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James & Mike Mondays was a web series where James Rolfe and Mike Matei play video games and comment on them. The show is similar to a Let's Play, only a bit more review-oriented. While they tend to favor older games, they occasionally play newer games too, and on the whole have covered a wide variety of genres and consoles. Unlike his Angry Video Game Nerd persona, James appears as himself in the series, and is much happier and more easy-going than the famous character he plays.

The series started out in late 2012 and continued into 2013 as a series of irregularly-released videos. Originally known as James & Mike Play, it officially changed its name to James & Mike Mondays towards the end of 2013, and became a weekly series. It was created to fill the void between the longer wait of AVGN episodes, but became popular enough in its own right (interestingly, mirroring how AVGN itself started as a side project for James Rolfe but soon became his main focus as its popularity grew). While James and Mike usually play the games by themselves, they will sometimes have guest stars, including Doug Walker, Pat Contri, Bootsy (familiar to fans of Board James), Kevin Finn (co-writer of the AVGN movie and actor in several AVGN episodes), and JonTron, among others.

The series managed to keep up its weekly update schedule for an impressive seven years, up until its final episode in July of 2020. While they intended to only take a hiatus, the series has officially been cancelled due to Mike Matei leaving the channel.

The series playlist can be found here.

James and Mike Mondays provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative:
    • Mostly averted, unlike AVGN. In the Godzilla (PS4) video, James was disappointed that the game contained numerous flaws (including the fact that there is no local multiplayer and that he have to use a Playstation Plus trial to play multiplayer online), saying he was ready to have a good time with the game instead of criticizing it.
    • Discussed in the Wheel of Fortune episode; James noted that when he gave a glowing review to The Maltese Falcon, it got only a modest amount of views, but the following week was Top 10 Reasons Blu-ray Sucks, which got a ton of views by comparison. He thought a show named Pissed Sucks Horrible would be insanely popular.
  • The Ace: Bootsy has a good record for beating difficult games on the show, including Back to the Future 3 (especially the first level), Silver Surfer (1990) and Battletoads.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Dolphin dick dildos" in the Krazy Kreatures video.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Mike while playing Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) after accidentally killing Tails and being forced to restart the entire game.
  • Bile Fascination: In-Universe. When playing Spirit of Speed for the Dreamcast, they mention that the game is even worse than the infamously horrible Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because while the latter game is, in Mike's words, "a fun bad game to play" with plenty of things to talk about and laugh/rage at, Spirit of Speed is plain boring, with next to nothing to talk about.
  • Call-Back: In the Donkey Kong Country 2 episode, Mike thinks that expired gummy vitamins smell like dog farts. Previously in the Donkey Kong Country 1 episode James told a story about his dog passing gas. It's unknown if this was an intentional call back or not, though.
  • Catchphrase: An infrequent one: "Many more Mondays, many more games."
  • Celeb Crush: In the Mortal Kombat (arcade) video, James told a story from his youth where a friend of his said Sonya is hot- he then clarified the actress who was digitized into the game.
  • Christmas Episode: Super Mario X-Mas Re-Kringled and Toyshop Trouble, uploaded on 12/22/14.
  • Cut Short: The series was put on hiatus following the final episode in July 2020 with intent to return in February 2021, but was dropped altogether following Mike's departure from Cinemassacre.
  • Derailed Train of Thought: Happens every so often. Added hilarity when the two realize they drifted off topic and laugh about it.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The show was originally called James and Mike Play.
    • Many of the episodes from the 2012-2015 era were only 5-15 minutes long. The episodes got longer as the series progressed.
    • Many of the 2012-2014 episodes had interesting camera angles that weren't present afterwards, which opted for a more straightforward "front and center" facing view.
  • Edutainment Show: Creeps in occasionally, even about subjects other than games. In an episode where they played The Little Mermaid on NES and a hack of Heavy Barrel featuring Chip n' Dale, Mike went off on a tangent about EPCOT, and told James what Walt Disney's original vision for it was.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: One or the more prominent examples was in the SNES Variety Pack episode, while the duo are playing Congo, discussing the movie it was based on:
    James: I've made some bad decisions on things to watch when I get, like, precious time to watch something...
    Mike: Yeah, but never that!
