Web Video: The Happy Video Game Nerd
aka: Happy Video Game Nerd
How can you be angry at that face?
A Video Review Show
that is a self-proclaimed ripoff of The Angry Video Game Nerd
. Derek Alexander, a.k.a. The Happy Video Game Nerd, copies the style of AVGN right down to the opening theme song (at least for his early episodes)... and then he inverts it
. He really is the happiest gamer you never heard, as his specialty is to review old school games that he actually likes; to date, he has reviewed the following classic games as well as few recent titles.
Games Reviewed by the HVGN
He reviewed a technically-new game (Mega Man 9
), but he did so because of the self-parodying Old School
feel to it; he later reviewed 10
as well (and was much less kind to it). He also reviewed the new Rocket Knight
games, as well. After a break from reviewing games, he started taking a look into video games from the seventh console generation.
The Happy Video Game Nerd (HVGN) is a deliberate attempt to contrast the trend of Caustic Critics
on the Internet, and it's also a way to bring up old retro gaming classics that deserve a little more attention
. Surprisingly, James Rolfe — The Angry Video Game Nerd himself! — subscribes to Derek's YouTube account
Episodes of HVGN can be found on Retroware TV
(the show's official home) as well as Derek's YouTube account
.In December 2014, Derek officially dropped the "Happy Video Game Nerd" gimmick and name, but said he would continue doing his reviews.
and Classic Game Room
Derek Alexander's reviews/The Happy Video Game Nerd provides examples of:
- Accentuate the Negative: Normally averted, but his reviews of StarTropics 2 and Mega Man 10 had this in spades. Also in the second half of his Eternal Darkness review and even more so in the second review.
- Adorkable: Derek, especially when he squees over the games he reviews.
"First up, let's get dangerous
, with good ol' DW
, the KING of Disney cartoon cool!"
- Affectionate Parody: One towards The Angry Video Video Game Nerd and caustic critics, right down to the opening theme song of his earlier reviews and parodying a few of AVGN's reviews. Unlike AVGN and other critics, instead of bringing up awful video games that are best avoided, he talks about overlooked and under-rated video games not many played or heard of.
- April Fools' Day: He pulled a new prank on his fanbase for four years in a row:
- 2008: He posted an audio-only vlog ripping into the AVGN (originally titled "Sick to death of hearing about the Angry Nintendo Nerd") that was actually a parody of the infamous Armake21 vlog ripping into the Irate Gamer.
- 2009: The obligatory "Goodbye Forever" video, in which he announces his new rapping career. His band Starship Amazing even made an actual rap EP, which can be found here.
- 2010: He switched shows with the Gaming Historian, another Retroware personality. Derek talked about Shenmue, while Norman reviewed Ristar. This is also the only April Fools prank to date in which Derek does not break character, at least not explicitly.
- 2011: His friend and bandmate Calvin hijacked his show, and did an improvised quasi-review/playthrough of Chrono Trigger.
- 2014: The first episode of the meme-overloaded LIKECOMMENTSUBSCRIBESHOW with "Scare Cam" Cody and The Shitty Goose as they list the Top 10 NES boobs (at least two of the listed characters don't even have any) and start going to some really weird places.
- Big "WHAT?!":
- Bizarro World: He presents himself as the exact inverse of AVGN; not only does he review retro games positively, but he drinks red wine instead of beer (at one point getting confused when someone replaced his wineglass with a beer bottle).
- In his reenactment of the Bugs Bunny AVGN episode with Nightshade, at the point in the dialogue where AVGN punched Bugs, instead Nightshade punches HVGN.
- They are also mirror images of each other in Real Life professional choices, with James Rolfe being a filmmaker and Derek being a musician.
- Bowdlerise: In a special video produced before his review of the 2010 Splatterhouse game, HVGN explored the changes made to the original Splatterhouse — including the Bowdlerized elements — in its transition from the arcade to the TurboGrafx-16.
- The Cameo: A few.
- Caustic Critic: Inverted, as his reviews are (generally) positive in tone.
- Characterization Marches On: He started out aping the AVGN style as closely as possible, to the point that a few of his videos are directly "inspired" by specific episodes (the intro to Metal Storm was lifted from The Karate Kid; Nightshade is a riff on Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout). Over time, he's dropped most of the AVGN (and anti-AVGN) elements, and now all that remains are the name itself, along with a few props (the shirt and the wine).
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Happy Nerd wears a black shirt, as opposed to the Angry Nerd's white shirt.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Good games are great because they're good." Gets the appropriate response from the 'guest star' of the episode.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The Happy Nerd started out with the gimmick that he was the opposite of the Angry Nerd, and many of his early videos are shot-for-shot remakes of the Angry Nerd's videos, only with him extolling a good game instead of swearing at a bad one. Now, he does his own thing, although he still dresses like the Angry Nerd and drinks at the end of every review (which is actually something the Angry Nerd has generally stopped doing).
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: He covered the AVGN theme himself, playing the guitar and singing modified lyrics. Later, his band Starship Amazing remixed the song, and eventually they composed and performed an original instrumental piece.
