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  • Halloween Episode: Once a year. For the first few years, two videos per year:
    • The pilot episodes, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, technically count as these of 2004.
    • Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street (2006).
    • Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween (2007).
    • Dracula and Frankenstein (2008).
    • "Castlevania-thon" (Episodes 79-82; 2009).
    • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Re-Revisited (2010).
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    • Dark Castle (2011).
    • Ghosts n' Goblins (2012).
    • Alien 3 (2013).
    • Beetlejuice (2014).
    • The Crow (2015).
    • Berenstain Bears (2016).
    • Polybius (2017).
    • Resident Evil Survivor (2018).
  • Hard Core: Invoked; in his review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, while discussing the first The Legend of Zelda game, he mentions how some gamers have made it to Ganon without the sword.
    Nerd: That's insane. But, people like a good challenge.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: invoked At the beginning of his review for the Die Hard game, he acknowledges this about the cover art for the game, which depicts the Nakatomi Building, which is lit so that it greatly resembles the Twin Towers, ablaze.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X":
    • "It's my duty — heh, "doodie"..."
    • In the third Bible Games review, when he types in the word "ASS" in the Game Boy video game The King James Version and a list of passages with the word "ass" shows up, one of them having the words "dumb ass":
      Heh heh heh, it says "dumbass" in the Bible.
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    • When reviewing Custer's Revenge in his "Atari Porn" video:
      "You're completely naked... well maybe not completely naked, you got a cowboy hat, a pair of boots, and a scarf or an ascot — *chuckles* ass-cot..."
    • When reviewing the SNES version of Beavis and Butt-Head:
    Nerd: Hey look, it's Daria! Heh, "diarrhea".
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: "ASSSSSSS", naturally. Also, when demonstrating Zelda II on the Power Glove, it's shown he's renamed Link to "FUCKER," and in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, he named his file "ANALBAG."
    • Sometimes he lampshades the name entry problem in the Winter Games episode:
      "The name entry screen is a disaster. You can't move the cursor up or down. It only goes left and right. Isn't that fun?! Not to mention, they only let you spell four-letter words, which I could think of plenty, but how many names would have less than four letters? If you tried to add a fifth letter, it goes back and replaces the first letter, then you gotta figure out how to start over. When it reaches the last letter, why couldn't it just stop?! The simplest thing to do is to type in all A's, then go left once to get to the end button. Because, why put in a name anyway? It's not like the game is gonna save it. But if it did, I guarantee most of the high scores will belong to "AAAA". The point is, how hard is it to program something as simple as a name entry screen? If they can't even get that right, then WOAH! Wait 'til you see the game!"
  • Heroic BSoD:
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    • Happens briefly in part 2 of the Zelda CD-i reviews, upon seeing the infamous "You've kiiiilled meee!" "Good!" cut scene exchange.
    • Also the end of his Rambo game review.
    • Ninja Gaiden did this to a Ninja Master!
    • The Action 52 review has various degrees of this, with probably the best example being his stunned silence during the clip of "Timewarp Tickers".
    • Happens yet again with his Star Wars episode, this time as a result of Darth Vader's transformation into a scorpion when he's reviewing the Famicom version of Star Wars (1987).
    • Taken Up to Eleven with his reaction to the "You're Winner!" screen from Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. From his Stunned Silence, then his laughter, you can see that this is the game that finally broke him.
    • Played for Drama quite well in the Desert Bus episode, when the Nerd comes to the realization that all that he's done to warn people about shitty games isn't working. He does change his mind and decides to unretire after playing the Redacted edition of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Try to watch the "Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle" outtakes and not laugh from watching James repeatedly laugh himself silly trying to say a convoluted scatological rant.
    • There's also a video entirely made up of outtakes from his Ninja Gaiden episode. Kevin Finn (the ninja mentor) improvises when they forget a line or something unexpected happens, all without missing a beat.
    • Occasionally, James will stick an outtake during or after the credits, such as The Wizard of Oz review where James kept cracking up at Mike Matei's Cowardly Lion, or James cracking up at Kyle Justin's "There are no other couches to go behind!" in the Battletoads review, or this gem from Castlevania Part 2:
    Nerd: This game is like playing shit tennis with an orangutan while having a hyena's head up your ass... (Beat) or your head up its ass! (laughs)
  • Hipster: Spider-Man seems to be one. He pours out the Nerd's bottle of Rolling Rock beer, calling it "corporate bullshit", and tells him to drink locally-made beer instead.
