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Nightmare Fuel / The Angry Video Game Nerd

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You thought a series of videos about a nerd who rages over video games couldn't possibly give you nightmares?

You might change your mind after reading this.

  • The 2nd episode where he just sits and rants about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. James said once this is the only episode where he was drinking real Rolling Rock, and was slightly tipsy. Watching him sitting there, eyes widened into the camera, and Suddenly SHOUTING! a couple minutes in, and that Slasher Smile he makes at the end? *shudders*
    • Less scary when you take into thought that the supposed Slasher Smile at the end is actually the Nerd corpsing at the last second.
  • The jumpscares during the Friday the 13th videos were genuinely startling. Even with the comedic context, James does a great job at building suspense throughout the review, with the music, long pauses, acting from the nerd, and overall tone giving off a tense atmosphere where Jason Voorhees' presence is always felt.
  • The Nerd trying to hide from Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street review is genuinely creepy, especially when Freddy pops up after a lot of buildup, and he has the Nerd's face!
  • Much like Friday the 13th, James uses atmosphere expertly during the Halloween review. Michael Myers' presence is tense for different reasons. While the Nerd is fully aware of Jason and is afraid of whenever he will strike, he is completely unaware of Michael's presence until the end, making the build up quite nail biting. The jumpscare during the basement scene is startling and the overall intensity during the climax felt genuine even with the goofy antics and shit flying everywhere.
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  • Not as extreme as most instances of Nightmare Fuel, but in the Atari 5200 review, when the Nerd plugs in the system's cord, sparks come flying out, and they weren't faked!
  • The ending to "Bible Games 3": "...although, I will give my heart to Jesus." (cue a rather graphic Visual Pun, then a faint Heartbeat Soundtrack lasting through the ending logos)
  • The Nerd is outright terrifying at the end of the Dark Castle review.
    • He then proceeds to brutally flog the cartridge and disc versions of the game. While they're in chains, no less. He actually hits the cartridge so hard he breaks one of the chains.
    • In the same episode, we see him seething with rage as he pulls out the CD-i version.
      "Alright, Let's flip that shit switch and crank up that diarrhea dial. I got Dark Castle on C! D! IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!" Cue hellish flames and a very serious Death Glare.
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  • The extended version of his Wally Bear and the NO! Gang review. He is informed that there is an old Wally Bear hotline that was still active (until around mid 2007) and calls it. Cut to an abandoned house with creepy ambiance and a prerecorded message of Wally talking in the background. The Nerd is obviously disturbed...and then Wally Bear's ghost suddenly pops out of the phone to scare the Nerd.
  • In the part of his Roger Rabbit review where he calls Jessica Rabbit, we get this:
    Jessica: I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way.
  • The end of the Dick Tracy review shows the Nerd at full-blown insanity, and is one of his angriest and most terrifying moments on the show. He starts screaming about the Nintendo Hard aspect of the game so loudly while coming closer and closer to the screen, starts drinking beer like crazy (wetting his clothes in the process), starts screaming bloody murder 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.
  • While not to the extent of his Dick Tracy review, the Nerd is similarly terrifying in his Winter Games review. After giving up in frustration, the Nerd uses all kinds of methods to destroy the game, such as putting it in the oven, in the freezer, in the sink and doused with water, pouring alcohol on the inside of the cartridge, hitting the cartridge with his hammer and dropping it violently and disassembles the cartridge, culminating in him putting the cartridge in the fireplace to burn. This is not just an NES cartridge shell, but the real thing. The whole thing being set to a jazzy version of "Jingle Bells" only makes it worse.
  • The title card for the Metal Gear episode, which features Snake throwing a grenade at the Nerd, which is seen going off, completely obliterating his hands to the point where bone is visible, as well as blowing off most of the lower half of his face (as well as his nose), leaving a bloody, chunky mess.
    • The Rambo title card is just as bad. While in the foreground Rambo is shooting up the jungle, in the background we can see both The Nerd's head (along with his entire spinal column) flying from his body with a bloody trail lagging behind it and a decapitated Vietnamese soldier.
