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Web Video / Matt McMuscles

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Matt McMuscles (aka The Flophouse) is the Canadian YouTube channel of former Two Best Friends Play member Matthew "Matt McMuscles" Kowalewski. Unlike TBFP, The Flophouse focuses more on pre-planned recorded content, such as examining major gaming flops and bugs, and video game "fashion" reviews with his wife, Crymetina. Flophouse Plays also produces edited playthroughs of games while Matt is intoxicated and occasional Let's Plays, usually with a guest commentator of some kind.

He is also the producer of The TakeOver

Series on this channel:

  • Wha Happun?: Matt's flagship series. A Video Review Show chronicling "the missteps of the entertainment industry", discussing the histories of projects which suffered from Troubled Productions of varying degrees or languished in Development Hell. While primarily focused on video games, the show occasionally branches out to cover gaming consoles and films.
  • Crymetina Critiques: Matt's wife, Crymetina, gives her honest critique of the costumes worn by video game characters (usually fighting game characters) through her experience as a fashion designer.
  • Gone Too Soon: Matt provides retrospectives on the rise and fall of video game developers famous for making multiple Cult Classics and/or Acclaimed Flops.
  • Flophouse Funsies/Flophouse Plays: One-shot Let's Plays with no particular theme.
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  • The Flophouse Files: Themed in the style of a noir detective story, Matt investigates odd patterns in the behaviour of publishers or the industry at large, such as Acclaim's insane marketing stunts, Midway's attempts to copy their own Mortal Kombat success, or how the car combat genre (Twisted Metal, et al) pretty much disappeared after the PS1 generation.
  • Bug Report: Matt plays a buggy video game and shares his experience as a video game bug tester to explain where bugs in video games come up, why they do, and how they affect gameplay beyond the obvious.
  • Matt's Nightmares: Matt plays a horror game, either as a one-shot or a short series. This format originated as a full Let's Play of Rise of Nightmares (then titled Rise of Mattmares), and retains a variation of that series' titlecard.
  • Wii Remember: A spotlight series based on playing underrated titles that premiered on the Wii or Wii U.
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  • Edgelords: Matt, as "Ashen the Vileblader", discusses over-the-top anti-heroes like Spawn, Guts, and Shadow the Hedgehog, then judges whether they're edgy enough to earn a spot in his "Edge-atorium".
  • The Mediocre Spider-Matt: Matt plays one of the many Spider-Man video games.
  • Simpsons Reference: Matt plays one of the licensed games based on The Simpsons.
  • The Worst Fighting Game: After playing the dreadful PlayStation Fighting Game Criticom, Matt reviews bad fighting games on a quest to find a one that’s even worse than Criticom, one dud at a time.

Tropes present or discussed The Flophouse videos:

  • '90s Anti-Hero: The series Edgelords is a love letter to this character type. Matt narrates the series in the guise of his own edge-sona, Ashen the Vileblader, who is absolutely an example himself.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Averted generally.
    • Matt's response to most video games that aren't very good is to usually find something positive to say about it, though it often wraps around to Damned by Faint Praise.
    • The DOOM (2016) episode of Wha Happun? opens with Matt reaffirming that the series is about examining Troubled Productions of media both bad and good, and pointing out that he's covered games he actually likes before (such as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning), all because he knows some people will read the video's title and jump to the conclusion that he's calling DOOM a bad game.invoked
    • Played Straight in the Zelda CDi episode, where he makes his contempt for the Philips CD-i very clear.
  • Accidental Misnaming: In his The Worst Fighting Game episode for BloodStorm, he refers to it twice as "Bonestorm". He does it again in his episode for Street Fighter: The Movie, but this time very much aware of it by showing accompanying footage of that Simpsons episode.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: While talking about EA's tasteless sin-themed marketing stunt for Dante's Inferno, Matt admits that the Gluttoney part (where the company delivered cakes shaped like severed limbs to journalists) to be kinda funny.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Out of respect for how popular and great the system proved itself to be, Matt often refers to the PlayStation 2 as the "PS double ballin'."
  • Analysis Channel: Several of his shows are of this variety. Wha Happun? reviews the hectic production behind both good and bad media, Crymetina Critiques is a review of the fashions of video game characters, and The Flophouse Files investigates publicity stunts and trends in gaming.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: From his Wha Happun? episode on Spyborgs:
    Matt: "Wait, what?" you say. "A Capcom action game I've never heard of?" Well, guess what? That's why it's on this show.
  • As You Know: In "The Worst Fighting Game" episode featuring Street Fighter: The Movie, Matt averts this by asking viewers to go watch his Wha Happun? episode on the game to learn its crazy history so he can skip directly to dealing with the game(s) itself.