    • In the AVGN Movie, The Nerd himself could possibly be one, based on his idea of bringing music on a road trip is to bring a record player, though it's more likely that this was meant to portray him as comically out of touch with current technology.
  • Hiss Before Fleeing: The Nerd himself does literally this at the Nostalgia Critic before running away at one point during the TGWTG Team Brawl.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: From Day 10 of the 12 Days of Shitsmas, which focused on the Mattel Hyperscan console:
    Nerd: Mattel. The same company that made the Power Glove and the Intellivision. They also made all sorts of toys, from He-Man to Barbie. (*beat*) LJN made toys.
  • Hollywood Nerd: When he's not on the verge of a homicidal rampage, he's rather attractive.
  • Homage:
  • Hope Spot: In the review of Beavis and Butthead, initially the Super Nintendo version seems like an actually GOOD game compared to the Genesis. Then the Nerd tries to continue from a password...
    • In the Polybious review, it seems Nerd will finally escape after finding out the lock's code, but another Polybius machine blocks his way, and he has no choice but show the game to the audience.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: In his Power Glove episode, the Nerd spends the entire review trying to learn how to move (barely) and shoot (sort of) in a variety of games he could otherwise play with the regular controller.
  • How the Character Stole Christmas: The 2010 Christmas Episode.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: In his review of Seaman.
    Nerd: It's Seaman! SEA! MAN! Not semen. (beat) As in JIZZ! SPLOOGE! MAN BAZOOKA JUICE!
  • Hypocritical Humor: He pokes Pat The NES Punk about narrating during his video of The Punisher on NES, despite doing the same thing in his own reviews.
    Nerd: Are you talking to me, or do you always... talk out loud during your reviews?
    • While watching The Gaming Historian's vid on the Aladdin Deck Enhancer, a stunned Nerd finds that Norman has two of the things. Nerd then rants about how dumb it is to have multiple copies of something shitty...all while the audience can see a pile of ET Atari 2600 cartridges in the background.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: In his Ikari Warriors review, he mentions the Atari version of it, just so that, by his own admittance, he could say "Atari Ikari".
  • I Banged Your Mom:
    • How the Nerd compares the pointless argument of "Zelda's Adventure" despite it having Zelda and Link:
    "That's like if your dad says, 'I fucked your mom.' It's like, '...I can't argue with that!'"
    • Also in Beavis & Butthead he tells the SNES game "I banged your mom."
  • I Hate Past Me: James riffing little Jimmy's (a.k.a. James Rolfe, age eleven) rebuttal video to the "Ninendon't" ad campaign.
    Jimmy: It had great resol-you-ation!
    James: "Resolyouation??!"
    Jimmy: It is very impressive, 512 x 948! That's 12 times the resol-you-ation of other games...
    James: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I think my younger self just went over my head.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: The Ninja Master (Kevin Finn) improvised many of these for the Ninja Gayden  episode, and they were so random that they ended up being cut.
    Ninja Master: A hummingbird with no song will never... be a pop star.
    Ninja Master: A cherry blossom, that gets eaten by a possum, isn't that awesome.
    Ninja Master: A wren... that looks like a hen... is more a hen than a wren.
    Ninja Master: ...If you want to catch the moon in a net, you must get a net required for the bigness of the job.
    Nerd: "FUCK!"
    Ninja Master: "Before you fuck, you must...use proper protection..."
  • Idiot Plot: invoked In-universe; the Nerd lampshades this regarding the premise of Lester the Unlikely.
    Nerd: Ugh, okay, I have no faith in this character already.
  • Idiot Savant: An inanimate example with the Power Glove. Besides being completely useless with every other game, it helped the Nerd land the plane in Top Gun and aided him in beating Dark Link in Zelda 2, much to the Nerd's astonishment.
  • If Only You Knew:
    • In the ColecoVision episode, he jokes that he wonders if The Addams Family had a Coleco Adam computer. The Addams family were actually the first TV family to own a computer, albeit one of the old fashioned UNIVAC types.
    • In one of his early reviews, he makes reference to a supposedly made up game called Taxman Note . Later on, he learns that was a real game that was a Pac-Man clone.
    • In his review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, he points out the famous "I am Error" oddity, and jokes that it's probably just the character's name. In fact, he's right; the character really is named Error.
  • If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: During one exchange with the Nostalgia Critic. For the longest time, he appeared to be taking the high road for a change...
  • Ignored Epiphany: Done for comedic effect.
