In the mid-1990s, a man named George Wood created a TV show initially dedicated to collectible arts such as comic books on a Maryland public-access channel, called Flights of Fantasy. But at a certain point, they decided to focus on video games instead, much to the uproar of the gaming community. The show gained quite a few detractors; Wood was not known for his playing skills, research or good taste, was something of a poor man's Adam Sessler, and the production was rather cheap. He would also tend to go off-topic, sometimes markedly so, in a very fervent manner.
It had a small following, being a local public-access show, but would have been lost, had Wood not joined a video gaming association called NAViGaTR,note who archived the entire series, edited each episode and put it onto YouTube as renamed Gaming in the Clinton Years. This is how most people know of Wood.
In December 2019, the NAViGaTR channel went ahead and removed all of the show's episodes, replacing them with short and random clips of them, much to the chagrin of many fans. As it later turned out, this was done as a stunt promoting an Alternate Reality Game that will eventually lead into the releases of HD restorations of the show. As of March 2020, the HD versions have yet to surface, but the old episodes have since been restored back onto the channel. Nevertheless, archives of the episodes can still be found here and here.
Much to the surprise of everyone, however, a successor was made to the series called Gaming in the Trump Years, featuring the return of George Wood. One of the reviews can be found here (Beware, as said review contains massive spoilers for Zero Time Dilemma)
This cable show has examples of:
- Adam Westing: His later reviews on Gaming in the Trump Years appear to possibly be playing up his reviewing style and presentation for laughs. This snippet, where he reviews Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, is almost taken wholesale from an infamous review of the same game from GameSpot. Knowing him, however, it's unknown if this was his intention or not.
- Artistic License Law: One of Wood's trademark "great game ideas" - having to drive your pregnant wife to the hospital while she's in labor, but obeying traffic laws and the speed limit because if the cops catch you it's game over. In reality, if a cop pulls you over for speeding and sees a woman in labor in the car, they'll escort you to the hospital themselves.
- Author Appeal:
- George has an unashamed bias for Nintendo products. During the fourth generation he exclusively covered games for the SNES and never touched the Genesis (and it's telling that the only other console he looked at this generation was, of all things, the Virtual Boy), and in the fifth generation it's pretty obvious that he has a much more critical eye for PlayStation games than those released for the the Nintendo 64. Expect any non-Nintendo game to get unfavorably compared to a Nintendo product for any reason he can come up with.
- Donkey Kong Country. Read half this page and you'll catch on pretty quick. Special note goes to the Silicon Graphics visuals, which he makes obvious quite quickly that it's half the reason he adores the game so much, and it becomes even more apparent if you watch his Toy Story review.
- He makes it extremely obvious that he enjoyed the boss fights in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island more than the actual game. Almost the entire review is spent on the bosses and every time he brings it up in any of the other reviews, he always mentions the boss fights and never the actual gameplay (admittedly, they were pretty impressive for their time, but it's peculiar that it seems to be the only thing he tends to ever bring up about the game).
- Captain Obvious: Wood sometimes gives very obvious tips, like telling you to attack a boss while dodging its attacks or to reload in-between shooting.
- Cloudcuckoolander: George Wood seems to live in his own universe, making random remarks and jokes that come out of left field.
- Complaining About People Not Liking the Show: Wood believes that if you don't like Donkey Kong Country, then you are STUPID!
- Damned by Faint Praise: The fact that this show compares Plok to Bubsy would be saying something, if not for the fact that the writers absolutely loved Bubsy.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In his Super Metroid review."The station is completely deserted. No one is in the building."
- Double Entendre:
- Driven to Suicide: George infamously said he'd kill himself if Final Fantasy IX didn't have voice acting.
- Dull Surprise: Wood's not exactly known for his emotional range.
- Dumbass Has a Point: George's thought process usually ranges from nonsensically stupid to downright bizarre. That being said, he's able to give off meaningful words or advice every once in a while, even if those words aren't going to reach anyone. Below is a good example of how he can come up with good analyses every now and then.George: Mega Man X4 may not even be released at all for the PlayStation. Sony is once again being a real jerk by refusing to allow 2D games to be manufactured. Sony definitely has a bug up its you-know-what, and they've got some major balls ticking off Capcom, the makers of the first PlayStation game to sell 1 million copies. That game being, of course, Resident Evil. Capcom should threaten not to release Resident Evil 2 on the PlayStation, and watch Sony buckle.
- Faking the Dead: According to NAVIGaTR, Wood allegedly died between 2006 and 2008. However, in 2009, a video showed up on YouTube showing George Wood on a local talk show talking about President Obama. Not to mention that NAViGaTR had been making a huge fuss about George Wood in anticipation for their big Halloween cruise party, in such a way that if he isn't alive then it's pretty disrespectful - not to mention how NAVIGaTR publicly and loudly claim his cause of death was a drug overdose, which is something you wouldn't really want to publicize regardless of whether someone were dead or alive. For the longest time, NAVIGatR had been very "nudge nudge wink wink" about his supposed death and it was difficult to get the actual truth of the matter out of them. However, in April 2015, they released multiple videos proving Wood is still alive.