  • Bad Boss: Discussed in many episodes of Wha Happun?, when the production issues are caused by the project leaders or executives mistreating their employees, such as George Broussard with Duke Nukem Forever, Brendan McNamara with L.A. Noire, and publisher Eidos Interactive with developer Core Design.
    • Arguably one of the worst bosses featured would have to be Jeff Spangenberg, the founder of Retro Studios. Despite being the boss at Retro, he barely showed up to work, blew most of the money the studio got from Nintendo on strippers, sports cars, and drugs, and made incredibly risky moves for a studio that hadn't even put out a single game, such as working on four different titles with only one development kit in the studio. (Ironically, this actually saved Retro in the end, as the game codenamed Action-Adventure would be turned into Metroid Prime) After Metroid Prime started development, Nintendo kept a closer watch on Retro, making sure they were actually working, but the divide between them and Spangenberg became bigger and bigger, eventually culminating in Nintendo discovering Spangenberg was hosting a porn site called Sinful Summer on Retro's servers. Nintendo followed up this discovery by buying out his shares, and kicked him out of the company. Eventually, he would found Topheavy Studios, and make The Guy Game, which is an entire other can of worms to open.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: In "Ubisoft Used To Be The Most Insane Publisher Ever", Matt delves into the history of big-name publisher Ubisoft, and discovers to his surprise that they were responsible for publishing a dizzying variety of titles and genres over their history, from a bevy of Batman adaptations to Peter Jackson's King Kong to even the European release of Armored Core 2. He notes that, in 2001 alone, Ubisoft published over twenty-eight different games. However, Ubisoft's acquisition of (and increasing reliance upon) a handful of cash-cow franchises (such as Tom Clancy, Far Cry, and Assassin's Creed) led to the company gradually phasing out its use of third-party titles and homogenizing its own output, until Ubisoft ironically became infamous for its lack of variety.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sometimes on Wha Happun?, the game of interest is released to critical praise, but didn't sell enough copies for the studio to continue on, with only a cult following loving the game, as is the case with Panzer Dragoon Saga.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    Matt: One thing I've tried to remain consistent on in regards to Wha Happun? is to use general terms to describe the subject matter. Stuff like "disasters", "catastrophes", or "catastro-asters".
    • The episode for Advent Rising describes the development process filled with "long hours, crunch, long hours, crunch, and crunchy hours that were long."
  • Buxom Is Better: Zig-Zagged. Both Matt and Crymetina are okay with large breasts (and are open fans of Hitomi Tanaka, a porn star notable for her titanic bust), but they do call attention to when it would be impractical for Jiggle Physics to be a thing in video games.
    Crymetina: [flummoxed by Lien Neville's alternate costume] Why are her titties be like that?!
  • The Cameo: For the Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu episode of The Worst Fighting Game, both KaiserNeko and Takahata101 of Team Four Star reprise their roles as Nappa and Future Trunks from Dragon Ball Z Abridged to point out how much better (if only a little bit) the game would be with voice clips.
  • Canada, Eh?: Matt and Crymetina are both from Canada, though Crymetina's accent is way more pronounced since she's Quebecois.
  • Can't Catch Up: A lot of games featured on Wha Happun? are results of companies or franchises either refusing or failing to adapt to new technologies and trends. Some notable events that are commonly featured are:
    • Japanese companies failing to realize that the US's arcade scene fell down in favor of the home console.
    • Companies failing in jumping to polygons, as demanded by the fanbase or the higher-ups in the company.
    • Companies either failing the jump to HD, or unsuccessfully attempting to reinvent the franchise to fit with the more "realistic" games of the 7th generation of consoles.
  • Caustic Critic: Crymetina does not pull her punches on Crymetina Critiques if the character's wardrobe breaks fashion rules.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: As scripted and planned out as Wha Happun? is, Matt will go off-script to delight in schadenfreude, such as when telling of Devil's Third's infamous difficulty in finding a publisher.
    Matt: So, left with an unfinished game, engine, and no publisher, it was back to the races to find someone who could bring this thing to market. Enter a company you've never heard of: Doobic Entertainment Worldwide. They were a South Korean publisher who had experience with FPSs, and promised Itagaki they would get the game onto PCs and mobile platforms, for some reason, within the next fiscal year. But, before all that, they had something to take care of, and that was GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! [off-mic] Ah, you can't make this up! THIS IS WHY I LOVE DOING THIS SHOW!