    • In the Star Trek game review, the Nerd is about to destroy another game he doesn't like. He then decides not to, thinking that maybe the game designers did the best they could. The guest character says, "By sparing the shitty game, you have shown the advanced trait of mercy!" The Nerd replies, "Mercy this, motherfucker!" and kills him for no reason. The Nerd goes back to physically attacking bad games in later reviews.
    • In the Christmas special, he found out that the future is not going to be good for him as he saw himself as an old man, making a Nerd video about terrible Wii games, and dying of a Boogie-induced heart attack. It turned out to be a dream, so he decides to only play good games from now on. After less than a minute of playing Super Mario World and enjoying it very much, he gets mad, shuts it off, and says "Fuck that, let's play some shitty ones!"
    • In his crossover with Pat The NES Punk, while Pat is playing The Punisher NES game, the Nerd takes an instant dislike to the sax-man who is the only non-combat NPC in the game, and demands that Pat shoot him on each appearance, until finally the Nerd grabs the controller away and shoots him himself. After it's done, Pat reacts with grief and the Nerd shock
    Nerd: Oh, I get it. He just wanted to share his music with the world. Oh no! I just- I didn't mean- Fuck him.
  • I Got a Rock:
    • When he unveils a childhood halloween tape of his (He dressed as Dick Tracy).
    • Instead of candy, the Nerd gives a shitty Atari game (and an Atari 2600) to one of the children that come trick-or-treating to his house, after taking a crap in the other kid's bag.
  • Imagine Spot: Both Pat the NES Punk and the Nerd daydream about how awesome it would be if they had both the gray and gold Nintendo World Championships cartridges for themselves. Pat imagines himself at an awards show, winning the award for "Best NES Collection" in front of a cheering crowd, with the Nerd grudgingly presenting him the award just to add insult to injury. The Nerd imagines... placing the games on his shelf and then just standing there looking at them with a smirk on his face while Chirping Crickets are heard in the background.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Polybius arcade cabinet in the alternative ending (on the owner's YouTube channel) of the Nerd's review of the game.
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: The Nerd's response to him looking up the word "ass" in a Game Boy version of the text of the King James Bible and laughing at the results.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • He had called out the Who Framed Roger Rabbit game for using a cheetah\cheater pun.
    • His reaction to "Lights! Camera! Action 52!".
    • Young James thinks the SNES is a bit better. "A bit better, GEDDIT?"
      (cut to adult James wincing)
    • Lampshaded in the X-Men video, when he's complaining about bubbles causing damage. "Didn't mean to burst your bubble, hur hur!"
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Zig-zagged: he drinks so much Rolling Rock that the impact generally associated with the trope is lost, but he will also drink hard liquor (in one case, an entire bottle of what appears to be scotch) on the rare occasion that beer alone won't do. And in the Transformers episode, he drank hot sauce, but not for the same reason— it was endorsed by a world-champion gamer, and thus he was trying to use it as a performance enhancer.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: Subverted in the NES The Terminator review. The Nerd is so fed up with constantly losing all of his lives that he decides to take action. Finding a location where Terminators infinitely spawn, the Nerd clamps a wrench down on the "Fire" button to rack up points and lives while he can go do other things. He comes back to the game the next morning to find that the extra life counter maxes out at six.
    • Played straight in the McKids review. The nerd finds and demonstrates a point in the game where the player can get 2 lives in exchange for dying once. Rinse and repeat.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Lloyd Kaufman starring in the Toxic Crusaders episode happens to do this a lot. He claims that a microscope sprite is actually a miniature Taylor Swift, for example.
    • The Nerd delved into this, himself, in his review of Super Mario Bros. 3: when he reaches World 8 and notices that it looks very hellish, he begins to suspect the game is satanic: from the presence of tarot cards and pentagrams to the seven Koopalings representing the Seven Deadly Sins, from Video Armageddon in The Wizard to Subliminal Seduction when you play the game backwards. His suspicions are confirmed when it turns out his Mario 3 cartridge is possessed.
    • The Nerd delved into this again in the Hong Kong '97 episode when he tried to find the meaning behind the game always coming back to the number 97. It eventually all lead back to the meaning of life: reproduction and eating (which results in excretion), bringing him to the conclusion that the game is "fucking shit".
    • And once more, in the Seaman episode: the Nerd suspects that Sega is actually an entity determined to conquer the world, from the planetary naming theme of the Saturn and the aborted Neptune to the Sega Channel plugging us into Sega's network, from trying to topple Nintendo with its aggressive marketing campaign to the very name itself: "Sentient Electronic Global Annihilator", all of which started with a single line uttered by Seaman.
