Accidentally Accurate: As he himself pointed out in his Tiger Electronics episode, the Nerd mistakenly referred to the NES game Wall Street Kid as "Tax Man"... and later realized there was an actual Pac-Man bootleg/knockoff game called Tax Man.
Acting for Two: The Nerd and James Rolfe once appeared side-by-side, and James played both the Nerd and the Bullshit Man in the Tiger Games AVGN episode. Board James paid a visit in the AVGN Games episode to bring the AVGN Monopoly game.
Gary Wolf, writer of Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, has indicated on his Facebook that he liked James' review of the Roger Rabbit video game, and praised Mike Matei's artwork from the re-visit episode.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In the original Back to the Future review, the Nerd said that he would rather eat out the rotten asshole of a roadkill skunk. For whatever reason, the theme song dropped that one word and the line became cemented as such from there.
Black Sheep Hit: James Rolfe originally created the reviews and the Nerd character for two short films in college. He is actually more of a movie buff than a video game buff.
As the screen fades out to black in the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde episode after the Nerd says "Dead. Fucking. Serious.", he can briefly be seen and heard laughing.
In his Game Boy Accessories episode, when demonstrating the Booster's speakers and complaining about how loud they are, the battery compartment is clearly empty.
In the Home Alone Games episode, during the close-up of the pizza box being opened, you can see that James isn't wearing his white nerd shirt, but rather a long-sleeved blue sweater.
Cash Cow Franchise: Even after 15+ years since it first started and the internet comedian/reviewer community evolved, the Angry Video Game Nerd still remains one of the most popular and marketable series on YouTube, ranking in over a million views only days after its uploaded.
The Cast Showoff: The Plumbers Don't Wear Ties AVGN episode. Rolfe's educational and professional background is in filmmaking, and the fact that the game is a Visual Novel with the usual minimal gameplay means that the Nerd is mostly forced to critique its story and audiovisuals.
His review of Ricky 1 brought attention to an obscure movie that would've likely been long forgotten had he not done it; Even the IMDB page for the movie was nearly empty before his video went up.
In general, he does this with a lot of the games he makes videos of, due to most of them being obscure retro titles that modern gamers haven't ever heard of, the most (in)famous being for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" on the NES, which he lampshades in his revisit of the game.
Creator Breakdown: Not the most extreme example, but that "every other week" release schedule back when he was on GameTrailers really burned James out, causing him to scale back to the more standard "once a month" schedule.
The Danza: The Nerd's first name is James according to the Winter Games, Spider-Man, Action 52, and Superman (NES) videos. Which comes off as somewhat jarring if you watch these episodes after having seen Season 3 of Board James, unless you think the AVGN episodes are an alternate continuity.
Defictionalization: There are a couple of episodes in which he casually mentions names of fake ridiculous games, this has caused some fans to actually google those games causing some curious results:
In his review of Shaq Fu, he mentions Full House Tournament Fighter. Later, someone on YouTube submitted the alleged intro of the game, and he even submitted a whole battle between Uncle Jesse and Joey.
In the review of Kid Kool, he mentions the game ''Doctor Claw's Dump and Pump''. Since then, there were a couple of fake YouTube videos claiming to be the intro of the game to mislead the people that actually try to Google it. Taken even further when somebody brought an exact replica of the cartridge used in the Kid Kool video to a convention for James to sign.
There was also a "New York 2017" video game on Newgrounds, although it was later removed.
In the Super Pitfall episode, when Pitfall Harry dies from falling into a trap, the Nerd has the idea of a trap where there's a pool of lava over the spikes, fire sharks swimming on it, spikes coming from the side stabbing and squashing at the same time, laser cannons and upside down volcanoes, his videogame, The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, has that trap without the laser cannons, when the Nerd reviews his own game and finds the trap, he becomes ashamed because he had the idea and he is the only one to blame.
Deleted Scene: Sort of. In the Godzilla episode, the new swear word he invents at the end of the episode is comically Censor Barred. However, he revealed at a Q&A panel that the word he spoke was "Scunt." Presumably, he left it censored because it was funnier that way.
Development Gag: In episode 144 when he reviewed The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Games, the video starts off with 5 multi-colored nerds representing different video game consoles. This is meant to represent the early idea that different forms of the AVGN would review games for different consoles.
Several times, those are genuine reactions, and sometimes James thinks they were so good that they're worth putting into the final take. Gameplaywise, he shows that he's actually playing the game and that he wasn't staging them. If it's a new game he's never played before (Namely Dragon's Lair), some of those are his actual thoughts.
Subverted in a couple of his early videos. He admits in his 'Making an AVGN episode' documentary that in his Karate Kid video he was intentionally walking into the enemies.
Also subverted in that sometimes it's not even him playing the game. Mike Matei mentions during his live stream playthrough of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that he provided the gameplay footage for the review.