  • Couch Gag: The animated intro for the Simpsons Reference series has Matt, Crymetina, and their cats reenacting the intro from The Simpsons. So naturally, each episode has a different gag when the McMuscles family reach their couch.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Midway Games episode of Wha Happun showcases how Midway's overreliance on arcade game revenue at the expense of developing console-originated IPs like what Capcom did during the 80s and 90s contributed to their demise, as when the arcade scene in the west declined due to advances in console hardware and increasing production values blowing arcade games out of the water, Midway was just too late to enter the console game scene, as ascendant publishers like EA, Activision, Ubisoft and Take-Two overshadowed the company. When Midway did try to enter the AAA game industry, all of their efforts amounted in miserable failures that finished the company off.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: The Wii U episode of Wha Happun? ends with Matt mentioning the last 3 first-party games that had not yet been ported over to the Nintendo Switch at the time of recording: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Star Fox Zero, and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. If those games were ever ported to the Switch, the Wii U would be truly dead. Then he remembered that the console will never truly be dead, because nobody is going to ever bother porting Devil's Third.
  • Dated History:
    • The Wha Happun? on Anthem was written before a fairly notable article that revealed a lot of the dirty details behind its Troubled Production. Matt's summary of the issues was essentially that BioWare had been ordered by EA to create a competitor to Destiny, against their will, and, being inexperienced with the genre, failed to create something playable. In reality, BioWare had started development on Anthem without EA's mandate, was Playing Against Type on purpose after fatigue from developing entries in very similar RPG franchises, and saw the game as a Magnum Opus. Far from being designed to copy Destiny, Anthem largely failed because there wasn't a unified direction for what it should look like, and the developers actively discouraged comparisons to Destiny in development. EA, far from ruining the project, ended up being the main reason it came out at all, since they essentially told BioWare's crew to get their crap together and put out a working build, or else.
    • With his episode of Cooking Mama Cookstar being Ripped from the Headlines, Matt prefaces the video by admitting that his take on the game's production could be rendered outdated at any moment:
      Matt: And while I realize it's impossible to 100% future-proof this video, I'm still gonna try it. By the time you see this video, it might already be outdated: The game might be back online — or it might be revealed that I, Randy Pitchford, was behind it all — so we'll just have to see.
    • Matt's video on Starcraft: Ghost was posted roughly a month before a playable build of the game was mysteriously leaked on the Internet in February 2020. He acknowledges this event in a later video.
    • At the end of the Fight For Life episode of "The Worst Fighting Game", when he mentions where to request new games to try, he mentions his Twitter handle before saying adding in that it might not be there by the time the viewer saw the episode, referencing the social media's tumelous problems throughout November 2022.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Matt is flabbergasted at the fact that Fight For Life is a competently made game that had interesting ideas and was only held back by incompetent higher-ups, a faltering company and a system that people didn't care about any more. Probably helped that it was helmed by Francois Yves Bertrand, who worked on Virtua Fighter.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • During the Skullgirls episode of Crymetina Critiques, Crymetina admits that judging Cerebella is harder than she expected, because she can't take her eyes off Cerebella's bouncing chest.
    • While critiquing Guilty Gear Strive, Crymetina interrupts her commentary on Millia Rage's outfit to squeal "Ooooooooooh!" as soon as she sees Millia let her hair down for her victory pose.
  • Downer Ending:
    • If the story of the featured production on Wha Happun? doesn't have a Bittersweet Ending, there's a 95% chance it'll have this. Beyond simply being a financial and/or critical failure, the fallout of said production usually leads to ruined (sometimes irreversibly so) reputations and careers, the downsizings or outright closures of a company or two, and all the the time spent toiling away on it amounting to absolutely nothing.
      • Too Human, already marred by its prolonged production cycle, was a crucial factor in a chain of consecutive disasters and poor decisions that led to the demise of Silicon Knights. While the game's actual reception was average at best, it proved to be a significant commercial disappointment; this, topped off with a lawsuit between Silicon and Epic Games that the former lost miserably, led to the closure of Silicon and the destruction of any and all unsold copies of Too Human, which ran on a modified version of Unreal Engine 3.
      • Sonic X-treme is an especially bitter case, as the development team spent months in grueling crunch time to the point of endangering their own health only for the game to never be released, leaving nothing to show for their hard work and the Sega Saturn without a main draw, effectively dooming the console and spelling the beginning of the end for Sega as a first-party company. To add insult to injury, X-Treme's lead designer Chris Senn would eventually get another shot at a Sonic game…in the form of the disastrous Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.
  • Driven to Suicide: The The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC episode of Wha Happun? describes a near example due to the sheer massive amounts of text found in the game putting quite a strain on localization team Carpe Fulgur and, more importantly, Andrew Dice. The looming deadline to translate the remaining 50% of the script outside of the main story itself sent Andrew into a depression, and he was fully intending to take his life as soon as he walked back to his apartment after delivering a suicide note to translator Robin Light-Williams, who lived in the same apartment building. Robin found the note immediately and rushed over to convince Andrew to change his mind. Thankfully, he succeeded, and Andrew stepped down from the project for the sake of his own mental health.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first couple episodes of The Worst Fighting Game were done in a live "let’s play" style in the continuity of the Criticom test, before the show settled into a more structured written format.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • Occasionally on Wha Happun?, the featured project had production so turbulent that it was on the verge of cancellation. But by determination and luck, the studio still pulled through and released an acclaimed and profitable game that turned them into a household name, with DOOM (2016), Demon's Souls, and Killer Instinct (2013) as examples.