    Seaman: "All hail Sega! Buy another Dreamcast."
  • Insistent Terminology: In the Halloween review. "It's not chocolate, nor is it poop, it's shit!"
    • In the Independence Day review: "If you get a piece of ass, that's a good thing, but if you get a piece of shit, you don't want that!"
    • At the end of the Sonic 06 review:
    Nerd: You know, this is another one worthy of the collection. I don't mean this collection. (referencing the games behind him) I mean the collection. (referencing the really bad games he tortures in his basement)
    • In the Virtual Boy review, he noted that the system tried to take advantage of some 3D elements, but reminded the audience:
    Nerd: But this wasn't called "3D Boy", it was called VIRTUAL Boy!
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!:
    • This is Richard Daluz's opinion on why the Jaguar CD add-on was unrepairable: between the red screen errors and the jaguar snarl sound opening, the console has become self-aware and refuses to be repaired.
    • This happens again with the Nerd's R.O.B., which develops sentience and tries to destroy all video games that it isn't compatible with.
  • Instant Home Delivery: In one episode he orders an Atari controller and then goes outside and has it thrown in his face.
  • Insult to Rocks: You thought Godzilla for the NES was bad? "(Godzilla 2) is an insult to the first game!"
  • Interface Screw: The Glitch special spoofed, discussed, and deconstructed this trope for the sake of humor, in that order.
    • The 2016 Halloween Special had a very unique case of this. The title of the video randomly changes between Berenstein Bears and Berenstain Bears, referencing the fact, even now, where information is freely available on anything, People can't accept the official spelling as 'correct'.
  • In the Style of...:
  • Ironic Echo: Hammertime! in the TMNT 3 review.
    • The Nerd made an example of an exaggerated trap after coming across the "Beginner's Trap" in Super Pitfall. Several videos later he finds out that someone actually made this trap in the AVGN Adventures. Knowing that he has no one but himself to blame for this he exclaims "What was I thinking?!"
  • Item Get!: Parodied in the Legend of Zelda CD-i episode, when the Nerd pulls out Zelda's Adventure in a pose to the music that is played when Link pulls out the Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Lampshaded in his review of Beetlejuice.
    Nerd: Try saying that to someone else out of context: "In order to get a cloud to move, I had to get a skeleton to shoot a fireball at a beehive."
    • A less lampshaded example in the review of Game Boy Accessories that ends with him talking about a Game Boy accessory that sedates you:
    Nerd: I WANNA BE SEDATED WITH A GAME BOY!!
  • It's All My Fault: Played for Laughs. The Nerd says this word for word after realizing that most of the games that are based on him purposely include many of the game design elements that he loathes and frequently complains about in his videos, for that very reason, and now other people are playing them.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: In-Universe example in his review of the Spider-Man games, when the eponymous character dismisses the Nerd's Rolling Rock as "corporate bullshit", then suggests that he "stick to the local brew" with Yuengling.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY":
    • "'I AM ERROR.' Well, maybe that's just his name? Maybe it's pronounced 'Ear-oar.'"
    • In his review of Street Fighter 2010, when presented with a screen that says "Ken vs. Target", he surmises that maybe the latter has to be pronounced as Tar-jay.
    • In a real-world example, James has pointed out that the character's name is Super Mecha Death Christ, not Super Mega Death Christ, as is commonly believed.
    • The Nerd finds ample discomfort in pronouncing Seaman as "semen", especially with the jokes made by the developers ("you are free to enjoy Seaman in whatever manner you find appropriate"), and goes out of his way to state the correct pronunciation.
    • In Beavis & Butthead he comments what kind of person would be named "Butthead" but decides that maybe his parents decided that it would be pronounced "Buh-Theed". A little later he says to himself "I'm such a Shi-Theed".
    • In Super Hydlide & Virtual Hydlide he pronounces "shiitake mushrooms" as "shit-take" because, as he points out, that is how it's spelled.
  • I Want My Jetpack: The Nerd comments on this in the Street Fighter 2010 episode.
    AVGN: It's crazy! Remember how futuristic the year 2000 seemed? My whole childhood, it seemed like every movie, every video game, it was always 2000... it sounded so high-tech and far away. But now, fuck that! It's the 10 year anniversary of the year 2000! (Back to the Future's 2015 footage) In five years, we're gonna have flying cars, and hoverboards and self-lacing shoes... It better happen, otherwise they should have make it the year 3000. Even if they made it 2100, we'd all be dead. It wouldn't make any difference anyway. Better be a mystery than to be wrong.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The basic premise of the show. The Nerd is meant to be a parody of video game reviewers that nitpick every little thing about a game, but in the process of doing so, he does bring up legitimate complaints.
