- 10-Minute Retirement
- After playing Desert Bus, he feels that its existence is proof that he's failed in his mission to warn the world about shitty games, and he declares his retirement. Then he finds a cartridge containing a hacked version of Simon's Quest, the first game he ever reviewed, and decides to do one last review for old times sake. After discovering that the hack did its best to fix most of the things the Nerd complained about, it makes him realize that his efforts were not in vain after all, and that the show must go on.
- Once more, in the Mega Man episode, his frustration at the direction the series took in Mega Man X5 drove him to quit once more, tossing aside his nerdy shirt and all. That is, until he wound up on a time-travelling adventure where he realizes that having a series that people care about was actually rather nice. He then jumps back to the present, where he discovers that Bugs Bunny has put on the shirt and continued the series in his absence, so the Nerd beats the shit out of him, takes his shirt back, and gets right back to playing shitty games. ...and into the cruel clutches of the craptastic Mega Man Soccer...
- Accentuate the Negative: Played straight.
- Many viewers forget that he deliberately accentuated the negative in his review of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, as pointed out on Cinemassacre's FAQ, because it was meant to be a caricature of easily-angered gamers.
- Played straight up with Ninja Gaiden. However, the review was done this way not to emphasize how bad of a game it was, but rather how hard and challenging it was. He did the same thing with Zelda II and Ghosts 'n Goblins
- And when he reviewed Street Fighter 2010 he stated that if you get past it having nothing to do with any other part of the Street Fighter series, limited controls, and an impossibly difficult last stage, it's actually a pretty decent game. He tends to point this out a lot, playing the trope straight.
- Note that The Nerd doesn't always do this. He generally gives quite a lot of slack to So Okay, It's Average or So Bad, It's Good games, more than most Caustic Critics would, and he occasionally does whole episodes on games he loves like Castlevania and homages like Swordquest. He will also often include games that appear in the same series as the real bad ones, and often they get some praise. This is both for completion and comparison, since often it will serve to let you know there is no excuse for the company that made it. Examples include his Godzilla review and Back to the Future re-review. He flat out praised Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, perhaps because so much had already been negatively said about the game, but ostensibly because it showed truth in advertising: No road can contain that truck.
- He also plays with the trope in the Big Rigs review when he accentuates the lesser negatives of the game (bland graphics, no music or sound except the engine noise, texturing glitches, etc.). He explains that any normal game could be picked on endlessly for these sorts of problems, but in comparison to the rest of the brokenness of Big Rigs, nobody seems to mention them.
- The Nerd unwittingly tempts fate with regard to this while the Joker is forcing him to play Batman: Return of the Joker for the NES. After complaining about the game at length, the Nerd comments that it's actually a decent game overall, just an excessively hard one. So the Joker decides to make him play the Game Boy and Genesis adaptations of the game, driving the Nerd over the edge.
- There are also instances where he is obviously looking for something to make fun of.
- Flat out stated in his Colecovision review:
Nerd: Now, I know we mainly focused on the shitty aspects, but lemme tell ya: That's the name of the game.
- Inverted and played straight in the 2013 Wish List episode: when the fans asked him to review the bad Sonic the Hedgehog games, his response was simply: "What bad Sonic games?" Still, he did take a look at some less-than-favorable Sonic games, like Sonic Blast, Sonic Labyrinth, Sonic R, Sonic Shuffle, and Shadow the Hedgehog. In reality, James Rolfe said the last Sonic game he played was Sonic Rush, which he enjoyed.
- Lampshaded in his review of Seaman: the Nerd acknowledges that he seems negative while playing it, but still praises the game for being original and innovative for a virtual pet game.
- Bootsy, from the Board James series, once said at a convention that he thought the Nerd's rant about Ghostbusters II on NES not having a pause button seemed forced and unnecessary, and pointed out the game can be beaten in about 20 minutes (provided you don't die of course), so the game doesn't really need a pause button.
- Achievements in Ignorance: He somehow manages to get Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing to run on a Commodore 64.
- He does the same with an SNES emulator when playing "Hong Kong 97".
- Later still in the "Aladdin Deck Enhancer" episode when simply slapping the keyboard somehow pulls up a video on You Tube.
- Actor/Role Confusion: Some fans seem to believe that the Nerd and his creator James Rolfe are supposed to be the same person, when the Nerd is just a character and James is an actor.
: It's funny how people usually see videos on YouTube
and take them at face value. The same people probably believe that I go around in real life, wearing a white pressed shirt, stuffed with pens in the pocket, and saying "fuck" all the time and talking about buffaloes taking diarrhea dumps.
Opening narration with scrolling text: The Angry Video Game Nerd is not real. He's a character. Some of the games he plays would cause a person to lose their mind, break something, or get hurt. To put it another way, don't try this at home.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Often.
- On Winter Games: "This is a blizzard of balls!"
- During his Star Trek review: "You're relieved to finally start walking around and doing stuff, but only then do you realize how astronomically ass this game is!"
- The Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin.
- Taken up a few notches in the Beetlejuice review. Every criticism he has about the game is rephrased into an alliterative term—without fail. Well, almost. There is Bad Music. You don't have to keep track if you don't want to; he lists them all by the end of the review.
- Adjusting Your Glasses: In the Action 52 episode, the Nerd does this by the bridge, just after he takes out a calculator from his front pocket to determine the price that each of the 52 games would have if sold separately. The whole gesture actually makes him look, well, more nerdy.
- Aerith and Bob: In the Beetlejuice episode, he gives all of the game's flaws creative and swear-filled names like "Bouncing Bullshit", "Perpendicular Dick Ploys", etc. Until he gets to the game's out-of-place music, which he just calls "Bad Music".
- Agony of the Feet: The Nerd accidentally drops a TV on his foot while trying to mount an Atari 5200.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Richard, the guy who created the Nerd's Nintoaster (a toaster with its internals taken out and replaced with the internals of an NES) attempted to fix the Nerd's Atari Jaguar CD, which was getting connection errors. After trying everything possible to no effect (including wiring it directly to the Jaguar, eliminating all possibility of a connection error), he concluded that the machine was sentient and deliberately preventing people from playing it.
- All Just a Dream: The Nightmare in Elm Street episode. However, when the Nerd wakes up, he's horrified to discover that he's still wearing the Power Glove, which leads him to review it on the next episode.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: In-Universe.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees:
- In the Die Hard review, the Nerd jokingly suggests the idea of a Lethal Weapon game where Riggs's powerups are dog biscuits. This really does happen in the Super Nintendo game based on the movies.
- The peeing fountain that the Nerd mocks in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Actually a real thing.
- In his video on Super and Virtual Hydlide, the Nerd frequently reads from a book titled On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. Its a very real published text.
- Anachronism Stew: In his "Mega Man Games" episode, where his present self meets his 2004 self. We see that when he initially did his Jekyll/Hyde video, he was talking into a teddy bear nanny cam.... which for some reason has a 2015 date on it.
- Ancient Grome: The Nerd's review of the NES game Day Dreamin' Davey has him keep mislabeling a few stages of Ancient Greece as "Ancient Rome", even though they show Hades' lair and Mt. Olympus.
- And Another Thing...:
- At the end of his very first review (Castlevania 2); he thanks the listeners, bids them good night, and cuts to black...only to come back quickly to add that the game's ending sucks too.
- Taken Up to Eleven in his review of Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure; combines with Leave the Camera Running.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: In his review of Polybius, he mentions how 90% of anything posted on the internet is complete bullshit.
In fact, when a bull takes a shit, it decomposes into digital matter, which evaporates into cyber airwaves, which becomes... the internet. Now you know.
- And Show It to You: The Nerd does this to himself at the end of "Bible Games 3", in response to a game telling him to "give your heart to Jesus".
- Angrish: A staple of his reviews. Notably, James' tantrum during the Scrooge special.
HUMBUG! BAH agabaggablughraghablugga— HELL!!
- Annoying Video-Game Helper: In the Independence Day review, he's annoyed by the voice always reminding him to "take out the generators".
- Anti-Hero: The Nerd is generally pleasant to most people until they turn out to be less than wholesome themselves, refrains from killing a defeated Klingon and has fought against Satan with Jesus on multiple occasions. Then again, he is a coarse, foul mouthed rage-a-holic who brutally beat up and decapitated Bugs Bunny (Though he certainly had it coming).
- Anti-Humor: "The Nerd's Anger Management"
- Apocalyptic Log: His review on Polybius
- Applied Mathematics: Chronologically Confused features the Nerd in front of a board filled with nonsensical equations and formulae, including at points a Triforce and a drawing of Mario.
- Aroused by Their Voice: In his NES Days Re-Revisited episode, the Nerd decides to call the phone number in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit game, only to find that what used to be a recorded message giving tips for the game is now a sex hotline. Aroused by Their Voice indeed.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: He LOVES this trope.
- On the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game:
It sucking fucks
, it fucking sucks, it fucking blows, it's a piece of shit... and I don't like it
- He says something similar when talking about the radar in the Independence Day episode... "It's too small, it makes no fuckin' sense, and... I don't like it."
