Reviews: Jon Tron

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A funny and passionate kindred spirit in gaming.
Now, you'd think that being one of YouTube's approximately 6,346th people producing fast-paced, sixteen-jokes-a-minute, slightly racy video game (and paraphernalia thereof) videos would make it a tough task to stand out. For one Jon Jafari (Pretty much the awesomest name ever! What's his middle name, "Hansgruber"?) and his adorable talking pet sidekick... not so much. Exactly why is hard to say. He's just got "it"... that elusive, dynamic combination of likeability, comedic talent, passion for what he does, and pretty swell facial hair, all things considered.

Though he's been kicking around the interwebs for a fair few years, his entire video catalog can be viewed in a comparatively short amount of time. Quality over quantity; always leave them wanting more. He's not overly focused on trying to force some dumb meme in every new episode; just making jokes he finds funny, and if you like 'em too, well, more power to ya! Maybe he's a bit overly reliant on stuff that'll probably make you laugh regardless of the joke made, i.e. Smash to Black usage straight out of The Hack's Guide to Being a YouTuber. But, y'know, it's kind of part and parcel of the genre. Can't complain too much.

He tends not to set out with the typical mindset of "LOL LETS MAKE FUN OF THIS BAD GAME"; he actually genuinely seems to want the games he plays to be good. If they aren't, well, he tends to accentuate the positives anyway. His introductions to whatever subject he's presenting helps you get into the mood, and are informative and decently researched, without ever delving into quoting a Wikipedia page.

And hey, I might be wrong about this one too, but the guy just seems like the real deal among all the people affecting some sort of pretentious reviewer alter ego. His enthusiasm and passion for video games always provides a steady anchor for even his most over-the-top review. If he didn't enjoy what he does, he seems like the guy who'd know when to quit, and not go through the motions to perpetuate some level of fleeting internet fame like a lot of these veterans whose popularity's on the wane these days. And I just gotta respect that. Mr. Tron, me likes you.

(One thing though... what is this guy doing reviewing video games?!? With his vibrant, manly voice, he should rightly be filling stadiums across the globe!)
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Jon Tron. He "Gets" It.
The web is crawling with video game critics and commentators, but only very, very few of them actually go beyond cursing and screaming to show what it really feels like to play a video game. James Rolfe gets it; Yahtzee—when he isn't making silly similes—demonstrates a keen understanding of what makes a game, and its player, tick. Jon Tron gets it, too, but he expresses his understanding... very much in his own way, different from anything we've seen before in the amateur game critique biz. Rather than mounting elaborate set pieces (though he does that too) or developing an outrageous, over-the-top persona (he's good to go on that front), Jon does away with the artifice and gets straight to the raw emotion: what you see, hear, and feel when you pick up your controller and get lost in a particularly good—or bad—game. And I've never, ever, seen anyone have that much fun puttin' on a web show.

When you watch a Jon Tron episode, be prepared to get lost amidst a flurry of wacky colors, sounds, and images. Expect our gracious host to laugh at his own jokes. Be aware of cutaway gags, caption humor, malapropisms, and all the random, nonsensical video clips you can safely pack into ten minutes of footage. If you haven't seen his show, this might not seem any more appealing than a YouTube Poop binge, but if you have... you know. You just know, okay!? Jon's sincerity makes the show; he doesn't appear to have a single cynical bone in his body. Bad games don't make him angry, they make him (realistically) sad and perplexed; good games make him act... the way you act when you play a good game. That's the thing about Jon. He's not acting funny, he's a genuinely funny guy, being himself. He doesn't have to put on a show, he is the show. And in an Internet full of synthetic, fabricated personas, it's kinda nice to see the real deal in action.

I give Jon Tron five robot parrots out of Spoony.
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Not my cup of tea
JonTron seems to be a landmark when you talk about game reviewers in the internet. Not so much for me. The man has some pretty solid work under his sleeve (the Daikatana and Dino City videos come to mind), but he seems to be stuck somehow in between what he thinks makes an old game good, and what makes a new game bad. And he goes back and forth without making a real choice. I thought it wasn't that bad, then I saw the Top 10 most overrated games video. He took it out of his channel afterwards, though it's still around. That video explains itself, but if it was supposed to be a glimpse of Hypocritical Humor and it was meant to be funny, maybe a little more sarcasm was needed to get his point across. Jus' sayin'.

That video shows what I think it's people's biggest flaw when they refer to him. His personal bias is painfully obvious. That's not bad (we all have it), but it wiggles right in the middle of giving well-crafted arguments, like a reviewer should, and giving asinine, hyperbolic nonsense when he tries to be funny, and apparently giving a "deal with it" or "lol jk" at the end of a statement should be enough. Add some visual gags and text captions (basically his own words written all around the screen). That's Jon Tron's style. Of course, YMMV on this. General consensus says it's good, but I don't know. The jokes got worse as time went on. I just can't compare his jokes in Dinocity versus his jokes in Space Ace. The latter one suffers for it.

His top tens are boring to me, basically because it's the same over and over again: Mario, Mario, Donkey, Mario, Conker, Mario, Banjo, KI, Mario, Mario... hell, let's just throw all of Rare's games pre-Microsoft owned. That's it. Your basic, standard Jon Tron top 10. Also, his babbling antics. Jon is an obvious inspiration for a lot of VG reviewers. Why do people think talking like being high stoned or drunk while spewing random shit is being funny by default is beyond me. It just isn't. Now stop abusing it.

You still should go check him out. His work will surely be good enough for you to follow him. For me, it's hard to take his opinion into account. Apparently he's more busy plastering his style all around his videos than giving real, down to earth arguments. Well, To each his own I guess.
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