    • Certain individuals sometimes find themselves able to weather the storm of a bad game development, sometimes even taking the brunt of the blame, to go on to work on more successful projects.
      • Michael Mendheim was a producer for Def Jam: Icon and admitted there was a lot of squandered potential in the game's development. He developed a successful Kickstarter and went on to reboot the Mutant League franchise that he originally worked on with Mutant Football League in 2017.
      • Joel Goodsell was one of the developers involved in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, but Matt himself calls it a glow-up that he moved onto Insomniac Games as a lead designer of Spider-Man (PS4).
    • Jurassic Park: Trespasser is an interesting case, because the final product was completely dragged for being the barely functioning butchered remains of a pile of lofty ambitions after years of hard work. However...
      • The staff would go on to develop the Medal of Honor series (until they were shut down by EA).
      • Lead Producer Seamus Blackwell was approached by Bill Gates directly in recognition of the ambitious ideas he had for the game, and ended up pitching the idea for Microsoft to enter the video games market and became the man behind the creation of the original Xbox.
      • Gabe Newell cites Trespasser as the key influence for the physics engine in Half-Life 2.
  • Enforced Plug: Sometimes the video stops so Matt dedicates a minute for the sponsor of the video. For an example, Evil West being plugged in Donkey Kong 64 analysis.
  • Executive Meddling: Discussed frequently on Wha Happun?, due to the role it often plays in derailing a project.
    • In the Final Fight: Streetwise episode, Matt reveals that the game had originally been a more traditional, cel-shaded entry known internally as Final Fight: Seven Sons. However, after the surprise sales success of Grand Theft Auto III in Japan (which had been published by Capcom), the game was crudely retooled into a much Darker and Edgier title in an attempt to cash in on GTA's popularity. Matt mourns the decision, as the demo footage of Seven Sons showed promise in his eyes, whereas Streetwise and its sister production Beat Down: Fists of Vengeance ended up as commercial failures in both Japan and North America.
    • Matt succinctly describes Eidos Interactive's decision-making and unrealistic expectations for Core Design as "Ambitious. Stupid, but ambitious." Among other things, they mandated an annual release schedule for the Tomb Raider series (resulting in creative fatigue for the devs), chopped up Angel of Darkness for an impractical episodic format that ultimately fell through, and split Core's resources between that game and Chronicles. As Matt puts it:
      Matt: This is a classic case of upper-management maybe getting more involved in the development process than they should, promising things that they weren't even sure could be done, and generally ruining everything for everyone.
    • Discussing executive meddling is so prevalent in the series that the opening of the video on Brink goes out of its way to clarify that it wasn't screwed by executives this time.
  • Follow the Leader: Discussed during the BMX XXX episode of Wha Happun?, where Matt opens by describing the genre of "extreme sports games" that took off in the early 2000s, after the massive success of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and its sequels. Matt quickly rattles off a Long List of examples, including Kelly Slaters Pro Surfer, Matt Hoffman's Pro BMX, Shawn White's Snowboarding, Aggressive Inline, Razor Freestyle Scooter, Bike Street Vert Dirt, SSX Tricky, Toxic Grind, Crusty Demons, and Dave Mira's Freestyle BMX.
    Matt: Clearly this was a cow that would never, ever run dry, right?
    • Some games discussed have their downfall be due to an attempt to chase a then-current trend, often done in a less-than-graceful way that leaves the devs without the time, resources, and/or experience to actually deliver what was asked for. Final Fight: Streetwise is a particular casualty of this, with the plans for the game changing mid-development in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Grand Theft Auto-style games.
  • Forced Meme: Everytime Matt talks about Metroidvania and entries in said subgenre, he is constantly pushing for people to call this subgenre of games "Search Action" and trying to make it catch on.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • Wha Happun? usually covers disastrous video games/movies/whatever, but a few episodes deal with productions that were troubled but ultimately successful, such as DOOM (2016) and Metroid Prime. The Demon's Souls episode is a stand-out example, with Matt discussing how the game became a literally genre-defining success in spite of all the forces arrayed against it.