- From the Deadly Towers review, probably because the fans had already taken all the best lines:
This game is a chicken-lickin'-finger-fuckin' son of a bitch! This game is BALL CIDER! The assholians bow down to this piece of shit! In other words, the game sucks.
- Here is the biggest Cluster F-Bomb in the whole series, in the Power Glove review:
"Now you're playing with power." (Pause) Now you're playing with fuckin' shit! You're better off fuckin' shit than fuckin' with this fucked up shit! Fuck this shit! You don't know shit about how fuckin' shitty this fuckin' shit is! It's so bad it sucks! It's so fuckin' suck it fucks! And I...can't take it anymore.
- Another one, from Superman 64 when he fails to complete a stage in time:
"Fuck! Ass! Bitch! Cunt! Fart!"
- Before that, there was also the NES Accessories episode in which he shouts "FUCK!" in place of the word "FIRE!" with the Konami Laserscope, and he also thinks he can say anything besides "FUCK!", like for example "ASS!":
"SHIT! BITCH! CUNT! FUCK! FART!"
- Another much more subtle example appears at the end of his Rocky review, where, after his usual ranting about things he'd rather do than play the game, he ends with "I'd rather eat raw eggs".
- Also in the Rocky review:
"It's a bunch of putrid anal shit coming out of a rhinoceros's asshole. It fucks up the ass, shits out the mouth, piss out the nose, dookie out the ears, diarrhea out the dick, shits for the birds. The control for this game is poo-poo".
- His obscure enemy roll call for Wolverine (NES).
- In the "Making Of" video, James remarks that he has a lot of AVGN shirts, and why.
James Rolfe: "As you can see, I have plenty of Nerd shirts because they get fucked up all the time. Bloodstains, shit-stains, missing buttons."
- In the Atari Porn video, he talks about different groups being offended by Custer's Revenge: parents were offended when their kids got a hold of it, women's rights groups were offended since the object of the game is to commit rape, Native Americans were also offended by the premise... and, finally, the Nerd, himself, is offended because the game sucks.
- In his Beetlejuice review, he counts off everything that sucks about it: Bouncing Bullshit, Perpendicular dick ploys, Bitch barriers, Inanimate Anal Assassinations, Fruitless farts, Diarrhetic diversions, Freeform fuckery, Pinpoint piss taking, Rat trap crap shoot and Bad music.
- From Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Revisited: "When you're Hyde, you're just defending yourself from evil monsters. You should be going around the town beating people up, walking into bars, starting fights, getting drunk, raping women, and causing a ruckus!"
- Art Evolution: Mike Matei's title cards. Pointed out in the episode in which the Nerd re-visit his earliest videos, he comments on how even the title card from the Top Gun episode was crappy, just to have it replaced in that moment with a dramatically better one.
AVGN: Oh, okay. That's way better.
- Ass Shove: The Bat-Nerd does it to the Joker with all the Batman games reviewed. (Except the good one.)
- Atomic F-Bomb:
- The sheer intensity of the way he screams "FUUUUCK!" after seeing and playing the Godzilla games that he always wanted to play as a child, but which were released after his video game-playing prime had passed, is almost scary; it helps that the famous Godzilla roar was mixed into the scream.
- In his Top Gun review, directly following the iconic "ASS!"
- The exact same sound clip was used when he ordered a custom Atari 5200 controller when he couldn't use the originals, only to discover it wouldn't fit in the controller ports.note
- His brief bout of rage after accidentally restarting his Predator game ends with one of these.
- It's also referenced by name and used to powerful effect in the Ghosts 'n Goblins review.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode, after the Nerd realizes that if you stand on a platform too long, a safe drops on you, he lets out one that's so long that it spans a multitude of shots and ends in an explosion.
- In the Seaman episode, when he finds a Famicom Disk System game (Explosive Fighter Patton) that actually has the word "fuck" in it, he lets out an Atomic F-Bomb for so long, he neglects his Seaman and lets it starve to death. Said F-bomb is played over dramatic music and a montage of nature.
- In the Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero episode:
- Audience Participation Song: "Or say 'Cowabunga? COWA-FUCKING PIECE OF DOG SHIT!"
- Author Appeal:
- It sure seems like Rolfe has an odd obsession with corprophiliac humor. Case in point, one of his old, pre-AVGN movies is titled It Came From the Toilet.
- James Rolfe loves horror movies and this fact is clearly evident in the extra work he puts into Halloween-themed AVGN episodes and Cinemassacre updates.
- A Winner Is You: The Nerd HATES games that do this, especially games that he's actually taken the effort to defeat for his reviews. Especially noteworthy is the ending of his Little Red Hood review, when, overwhelmed and angry at how Nintendo Hard the game was, he WANTED to see a shitty ending. And he got one.
Nerd: (reading from the ending screen) "Oh my dear little Red Hood! Thank you for your coming!"
*lets the controller slip from his fingers onto the floor*
- Background Music: Many of the recent episodes feature stock music from the Fresh Music Library.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: While he talks about his experiences with the Total Recall game:
"I remember playing it for the first time as a kid. It was a Friday night, my homework was all done, my mom took me to the video store, I rented this game, I took it home, man, I played it, and it just FUCKING PISSED ME OFF AND RUINED MY WHOLE GODDAMN WEEKEND!"
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The 100th episode starts with the Nerd monologuing about how he have come to hate videogames thanks to shitty games, and how he wished humanity wouldn't have invented them in the first place. After going berserk, R.O.B. tries to get rid of all the videogames, replacing them with Gyromite and Stack-up, proclaiming that shitty games would no longer exist thanks to this. It's then that the Nerd realizes that he actually enjoyed the time playing all those games and battle R.O.B. to stop him.
- Been There, Shaped History: As The History of Super Mecha Death Christ reveals, Super Mecha Death Christ has had an influence in history from its first chronological appearance in 2000 BC, where the prototype spontaneously appeared after the events of The Wizard of Oz 3: Dorothy Goes to Hell (one of James' earlier videos) and was subsequently destroyed by the cavemen, the vikings, and the Egyptosaurus. There's a laundry list of appearances, but suffice it to say, SMDC had way more influence on history than Forrest Gump did.
- Benevolent Genie: Frees one from a thermos in the Aladdin Deck Enhancer episode. He's a laid back kind of guy who grants all of Nerd's wishes with no hiccups. Even the one where the genie is wished to go swim in a septic tank.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Nerd ends up getting strangled by Pat The NES Punk after destroying the Nintendo World Championship cartridges. That said, the Pat The NES Punk character is probably only just 'nicer' than the Nerd in the video itself.
- Big Bad: LJN published about 60% of the terrible games he reviews. This carries over to the official game, where the final level is named after LJN and is rainbow-themed.
- Big Damn Movie:
- The AVGN movie involves, among other things, Area 51, the US Army, a giant mecha attack, a Zombie Apocalypse, a Robot War, and aliens. Oh yeah.
- Referenced in the Desert Bus video. After the Nerd comes out of his 10-Minute Retirement, he declares that he must venture outside of his game room and do something bigger than he's ever done before.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
- Invoked at the start of "Atari Porn", which has the Nerd giving a summary of the life of General Custer as a segue into Custer's Revenge. He even lampshades it.
"..Now, why the fuck did I just tell you all that?"
- Big "NO!":
- Lloyd Kaufman lets one out for humor when told by the Nerd that he's going to be playing shitty games based off his most famous creation, The Toxic Avenger.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the closing seconds of part 11 of his 12 Days of Shitsmas. With only one more present to unwrap, he gets tempted to give himself and the viewers a sneak peek at what's inside. He only tears open the bottom left corner, but what he sees is enough to bring this trope into play. For those who are curious, it's the LJN logo.
- In the Treasure Master episode Nerd lets out one after he finds out that the contest - through which he was hoping to get money - had been expired in April 11th, 1992.
- Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Despite his generous use of swear words and scatological similes, he sometimes ends up using these instead.
...I got more... You
're a poopy-head!
- Big "WHY?!": The Nerd lets out one near the end of Dick Tracy at the start of his meltdown induced by the game having no continues.
- Bile Fascination:
- It's Lampshaded early on that the Nerd subjecting himself to horrible games is entirely a torment of his own making, but after the Christmas Carol parody episode, he decides that he can't handle only playing good games and goes right back to bad ones.
- In his Transformers: Convoy no Nazo episode, the title card has the Nerd fighting Megatron, who says to the Nerd "Stop playing shitty games!", to which the Nerd cries out "NEVER!"
- And in the R.O.B. episode, after he gets beaten to within an inch of his life and R.O.B. is in the process of destroying all games except the two it was programmed for, instead of thinking about the good games he's played, he flashes back to all the horrible piles of digital crap he'd reviewed, gathers his Heroic Resolve, and shouts, "I WON'T FUCKING HAVE IT!"