  • Bugs Bunny and R.O.B. both hit him hard enough to cause him to spit blood. In the R.O.B. episode, blood stays on his face throughout the rest of their battle.
  • In his Hong Kong '97 review, it is revealed that if you die in the game, you are treated to an image of what appears to be an actual dead man lying on the ground note . Even the Nerd is creeped out by this, wondering how anyone could be so tasteless as to put up something like that.
  • The Seaman episode combines this with Paranoia Fuel when he realizes 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 proves fruitless as the Nerd's reality becomes a Recursive Reality for the Seaman.
  • The tenth Halloween Special, 2016's "Berenstain Bears" review. You'd think its funny that he's reviewing freaking Berenstain Bears for a Halloween Special? This episode is the scariest of the series up to that point. And you thought Board James 's Nightmare episode was scary.
    • The entirety of the episode goes to great lengths about supposed effects of interdimensional crossovers, existences and realities on the very things we know and love. The AVGN meets his alternate self from the year 2006 in a parallel universe from his very first Halloween episode for Friday the 13th for the NES. It turns out that in this alternate timeline Jason was really the Nerd killing the other Nerd again and again, who also happens to be trying to get back into his own timeline. What started off as another festive Halloween spooktacular turns into utter contorting madness for The Nerd as he tries to prove to us that what we know from our childhood books as the "Berenstein Bears" turns out to be the "Berenstain Bears". And to cap it off the Nerd the one dressed up as Jason turns out that he hails from a universe that was from neither before. His universe's equivalent to the "Berenstein Bears" is called "Bloodstain". Cue the titular bears ganging up on him and mauling him to death as 'our' Nerd runs like hell. ... Kind of makes you question your own existences on what we all know and love now, doesn't it?
      • For bonus terror, he mentions how the Nerd used to love the NES Ninja Turtles game until he grew up and decided he hated it. Why is this scary? Jason!Nerd makes the suggestion that maybe the Nerd's opinion didn't change, the actual game did due to an unwitting universal shift. If someone is paranoid about this sort of thing, they shouldn't watch this episode at all.
      • Even worse, there's no resolution to what happens. The last scene of the episode is the Nerd running away into some foliage and a shot of Jason!Nerd's blood dripping down a book.
      • Not only that, but during the time of the video's release, the title would alternate between "Berenstein" and "Berenstain", with the thumbnail following suit..
  • The jarring ending to the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) game review. Compared to the rest of the goofy campy nature and atmosphere of the episode, it ends with The Nerd unveiling a secret bloody torture room for the worst of the worst games in his collection end up. Talk about Cold-Blooded Torture. Yeesh!
    • An interesting thing to mention. One of said "victims" in the torture room happens to be "Dark Castle" as a Call-Back to an earlier episode. Still shackled from the last time we saw it from the aforementioned above.
  • The infamously frightening error message images for the Game Boy Camera rear their ugly heads in the "Game Boy Accessories" episode.
  • The subject of Episode 150: Polybius took the horror of the Berenstain Bears episode to new levels, and takes the cake as the darkest Angry Video Game Nerd episode. It's similar to a found footage horror film in the likes of Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project.
    • It's less a review and more him trying out the legendary game over several days (though he doesn't show footage of it, in case its harmful effects include causing epilepsy). At first, he merely sees the game as average. Then he gets more and more addicted to it, recording play sessions that are hours longer than he remembers, and he does things he doesn't remember doing, like locking himself in with the game. By Day 4, he's visibly distressed and broken — something we've never seen him like before.