    • By contrast, the episodes on Def Jam: Icon, Metroid: Other M and Ninja Gaiden 3 (2012) stand out because these three games were not Troubled Productions at all. The development processes went about as smoothly as possible, but the creators of these games alienated long-time fans by disregarding the elements that made their franchises popular in the first place and added on unnecessary, poorly-done new elementsnote , resulting in their failure without meddling executives, lack of funding, forced crunch time or any of the other staples of Wha Happun?.
    • For the video on Brink Matt explains that the game didn't suffer from a painful development cycle, had upper management forcing developers to make changes, or was a massive sales disaster that bankrupted one of the involved parties (in fact it sold very well), but its problems were solely due to promising a new, innovative experience but failed to live up to expectations and received a lukewarm critical reception due to some odd game design and a lacking story.
    • The video on Panzer Dragoon Saga stands out for discussing a game that actually turned out really, really well — as in, "probably one of the best games of its generation" well — but had the misfortune of being exclusive to an unsuccessful console that was already being phased out, as well as having a very limited release outside of Japannote .
    • The episode on The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC was less about the game itself but the painful localization process and getting the massive amount of text translated and programmed into the game.
    • Subject wise, Wha Happun? has covered video games, movies, some consoles, and occasionally developers, but the topic most outside the norm was covering the downfall of WCW.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Played for Laughs in the Ninja Gaiden 3 (2012) episode of Wha Happun?. Pausing the list of the super-fast scrolling list of improvements made to the "Razor's Edge" re-release of the game would include "Bigger Ryu Bulge" and "10% More Gamer Juice."
  • Gratuitous French: Whenever a character has epaulettes (a type of decorative shoulder pad often found on military uniforms) on their outfit, Crymetina usually goes out of her way to pronounce it en français.
  • Guilty Pleasures: For Crymetina, any clothes with jungle animal prints. She admits that they're incredibly tacky, yet she can't help but love them anyway. This leads to her often giving a pass to characters wearing tiger stripes or leopard spots or the like.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: A few figures that pop up in the Wha Happun? videos are portrayed in this way.
    • John Carmack to John Romero to some extent, at least in the sense that Romero tends to be The Face of the two. At least some of the problems that plagued Daikatana were due to Romero no longer having access to Carmack's programming talents.
    • With Duke Nukem Forever, we have Brian Hook, a project lead hired on after several employees left 3D Realms. Unlike anyone at 3D Realms before him, he was willing to ignore George Broussard's requests for changes if he felt that they would slow down development, so the game was finally able to start moving forward.
    • With L.A. Noire, Rockstar Games eventually sent a group of producers to help with the issues keeping production slow. In a far cry from when Ubisoft tried something similar with Haze, these new additions not only helped, but Bondi staff credit them for being the main reason that the game managed to finally start taking form.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: In a Crymetina Critiques for KOF '06, Crymetina wanted to write Lilly Kane's entire wardrobe off, but felt compelled to give the alternate costume a pass, partially because it didn't weird her out... and because she was wearing something similar that day.
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: In his The Worst Fighting Game episode for Street Fighter: The Movie Maximillian had such a horrible time having to relive playing the game again, especially the console version and how he felt that he should be playing any other game instead that he growls out "Never ask me to be on this again" at the end.
  • Insistent Terminology: In his Wha Happun? video on Metroid: Other M, Matt declares that the Metroidvania subgenre should henceforth be known as "Search Action" instead. And in several subsequent videos, he actually does refer to these games as search action, and trusts his audience to know what he means without explanation. In his quick look video on Shadow Man, Matt does mention "Metroidvania", then berates himself for the slip-up, lamenting that the term he's trying to push will never catch on if even he can't use it consistently.
    • In Crymetina Critiques, loincloths or cloth coverings of any kind over a character's crotch are almost always referred to as "puss flaps", regardless of the character's gender. Particularly games where said designs are ubiquitous on a character's outfit like Mortal Kombat 11.
  • Ironic Nickname: The "McMuscles" last name was always a joke. Matt was pretty fat when he first started using the name, back in the Two Best Friends Play days. He's since shaped up and lost a lot of weight, but he's still not particularly muscular. The name's become even more ironic since he's adopted a skeleton man as his avatar for his solo channel. It even gets a Lampshade Hanging in the Crymetina Critiques episode on Guilty Gear Strive:
    Crymetina: [upon seeing Anji Mito's exposed back muscles] What are those muscles called in the back? Traps? Delts, or what?
    Matt: I don't have them.
    Crymetina: We don't have them. No muscles in the McMuscle house.
    Matt: [laughs] That's why it's a funny name!
    Crymetina: Irony!
    • Then averted in the Monday Night Muscle Madness and The Worst Fighting Game series, where Matt's avatar gains a suitably Heroic Build as a parody of pro wrestlers and stock fighting game protagonists, albeit still with the skull head.