- Discussed in both of his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde videos, where he begs the viewers not to use this as a reason to play it.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Nerd discusses in one Transformers episode that the game's title (Transformers: Convoy no Nazo) "translates to 'Mystery of Optimus Prime'", which kind of makes sense, given that Prime's Japanese name is referred to in the title as "Convoy", and the Japanese game's box cover title is also referred to in English as The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy (Or "Comvoy" as it's actually spelled, due to a now-archaic quirk of Japanese that 'm' and 'n' are interchangeable at the end of syllables)note .
- Bladder of Steel: Discussed in his review of the NES version of Ghostbusters II:
AVGN: I mean, if you have to answer the phone, or take a shit, it's like, "Tough shit if you gotta take a shit!" You gotta take a quick shit! You gotta have turbo turds! I'm trying to play the game, I've got shit stains in my pants, and an answering machine that says "Sorry, I'm playing Ghostbusters 2 on Nintendo." What a selfish game. Bottom line, have a fucking pause button, god damn it!
- Bland-Name Product: With the notable exception of Atari, almost every recognizable trademark in the movie is replaced with a parody name, including "Gamecops", "Eee Tee the Extra Special Alien", "War Duty 3000", the "OMG Grand" and "Mantaray Bay" casinos, "Dingleberry's" Ice Cream, "Actifiction", and so forth.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The AVGN lampshades this in his review of the NES version of Metal Gear:
"Man, these translations suck. Couldn't they just get anyone to proofread this shitload of fuck?"
- Body Horror: The thoroughly glitched boxers on Rocky for PS2 were either FUCKING SCARY or funny as hell.
- The shot of Simon's Quest at the end of the 100th episode, considering it was the first game the Nerd reviewed.
- Also in the Desert Bus episode, when the Nerd (after his "retirement") takes the game off his shelf and smiles.
- Booze Flamethrower: At the end of the Rambo episode.
- Born in the Wrong Century: After seeing the newer Godzilla games, the AVGN laments that he was born too early and instead had to grow up with the games he had just previously reviewed.
- Bottled Heroic Resolve: He uses Billy Mitchell's Hot Sauce to give himself sufficient gaming powers to beat Transformers: Convoy no Nazo.
- Bound and Gagged: Every now and then.
- Spoofed in the Action 52 review's "TV Version" clip:
- In the crossover episode with Captain S, the Nerd foul language gets toned down to fit with the G-rated, Saturday morning cartoon feeling of the show. It gets lampshaded at the end when all the characters get scandalized when he says "Merry [bleep] Christmas!"
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- He offers the controller to the viewer in his Dragon's Lair review.
- In his Nintendo Days Revisited review, the Nerd plays Top Gun again. It appears as if he is about to actually land the plane, but instead the plane flies out of the TV and out the window.
- In his Schwarzenegger Games review, he comments on how the guys fly off the screen. What happens next? Everyone flies out of the TV.
- In the same vein as the Top Gun plane exiting the TV, in his Star Wars review, the boss's life bar in one of the Super Star Wars games is so long that it exits the TV and keeps expanding.
- Though usually reserved for outtakes, in several episodes (especially when another person is present), he can be seen laughing when he's supposed to be angry and/or serious about the game he's playing. This is especially noticable in the Ikari Warriors episode (unable to stop laughing at Guitar Guy's "Where Did The Hair Go?" song) and just about everything in the Toxic Crusader episode.
- In the Punisher/Bayou Billy video, the Nerd cringes when Pat The NES Punk mentions the E.T. Atari game, and tells Pat to not speak its name. Pat scoffs at the Nerd's reaction and tells him not to make such a big production out of it, followed by an Aside Glance from both of them.
- After shitting on Bugs Bunny's face in Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout, the Nerd takes a quick moment to assure the audience that it wasn't real, holding up the fake butt he used to get the shot.
- Breaking the Reviewer's Wall: Sometimes he gets into fights with characters from the games, and in a few rare occasions, enters the game he's reviewing.
- Brick Joke:
- The mail on his Street Fighter 2010 review.
- Leatherface and the bicycle in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre review.
- Mentions of "the Poopie Man" in the Halloween review.
- An inadvertent one: in the "Wii Salute" video, which portrays a silly re-enactment of the Console Wars using the real consoles as props, a simple picture of a Sega Saturn is used instead of a real one, with an accompanying caption explaining that the Nerd (and by extension, James) doesn't own a Saturn. The opening sequence of the next episode have a quick bit showing that, in between episodes, four different people sent him a Saturn!
- The Batman reviews had the Nerd simply telling the bad games that he was "BATMAANNN...." before putting them down in an agitated manner in the first part, with them not being mentioned. Come the end of the second part, said bad games ended up being shoved up The Joker's ass.
- In the review for the NES Die Hard game, he comments how the game seems to try and follow the movie too much (i.e. John cutting his feet), and comments this would be like in a Lethal Weapon game where dog biscuits are used as power ups. Years later he reviews the actual Lethal Weapon NES game in 2014, and expresses disappointment that dog biscuits are not used as power ups.
- Broke the Rating Scale:
- He coins the world's strongest expletive just to describe a set of games. It's so strong that both the audio track and his mouth are censored. Consider what does get through and...
- Later, he finds that Bill and Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure is so bad, it actually takes him a while to come up with a strong enough insult for it.
- The Bus Came Back: The Ikari Warriors episode marks the long-anticipated return of Guitar Guy to the show.
- By-the-Book Cop: Discussed in the Bill & Ted episode:
AVGN: Bill and Ted were the ultimate cheaters. What have we learned from the movie? If you're failing your history course but happen to have access to a time machine, bring the history to the classroom! If that happened in real life, would the teacher give them an automatic "A", or say, "Yeah, that's pretty amazing you brought Abe Lincoln here, but you still gotta pass the test."
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": An extended discussion of all the real-life animals, or mythical creatures with pre-existing names, which in the Zelda universe have totally bizarre names. He ends up being pretty disappointed to discover that the rocks in Zelda are called "Rocks".
- The ending of the Atari 5200 episode features the exact same Atomic F-Bomb that the Nerd let out in the Top Gun episode (like, the sound clip was reused).
- In the Pitfall episode, there's an small call back to The Crazy Castle episode:
AVGN: That would be like the Easter Eggs were full of diarrhea and the Easter Bunny was shitting all over your face... but I had enough with bunnies and shit lately...
- There's a callback to the Super Mario Bros. 3/The Wizard episode in the Game Glitches episode:
AVGN: Moving on to Mario 3, The Glitch Gremlin usually stays away from this one. Yeah, it's a little too crowded with demonic possessions.
- In the out takes of the Nintendo World Championship episode, Pat mocks the Nerd about how he's a better gamer than him, making reference to many of the Nerd's failures from past episodes, including his inability to land the plane in Top Gun.
- From his Star Wars games review: "And what's this? The program engineer shows his face? I wish it was Fred Fuchs!" (referencing his "Bram Stoker's Dracula" review)
- And before that, he mentions Fred Fuchs in his review of Winter Games: "Who programmed this thing?? Maybe it was Fred Fuchs!"
- In his "Schwarzenegger Games" review, when reviewing the Total Recall game, commenting on a graphic of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in a movie theatre and showing the credits, the AVGN muses, "I miss Fred Fuchs."
- Fred Fuchs is also the name given on the generic rendering of a credit card in the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure game review.
- In his second "Bible Games" review, the Nerd ends the review by looking at BIBLE GAMES... on CD-i! Much later, in his Dark Castle review, he ended the review the same way.
- In the same episode, the Nerd sarcastically utters that the cartoonish dragon seen in the Genesis version of Dark Castle will give him nightmares, likely a reference to James Rolfe's own short autobiographical film The Dragon in my Dreams.
- In his re-visit of the Back to the Future game, he said he was experiencing deja vu because he stuck the game cartridge in the Nintoaster. In his first Back to the Future review, he stuck the cartridge in an actual toaster.
- The Nerd has tried to land the plane in Top Gun four times: Initially in his Top Gun review, again in his Power Glove review (ironically, the only time he landed it successfully), again in the NES Accessories video when he used the U-Force. And finally, he revisited the game during his Back to the Future re-review, and once again tried to land the plane. This time, the plane exited his TV and flew out of the basement.
- In his Silver Surfer review, the Nerd says that just thinking about the game makes him feel like having an anal evacuation. He says the same thing about the Power Pad in his NES Accessories review.
- Also in that review, he says "It would be easier to pick fly shit out of pepper... while wearing boxing gloves!" This topic is brought up again in the Transformers episode of Over Analyzers, where James' character claims that boxers deliberately do this to have shitty gloves later during the boxing match, as some sort of advantage.
- In his McKids review, he comments that the character can walk on water. Then he asks, "Who does he think he is: Jesus Christ?" He asks the same thing in his Rambo review.
- In his review of the Independence Day video game, he thought that he should be doing something better with his time than playing the game, such as playing with dog turds. Later, when he reviewed Ricky 1, he complained about being harassed by The Nostalgia Critic, and asks, "Don't you think I have enough videos to make?! That I have nothing better to do than, y'know, play with dog turds?"
