Gag: He sprouts the head of Woody Woodpecker in the climax of the Crazy Castle review, a nod to the earliest Bugs being similar to Woody, being co created by Ben Hardaway, and both characters initially being voiced by Mel Blanc.
  • Off with His Head!: The Nerd rips off his head, but it doesn't kill him.
  • One-Winged Angel: When the Nerd rips off his head, he sprouts the head of Woody Woodpecker and continues fighting.
  • Screwy Squirrel: Mixed with his karmic trickster elements.
  • Stylistic Suck: He's portrayed by Mike Matei in a cheap Bugs Bunny halloween costume.
  • Taking You with Me: How the nerd bests him in Crazy Castle.
  • Took A Level In Jerk Ass: In contrast to his generally cool, laid back passive aggressive persona, this Bugs is a foul mouthed jerk who is not above a one on one fight.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Carrots, as usual.

Alternative Title(s): Angry Video Game Nerd