  • It Will Never Catch On: A couple episodes of Wha Happun? involved development studios (Silicon Knights and Factor 5, specifically) breaking their ties with Nintendo after getting an early look at the Nintendo Wii and immediately concluding that it would be a failure. In both cases, this arguably marked the start of their own downfall.
    Matt: Moral of the story: you shoulda stuck with Nintendo.
    • Alien: Resurrection's dual analog control scheme was frequently cited as one of the game's strongest negatives, with review outlets calling it difficult to get used to. Such a control scheme would eventually become the standard for the first-person shooter genre, especially after Halo: Combat Evolved would popularize it.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In the Scalebound episode of Wha Happun?, Matt gives kudos to Microsoft and Platinum for simply cancelling the game when they realized that it wasn't working out, rather than trying to drag it across the finishing line as happens with so many other games.
  • Multilayer Façade: In the original intro to his Mediocre Spider-Matt series, chibi-Matt gets bitten by a radioactive spider and dons a Spider-Man costume. In the updated intro, Matt starts off already wearing a Spider-Man costume—then he gets bitten and dons a second Spider-suit on top of the one he's already wearing.
  • Mythology Gag: Matt occasionally sneaks in some references to his days in the now-defunct Super Best Friends Play channel:
    • Wha Happun? was named after one of the group's longstanding Running Gags, and the concept of using it as the title for a series looking at what went wrong in the development of video games was something they'd once joked about while the channel was still active.
    • Matt's persona of Ashen the Vileblader for Edgelords, who originated as a Running Gag during the group's let's play of Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE.
    • At the start of the Def Jam: Icon episode of Wha Happun?, Matt briefly monologues about how some of his viewers might have fond memories of playing Def Jam with their friends years ago. During this, a small window shows footage of the Best Friends' playthrough of Def Jam: Fight for New York, featuring their custom fighter and Breakout Character Rage of Africa.
    • He references "lousy Smarch weather" while playing Peter Jackson's King Kong.
    • In his quick look video on Metroid Dread, he references Liam "clowning on" the SA-X, from the LP of Metroid Fusion.
    • The intro to The Mediocre Spider-Matt originally depicted Matt as his TBFP avatar, but has since been replaced by a Super-Deformed Spider-Man drawn in the same style.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • In various episodes of Wha Happun?, Matt reacts with a variation as he expresses disbelief at a more bizarre detail of his current subject (such as Daikatana having a Game Boy Color version, or Todd McFarlane being the lead artist behind Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning). He often emphasizes his surprise by speaking off-mic or audibly ruffling through notes.
    • A straight example comes from the Duke Nukem Forever episode of Wha Happun?, where George Broussard briefly emerges from two years of radio silence to sharply contradict a public statement from Take-Two Interactive's CEO via an online forum. Matt paraphrases the post:
      George Broussard: "Take-Two needs to STFU. We don't want Take-Two saying stupid-ass things in public for the sole reason of helping out their stock. Its our time and our money that we are spending on the game, so either we're absolutely stupid and clueless, or we believe in what we are working on."
      Matt: That's an actual quote that was said by someone who worked for a million-dollar company.
    • At one point during the first Fallout 76 episode of Wha Happun?, a clip is shown of gameplay lagged down to 3-frames-per-second, with a plain caption at the bottom of the screen assuring the viewer that the clip is real-time gameplay footage and not a slideshow of still images.
    • The opening intro / music video for Atari's Fight For Life has a disclaimer that the footage had not been edited in any way.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: This trope has been a topic in some videos, whether it is due to negative pr or the publisher invoking this to get more people talking about their games, and is subverted in some of these examples.
    • The Flophouse Files episode Remember when Acclaim advertised on people's tombstones? chronicles a few marketing stunts by the UK branch of the titular company. Wanting to mimic Mortal Kombat's success through controversy and desperate for profits, Acclaim pulled a few insane and tasteless marketing stunts, including pouring red-dyed water (called bloodvertising) on a street and attempting to advertise on tombstones, to drum up attention and game sales. These stunts, however, failed to help game sales in the slightest and, in the case of the bloodvertising, backfired when they were forced to pay for cleaning.
    • The Wha Happun episode on Dante's Inferno shows just how much EA embraced this mentality throughout the game's pre-release cycle (where the company encouraged people to commit "acts of lust" with female booth attendents and hiring fake protestors to protest the game during E3 being the most cringe-inducing examples). While Dante's Inferno didn't sell terribly, the costs of all of these stunts (as well as a Superbowl ad) meant that it's profits weren't very high.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: While Wha Happun? is somewhat snarky, it's usually done in good fun and intended to be educational about the pitfalls of game or movie development. The episode on The Guy Game, on the other hand, has Matt's barely contained contempt for the concept, the producer's debauched lifestyle and unprofessionalism, and the juvenile premise boil over and it becomes extremely deadpan mockery.