    (the two crack up and the episode just stops)
  • Extra-Long Episode: Most episodes tend to run between 15-30 minutes, depending on the game and the amount of material they have to work with, but there have been some longer ones (not counting the multi-parters): The The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare episode lasts 65 minutes. The Goonies II episode lasts an hour and 22 minutes. The follow-up Adventures of Lolo episode lasts 140 minutes.
  • Fake Interactivity: The Faceball 2000 "ends" after only 2 minutes with the typical Cinemassacre end screen, with "links" to other Cinemassacre videos like "My Favorite Hummus Brands and Flavors" and "Reacting to Cats Snuggling in Cardboard Boxes" that can't be clicked on.
  • Flipping the Bird: James gave the finger to Double Dragon II and Kid Chameleon, and probably others.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • By its very nature, Action Max was this, since it was such an odd console (VHS-based light gun games). It's also one of only two videos to feature a TV behind James and Mike, to set up a Brick Joke where the two would rather play Action Max than the Xbox One behind them.
    • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Team Showdown and PAX East Live! were both filmed in front of a live audience, rather than the usual format in front of either James or Mike's couch with just the two of them and an occasional guest star.
    • The second part of the Metroid playthrough is the first episode of the series where Mike is absent. Mega Man X also had a similar situation: James was unable to beat the game during daylight hours, so he came back to it in the wee hours of the morning, playing sans Mike.
    • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which is shot in a similar manner to a crime drama or action movie, with one player in one location and the other two, deciphering his clues over the phone, in a different location.
    • In EarthBound (1994) Scratch N Sniff, the duo didn't play the game at all but merely smelled the scratch n' sniff stickers in the infamous American ads.
    • Starting with the Timberman vs. episode, the series did online multiplayer for a while, due to the social distancing guidelines from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
    • The episode where they discuss their favorite video game controllers also was free of video game playing.
    • The 30 Second Memory Game episode also doesn't contain game playing; instead the two challenge each other to describe as many things as possible about a subject in thirty seconds.
  • Gasp!: Mike and James both gasped when Bootsy beat the incredibly hard first level in Back to the Future III for Genesis. Complete with minor Jaw Drop.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Doesn't happen often, but occasionally one of the two will exchange another word for a curse word. In the Doki Doki Panic episode, James says "What the... frick??"
  • Halfway Plot Switch: A video that starts out with the two playing Little Nemo: The Dream Master on NES is cut short because Mike mentions that he has a PlayStation version of The Three Stooges; James is more interested in trying that than continue with Nemo.
    • Also occurred in the Contra for DOS episode; they only play it for a few minutes, the rest of the episode focuses on Round 42, one of James's favorite childhood computer games.
  • Halloween Episode: The duo try to play horror-themed games at Halloween time: Splatterhouse, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Zombie Nation, Nosferatu, Chiller, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, and Super Castlevania IV were all played in October.
  • Hype Backlash: Invoked; in one episode, the discussion got on Christmas movies. James is annoyed that A Christmas Story gets replayed 24 hours a day on Christmas Day every year; he likes the movie but thinks that's a bit much, and considers National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to be funnier.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: When playing Godzilla (PS4), James and Mike were unsure of what to do at one point, so they looked for the instruction manual, only to find there isn't one. James criticized how many games nowadays have the manuals in the game itself. But then Mike made the point that when there are instructions, they don't read them anyway.
    James: "Aw, come on, I don't want to read the instructions!... Aw, come on, where's the instructions?!"
    Mike: (laughs) Yeah, exactly. And how many videos have we been like, "Oh, real men don't need instructions", and now we're complaining about that? Really? Fuckin' hypocrites.
  • Info Dump: In the video where they tackle The Simpsons: Bart's Nightmare, the second part of the video is mostly just Mike explaining to James how to play the game. Justified in that the game is needlessly complicated.
  • Jump Scare: Layers of Fear has one when a zombie head suddenly pops up.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: While the duo will sometimes try to beat the games they play, there are occasions when they hit a brick wall and give up. One of the more pronounced ones came in the Ghouls n' Ghosts (Genesis) video, when James can't beat the final boss:
    James: (with frustration in his voice) Really sorry, I cannot beat it. We've been playing this guy for more than an hour. I really think that we're fucked because of the sword. I don't think it's a good weapon for this boss. And there's not much else to do, there's no way to get another item, so we're gonna have to quit here, because we're wasting the whole fucking day, and we have more games to play, and we're behind schedule now. So... hate to end on a depressing note, but this fucking game has just... defeated me. I failed. There ya go.