- In his Virtual Boy review, he describes Waterworld as "like puking on a pile of shit." Fast forward to the Toxic Crusaders episode, in which he actually does puke on a pile of shit.
- One of his descriptions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES is "diarrhea coming out of my dick." Fast-forward seven years, and Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure for the NES is "diarrhea coming out of an old woman's bleeding vagina."
- In Board James, another one of James' projects, when Bad Luck Bootsy asks where the shark from Shark Attack is from, Board James says "Lake Titicaca!" In the "Alien³" episode, the Nerd says the game has as much to do with the movie "as Space Hunter Nebula M has to do with Lake Titicaca."
- Two of the lines in the AVGN Theme Song ("He'd rather eat the rotten asshole of a roadkilled skunk" and "He'd rather have a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in his ear," were first said by the Nerd himself in the "Back to the Future" review (Episode 6; the theme song is first heard at the beginning of Episode 7.)
- In the The Adventures of Bayou Billy and The Punisher episode, Nerd quips that one of the villain mugshots in The Punisher looks like Pat The NES Punk when Nerd destroyed the Nintendo World Championship carts. Punk's face noticeably and repeatedly twitches.
- In his review of Desert Bus he tries to cheat and pulls out his old "hold down the button with pliers" trick that he used back in his Terminator episode. Unfortunately for the Nerd, the devs thought ahead and he nearly crosses the Despair Event Horizon upon discovering that the bus constantly veers to the right, so he has to constantly monitor it anyways.
- In his review of the Beetlejuice game he is seen wearing the same dark rimmed glasses he wore in the AVGN movie.
- In part 10 of The 12 Days of Shitsmas, we see the Nerd taking a look around his room as he waits for his game to load (the process takes just over a minute). He spots a dent in the ceiling, and it shows some "Crazy Castle" footage of the Nerd throwing Bugs Bunny, which produced the dent. He looks down and sees the Toxic Crusaders game on the floor, still drenched in shit and vomit. He then looks at the wall and sees a T-shirt and poster of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde game.
- In part 11 of The 12 Days of Shitsmas, when the Nerd is annoyed that in the Universal Studios Theme Park game, Woody Woodpecker cannot let the player character get in a ride, he quips "You Woody Bunny fucking pecker piece of shit!" This is the exact line he blurted to Bugs Bunny / Woody Woodpecker in the Crazy Castle episode before the bomb explodes.
- The Mega Man Games episode is rife with these, considering it deals with the Nerd traveling back in time to past episodes and interacting with younger and younger incarnations of the Nerd to show them different Mega Man games. It also ends with the Nerd coming back to the present, only to find Bugs Bunny has taken over his job. He then gives him a "Birthday Blowout"-esque No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and throws him over his head a la "Crazy Castle", ceiling damage and all.
- The Beavis and Butthead episode includes a moment where the Nerd is playing the SNES game and discovers a person on a menu saying that "This game sucks!", the very same sentence that the Nerd used to start his very first episode. He has an epiphany and claims that this game taught him everything he knows about reviewing games.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) episode has the Nerd recall a previous Christmas special where he answered requests to review the bad games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series with "What bad Sonic games?" He then acknowledges that when they talk about bad Sonic games, the one he is reviewing is the one everyone was clamoring for him to do. In the end, he takes Sonic 2006 into the torture dungeon from the Dark Castle episode.
- The Cameo:
- Shit Pickle turned up due to his similarity to the enemies in Action 52's "Ooze".
- Richard Daluz, creator of James' "Nintoaster", appears in voiceover in the Atari Jaguar video, discussing his attempts to fix the Jaguar CD that James had sent him.
- The AVGN has a small cameo in the Cinevore's music video parody '''Piece of Meat'''
- Other Internet personalities like Doug Walker and Keith Apicary appear in the AVGN movie.
- In episode 5 of THE UNLIMITED Hyoubu Kyousuke The Nostalgia Critic and The Angry Video Game Nerd appear out together in a Tokyo amusement park as random spectators.
- James' other characters make appearances alongside the Nerd: the Bullshit Man appears in the Tiger Electronic Games episode to vent over plastic packaging that requires scissors to break through (in this case, packaging for a Tiger Electronics wristwatch game), and Board James came in the AVGN Games episode to show the Nerd his own version of Monopoly.
- And here comes the Earthbound episode which can be considered as a KING OF THE ENTIRE AVGN SERIES in this regard. Every single character from all the prior videos is featured: Shit Pickle, Guitar Guy, Ninja Master, Trucker James from Big Rigs episode, the eponymous Bimmy, Tong Shau Ping from Hong Kong 97 episode, and the list goes on.
- He also made an appearance in the Youtube Celebrity version of I Choose You To Die by Star Bomb.
- Episode 164 has Macaulay Culkin showing up to play various Home Alone games with the Nerd.
- The Aladdin Deck Enhancer video has the Nerd watching a video by The Gaming Historian on the device while trying to figure out how to get it working. At the end of the review as the Nerd wishes for all Deck Enhancers to explode, we get even more cameos including the likes of Rerez, Stop Skeletons From Fighting and of course, Gaming Historian himself as their respective Deck Enhancers go boom.
- Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: The Nerd seems to have this relationship, not with a person, but with shitty games. He repeatedly states how much he hates shitty games... but he won't stop playing them. It's repeatedly mentioned in the show that there's no one forcing the Nerd to play shitty games... no one but himself.
- Captain Ersatz:
- Captain Obvious: When criticizing the Virtual Boy's size for a portable system, he remarks, "My ass is portable!"
- Casual Danger Dialog: When looking at the Jurassic Park game for the 3DO, he notices that the mini-game where you're being chased by a T-Rex doesn't show any hands on the steering wheel. He guesses that the driver either has their hand on the bottom of the wheel or is steering with their knee, and then goes on to note that the driver must be pretty casual about the situation to steer like that, and imagines them doing this on a cell phone at the same time.
Nerd as Driver (on cellphone): Hey, I'm stoppin' at Dunkin Donuts, you want me to pick up a coffee? What's that? Oh, just some fuckin' T-Rex behind me. Yeah, what an asshole.
"What a shitload of fuck."note
"Let's pop this fucker in!"
"Let's play some shitty games!"
"I would rather (do something involving animal shit) than play this game!"
"What a piece of shit!"
"It's like puking on a pile of shit!"
"What a joke!"
"You think that's enough?"
(when having to do something very tedious) "Oh my God. This takes forever."
"Let's flick that shit switch and crank up the diarrhea dial! It's [insert title here], ON CD-I!"
- Exaggerated in his Schwarzenegger Games review, when he reels off several of these in quick succession with increasingly flattening inflection: "I am DEAD. FUCKING. SERIOUS. What a shitload of fuck. What were they thinking." (Takes a sip of Rolling Rock).
- Super Mecha Death Christ: FUCKERS!!!!!!
- Bullshit Man: "You know what's bullshit?" Of course eventually followed up with: "That's bullshit!"
- Caustic Critic: Note that this is very much just the Nerd's exaggerated persona - when James reviews media as himself, he's actually more generous than most Internet critics. He is apparently rather soft spoken, which comes as a shock to people used to him as the AVGN. Contrast with The Happy Video Game Nerd, who inverts James' concept and even has gotten James' seal of approval — by subscribing to Happy's YouTube account.
- Censored for Comedy: Discussed in the Action 52 review:
- Characterization Marches On: Earlier videos were mostly Rolfe taking on the "Angry Video Game Nerd" role through and through, pretty much a bratty kid talking trash about almost everything. More recent installments have involved him inserting more of his Real Life personality into the character, reserving the old Jerkass behavior more for reactionary purposes. Which are, well, pretty common.
- The Chew Toy: Half the fun is simply watching the Nerd suffer and become increasingly unhinged over the course of the video.
- Chimney Entry: In "How the Nerd Stole Christmas", the Nerd plans to steal all the good video games in Gameville and replace them with bad ones. He enters the houses through the chimneys the way Mario travels through warp pipes.
Narrator: Then he ducked down the chimney, a bit absurd, but if Mario could do it, then so could the Nerd.
- Chirping Crickets:
- In the Action 52 episode, when he tries to play Alfred and the Fettuc (for the second time) the game never loads and the Nerd is left only with a dark screen and the sound of crickets.
- In the Nintendo World Championships episode, Pat the NES Punk and the Nerd both have Imagine Spots about what it would be like if they owned both the grey and gold NWC cartridges. Pat imagines himself at an awards ceremony winning an award for Best NES Collection (grudgingly presented to him by the Nerd just to rub salt in the wound). The Nerd imagines himself putting both cartridges on his shelf with the rest of his collection and just standing there looking at them with the sound of crickets playing.
- Christmas Episode:
- "Bible Games" (2006)
- "An Angry Nerd Christmas Carol" (2007)
- "Bible Games 2" (2008)
- "Winter Games" (2009)
- "How the Nerd Stole Christmas" (2010)
- "Bible Games 3" (2011)
- "Wish List" parts 1 and 2 (2013)
- "The 12 Days of Shitsmas" (2014), a series of short reviews for 12 shitty games.