  • Only Sane Man: Several times, during Wha Happun?, there will be someone who seems to realize and point out that the game's development or overall quality is lacking, but is ignored. Examples include Andrew Bado from the Drake of the 99 Dragons episode explaining that IdolFX didn't do a lot of fixing bugs and were more focused on creating a franchise over polishing their game, and Aaron Webber's pre-release notes on the script of Sonic Forces mirroring fan complaints post-release (such as Tails's Badass Decay).
  • The Peter Principle: Brought up in the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation episode of Wha Happun?. When Paul W.S. Anderson, the director of the first film, declined to return, producer Larry Kasanoff decided to save on time and money by promoting the inexperienced Director of Photography to the position, and did the same for several other subordinate crew members. In hindsight, Larry admits that doing so hurt the project.
  • Prima Donna Director: Several episodes of Wha Happun? discuss project leads whose vision outstrips their technology or resources. For instance, the Duke Nukem Forever episode catalogues the years' long development cycle driven by George Broussard's continually changing desires for the game, and the Too Human episode focuses heavily on Dennis Dyack's attitude towards failed business relationships and online critics. Jay Beard of Splatterhouse (2010) may well take the cake, though, completely ignoring the guidelines set by publisher Namco, and even actively trying to hide that fact from them for as long as he could feasibly do so; when Namco gathered several former Bottle Rocket devs into a temporary studio to assist in finishing the game after Bottle Rocket's closure, Beard was conspicuously not among them.
  • Recurring Element: In Wha Happun?, nearly every disaster he covers usually involves one or more of five things:
    • A major game engine change and a requirement to throw out nearly everything the dev team worked on and start from scratch.
    • A publisher change, usually to a company not well known for their patience.
    • Overpromising features or becoming overly ambitious with new, untested technology.
    • A small team produces the game for multiple systems at the same time, leading to a rushed product.
    • Severe crunch driving the developers to their breaking point, usually mandated by upper management.
  • Rule of Three: In the Scalebound episode of Wha Happun?, Matt makes three references to Trogdor, with him promising that the third is the last. And then he plays the original "Trogdor" song over the end of the video.
  • Running Gag:
    • "YEAH, THAT MAKES SENSE!", to punctuate particularly boneheaded decisions/ideas. On a few occasions with especially bad examples, the "What you just said, is one of the most insanely idiotic things I've ever heard" scene from Billy Madison is used.
    • Matt reading a hopeful quote or describing a project stage that would promise things would turn out well, following up with an immediate "Except it didn't/wasn't!", and explaining what went wrong next in development.
    • Whenever the show tackles a particularly infamous piece that was heavily requested, Matt tends to cut off his opening spiel and give an exasperated "It's time. To talk. About X."
    • Anthropomorphising crunch time as Cap'n Crunch moving into the studio offices with the developers.
    • Simpsons references in general are a frequent sight on the channel, with Matt joking that he hit the quota on making them in a video.
      • Matt tends to have a habit of saying "Which was the style at the time" (or variations or it) when bringing up period trends, accompanied by a clip of Grandpa Simpson saying said quote.
      • Matt also tends to use scene from Clown without Pity to describe a pro and con to a specific situation (dubbing over the House of Evil shopkeeper in the process) with Homer responding with "That's good" and "That's bad" respectively.
    • When playing a game and meeting an opponent with highly disruptive tactics, he will usually call them out with "Sir? Excuse me sir!"
    • Matt explaining coming across a name for a forgotten game or service, then typing its name in a Google search.
    • Matt using Limp Bizkit's cover of "Behind Blue Eyes" as a sad music cue for a work's failure.
    • Matt worrying about using a word repeatedly throughout the video, then showing an open window of the video script with the count total for that specific word.
    • "Make a new _____, cowards!" on discussions of dormant franchises that Matt likes; Prince of Persia is on the receiving end of this more than any other series.
    • Poking fun at British slang, he uses "What the British like to call: "x Boppers" (Jumpin' Boppers, Bashin' Boppers, etc.)
    • Matt intentionally mispronounces Bandai Namco's name. Bamco Nandai, Namdo Bancai, Namcai Bando, etc. He even states that he never gets tired of the joke.
    • When covering a company that frequently appears in Wha Happun? such as Sega or Capcom, Matt will say "That's so [company]" at least once.
    • Bringing up a different game that is worthy of a Wha Happun? episode and Matt dreading that he'll eventually cover said game in the future.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Prey 2 episode of Wha Happun?. Human Head Studios rejects Bethesda's offer to buy the studio, citing that they want to focus on their own creative endeavors, potentially with other publishers. This leads to Bethesda cancelling the game. On Human Head's end, they basically remained as a supporting studio for games like Brink, Batman: Arkham Origins and Bioshock Infinite. A few years later, they make The Quiet Man, which has been considered as one of the worst games of the year, and it would kill the studio. Their final project, Rune Ragnarok wasn't enough to save them. After they closed, Bethesda hired the team under the name Roundhouse Studios.