    Mike: Well... what can ya do.
    James: It happens.
  • Late to the Punchline: Done deliberately by Kevin Finn whenever he's on.
  • Lip Lock: Referenced in the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) video: A shop owner says "hi" and continues to move his mouth and hands despite not speaking another word. James thinks it's odd that occurs, and Mike says it's like those Godzilla movies where the dubbing and the original mouth movements are off. James defends the Godzilla movies by saying they were nowhere near as ridiculous as this.
  • Logging onto the Fourth Wall: In the Krazy Kreatures episode, Mike makes up a fictitious web address: whalecock.fart.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Some of the longer playthroughs were split into two parts:
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: During the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Team Showdown video, one of the players ducks rather than jump/run away in order to avoid bomb damage. The first time this works, but after that, it doesn't. So much for an easy strategy...
  • Non-Answer: James was so amused by the title of the Atari 2600 game Demons to Diamonds that he answered Mike's questions about what the title means with, "It's demons, to diamonds!"
  • Nonindicative Name: James recalled how one of his neighborhood friends growing up had a Sega Master System. James, being unfamiliar with the system and only with the Genesis, assumed something called the MASTER System would be amazing. Then he went over to his house and was like, "What the fuck is this?"
  • No Theme Tune: Unlike AVGN and You Know What's Bullshit?, James and Mike Mondays just goes straight into the action.
  • Obligatory Joke: The Zelda reference title that appears when Mike inevitably mentions Zelda in a video, since The Legend of Zelda is his favorite game of all time.
  • One-Steve Limit: In one of the many side conversations while playing games, they discuss classic cartoons. James admits he's not a fan of Sylvester and Tweety for one odd reason: They already have Tom and Jerry, and doesn't think there should be more than one cat and mouse duo (doubly odd, since S&T is not cat and mouse, but cat and bird!).
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In the Thunder in Paradise episode, Mike noted that he had a modded CD-I that ran at a higher resolution than the regular one. Mike joked: "Hey James, my CD-i's better than yours."
  • Pacifist Run: James and Mike played Castlevania to see how far they could get without using the whip (they had to use it for bosses, obviously). They made it as far as level 3.
  • Review Ironic Echo: In the Silver Surfer: No Shots Fired video:
    James: Silver Surfer. No shots fired.
    Captain Picard: This is wrong, it is dangerous, it is futile!
  • Rule of Three: At the end of the Smash TV episode:
    Pat: Big money, big prizes, big boobs.
  • Running Gag: Mike telling a curious James to keep his eyes on the road while he plays the Wii using the Wii Car Adapter.
  • Self-Deprecation: The duo occasionally say how much they suck at games if they get stuck, or even go so far as to say the show as a whole sucks.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Invoked: James presented one to Mike: Play Super Mario Bros. without facing forward (and thus, also being unable to walk or run). You have to repeatedly do a backwards jump. He also added an extra challenge: You can't collect any coins. The two gave up at level 1-2.
  • Shout-Out: In the Mario Paint video, James and Mike made an animation of Yoshi pissing on a mushroom. This leads James into reciting the "pissing" monologue from Desperado:
    James: (imitating Quentin Tarantino) This guy walks into a bar, okay, okay, he's pissin' all over the place! Psss! He's pissin' on the floor, on the bartender! Psss! He's pissin' everywhere except the fuckin' glass!
    • Mike mentions The Legend of Zelda in most videos, to the point where they lampshaded how often he mentions it.
    • In the Final Fight episode, Mike mentions Raspberry Pi, and James is clueless as to what he meant (he thought he meant a literal pie)- as Mike begins to explain what Raspberry Pi is, it cuts to a parody of the Frasier opening and the "episode" subtitle "James Learns What a Raspberry Pi Is", and cutting back to the episode after Mike finishes explaining it.
    • Someone on the Screenwave staff really loves Star Trek: The Next Generation, because we start to see clips inserted into random moments starting around 2018/2019.
    • In the Krazy Kreatures video, James and Mike sing "1-900-490-FREAK, Freddy Freaker!" after noting one of the objects in the game looks like Freddie Freaker.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked: Discussed trope on the Spirit of Speed 1937 episode. Games like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are bad but fun in their incompetency, while games like Spirit of Speed 1937 are just tedious and contain no material to riff on.