  • Jive Turkey: In the Sega CD episode, he tries reviewing Slam City with Scotty Pippen (a basketball video game), but can't make out what the players are saying due to their barely comprehensible slang:
    "Fingers": You want some of this? You got it!
    AVGN: Okay, I really don't know what I'm doing.
    Player 1: Yo! Crush 'im like a walnut!
    Player 2: And sprinkle him on a salad!
    Both: And pour some dressing on the boy!
    AVGN: [clueless] What are they saying?
    Mad Dog: OOOOOOH! Ace must have on ankle weights!! Hahahaha!!!
    AVGN: [shrugs] Okay...
  • "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal: Brought up in the Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero episode, where the Nerd says that the viewers probably can't relate to his feelings of the game being atypical to traditional Mortal Kombat since they're not holding the controller and playing, and compares playing the game to jumping off a bridge, assuming that the viewers wouldn't want to do it too.
  • Jump Scare:
  • Junk Rare: invokedJames often brings up how difficult it is to actually obtain the terrible games he finds: his attempts to find a working CD-I and the proper games for his review set him back seven hundred dollars. His video on Nintendo World Championships deals with the fact that it's the rarest and most expensive of all NES games, and a legitimate part of history, but it's almost completely worthless as a game.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: For slicing a videotape in half.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: He includes Boo/Death Kitty in a number of videos, and has posted at least one picture of Yeti, his white cat, sitting with him at the computer. (Keep in mind James' actual personality - not his Nerd persona - for the "kind-hearted" part.)
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: Super Mecha Death Christ, bitch.
    Super Mecha Death Christ: WATCH YOUR FUCKING LANGUAGE!!!
  • Large Ham: The Nerd in rage mode. Sometimes, even silently, like the Kaiju impersonation in the Godzilla episode.
    • Perhaps the most hammiest example is in episode 113, as he goes over wrist band games, summing it all up by going over the quality of games, from greatest to least, getting progressively angrier until he is literally roaring.
    • Mike Matei, in all of his appearances.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Mike Matei stopped drawing his familiar title cards for the series after episode 100.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • Mike Matei's rendition of the Joker. He makes Caesar Romero look a paragon of restraint.
    • Playing Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon reduces The Nerd to this state.
      • As does the intro cutscene of Hong Kong '97, because it's just that ridiculous.
    • Pat The NES Punk after the Nerd destroys the golden and silver Nintendo World Championships cartridges.
    • The Nerd after Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero puts him in a dead end just so he can be crushed by a descending pillar.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Ikari Warriors review, Guitar Guy (Kyle Justin) asks the Nerd why he doesn't play his theme song any more, and he replies that he thought people were tired of it. When Guitar Guy tells him he thought wrong, he gives a knowing glance at the camera and says "Yeah, I know", no doubt responding to the frequent requests to bring it back.
  • Leitmotif: Variations of the opening theme appears elsewhere in the videos from time to time.
  • Let's Mock the Monsters: All the freaking time.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Home Alone review he did for The New Adventures of Captain S; he replaces his usual four-letter words with milder language like "crap".
    • The Nintendo Power retrospective, since it was the first episode to look at something he loves rather than hates, although it's subverted because he still finds things to complain about and assures the audience that he's not going soft and that the next episode will be an Accentuate the Negative game review like usual.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted: The Nerd lives in the world where fictional characters like Bugs Bunny and Fred Krueger not only exist but spend their free time harassing random gamers, gaming accessories can become sentient artificial intelligences, Super Mecha Death Christ and Death Mwauthzyx are known theological entities, and game glitches are caused by a literal gremlin inside the cartridge...but it's somehow still pretty much exactly like the real world in every other way.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: "AVGN X", a 2-disc Blu-ray release which contains episodes 1-100, plus all the special features from DVD volumes 1-5 as well (plus "Contra Memories" from vol. 6). To marathon the episodes alone would take you 18 hours. And that's not even counting the bonus material.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Lampshaded in the Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout episode, showing his wardrobe containing only white shirts.
    • Averted a few times: He wore an Atari coat for Winter Games and the Star Wars episode. And let's not forget the Halloween episodes, specifically the Dracula ep, wherein he wore a black-and-red cape reminiscent of said Count.