  • Shaped Like Itself: From one of his sponsor ad reads: "If you're like me, and I know I am..."
  • Shown Their Work: All of his documentary-style content and everything he talks about on Bug Report comes from both painstaking research and from years of personal experience as a bug tester/indie video game developer.
  • Shout-Out: Matt's comedy style is pretty heavy on references and clips. In the Scalebound episode of Wha Happun?, he references Trogdor so often that by about five minutes in he has to promise to stop.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Invoked in the Human Killing Machine episode of The Worst Fighting Game, as justification for not considering it the worst fighting game ever made. He notes that while the game fails on just about every qualitative level (controls like crap, graphically subpar, poorly designed, laden with Fake Difficulty, feature-barren even by the standards of its time, an Obvious Beta to the point that the final boss's sprites are broken), he still had a great time with it because it failed on so many levels that it became entertaining, comparing it to The Room and the works of Neil Breen. It helped that the game's All-Stereotype Cast mixed with random animal fights made for great mockery material, and that the story behind its development (it's a Divorced Installment sequel to a low-quality port of Street Fighter, making it a kind of unofficial alternative Street Fighter II) was genuinely fascinating. That said, it didn't save it from being labeled as the game to come closest so far to dethroning Criticom.
  • Special Guest: Wha Happun? will occasionally feature a guest host with knowledge of or attachment to the subject game, such as Caddicarus for Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly or Maximilian Dood for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Killer Instinct (2013). Another Youtuber, Civvie 11, tends to appear for short cameos regarding FPS games based in 80s and 90s video game culture, like DOOM (2016).
  • Stillborn Franchise: Sometimes, there will be a game that the creators will use to begin a franchise like Mighty No. 9, Drake of the 99 Dragons, or Ride to Hell: Retribution. In addition, Matt talked about the Dark Universe and how it failed.
  • Stylistic Suck: Keepin It Cereal is a live-action series where Matt (and a different guest in each episode) critique different breakfast cereals. It's also a hilariously unprofessional mess, with whiplash-inducing editing, Bad "Bad Acting", and obvious placeholder art for the episode intros.
  • Take That!:
    • Often has a word or two with SEGA's often extremely unusual demands, but has a much more... succinct response to the mere mention of Konami:
    Matt: Konami. Fuck 'em.
    • It's a Running Gag that Matt favorably compares every videogame shotgun to the Doom³ shotgun. No matter how bad the shotgun may be, he'll always say something to the effect of, "It's still better than the Doom³ shotgun."
    • During the Warcraft III: Reforged episode of Wha Happun?, he talks about the unprofessional CGI on the infamous "Reforged" version of Arthas and Illidan's duel, comparing it to something people would see in a mobile game. Matt then takes this opportunity to take a jab at Raid: Shadow Legends with a fake sponsorship... with the whole duel cutscene in question playing over it.
  • Tempting Fate: In his "The Worst Fighting Game" episode of Rise of the Robots, he proclaims that he'll get to playing the infamous Fight For Life since it was set to appear on the Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration compilation collection. And he was... he just didn't expect to play it five days after the video came out.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: What ultimately resulted in Def Jam: Icon, Metroid: Other M, and Ninja Gaiden 3 (2012) getting episodes dedicated to them. While none of these games faced serious issues during development, were made precisely as the developers intended, and are competently made games from a technical standpoint, they're are so incredibly far removed from what their respective series are known for that they were received poorly by fans.
  • Vaporware:invoked Various games spotlighted on Wha Happun? were ultimately never released, such as Scalebound, Thrill Kill, and Sonic X-treme.
  • Vindicated by History: Invoked by Donkey Kong 64's music developer Grant Kirkhope, who— following Rare's use of musical gags as interludes at start up of many of their games— created the infamous "DK Rap" as a joke to continue the tradition. Upon initial release, people hated it and thought it was one of the worst things ever made. Reviews even cited that the game is a blast to play once you skip the opening intro, but he has grown ever thankful that the clunky rap number has grown beyond "Worst Video Game Themes Of All Time" lists and is now unironically enjoyed for its pure cheese factor by an entire new generation of children who weren't even born when he wrote it.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In his Flophouse Plays of Gex: Enter the Gecko, Matt sees a sign in a "Scream TV" stage that says "Go into the light". Matt believes this is a Shmuck Bait trap and that doing so will let the ghosts get to him, but in reality, the advice is sincere, as the light prevents the ghosts from attacking the player.