    • Arguably the worst part is how subtle it is; James clearly has a good understanding of psychological horror, and it shows. The Nerd's descent is very subtle, and doesn't really start to sink in until Day 3. At first, he just describes it as an average, boring arcade game, then gradually his opinion of it improves; all throughout this, he keeps the screen hidden to avoid transmitting any effects to the viewer (though he's highly skeptical that such effects exist and he's only doing it as a precaution, constantly remarking that he doesn't feel any side-effects from the game). It's not until this line on Day 2 that things begin to take a turn for the worse (keep in mind that, before the cut, the Nerd said he would play one more round and then go home to upload the day's footage):
    • For a brief moment on Day 4, we see someone in the reflection of an Asteroids arcade cabinet, who runs off before the Nerd can see them. Bear in mind, he'd locked himself in the previous day... Also on Day 4, he tries to desperately reveal his location, but suddenly stops himself, his eyes abruptly rolling into the back of his head for a moment.
    • Day 5 is even worse . The Nerd receives a subliminal message from the game and uses it to break the lock on the door. Only to run into another Polybius which is blocking his way. The Nerd then finally shows the game and warns the audience to not look at it or it will take them forever. When you finally see the game, it's initially nothing unusual...until the episode abruptly ends with a sudden Jump Scare, complete with a close-up of Nerd's face with a twisted Slasher Smile and eyes rolled into the back of his head. This is immediately followed by the screen turning into static before cutting into black.
    • In the complete video, the jump scare is followed by a "This video is unavailable" screen, which turns into a second jump scare as the sad Youtube play button morphs into the demonic-looking Nerd face from the above picture. Then the owner of the warehouse finally shows up to check on the Nerd, but only finds the camera next to the Polybius cabinet. He is then pulled towards the cabinet as he screams in terror. DEAR. LORD.
    • The intro to Robocop NES Games briefly recaps what happened in this episode which is followed by the Nerd returning back to his couch - as a RoboCop. It's subtle but makes you wonder what exactly happened to him in the warehouse.
      • Apparently the arcade itself turned him into a robot. Talk about Lightmare Fuel. This arcade that drives people insane and warps their mind.. just turns them into a robot. And the Nerd acts like nothing happened. The game might as well had just let him go!
  • His holiday episode titled "Lightspan Adventures" has a later portion to one of the sight for sore eyes ladened games in the Lightspan Adventures library called "Welcome to the Quaddle Museum". In light of a couple of the other games that had just as much ugly animation in CGI "Kaz Mania" the Nerd himself admits that the former is just flatout nightmarish due to strong levels of quality drop and just the Off-Model appearances of P.K the Parrot
  • Partway through the Earthbound episode, the Nerd reaches Poo's Mu Training and, somehow, begins to personally experience the training himself. As the training goes on, the Nerd's actual legs, arms, ears and eyes are torn away from him one by one, with the video's audio cutting out just as he loses his ears. As the training reaches near the end, we get the ghastly sight of the Nerd's bloodied, eyeless, earless body just silently staring at the camera as the game prepares to take the last thing: his mind. Once that's gone, the video abruptly Smashes to Black. A few seconds later, the Nerd returns, fully unharmed but clearly dazed by what happened.
  • At the end of the Pepsiman episode, the TV Game Guy arrives and reveals Pepsiman is an Omnicidal Maniac who wants to turn the entire universe into Pepsi. While funny at first, he then reveals Pepsiman turned his entire family into Pepsi. He then takes a bullet for the Nerd and begins turning into Pepsi himself, complete with Body Horror. It's far more disturbing than it sounds.
  • Even though Chex Quest is a surprisingly awesome family-friendly reimagining of Doom, this doesn't stop the Nerd from delivering yet another worst nightmare. The culprit? Made-up Brutal Chex cereal: along with usual components you would expect in a morning cereal, it has shattered glass, rusty nails, shaving razors, and other sharp objects... and Nerd himself clearly shows what's gonna happen if you try to eat all this. The lighthearted tone of Chex Quest episode suddenly becomes fucking unsettling.
  • While 'Fear and Loathing in Vegas Stakes' has its humorous segments—including picking up a hitchhiking Spider-Man, and then subsequently causing him to bail out of the car after The Nerd unnerves him, the visuals and direction of the episode dives into a surreal direction. Hearing him talk about "LSD Dream Simulator", while the room around him seems to break down and twist around him, drives an equally distorting sense of dread in the atmosphere.


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