- Dramatic Pause: Every once in a while; often, he smiles creepily right after one.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: His basic shtick is showcasing retro gaming's ensemble darkhorses.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Usually played straight but sometimes subverted. He mentions in his review of Eternal Darkness that viewers comment on his name as if that's his only modus operandi and that he should be praising games all the time. Instead, he reminds them that he's just honest about games he doesn't like but provides constructive criticism (backed by personal experience shown in the reviews) as to why that is.
- Follow the Leader: So relentlessly, cheerfully lampshaded that he seems to have escaped the wrath of even AVGN's fervent fanbase. (As pointed out above, AVGN even subscribes to his YouTube account.)
- Foreshadowing: Subverted for Halloween 2012 — he mentioned after his Elemental Gearbolt review that he had some unfinished business after which he turned his head to look at the Eternal Darkness game case present throughout the video. His next video: Ill Bleed.
- Freudian Slip: In calculating the score for The Sum of All Fears, Derek blurts out "NEGATIVE FIFTY" before correcting himself, explaining that the review score starts at +50 and works downward. This does not speak well for the forthcoming tally. (The final score was just shy of zero.)
- Gushing About Characters You Like: Rick (Knife-Puncher) Taylor from Splatterhouse.
- When HVGN discovers that Darkwing Dark can deflect knifes, he gleefully imagines who would win in a fight — then realized it's pretty much no-contest.
- Halloween Episode: Much like the Angry Nerd, Derek likes to review horror-themed games in late October, as well as in May under the same logic as Christmas in July.
- Hurricane of Puns: The livestream of Razor Freestyle Scooter eventually devolved into a hurricane of video game-related scooter puns.
- Hypocritical Humor: At the end of his Metal Storm review:
HVGN: "Remember, there are way too many great video games out there to be so fucking angry all the time..."
* *Picks up the controller*
HVGN: "WHAT THE FUCK!"
- Incredibly Lame Fun: The end of the Zombies Ate My Neighbors review.
- Mid-Review Sketch Show: There has been the occasional cut-away, especially with earlier reviews, but there is only one full-fledged instance of this trope: the Nightshade review (itself a blatant homage to Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout).
- Needs More Love: The point of the show.
- New Sound Album: Thatz a Rap.
- Nintendo Hard: Having grown up from the School of Hard Games, this guy will not be put off with Nintendo Hard.
- He did say, in his Enemy Zero review, that it was too frustrating (and one time that even he will say that Contra 4 is too hard), so he has his standards when it comes to difficulty.
- Nostalgia Filter: Averted and/or subverted; HVGN proves that there really is some stuff in the past that is really good, some of it just got passed over.
- Played straight in his reviews of Mega Man 9 and 10. He acknowledges that he rated 9 — which helped kick off the recent Retraux trend — as highly as he did partly for this specific reason. Now that "all that's old is new again" is getting...well, old again, he was able to take off his nostalgia-tinted lenses for 10. He does stand by his original review for 9, though, and cites other reasons why 10 is a weaker game.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: While livestreaming 007: Nightfire on the GBA, Derek is amused when a review is found for the game calling it "The 3rd best GBA FPS."
- Pokémon Speak: Nekbone the sock puppet shouts his name every few seconds.
- Precision F-Strike: Nekbone, who normally only speaks by shouting his own name, shouts out "OH SHIT!" when confronted by Nightshade.
- Self-Deprecation: Derek blatantly admits that he is inferior to both James Rolfe and Kyle Justin.
- "Keytars Are For Retards (So We'll Take Two)".
- Sequelitis: Invoked: Two of three of his negative reviews were sequels to games that he loves. He's also spoken poorly of several other sequels.
- Shout-Out: Other than his appreciation of AVGN, HVGN also gives shout outs to other YouTube video game reviewers, including Little Miss Gamer and Still Gaming — both of whom would eventually join That Guy with the Glasses.
- So Proud of You: The Angry Video Game Nerd is a subscriber to his account.
- Spinoff: His 'SSFF' and 'Is it really that bad?' series of videos, usually featuring his friend Calvin. They're all improvised, edited-for-length-and-highlights videos of Derek playing various games not featured on HVGN.
- Take That: In the stinger to his Final Fantasy Mystic Quest video, he deliberately pronounces "NES" as both "Enn-ee-ess" and "Ness" just to "piss everyone off".
HVGN: "What are you gonna do about that, haters?"
- In his review of Aladdin, he makes a jab at the The Irate Gamer's infamous review.
- Take That, Audience!:
"You know Nightshade, some people don't like this game." Nightshade:
"Like who?" HVGN:
"Some people (gestures at camera) on the internet." Nightshade:
(looks towards camera) *Beat
* "Fuck you."
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: HVGN's chief argument as to why Zoda's Revenge was a worse game than its predecessor, StarTropics. He takes the time to point out that just as many people agreed with his criticisms of the game as disagreed with them.
- Trademark Favorite Food: While the Angry Nerd drinks beer to get through shitty games, the Happy Nerd drinks wine to celebrate good games.
- Video Review Show: A very rare example of a show that started out more sketch-heavy (naturally, given his direct inspiration), and has since moved away from that.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It was never explained what HVGN's mom (or a hallucination thereof) was doing in his house in the "Little Nemo in Slumberland" review.