- "Bad Game Cover Art" (2015), a series of short videos discussing Contemptible Covers of video games that are released daily each day in December until Christmas.
- In 2016 the Christmas Episode covered several accessories for the Sega Genesis and had the Nerd and a friend opening them as presents on Christmas Day, an oddball episode that involves more of them playing with the accessories, not so much review of them.
- "Lightspan Adventures" (2017)
- "Home Alone Games" (2018)
- Christmas Miracle: Finally, the Nerd discovered an LJN game that is not a steaming pile of fucking shit (namely, Maximum Carnage). Appropriately, this happened on part 2 of the 2013 Christmas Episode.
- Classic Cheat Code: The Nerd uses the "A, B, B, A" code to revive Kyle Justin twice during the Ikari Warriors episode. This is the code in-game to get a free extra life.
- Clip Show: Part of the December 2010 episode is a recap of all the previous Christmastime episodes.
- Cloning Blues:
- None of them want to play A Nightmare on Elm Street with him. Though you can hardly blame them.
- The Nerdy Turd is cloned from the Nerd's feces.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Doesn't even begin to describe him.
- Parodied with a line in his Dracula video.
"Oh eff—I mean fuck!"
- The end of the Ghosts 'n Goblins review directly references the trope title.
- The Godzilla games episode ends on such an epic Cluster F-Bomb that he runs out of swears that can properly convey his frustration and invents a new one just to satisfy his pent-up rage, which is apparently so bad that it gets bleeped out, even on his show.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: He actually calls for his viewers help to defeat Giygas in the Earthbound review.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
"Purple for "Putrid Gameplay", Blue for "Bad Musical Abominations", Green for "Graphical Farts and Garlic", Yellow for "Piss-Poor Lack of Loyalty to Source Material", Orange for "Orange you a fucking idiot!", and Red for "High-stress Anger-Inducing Masochism"! Put that all together, and you have all the colors of the shit-rainbow! Hooray LJN."
- Crucified Hero Shot: James lying bloodied and charred from his fight with R.O.B. —With the trademark white shirt, of course.
- Cultured Badass: For a guy who spends all day playing old video games and swearing like a sailor he has a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of Scottish folklore, recounting the meeting of St. Columba and the Loch Ness monster in the history of Super Mecha Death Christ. Though in his version the monster was Satan and Death Christ drove him off.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- Both of the fights between the Nerd and Bugs Bunny. Bugs is the first to get his ass kicked, but he later comes back in the Crazy Castle review to exact his rabbit revenge.
- The Humongous Mecha battle in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero has the Nerd helplessly watching as Sub-Zero is tossed around like a ragdoll.
- Curse Cut Short: From the Jaws section of his Spielberg movie games review: "Smile, you son of a- Mmmmm!"
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: A major complaint he has in his review of Action 52, in which he gets annoyed very quickly at the quantity of Space Shooters which are basically the same. Reaches the level of "Why Did It Have to Be Space?"
Nerd: The rest of the street stages are all the same, except they change the color. No effort. Time is money. Don't design another stage; just change the color, and kids will think it's different. Do they think we're idiots?
- Cute Kitten:
- His black cat Boo, a.k.a. "Death Kitty" has made a few appearances:
- In the second part of the Atari Jaguar episode, the Nerd is attacked by the Atari Jaguar logo. He thus summons Death Kitty to fight it, and proves quite badass.
- In the NES accessories episode, it plays with the screen for a few seconds, as well as defacing the Power Pad when the Nerd references what pets can do to it. The Nerd also attempts to use him to control the Roll'n Rocker, only for Boo to walk off it 5 seconds later.
- AVGN turns into Boo at the end of his Michael Jackson's Moonwalker review.
- His white cat, Little Yeti, is used to torture the Nostalgia Critic into submission in the Final Battle behind-the-scenes.
- Damned by Faint Praise:
- Action 52, he compliments G-Force Fighter in this backhanded way.
"It's another 2D shooter. You know what? This would be okay... for Atari 2600
. The only two controls are move and shoot. This game was made in 1991, the same year Super NES
came out. Not to mention, if you wanna play a good 2D side-scroller game on the NES
, try fucking Life Force
- He grudgingly concedes that CrazyBus is "the definitive Venezuelan Bus game".
- In ''Seaman, this is his reaction to the games oddly elaborate backstory.
"The creature was said to be the reincarnation of a Pharaoh's son who fell in love with the Priest's daughter who was turned to a fish by the god Thoth, and the pyramids were built by the Priest as a beacon to guide the Pharaoh's son back where he was eventually found again! (drops the booklet in shock and looks at the camera) Well, they definitely put a lot of thought into it. THAT'S A LOT OF BACKSTORY FOR A GAME WHERE YOU JUST STARE AT AN EGG!"
- Darker and Edgier: The Bayou Billy/Punisher crossover with Pat the NES Punk was written to be a darker look at the Nerd's anger; he insists on murdering an innocent saxophonist in The Punisher despite Pat's pleas to spare him, then makes fun of Pat for trying to play nice. Then to add injury to insult, he reveals that he hid his real golden NWC cartridge and destroyed a fake one, for no reason other than making Pat's life hell.
- Dark Reprise:
- A low-tempo version of the AVGN theme plays us into his 100th review. It reflects the Nerd's increasing disillusionment with his once-beloved NES games.
- In the Desert Bus episode, after the Nerd announces his retirement a somber piano version of the theme plays over a montage of the Nerd through the years.
- A Day in the Limelight:
- Deadpan Snarker: This is the Nerd's default mode, from which he gradually transitions to full on rage. From the Sega CD review, for instance:
Superior Officer from Ground Zero Texas: Lets see some fire-power or I am personally going to call headquarters and find out what hole they dug you out of—
The Nerd: The hole in your ass.
Eddie from Double Switch: Hey...
The Nerd: Hey.
The Nerd: Hi.
Eddie: My name is Eddie—
The Nerd: Hi Eddie.
Eddie: —I need your help. This is my building, and since the neighborhood really sucks—
The Nerd: Like this game sucks.
- Lloyd Kaufman had his moments:
Nerd:[after complaining about Toxie losing his mop] You know, for someone who's motto is "It's clean up time," Toxie sure doesn't clean up much
Kaufman: Well what do you expect? He doesn't have his mop.
- After the Nerd complains about toxic waste suddenly killing Toxie, Lloyd drops this golden line:
: By the way, speaking of toxic waste, if you ever want irritable bowel syndrome, watch The View
- His response to the Nerd complaining about a glitch that occurs when you go down a hill:
Kaufman: You see the downhill thing is symbolic. It's all downhill... Like my career.
- Death Trap: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero has an unholy amount of them; platforms can collapse for no reason, sending you falling to your death; there's a pillar that almost always crushes you, and after that there's another pillar; dead ends have been malevolently put in the game just to have you trapped somewhere as an object comes down and crushes you.
- Decision Darts: The 100th episode (R.O.B.) reveals that the Nerd takes a pen out of his pocket protector and randomly hurls it at his wall of games to determine his next review.
- Dedication: The Seaman episode is dedicated to Leonard Nimoy, who lent his voice to the game.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Fester's Quest, apart from the game footage.
- Demonic Possession: The Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge the Nerd played for its review was possessed by a rather nasty demon.
- Department of Redundancy Department
Nerd: They just cut out the logo with cheap paper and they glued it on...with glue.
- In the theme song:
To play the shitty games that suck ass
- In his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review:
Nerd: And you know what pisses me off? Every time you fall down, you have to walk through the entire room all over again. All the enemies come back, so you have to fight everybody all over again.
- In "Schwarzenegger Games":
- In "AVGN Games":
Nerd: Okay, whoever came up with this is—
In-Game Nerd: Whoever came up with this level is an asshole!!
Nerd: Yeah, exactly. They read my mind. They're an asshole. Which means that the asshole who made this game acknowledges that they're an asshole, and that I'd call them an asshole! ...You asshole.
- Also, from the same episode:
: It's the Giant Claw. It's as big as a battleship! How did it get in this game? It just barged right in, like a battleship crashing into a harbor. It's taken so many hits, like bullets on a battleship! It's a flying battleship!
- In his review of Bart vs. The Space Mutants:
Nerd: It's also really funny that people just casually walk by. If I was walking through the mall and I saw giant bouncing doughnuts and killer marshmallows, walking shows and spring-jumping shoes, moonwalking shoes, paper bags with legs, paper bags with scary fucking heads, and killer towels, I think I'd shit my pants. Shit would come out of my ass.
- In the Tiger Electronics games episode, during the part when the Nerd struggles to open the blister packaging of the Batman wrist game:
The Bullshit Man
: I especially love when you buy scissors and you need scissors to open the scissors.
- In the Crazybus review from The 12 Days of Shitsmas series:
Nerd: Who found this gem and put it on a Sega Genesis cartridge with a case? They're shit diggers. They dig for shit.