  • Special Guest: As mentioned in the intro paragraph, there have been guests in various episodes.
  • Spin-Off:
    • The James and Mike Mondays episode of Battletoads, where Bootsy beats the game, spun off into a side series called Bootsy Beats, intended to showcase Bootsy doing walkthrough videos on how to beat various games. However, Battletoads was the only game ever covered.
    • A few years after James and Mike Mondays debuted, Cinemassacre began hosting other let's play-esque shows:
      • Talk About Games (2015 present): Starring Mike and Ryan Schott. When the show started off, it featured games that were much more modern than what Cinemassacre typically covers, although it later changed to instead become a review/discussion show about current gaming news and various consoles. Series playlist.
      • Mike & Bootsy (2015 2016): Carries the same basic format as "J&MM", except with Bootsy in James's place and focusing exclusively on retro games. The show ran for roughly a year, but came to an end once Bootsy left Cinemassacre.
      • Mike & Ryan (2016 present): Upon its introduction, it took over from Talk About Games as Mike & Ryan's let's play show. Initially it too focused on retro games, though it later became more eclectic. Series playlist.
      • James & Doug (2015): Similar to the above two shows, except with James and Doug Walker. It was short-lived, with only six episodes.
      • Full Playthroughs (2016 present): Every episode, Mike plays through a retro game from beginning to end. Unlike the other shows, the videos are largely unedited. Series playlist.
      • Mike has been regularly live streaming various games since 2015. Most of the streams are of Mike by himself, but he has done a few with James, Ryan, his girlfriend Claire, and others. Ryan does occasional solo streams as well.
      • Mike and Tony Tuesdays, with Tony Piluso (one of the regulars on Cinemassacre Video).
      • More recently in 2023, James has created a Spiritual Successor in James & John: Neighbor Nerds, where he plays games with his old neighbor growing up, John Depasquale. It's posted less frequently than James & Mike Mondays though.
  • Split Screen: Many of the 2020 videos were done in this fashion, with James and Mike playing from their own homes, either with each other (online multiplayer), playing the same game but independently (Mario 3), or playing two similar games (TMNT Turtles in Time vs. Hyperstone Heist).
  • Take Our Word for It: In the SNES Variety Pack episode (where the two looked at random games on an Everdrive), the two came across a game named Adult Manga. We never saw the gameplay footage but they quickly moved onto a different game because they couldn't show it anyway.
  • Take That!: In the "Action Max" episode, James and Mike were playing with an antique Action Max system while the Xbox One was displayed behind them. After reading several comments from the viewers who thought that the episode was a product placement for the Xbox One, Mike elaborated in the Nintendo Land episode that they were actually making fun of the Xbox One because of the egregious lack of variety in games for the recently-released console, which was so bad that it provided them with the basis for the joke that "They'd rather turn their backs on the new-generation console and play old-school games instead."
    Xbox One? What does the One mean? The One stands for "that's how many games they're planning to have except for first-person shooters games that are gonna be any good." They plan to have ONE game.
    It should be called Xbox Zero as far as I'm concerned.
  • Title, Please!: It's common for the series to merely have the Cinemassacre logo but not the show title. James and Mike Mondays often only appears on the video title itself.
  • Verbal Tic: Mike observed that whenever James is really pissed that he died in a game, he'll say "Fuck fuck!". Always two "fucks".
  • When I Was Your Age...: During the Godzilla (PS4) video, the two are baffled at how there's no local 2-player mode, and you can only play online. Cue comments about how best friends nowadays don't play games, while sitting next to each other on the couch, but over headsets in different houses. In the same video, Mike complains about having to install updates before playing games, and James asks, "Do you remember when you would just put a game in?"
  • With Lyrics: Mike adds lyrics to the second level theme in Castlevania in the "No Whip Challenge!" episode.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: James declared The Immortal on NES to be one of the worst games he's ever played, citing the frustrating trial-and-error gameplay and the fact that they took almost half an hour of (edited) gameplay to pass the first level.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Mike's general reaction to the entire game restarting after James accidentally kills Tails (which was not fully his fault, since the transition to controlling him was sudden and unexpected) in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).