Fan Nickname: Bugs Bunny, as portrayed in the Birthday Blowout and Crazy Castle episodes, is called "Bu-kuso Bunny" by Japanese fans on Nico Nico Douga.note This is a pun based on Bugs' Japanese-transliterated name, バッグス・バニー (Baggusu Banii). Substituting the グス with the kanji for "shit" (糞, kuso) yields バッ糞バニー.
Inspired a glut of profanity-filled internet video game reviews, with The Irate Gamer being among the most prominent.
He also has some imitators in other countries, like the Joueur du Grenier ("The Attic Gamer") in France.
Fountain of Expies: Since James kicked off the whole "angry video game reviewer" trend, dozens if not hundreds of people attempted to follow in his footsteps. The fad died out around 2010 when online game review shows became less about swearing and Toilet Humour and more about reviewing the game more thoroughly.
Genre Popularizer: Of the "angry video game reviewing" (and more broadly, the comedy sketch style of video game review) kind, if you're not going to call those others copycats.
After the Back to the Future re-revisited episode, he mentioned that he had another game to re-revisit. The expression in the Nerd's face gave very obvious hints that he was going to re-revisit the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde NES game. One month later, this is the game that he re-revisited. Could count as Foreshadowing too.
In his first Chronologically Confused video, he complains about the upcoming Rocky movie being called Rocky Balboa, and sarcastically quips "Now with talk of Rambo 4 coming out, what're they gonna do, call it John Rambo?!" Well, that's exactly what they did... until they subsequently changed it again to just Rambo (and it actually was called John Rambo in some countries).
In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre episode, Chop Top (played by Mike Matei) lampshades this while fan-gushing at the Nerd. This episode was released in October 2007 while the film was still called John Rambo.
In that same video he comments about the Mega Man games: "Now if only they made a Mega Man 9, it would come full circle." That game was released less than two years later.
Word of God: James has to frequently dispel rumors from some fans that he's losing interest in making the series. The biggest examples were the Desert Bus and Mega Man Games videos, which both had the Nerd briefly retiring; this led to some fans asking if those were series finales, confusing him. He said that he'll let fans know when the series will be concluding.
A pretty big one occurred in 2011 when James Rolfe (out-of-character but dressed as the Nerd) made a special video addressing some fan concerns that he was retiring the character- a rumor likely because he was putting out less AVGN episodes at the time. He then shook his head and held up the script for the then-upcoming Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.
Meaningful Release Date: Some episodes were released at the same time as a movie relating to it. James eventually cut down on this practice as he felt it made the releases too predictable.
The Rocky episode was released less than a week before Rocky Balboa.
The Spider-Man episode was released the day after Spider-Man 3 premiered in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, and nearly three weeks before its US release.
Seemingly averted for his 50th episode, which comes off as an otherwise typical episode where he reviews Superman for NES. At the end, however, he reads off a whole bunch of fan letters and comments asking him to review the highly infamous and oft-requested Superman 64, which he then did for his 51st episode. The Superman 64 review is also the last episode to take place in his old apartment, before moving to the wood-paneled basement for his Batman reviews.
The 75th episode features the return of Bugs Bunny as the Nerd reviews the Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle games.
The 100th episode features the Nerd reviewing the Robot series, Gyromite and Stack-Up... and saving the world from a superpowered R.O.B.
The 119th episode, "Desert Bus", celebrates the Nerd's 10th anniversary.
In a happy coincidence, the AVGN Movie ended up being completed mid-2014, ten years since James made the first Angry Nerd video.
For the 150th episode, he focuses on the Polybius legend.
In the 175th episode, he reviews The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which to date, is the Nerd's longest episode, and a few months away from the game's 20th anniversary.
Episode 4, where the Nerd reviews the Roger Rabbit game. It was originally going to end with an improvised skit where he complains about the title's flaws and lists things he'd rather do than play it. Unfortunately, the recording equipment malfunctioned and the audio was never recorded. The resulting footage, considered useless, was wiped out.
Episode 32, where the Nerd reviews Atari porn games. Presumably, there were content concerns so it was removed. You can watch a reupload here.
Likewise, the two-part review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, which comprised Episodes 18 and 19, was also not on his YouTube channel for years, likely to avoid copyright infringement from using movie footage. He uploaded an edited version in late 2020.
Money, Dear Boy: In his 3 million subscribers video, James more or less admits that hes still doing AVGN videos because its what brings in the most traffic and money for him.
The 2018 episodes were released on Amazon first; unless you resided in the US or UK, you had to wait for them to come out on YouTube due to geographical restrictions.
Invoked a few times; the Nerd laments that the U.S. never got Super Back to the Future 2 (SNES) and Final Fantasy 2, 3 and 5. Also alluded to in the Darkwing Duck episode, saying the Turbo Grafx 16/PC Engine had fewer bad games than other consoles (many of which weren't initially released in the states).