- Derailed Fairy Tale: Red Riding Hood has an interesting take on the children's classic.
"Once upon a time, there was a girl named Little Red Riding Hood. She liked to jump in the air and whistle out her vagina. She kicked at trees until Big Bird's
ballsack would appear. —what, that's not the story?"
- Despair Event Horizon: Desert Bus pushes the Nerd to the brink of despair, convincing him that his efforts are in vain and complaining about bad games is a pointless pursuit. He decides to give up, and during his 10-Minute Retirement plays one last game, a custom hack of Simon's Quest with many of his original complaints addressed and corrected. This renews his hope that his complaints about bad games are heard and can bring about change, so The Show Must Go On.
- Deus ex Machina: Literal case during his battle with The Nostalgia Critic. The Critic begins channeling the power of Satan, and the Nerd is helpless, until Super Mecha Death Christ 2000 B.C. 4.0 Beta shows up.
- Developers' Foresight: The Nerd learns this the hard way when he tries to cheat Desert Bus by putting a wrench on his controller:
: They made the bus veer to the right on purpose! They thought of everything. Ugh, goddamn you Penn & Teller
- Disproportionate Retribution: In his revisit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Nerd (who himself has been transformed into Hyde) is so pissed off by the game that he goes and digs up the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson.
It then gets subverted when Stevenson's skeleton rises up and says 'Fuck you!' to the Nerd and foils his revenge.
- Distracted by the Sexy: In the Sega CD episode, while playing Night Trap, he sees one of the girls (Lisa) priming herself up in a nightgown for fanservice... in a bathroom, no less! But when she sees an auger in the shower and opens the door in an attempt to get it out while thinking it's her friend Megan in a "scary costume", he thinks, "Uh-oh... she's in trouble," but gets too distracted to activate the (color-coded) trap that the auger is getting on, leading to the augers capturing her and attempting to drain her blood.*
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: During the Ninja Gaiden's montage of Ryu saying "What the...", one of them is suspiciously similar to one particular thing.note
- The Dog Shot First: Mercilessly mocked in the intro to Nintendo Days Revisited. "Jason Voorhees shot first".
- Don't Explain the Joke: In his "Star Wars" review:
Obi Wan: Luke, choose the force!
: Get it? Instead of "use the force", it's "choose the force", that's clever
- Double Standard: In his Atari Porn review, the Nerd calls a woman who bangs a lot of guys a "whore" and then almost immediately calls a guy who bangs a lot of women a "stud", although he does sound sarcastic when he says it.
- Double Take: Mistakingly beating Zelda II by wearing the Power Glove on his hand.
- Downer Ending:
- The Atari 5200 review ends with him failing to play the console, complete with him getting his chain yanked by mail ordering a controller that doesn't work for the console.
- In his Ninja Gaiden review, he and his ninja mentor ultimately give up trying to defeat the Final Boss.
- The Seaman episode has him realizing through the eponymous smart-mouthed fish-man asking about his family, Sega naming their consoles after planets, the Sega Channel peripheral for the Genesis plugging us into Sega's network, and "SEGA" meaning "Sentient Electronic Global Annihilator" that Sega is trying to take over the world. He tries to stop this scheme by speeding up time using the Dreamcast's internal clock until the Seaman has been withered away by the sands of time, but the effort ultimately proves fruitless as the Nerd's reality becomes a Recursive Reality for the Seaman.
- Dramatic Irony: The 2018 Christmas Special has Macaulay Culkin as a Special Guest for the Home Alone game reviews... except the Nerd doesn't recognize him for well over half the episode.
- The Dreaded:
- The Nerd is terrified of the E.T. game. Subverted by the end of The Movie/Episode 120, where he concludes that despite its flaws, it's not the worst game of all time.
- To a lesser extent, The Nerd regards the LJN logo with dread.
- Driven to Suicide:
- Following the Dracula reviews, the Angry Vampire Game Nerd begs the sun to "vanquish" him.
- The frustration of playing Ikari Warriors drives Kyle Justin to shoot himself in the head with a Zapper. This causes him to flicker and disappear until he is revived with a code, like the characters in the game.
- At the end of the Alien³ episode, parodying the ending to the actual movie.
- After reviewing the Mega Man (Classic) games, he decides to review one more, "Mega Man Soccer". Upon seeing how horrible Capcom made it, he jumps out the window.
- Drunk Driver:
- Subverted in the Desert Bus review: even though he's a heavy drinker in his reviews, he grabs his beer while he's driving the bus, thinks about it for a second and puts it down instead of taking a drink ("I'm driving").
- Also subverted during the Ikari Warriors review. He tells Guitar Guy that if the person drives, he (the Nerd) will drink beer.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Done in the review of The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2.
- Duct Tape for Everything:
- The Nerd deals with the Virtual Boy's unwieldy design by duct-taping it to his head.
- He also duct tapes the Power Glove's sensors to his TV to keep it from falling off.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: In his review of Legend of Zelda II, he implies that Link may have raped an unconscious Zelda while she was under a sleep spell.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: At the end of the Captain S crossover, the Nerd merrily announces "Merry [bleep] Christmas!", shocking everybody with his language, he ends up being sent back to his home and receives the Home Alone 2 cartridge from Santa Claus as a punishment for being foul-mouthed, ignoring the fact that the Nerd just helped Captain S to save him and Christmas from the Game Genie. In the Christmas Carol episode, it turns out receiving that game was the last straw that caused the Nerd go Scrooge. Nice Job, Santa.
- Early-Bird Cameo:
- R.O.B. briefly appears in "Episode 47 NES Accessories", three years and fifty-three episodes before being formally introduced in "Episode 100: R.O.B. the Robot."
- The current Nerd Room made its full debut in "Episode 52: Batman Part 1," but it can be spotted in one brief insert shot in "Episode 51: Superman 64."
- Early Installment Weirdness: The Nerd doesn't appear on screen in the first episode of the series and in the second, a review of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he plays the game for only about a minute because it's so bad. The first version of the current theme song doesn't appear until episode 7 (McKids).
- Also discussed in his review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, where the Nerd points out that a lot of the criticism against the game for being so different from the rest of the Zelda series overlooks the fact that at the time it came out, there WASN'T a Zelda series yet.
- Another odd thing about the early episodes is that the now familiar "Nerd Room" set, a roomy basement overflowing with games, TVs, consoles, and gaming memorabilia didn't appear until episode 50. Before that, the Nerd went through a series of much more modest setups, usually consisting of a game shelf and some Nintendo Power posters.
- Easter Egg:
- Edutainment Show:
- His reviews actually fall into this category, when you think about it. You may learn something you never knew about an old console or game, while being entertained at the same time.
- Many of his more recent episodes (2010 and beyond normally) were a little more like a documentary.
- His reviews also focus on game design flaws, as well as other things that make a game less enjoyable, that all serve as a long list of don'ts for aspiring game designers.
- Enemy Mine: He has joined forces with The Nostalgia Critic to review The Making of TMNT: Coming Out Of Their Shells as they both are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. Sure, they technically became allies at the TGWTG Brawl, but still...
- Epic Fail:
"There's a difference between something that's old school and something that's outdated. Old school is like the Atari 2600. The games are primitive, but they're still fun to play. You can always go back to them. Outdated is something you never want to go back to. Tiger games are so outdated, they were never in-dated! They were a fad, like pogs! If they were an experiment in the '70s and they only made a few of 'em, then I could accept that. But, no, they milked these things for all that they're worth! You thought LJN was the grand champion, the almighty shitty game factory? Tiger put LJN to shame! Yeah, LJN laid down turd after turd after turd, but Tiger was like a machine gun ass, shitting out turturturturturturturtu-t-turd! These are the worst games I've ever had the honor of playing, if you even count them as video games! People have discussions like, "Are video games art?" or something like that. Well, I have a better one. "Are Tiger games video games?" These are a caveman's version of video games! These were a step back in human evolution! These are the most desperate attempt at entertainment! You could save up for a Game Boy, or just go [imitating the Tiger handheld sounds] eh-eh-eh-eh-eh. Yeah, well, [while simulating hand jerking and alternatively flashing the middle finger] eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh. J-Just, what the Hell?! T-These things, how'd they waste so much plastic to make these things?! It brought the game industry down as low as it could go! It's proof that Jesus died in vain and legally changed His middle name to "Fucking"! The only thing I could think of to use these things for is to wipe your ass with it! You might as well save that toilet paper, it's worth a whole lot more! [drinks Rolling Rock]"
Aah, yes, the Atari Jaguar CD... What a steaming pile of fucking shit that was... I wanna make sure there's nothing wrong with the console itself first just to rule it out. So I plug in a game, push the power button, the Jaguar logo comes careening towards me in the foreground, and after a particularly hilarious fucking startup sequence, I'm playing Tempest 2000. Woooaaah! So now I know there's nothing wrong with the console itself. Time to move on to the CD unit. So I plug it in, hook up the additional 47 cables that came with it, push the power button, the logo comes careening towards me in the foreground, snarls, and... The red screen of death, indicating a connection problem. So, the first thing I did was deep clean every single contact point on both the console and the CD unit. I turned it on; red screen. Then I went back and made physical adjustments to every contact point in both the console and CD unit so they'd make a more solid connection. Turned it on; red screen. Finally, I just said "fuck it" and directly wired the two sons-of-a-bitches together, completely bypassing any and all cartridge ports and ruling out the remote chance of there ever being any kind of connection issue between the two systems. I turned it on and, guess what? Red screen! So at this point I pretty much just gave up and shipped everything back to him, along with a Pong machine, which pretty much said "I'm sorry man. This thing is just too shitty to work on." I think, between the flaming-fuck-you-middle-finger-red screens, and getting snarled at at the same time, this machine has become self-aware and does not want to be repaired. That is my diagnosis, Richard out.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: He's reviewed a few games in which feature these, though he doesn't actually show offending scenes often. In two particular reviews, he even comments on the effects. In his Swordquest reviews, he comments on the games room transition effect, only describing it as being scary (the effect itself is harmless). In his Transformers games review, he comments on the Japanese-only Famicom game at when Optimus Prime forms in the beginning and when you lose a life, the black background suddenly starts flashing rapid colors. James says that the game is trying to give him a seizure. In both of these instances, the episodes suddenly cuts to him with a slow "red, blue, green, yellow" hue-color change effect. The Swordquest one has him jumping back (as if to steer clear of whatever is coming after him), while the Transformers one simpily has him staring bug-eyed at the screen while the color-change effect happens.