- Early Installment Weirdness: It began as a public access show titled Flights of Fantasy, and was focused on the collectible arts, as creator and host George Wood is a massive comic book fan and collector. They originally introduced segments focused on video games as time-filler, since they shared the same "geek" audience the show was aimed at. But as the series progressed, the games grew more prominent and elaborate until they were the primary focus, even getting briefly renamed to The Video Game Show. Indeed, when clips from it were officially re-released online as Gaming in The Clinton Years, only the video game segments were featured, and fans have had to rely on bootleg tapes for the rest of the show as it first aired.
- Filler: Wood frequently shows clips from games he's reviewing with no commentary or editing.
- Gushing About Shows You Like: There is absolutely no attempt at providing an unbiased review of Donkey Kong Country.
- If I Had a Nickel...: In the Rush Hour review, he wishes to have a nickel for every time he said "yet another racing game".
- Insane Troll Logic:
George: You can't beat Toy Story without cheating, and this cheating brings victory much too quickly to warrant spending your money. People don't spend sixty bucks on a game they know they can beat.
- This is a man who can claim It's Hard, So It Sucks! and It's Easy, So It Sucks! about the same game.
- He's complained about a game being too easy when he's turned the difficulty all the way down.
- He also complained about a game being too short after using passwords to skip the levels.
- His review of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is infamous for this; the Retsupurae of the review is titled "Symphony of the Night was disappointingly enjoyable" because the duo can't make heads or tails of his opinion on the game.
- His review of a Formula One has him complaining about the game being realistic without any crazy track gimmicks, and then suggesting a game where the player has to drive his pregnant wife to the hospital while obeying the speed limit.
- Insistent Terminology: There is an entire aside in his All-Star Baseball 99 review lamenting the fact that only one baseball video game uses the official name of the Baltimore stadium (Oriole Park at Camden Yards), and he questions why this game and many others only call it "Baltimore Stadium".
- It Will Never Catch On: From his GoldenEye (1997) review: "No one buys a game specifically for multiplayer options." Little did he know then that the game would become a turning point for the First-Person Shooter genre, especially multiplayer FPSes.
- It's Hard, So It Sucks!: A common criticism for a lot of games, where the host complains that the only way to beat certain games is by using cheat codes... "Beating [GoldenEye] is impossible on the higher difficulty levels. Do yourself a favor: Don't even try them!"
"You can't beat Toy Story without cheating, and this cheating brings victory much too quickly to warrant spending your money."
- It's Easy, So It Sucks!: ...followed by complaints that the game is thus too easy.
- Just Eat Gilligan: In his review of A Bug's Life, he complains about the seed planting mechanic, and points out that ants can crawl anywhere and don't need to jump.George: Hello?! Ants can crawl anywhere! They don't need mushroom trampolines!
- Mood Whiplash: Wood concludes his gush-a-thon of a Donkey Kong Country review by showing the Game Over screen. Even better, it's after showing footage of Diddy defeating Very Gnawty.
- Though much more brief, he would again show the game-over screen at the end of the Donkey Kong Country 2 review.
- Nice Guy: For all his questionable faults as a reviewer, George Wood seems to be a very nice man. He doesn't swear in his reviews like many other gamers, and he always seems calm. The people who have met him in real life have nothing bad to say about him as a person, and people were very angry to learn his channel lied about him being dead. While many people make fun of the reviews, Wood himself is considered an Unacceptable Target.
- No Ending: The Lemmings review ends in the middle of a sentence before George finishes the thought.George: Adults will like this brain teaser,- (Cue ending screen)
- Nominal Importance: During the Pinochio review, the Coachman was only referred to as a boss and not by his title from the movie.
- Non-Indicative Name: The video titled "Bloody Roar 2", naturally, isn't about Bloody Roar 2. It's about Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter with a single sentence given to BR2.
- Opinion Flip Flop: He is notorious for this. He's particularly most noteworthy for not being able to make up his mind about games being too hard or too easy, and his constant stance shifts on how much realism he's looking for.
- Repeat Cut: Wood is utterly baffled when one of these shows up in a GoldenEye cutscene.George Wood: The camera is all screwed up! He jumps! He jumps again, from a different angle! What the heck?! Is this some new funky directing style, or what?
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The end of his GoldenEye review."Okay, enough of Bond."
- Skewed Priorities: Unintentionally, but in the Toy Story review, Wood claims that the first thing you notice as soon as you pop in the game...is "the poor edging on Woody." Nothing about the gameplay itself, or even the fact that the graphics are reminiscent of the movie, or the fact that it's a platformer, no, it's the fact that Woody's character model looks ever-so-slightly off.
- Stock Footage: Many of his four-minute reviews end with the intro cinematic of the game he's reviewing, with no commentary.
- Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: One of Wood's complaints about Final Fantasy VII is that the game had too much gameplay to story. One wonders what he'd think of Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Take That!: The Tail of the Sun review uses the back-of-the-box recommendation from PSX Power as conclusive evidence to not read said magazine.
- This Is Going to Be Huge: Wood apparently believed that the Virtual Boy would be more successful than the PlayStation. Hilariously, if you remove the Virtual Boy from the top spot of the equation, he otherwise accurately predicted how well the consoles in question would do for that generation.
- Totally Radical: (on Donkey Kong Country's soundtrack) "Play it loud in stereo, DUUUUUUUUUUUDE!"
- Unusual Euphemism: "Front-loaded anvils."
- "Angle of the dangle."
- Video Game 3D Leap: Wood criticized Final Fantasy VII for being a presentation upgrade rather than a total upgrade, in contrast to his expectations.