The ending of the "Aladdin Deck Enhancer" episode has the Nerd give his last wish to the Aladdin Thermos Genie: he wants all of the Deck Enhancers in the world to explode. It then cuts to a montage of short, fan-submitted clips (complete with credits in the subtitles as they play out) showing exactly just that.
The "Deadly Towers" episode was nothing but this; the Nerd asked fans to send in funny lines about the game and he'd weave many of them into a review.
Old Shame: While not ashamed of his older works, he admits there were elements in certain reviews he wishes he'd done differently. The "Re-Revisited" series spawned from such wishes.
Post-Script Season: As mentioned in the R.O.B. the Robot commentary, James wrote that episode as if it were a series finale. So technically, every episode after R.O.B. the Robot is this.
Justified when he went from two videos a month to one, since the amount of work began to really exhaust him, and he also started working on the movie.
Back when he only had planned to make a trilogy of videos, the first two, of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came out on May 7 and May 15, 2004, respectively. The third, The Karate Kid, came out on February 10, 2006, for almost a two-year gap between those videos.
Screwed by the Lawyers: AVGN has got into copyright disputes with MGM/UA for clips from the Rocky films during his review of the Rocky game for Sega Master System. When his reviews are released on DVD, any footage from films is edited out. Same when re-released on YouTube, with different music.
The Nerd occasionally exchanges dialogue (at least as much as he can with a being whose vocabulary consists mainly of variations of 'fuck' and 'die') with Super Mecha Death Christ, also voiced by James.
James Rolfe commented about unused ideas for the Nintendo World Championship episode, which included one in which the two versions of the cartridge unleashed a magical power when combined, and another that spoofed The Maltese Falcon, with gangsters approaching the Nerd, willing to kill for the game.
He originally intended to do a video on Contra as the Nerd, but opted to talk about it as himself instead, as part of his mini-series of video game memories.
James released the review on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III movie (which was not supposed to be an official episode of the Angry Video Game Nerd) with the intention of starting a spin-off series called The Angry Movie Nerd. The series never happened. He eventually started doing movie reviews as himself for Spike.com instead. Considering the infamously strict modern YouTube copyright policies, it is unlikely this series would ever be Un-Cancelled.
The original planned ending for the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre episode was to involve a longer chase sequence, which would result in Leatherface getting stuck on some rocks, and the Nerd would then decapitate him with his own chainsaw.
As mentioned in the James & Mike Mondays episode "Blue's Journey", originally James was considering a different character for each console; in addition to the Angry Nintendo Nerd, there would be Sega Shithead and Pissed Off Playstation Poindexter. Obviously, this was scrapped in favor of the Nerd covering all systems.
The 39-minute long Earthbound video was originally going to be a straightforward game review by James himself, but he decided to make it into an AVGN episode after he (in his own words) "realized that there were plenty of wacky moments in the game that the Nerd could react to".
James wanted to review Micro Machines in one of the earliest AVGN episodes, but for some reason, he never got around to it until it was part of the Aladdin Deck Enhancer episode.
When he originally recorded the Roger Rabbit episode, he ended the episode with a spontaneous rant where he described everything wrong with the game. Unfortunately, the audio wasn't recorded due to technical problems, and the mute video scene was deleted, with only one still image remaining.
James posted a list that Mike made back in 2007 that shows episode ideas spanning through 2010. Some of the games listed did become episodes, either as standalone episodes or incorporated into bigger videos. Quite a few games and consoles didn't make it to full episodes.
Apparently in the original script of the Sega 32x video, right before destroying the console, The Nerd was supposed to say the line "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go lick my cat's pussy piss slit." It was likely cut for being too vulgar even for the Nerd. What makes it funnier is that in a video where he and Mike sign old scripts for charity, James seemed to forget that he wrote it and couldn't contain his laughter, while Mike berates him for not including it.
James wanted to make a special about casino games where the Nerd would've gone to Las Vegas. The COVID-19 Pandemic put a stop to actually traveling there in person, but the overall idea was salvaged for the "Fear and Loathing in Vegas Stakes" episode with lots of Chroma Key.
The end of the Game Boy Accessories video off-handedly mentions that James Rolfe originally wanted to do a different ending to the video, where he'd make up a bunch of increasingly strange fake Game Boy accessories to parody the real ones; however, once he learned of the Pedisedate (an accessory that was meant to be used in hospitals as a method of applying anesthetics to children before surgeries), he decided nothing he could've possibly come up with would be any weirder than it, and so The Nerd instead promptly begins freaking out about the implications of the Pedisedate, culminating in him crying out "I WANNA BE SEDATED BY A GAME BOY!" in song.
The first two episodes were labeled in the "Shorts" tape of the "Cinemassacre Gold Collection" as "Bad NES Games".
When James intended the first 3 episodes to be the only episodes he would make, he originally posted them directly onto his newly formed Cinemassacre site under the name "The Angry Nintendo Nerd Trilogy".
The Darkwing Duck episode introduces the "Shit Scale". A scale to measure the awfulness of a game.