- Episode Title Card: Once per Episode up until episode 100. All drawn by Mike Matei, and all featuring a caricature of the Nerd, more often than not with relevance to the topic of the episode.
- Establishing Character Moment: His very first words:
- Even Angry Nerds Love Their Mamas: In the Super Mario Bros. 3 review, it's not the SHIT PUKE that pissed the Nerd off about the possessed cartridge in the first place. It's the line "Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!"
- Every Car Is a Pinto: The tendency for tanks to explode when they run out of fuel in Ikari Warriors is parodied.
- Every Episode Ending: Not all of them, but it often involves destroying the cartridge of the game reviewed.
- Everyone Has Standards: During the Bible Games episode, the nerd shows us one of his limits (though he had said the first sentence straight in an earlier review, so he was probably trying to make up for that).
- In Bible Games 2, he was appalled when one of the possible answers in the quiz sections to Exodus: Journey to the Promised Land is kill all babies. Context
- He also apologizes for something he says in his Indiana Jones review. "I'd rather drink buffalo shizz! That's a combination of shit and jizz. Yeah, that's foul. I apologize."
- He was disgusted by some of the Atari porn games. When playing Philly Flasher, he is utterly revolted at the sight of an old witch shooting milk out of her breasts and later the two guys who were catching the drops from the witch masturbating, calling it "fucking nasty, man!" Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em is similar as the concept of it involves two pixelated women who are heavily implied to be consuming semen.
- While reviewing the Sega Genesis version of "Action 52", he was shocked to see a dog in the game freeway being ran over by a car. In the same game, he demanded to know what was the deal with "dead cats" in another game on the same cart.
- In the Toxic Avenger review, the nerd is shocked at Lloyd Kaufman being even more vulgar then he is.
- In his video response to The Nostalgia Critic decoding his secret message saying, "Lick my shit, Nostalgia Critic", the Nerd says that the message was actually "Lick my balls, you piece of shit Nostalgia Critic." James Rolfe then points out that licking one's shit/balls is way too gross for the Nerd.
- The Nerd is infamous for making heavy jokes involving bodily fluids (mainly shit, obviously), but when he says the title of the game Seaman, he simply looks at the camera with a blank stare and shakes his head before saying "No, I'm not going there".
- Case and point: When he has to say the name of the game again:
So what do you do in this game? Well, the instructions say "You are free to enjoy Seaman
-" [starts smacking himself in the face with the manual]
AWW NO! NO! NO! NOOO! It's "Sea-man
". SEA. MAN.
Not "semen". [Beat] ...As in jizz! Splooge! MAN-BAZOOKA JUICE!
- He was horrified with some of the games in his Amiga CD32 review. In the intro to Beavers, it shows a rabbit taking a gun straight to one of the female beavers while Kang Fu not only is a train wreck to look at, it has a jarring game over screen that shows a kangaroo carcass in the desert.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-Universe: Parodied at the end of his Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde review remake.
- Everyone Is Satan in Hell: Parodied in-universe - Near the end of the Super Mario Bros. 3 review, the Nerd starts finding all kinds of obtuse Satanic imagery and references in the game, until the game turns out to be possessed by the Devil and attacks him.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
- He is a nerd, he often gets angry, the show is about video games.
"To play the game, you need the Game Boy
. Here's the game, that's the boy, this is the Game Boy."
- Shit Pickle. He's a pickle, and he's got a big (well, relative to his size) dollop of shit on his head.
- Also the Nerdy Turd, a large turd with the Nerd's face on it. Created for the Magnavox Odyssey review. The only sound it makes is fart noises.
- "Hey, you like my new invention? I call it the "Gyromite Controller". ..It plays Gyromite."
- The Nerd lampshades this in "How the Nerd Stole Christmas":
is an aptly-named travesty on SNES
That makes no sense and is a cockamamie butt-brained mess!
- Excrement Statement: At times, the whole show is this trope amplified.
- Foregone Conclusion:
Nerd: So is this game gonna be great, or is it gonna suck? Well take a wild fucking guess!
- After making several observations about how Superman 64 keeps throwing Pass Through the Rings missions at him.
- The Nerd mentions Richard Daluz's Nintoaster in passing during his review of the Atari Jaguar CD. It is the console he plays Action 52 on in THAT video.
- Also overlaps with Brick Joke: In his earlier review of the Back to the Future games: he stuffs the cartridge in a toaster. This overlap was lampshaded.
- In the Making Of special, when James demonstrates how he has hooked up so many consoles to a single TV, he uses the CD-I as the example and shows us how he activates it, but adds "I don't know why I'd ever want to play CD-I again." Guess what console he uses in the Dark Castle review?
- Frankenstein's Monster: The "Franken-Nerd", which AVGN creates to play shitty Frankenstein games in his stead. It eventually turns on him, and AVGN has to play Frankenstein: The Monster Returns while being strangled by it.
- Freak Out:
- The Nerd goes completely fucking loco at the end of the Dick Tracy review. He starts screaming about the Nintendo Hard aspect of the game, coming closer and closer to the screen, screams, starts drinking beer like crazy (wetting his clothes in the process), starts shouting muffled nonsense while pushing his face into a pillow, a brief montage of him screaming "FUCK" in various parts of his house follows, and even then, he pierces the cartridge with a drill. Then he looks at the cartridge, spinning because he wasn't holding it and it was still on the drill, with a demented stare, at that, and the screen finally cuts to black as he destroys it with his hammer. While the cartridge is spinning.
- It's been noted the sheer ire of this particular Freak Out concerning Dick Tracy was because this was one of the few games the Nerd owns that he hasn't been able to beat for over 20 years and actually harbors sincere animosity for. Projecting real-life frustration via the Nerd persona equals one of his most batshit insane rants ever in the series.
- Done again in his second revisit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. After too much time playing the game (and, arguably, too much liquor), the Nerd goes on a rage-blinded mission with a cape, top hat, and a cane to dig up Robert Louis Stevenson's grave for making the book that inspired the game; after the skeleton somehow comes back to life, proclaiming it's the devil and commanding the Nerd to play the game some more, the Nerd wakes up with the game still in the toaster-turned-NES. He has an epiphany...
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing review, when the nerd is attempting to see just how fast the truck can go while reversing, as it goes beyond ludicrous speed, you can briefly see images of Winnie-the-Pooh, Miss Piggy, Darth Vader and Spock appearing on-screen.
- Freudian Couch: Near the end of his Seaman review, James starts taking the Gillman's extremely personal questions so deeply to the point where he treats his futon like this, speaking to the Gillman as if it's a therapist.
- Fridge Brilliance:
- Fridge Logic: Invoked in his Ricky 1 review:
Nerd: Oh my God. An exploding doormat to keep burglars out!.... I always thought burglars came in through the window. And what if it was a neighbor or a mailman or something?!
- From Bad to Worse:
- The Tiger Electronics episode is basically one long case of this trope, with each of their products only serving to piss off the Nerd more and more. It says everything that when he gets to the Game.com — widely regarded as one of the worst handhelds ever — he actually considers it a respite from the other Tiger products, since it at least has actual console-type games and some features which were innovative (if badly executed) for the time.
- Playing the NES Top Gun game is bad enough for the Nerd, then in the Power Glove episode he plays it with the infamously clumsy-to-use Power Glove, an experience he describes as "like puking on a pile of shit!" Then the infamous landing sequence happens. Subverted, in that he finally gets a successful landing with said Glove, leaving him speechless at his unexpected success.