  • Long List: In his Atari Sports review:
    Nerd: Look at these titles. Baseball, basketball, football, not this Madden shit. Just plain-ass normal, everyday, no question about it, no NFL, no year, not named after a player, not named after a coach, not named after the referee's pet goldfish, no quarterback, dimeback, nickelback, simple, ordinary, unembellished, unmistakable, crystal-clear, as frank as Frankenstein, as blunt as an atom BOMB, one compound word: it's motherfuckin' goddamn sons-of-bitchin' fuck fuck fuckin' FOOTBALL!!!
    • In his review of Star Wars video games, he rattles off the large number of games based on the franchise, most of them fake:
    Nerd: Of course, we had to stop somewhere, because there's a whole galaxy of Star Wars-related games, so this could've gone on and on. There's Star Wars Rebel Assault, Dark Forces, Jedi Academy, Rogue Squadron, Battlefront, Star Wars Chess, LEGO Star Wars, Star Wars Puzzle Blaster, Star Wars Pod Racer, Jar Jar Binks Bingo, Death Star Builder 3.0, Chewie Wookiee Cookie Cookin', Stormtrooper Tennis, Jabba's Farts Unleashed - that was a good one - Wedge's Wedgie Attack, Fishing For Ackbars, Super Sith Shit Toss Tournament Edition, Boba Fett's Name Game - find his name in the fuckin' movie - Governor Tarkin Versus Count Dooku- (a buffalo shits through his window, interrupting his list)
    • In his review of Action 52, he covers all the reasons why the game sucks:
    Nerd: With games that crash, hideous jumping control, random characters, microscopic sprites, a marathon of mediocre space shooters, dying in mid-air, problems with proportion, misleading titles, misleading power-ups, embarrassing weapons, seizure-inducing backgrounds, lack of enemies, games you can't win, games you can't lose, games that make no sense whatsoever, shitty graphics, shitty music, shitty menus, and a fuckton of other things!
    • In his Star Trek review, he lists all the steps you need to complete one of the levels:
    Nerd: First you gotta find a library card, then you gotta get back your lost communicator and you zap two guys find a diamond, you exchange it with the shop owner for a marked deck of cards, then you find a bone on the sidewalk and a gumball from some guy with a dog, then you find a hair pin, then you find a stick, you gotta put the gumball on the end of the stick, put it in the gutter and fish out some coins, then you talk to a bartender and get Oxmyx's phone number, give him the diamond in exchange for some plates, you take the plates to the police, use the hairpin and the bone to open up the door, find counterfeit money, use the coins on the phone booth, give the operator the number, go in to talk to Oxymyx about the communicator, he tells you to go to Cracklin's place, he tells you Bonehead Malone has the communicator, you go to the casino, you give Bonehead the money, you give him your marked deck of cards and you get the communicator!
  • Long Runner: The Mega Man episode lampshades this. The Nerd's been at it for so long games from about the time he first started doing this are now fair, um, game for his show.
  • Loony Fan: Mike Matei portrays one in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre review.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Critic tries to pull this off when the Nerd corners him during the Final Battle.
    AVGN: Then surely you know the name of our mother?
    Nostalgia Critic: eh... Of course I know the name of our mother! it's... Ee...liza...? *The Nerd puts the Super Scope on his head* Oh, can't blame me for trying!
  • Ludd Was Right: "We failed in our existence when we were cursed with the technology to invent such horrible mind-rotting catastrophes! We were better off in the fucking medieval times! I wish I was just sitting on a riverbed playing with FUCKING ROCKS!"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Arguably the main theme.
  • Made of Iron: The Nerd himself is one tough son of a bitch. He gets physically beaten, blown up, shot by lasers, and more. No matter how much damage the Nerd takes, he always bounces back and delivers a big beatdown on those that attacked him.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "X is a [noun] [verb]er... X [verb]s [noun]."
  • Mad Scientist: The Nerd is slowly but surely getting there. His resume already includes a video game-playing Frankenstein's Monster and a sapient poop clone.
  • Madness Mantra: So far, Nerd does this in the Polybius episode. "It won't let me..."
  • Manipulative Editing: Averted; but you can see that he actually does do this in the Castlevania 64 video. He claims that there is no freaking music; and then proceeds to tell you to listen on an outdoor stage where there is no music. His claim makes less sense later on; since he shows a lot of the stage he got stuck on when he was younger and it clearly has audible music.