- Waterworld? He's not a fan of it. Finding out that there's a Waterworld game on Virtual Boy, which he already hates? Once again, "it's like puking on a pile of shit!"
- Frothy Mugs of Water:
- Word of God says the Rolling Rock bottles are actually filled with water. Justified because James shoots the footage in the morning and doesn't want to drink alcohol that early.
- In the 'Spiderman' episode, you can see that it is indeed water in the bottle (as Spidey tips it away claiming it to be 'corporate bullshit' and 'Shit Rock'), although this might be purely because of the nature of this shot; who the hell would actually tip perfectly good beer away like that?
- It's also visible to anybody who has seen enough bottles to realize the tint of the liquid should be darker if he were actually drinking beer, but it's a lot less indefinite and an actual admission.
- This is a common practice in the film business, as filming often requires multiple takes; using real alcohol get actors very drunk very fast. Also, it would be a lot more difficult to chug like the Nerd does it if it were real alcohol.
- Funny Background Event:
- In the Winter Games review, the Nerd eventually goes on a rant about how the control setup is essentially frantic mashing of random buttons. He does an example of this while saying so, facing the camera and using the controller plugged into the NES behind him. Viewers looking past him during this moment will notice the figure skater in the game doing several (relatively) impressive moves; all of which the Nerd previously noted he couldn't do when he was trying.
- Much the same happens when he tries to beat Zelda II with the Power Glove. The Nerd is busy talking about the Nintendo Hard nature of the game and the shittiness of the Power Glove while lamenting how he's never been able to beat the game. All the while behind him, Shadow Link is handily defeated by the Power Glove's random movements, something he was never able to do when he actually tried his hardest.
AVGN: [While Link goes to the far-left corner, crouches and swings his sword repeatedly]
In conclusion, it's still a great game. But many considered it the black sheep in the Zelda
franchise. And understandably, it's very different from the first game, but obviously Nintendo didn't want to rehash the same game over again, [Link completely drains Shadow Link's health, defeating him]
so they tried something new. Some people were confused, and admittedly it had some mixed results. [Link grabs the Triforce of Courage from the elder]
But it had a legacy of its own. [Link is next seen slowly spreading out the Triforce of Power, Wisdom, and Courage in front of the sleeping Zelda while the AVGN is still talking]
It was the first Zelda
game that had towns to visit, and they had a magic meter, and many games copied its style such as The Battle of Olympus
and even Rambo
. Bottom line, it's a good game, but a very frustrating one. [The incantation of the Triforce wakes up Zelda]
I'll never beat it as long as I live. Nope. [Turns off the TV and walks away, then rushes over and turns it back on, staring in disbelief while the ending plays]
- This is of course Played for Laughs and an Easter Egg for those aware of the famous glitch (crouching in the corner and stabbing) used for beating Shadow Link in Zelda II.
- Fun with Acronyms: At the end of the Seaman review, the Nerd develops a wild theory that involves Sega actually standing for Sentient Electronic Global Annihilator.
- During the Mega Man Games video, the present Nerd travels back to the time of the Nightmare on Elm Street review and explains that he's been traveling to points in AVGN history. While the past Nerd and clones wonder what "AVGN" stands for, one past Nerd speculates that it stands for Audio/Video Graphics Network, while another past Nerd claims that it means A VaGiNa, leaving the present Nerd unamused.
- Future Loser: During the 2007 A Christmas Carol parody, the Nerd sees his future self playing various shitty Wii games and the future Nerd eventually has a heart attack while playing Boogie to the tune of "Walking on Sunshine".
- Gainax Ending:
- The ending to his Star Wars review, in which a buffalo shits through his window and covers his floor in buffalo dookie. For no apparent reason.
- The ending of his Seaman review. The Nerd sets the game so far ahead in time that it seems that real-life time follows suit, as the Nerd is reduced to a skeleton far in the future. Then, time starts reversing back to Christmas 1982 as we go through James' whole history as James and eventually as the Nerd. The very ending has the Gillman and the Nerd's positions switched, with the Nerd in the tank while the Gillman roams free.
- Genius Bruiser: He's gotten surprisingly ripped for such a stereotypical nerd, as the Big Rigs episode's sleeveless reveal shows.
- Genre Popularizer: Of the "angry video game reviewing" kind, if you're not going to call those others copycats.
- Genre Savvy: The Nerd created a Frankenstein's Monster, but also added a way to shut it off.
- George Lucas Altered Version:
- Invoked when The Nerd shows clips of what his earlier videos would be like if he went back and added new special effects, then reveals that he was just messing with his fans and that he'll simply shoot new reviews that expanded upon his older videos instead of going back and altering previously released videos.
- Parodied in the review of Masters of Teras Kasi.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A humorous in-universe example, lampshaded by the nerd himself:
- Go Mad from the Revelation:
AVGN: There's dogs applauding!! I didn't even know that dogs were fucking watching!!
AVGN: WHY IS IT NOW JUST A HEAD OF A PANDA?!
- In "Wish List Part 2", the Nerd judges Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage to be a decent game. Not great, but not bad either. Then he takes a look at the box to see who made the game. And finds the LJN logo.
- In the Seaman review, the Nerd puts in another game called Explosive Fighter Patton for the Famicom that gives him a message that has "fuck" in it. The Nerd promptly loses his mind knowing that there's a game, released earlier than Hong Kong '97 (which had the famous "herd of fuckin' ugly reds" Precision F-Strike), on a Nintendo console, that uses the word "fuck".
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Used in a few examples in his review of Super Pitfall when an angel and a devil fight over Harry's body every time an enemy kills him. Even funnier is that when Harry falls into spikes at one scene, the game would freeze up while the angel and devil are hovering for a few seconds before Harry finally "dies".
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: "Cunt-thrust", inspired by the ladies who "restore Link's health", so to speak, in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Often done for comedic effect to underscore his normally extremely-salty language:
- In the crossover with Captain S, the Nerd's foul language got humorously toned down.
AVGN: Home Alone in the Nintendo Entertaiment System, what a buttload of crud.
- Also happens while reviewing the SNES Terminator game, but still manages to retain some profanity.
"Holy mother, and fucking god, shit, holy mackerel, gosh dangit, how is it not over yet? How long could this first level possibly go?! Unless maybe the whole game is like this. I just can't fucking believe it!"
- And again in the review of Lester the Unlikely while trying to get past the cave stage:
"The next level's inside a cave, and now things are becoming very labyrinth-like. On top of bad control, I don't even know where to go." (Lester falls down a pit) "Aw, doodoo!"
A little while later...
"Oh, no, why do so many games have to have bats?!" (Lester dies) "AW, DOODY!!"
- In the "Schwarzenegger games" review:
Nerd: This game blows ass, sucks duck cunt fucking shit munching bunch of pile of.... poop.
Nerd: It's a bunch of putrid anal shit coming out a rhinoceros asshole. It fucks up the ass, shits out the mouth, pisses out the nose, dookie out the ear, diarrhea out the dick, shit's for the birds. The control in this game... is poo-poo.
- In the "Dracula" review, he does this but then "corrects" himself:
Nerd: (after dying in the game) Aw, F! I mean, fuck!
- While he swears a lot during his review of Sunday Funday, the words he uses to wrap up the review before moving onto the next game are simply, "Oh.... boy."
- Greater-Scope Villain: Tiger Electronics manages to top LJN on AVGN's hate list, but they are only looked at for one episode. To him, their games aren't even real video games but cheap knock-offs and imitations on outdated technologies.
- Grossout Show: Especially in its earlier day; the Nerd enjoys talking about obscene matter like shit, has shat on various things in the past, has been shat on, etc.
- Guest Fighter:
- Guide Dang It!: Really, really pisses him off. Justified, in that when NES games were first released, not everybody had access to guidebooks and video game magazines for help. But perhaps the granddaddy of examples is when he played Little Red Hood, and discovered that in Stage 8, the key to exit the level doesn't appear unless you first buy one Invincibility Potion and three Slingshots!
: (aghast) How would anyone know to do that?!
It's like, you're playing the game, and all of a sudden the game throws you a curve ball and changes the fucking rules!!
It would be like if you were playing Super Mario Bros.
, and there was one level where you couldn't jump on the flagpole unless first you collected EXACTLY 29 coins, stomped on 3 Goombas, and got 1 Fire Flower!
- Guilty Pleasures:
- According to his review of "The Making of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Out Of Their Shells Tour," he had a cassette of the tour, which he would listen to all the time, but is ashamed to admit it.
- He also admits to liking "TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze" as a guilty pleasure, despite (or perhaps because of) thinking it's cornier than the first movie.
- Gushing About Shows You Like:
- The main purpose overall of his Super Mario Bros. 3 and Castlevania series reviews. This is especially prevalent for Super Castlevania IV, since he had criticisms for the other games, but that game garnered nothing but praise.
- He also sometimes gushes about features he likes, like how the Atari 2600 and Sega Genesis controllers use the same type of plug as several other game controllers, so that when he encounters one he doesn't like, he can just swap it out for either of those two and it will still work.