    • Done for humor in his Super Mario Bros. 3 / The Wizard review; he replays the same footage of the crowd chanting "SIX!" three times to make it sound like they're chanting the mark of the beast. Which ties into his theory than Super Mario Bros. 3 is a product of the devil.
  • Medal of Dishonor:
    • Right from the start of the show, he's considered Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the single worst NES game he's ever played, and a strong contender for the worst game he's ever played, period.
    • In his second "Wish List" review he named the SNES port of Pit-Fighter as the worst SNES game he'd played up until that point... though it's probably fair to say that Hong Kong '97 has since taken that title. Similarly, the Nerd also named Dark Castle as the worst Sega Genesis game he'd ever played, but it's likely been superseded in that regard by CrazyBus, and arguably also Desert Bus, if one counts Sega CD games. However, Pit Fighter and Dark Castle would still be the worst officially-released games that the Nerd has played on their respective platforms (Hong Kong 97 and Crazybus were both unlicensed, and the compilation game that Desert Bus was part of never got officially released due to the publisher going bust).
    • Though admitting he's still not played a good chunk of the Turbografx-16's library, he named the system's Darkwing Duck game as the worst game he'd played on that platform thus far.
    • Initially he named the R-Zone as the worst console he'd ever played. The LJN Video Art would later steal that title away, assuming one counts it as a console instead of a productivity device.
  • Medium Awareness: The ending of his Ghosts N' Goblins review shows that the Nerd is aware that his universe is made of TV Tropes brand tropes as he ends up using several of them, including Cluster F-Bomb, Precision F-Strike, and Atomic F-Bomb, as actual weapons while doing battle with the game JRPG style.
  • Metaphorgotten: In his review of Independence Day:
    AVGN: "What do you get when you take a movie that's ass, and make it into a game? You get a piece of shit. Now if you get a piece of ass, that's a good thing, but if you get a piece of shit, you don't want that!"
  • Memetic Badass: invoked
    • The Nerd acknowledges that Noah — despite being an old man — is strong enough to pick up five cows and horses over his head without any problems, and that he can run with all of them without getting tired and even run faster than the screen can scroll.
    AVGN: Noah, man, nobody fucks with him. Not even Chuck Norris.
    • The Nerd paints Chin from Hong Kong '97 as this, considering he's given the task of killing the entire population of China (which was just over one billion at the time of the game's release) and is also related to Bruce Lee.
    AVGN: You don't FUCK with Chin!
  • Mercy Invincibility: You'll notice he points out why this trope is needed.
  • Mid-Review Sketch Show: About 50% of his premise is about this trope, usually involving the many ways in which he can destroy the games he reviews, or the characters who appear in them.
  • Mind Screw:
    • Describing Attack of the Mutant Penguins. It was even worse when he tried to describe his own even more screwy game until he mimed his brain being blown up and drank some beer.
    • The Berenstain Bears episode revolves entirely around the mind screw that many people who clearly remember the name as "Berenstein Bears" have experienced when finally noticing the true spelling. For a couple of days after the video was uploaded, the title and thumbnail of the video would even occasionally switch between the E and A spellings in order to mind screw the audience. Eventually it settled on showing both spellings at once: the title shows the A spelling while the thumbnail shows the E spelling.
  • Mock Guffin: James eagerly rips through a package for his "rare" copy of Nintendo World Championships (NES) ...only to discover that it's a cheaply-made reproduction cartridge. Then, after he's already let Pat the NES Punk have all the games, it turns out there's a real one in the box too. Not only that, but it's the incredibly rare gold-cartridge version.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Much of the Hong Kong 97 episode is devoted to the Nerd being incredibly amused by the sheer absurdity that permeates the whole thing. He was not amused when it puked up a game over screen featuring a digitized photo of what might be an actual dead person. And it IS a real dead body! According to The Other Wiki, it's an actual forensic screencap of Polish boxer Leszek Błażyński the day he committed suicide.
    • A lesser example comes earlier from the same episode, where the Nerd's amusement over Jackie Chan's likeness being used for Chin fades out when he realises Chin's goal is to commit genocide on the entire population of mainland China.
  • Moonwalk Dance: When reviewing Michael Jackson's Moonwalker the Nerd at one point jokingly performs the moonwalk (just shuffling backwards) while holding his joystick.
  • The Moral Substitute: The Nerd devoted three episodes to trashing Christian games.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • When playing Dragon's Lair:
      AVGN: The decisions to make in the game are similar to if, say you're standing in a pool full of piss all the way up to your neck, then somebody comes in with a bucket of shit to dump on your head. Do you duck down under the piss, or do you just stay up and take on the shit?
    • In the Friday the 13th episode, the Nerd begs for death rather than be forced to play more of the game, but Jason Voorhees is not so merciful, drags him back to the couch, and stands guard to make sure he keeps playing. 10 years later, the Berenstain Bears episode reveals that in at least one alternate universe, Jason did kill the Nerd when asked. That Nerd went to Hell, where his punishment was to play Friday the 13th, while Jason stands guard to make sure he keeps playing.
  • Most Annoying Sound: invoked He has had a few unfortunate experiences:
    • The Critical Annoyance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
    • The most flagrant one was in his review of Cybermorph on the Atari Jaguar episode:
      Floating green head:"Where did YOU learn to fly? Where did YOU learn to fly? Where did YOU learn to fly?".
      • Also turns into an unfortunate non-musical Ear Worm invoked to the Nerd since he couldn't be able to get it out of his head after a while.
    • The atrocious soundtrack of the NES Back to the Future game spawned the "diarrhea dump in his ear" line of the Theme Song.
    • The horrible nails-on-a-chalkboard screeching of the LJN Video Art's joystick actually forces the Nerd to don a pair of big earmuffs.
    • Hong Kong 97's eternal five-second sampled loop didn't force the Nerd to take any drastic measures to block it out, but was noted to be very annoying indeed.
    • Strangely, the Nerd didn't mention the loud, obnoxious buzzing noise whenever you choose incorrectly in Plumbers Don't Wear Ties, instead focusing on the crazy graphic filters.
  • Motor Mouth:
    • Discussed in the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) episode, where the Nerd notes that the citizens speak as if they're saying a thousand words per minute, especially the one who says "Welcome!".
    AVGN: [miming the citizen] "Welcome, welcome welcome, welcome welcome welcome, welcome, welcomewelcomewelcomewelcomewelcomewelcome..."
    • He talks like this in the Aladdin Deck Enhancer episode while playing Micro Machines, as a reference to the Micro Machines Man.
  • The Movie: Released in 2014 after three years of development. Focuses on the long-awaited Atari E.T. review!
  • MST:
    • Since Plumbers Don't Wear Ties 3DO game has barely any gameplay to speak of, the Nerd ends up doing this for a review of that "game."
    • The Sega CD review has elements of this too in the FMV sections.
  • Multi-Part Episode: The Halloween episode from 2017, where the Nerd plays the mythical Polybius and slowly goes insane, was originally uploaded in parts on a side channel before being put together as one video on the main account.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Everything from shooting a 32X with a bow and arrow and setting it on fire to fighting off a Super Mario Bros.. 3 cartridge possessed by Satan.
    • "Yeah! I'm shooting ducks with a piano!" / "I just shot down a duck by saying "fuck!""
    • "I'm drinking ROLLING ROCK! On THE ROLL & ROCKER!!"
    • The episode about Swordquest is surprisingly stirring, with the Nerd treating the Swordquest contest as less of a promotional thing and more of an actual adventure. It even comes complete with an orchestral version of the Nerd's theme tune. Ironically, he makes a joke in the review itself about the game making an overly-dramatic (almost explosive) sound effect for walking through a door.
    • When waiting for Seaman to progress, he decides to play the old Famicom Disk System game Explosive Fighter Patton, which tells him to "Turn to Side-B and inseft [sic] to fucking box!" Cue the Nerd having his mind completely blown, as the video transitions to various epic shots with grand, orchestral music.
    "It's an officially released game on a Nintendo console... that says fuck! Oh my god, my life is complete!! It says fuck!! IT SAYS FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU..."
  • Musical Episode: The Ikari Warriors sees the return of Kyle Justin to life, and he spends most of the episode singing about how bad the game is.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Twice in the "AVGN Games" episode. First, the Nerd realizes that a lot of the games he is playing deliberately contain bad/frustrating game elements (ex: arcing projectiles like the rock from Friday the 13th) just because he has complained about those things on camera. Later, when he plays The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, he sees that they have recreated the No Kill Like Overkill death trap he thought up in the Super Pitfall episode.
  • Mythology Gag: A very subtle one in the Bayou Billy crossover episode with Pat the NES Punk. After the Nerd dies for the umpteenth time, Pat notes that he could be doing this on purpose to exaggerate the game's difficulty. In his making-of video two years prior, James confessed that in the earliest AVGN videos (ex: Karate Kid) he did intentionally die in games.

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