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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?note : 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.invoked
  • 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.invoked
  • Flophouse Funsies/Flophouse Plays: One-shot Let's Plays with no particular theme. These eventually got their own channel in 2022 under the latter title in order to separate the Let's Plays from his video essays, as he noticed his viewers individually tended to favor one over the other.
  • 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.
  • 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. Criticom was officially dethroned by Expect No Mercy, which itself was dethroned by Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft, but Matt proclaims that there are still a ton of other games to review to challenge it.

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. The What Happened? episode for Vexx saw him make a quick cameo.
  • 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.
    • In The Worst Fighting Game for Expect No Mercy, Matt finds himself unable to say anything actually positive about it except that the fatalities were smoothly animated, but rather further brings up the good things that other games had. Criticom at least had individual character endings and the excuse of being one of the first games venturing into 3D gameplay; worse audio quality than Double Dragon V: The Shadow Falls; Human Killing Machine had the excuse of being released in 1988; even Rise of the Robots had special move inputs. Matt ultimately decided that Criticom had finally been dethroned. He does this again for Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft when it ends up dethroning Expect No Mercy.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • In his The Worst Fighting Game episode for BloodStorm, he refers to it twice as "Bonestorm" (showing the relevant Simpsons clip when he accidentally refers to it as "Bonestorm"), and then realizes he called it that twice a little late. 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 without acknowledging he mispronounced it.
    • Another episode of The Worst Fighting Game with The Masters Fighter has both Matt and his guest host GuileWinQuote both constantly wanting to call it the more grammatically correct "Fighters Master" that it was actually titled for the original arcade release, but was changed over for the ports. The confusion lasts for most of his presence as a guest.
    • The What Happened? Episode of Balan Wonderworld has him mistakenly call it "Balan Wonderland" (mostly because English speakers like Matt are much more accustomed to the phrase "Wonderland"), which he then realizes partway through the video, before playing a clip of Homer yelling "Why didn't someone tell me?! Oh, I've been making an idiot out of myself!"
  • Actually Pretty Funny: While talking about EA's tasteless sin-themed marketing stunt for Dante's Inferno, Matt admits that the Gluttony part (where the company delivered cakes shaped like severed limbs to journalists) to be kinda funny.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Matt has something of a penchant for alliteration, which earns a Lampshade Hanging in the Wha Happun? for Mortal Kombat Advance.
    Matt: Hell, even Tekken, Guilty Gear and King of Fighters punched their way onto the popular portable. (Record Needle Scratch) Why do I write like this? (chuckles) There's just so many P's...
  • 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'." The other iterations get similar nicknames, such as "PS singular ballin'", "PS triple ballin'", and so on.
  • Always Someone Better:
  • 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.
  • Anti-Climax: The Donkey Kong 64 episode of Wha Happen? has a segment that focuses on debunking an Urban Legend of Zelda (with Derek from Stop Skeletons From Fighting), where Nintendo had announced that the Nintendo 64's Expansion Pack was necessary for the game to fix a Game-Breaking Bug, but this isn't the case. The decision to use the Expansion Pack was decided from the start in order to help make it a selling point, which got transformed into the bug-breaking story. As for what the Expansion Pack's extra RAM did and the whole mystery that justified its usage, it was for the game's vertex lighting, which is mentioned with very little fanfare.invoked
    Derek: Oh! Oh...uh, well, DK64 does have some very impressive lighting.
    Matt: Yeah it does! Heh...
    Matt: O-okay, the Expansion Pack mystery is solved now, you can go now Derek.
    Derek: Aight, cool, bye! Uncle Derek is blasting off again!
  • 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.
  • Art Evolution: Has gone through three different style changes for his avatar throughout the years. Throughout 2018-2020, his intro and avatar had utilized an artistic rendering of himself with his former Super Best Friends Play human avatar, with a black hoodie and beanie. He would get a new avatar style, starting with the Scalebound episode, where he would be represented as an blue skeleton wearing the same beanie but with a fancy pink suit and tie, which lasted from 2020-2022. Starting from the episode covering The Quiet Man, Matt has settled into the same avatar, though it is less angular and more round when compared to previous episodes.
  • 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. He does the same with Rise of the Robots, but still briefly goes over its development woes.
  • B-Team Sequel: A frequently discussed reason on Wha Happen as to why games end up going through troubled development, where the original developers or studios move on to other projects, with a publisher searching for someone else to take up the reins. While this has resulted in classics that managed to stand out such as Metroid Prime, there have been just as many games that were covered that didn't earn the same critical or commercial acclaim. Examples include Yuke's being dropped from the development of WWE 2K20 in favor of Visual Concepts, or Traveller's Tales developing Crash Twinsanity after Naughty Dog's departure from the series.invoked
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • During his introduction during the episode covering WCW, where he has a special guest for it, who loves wrestling as much as Matt, even being called his "favorite Irishman." Super Eye Patch Wolf initially appears from the bottom of the video with a thumbs up, before Matt revealing it to be Jay Hunter of OSW Review.
      Jay: Yay! In your face Irish Space Coyote!
    • Matt would then pull off this gag in reverse for the Episode covering Shenmue III, where he describes his special guest as someone who is passionate about video games (specifically Sega), has done plenty of video essays, a dear friend of Matt, even noted to be his "favorite Irishman." Jay Hunter pops up as an animated avatar in the corner before revealing it to be Super Eye Patch Wolf, causing Jay to slink away.
    • The video in which Matt announced the launch of his second channel, Flophouse Plays, was set up to look instead like he was announcing his retirement from YouTube. It was (initially) titled "THIS IS THE END..." and opens on an animated funeral scene, with Matt's skeleton avatar lying in the casket.
      Matt: [somberly] I regret to announce that, as of this moment, me, Matt McMuscles, is dead... [suddenly upbeat] Dead serious about my new video game channel, Flophouse Plays!
  • 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:
    • From the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning episode of Wha Happun?:
      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 Beauty Standard: 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:
  • 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.invoked
    • 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.
  • Channel Hop: Matt makes note that Rare suffers from this a lot, having started development on one system, only to suddenly jump to another as a new generation of consoles appear. Being bought out by Microsoft specifically threw pretty much every development they had going into chaos. It's pointed out that Kameo: Elements of Power started development on the Nintendo 64, jumped to the Nintendo GameCube and started to form together as a game, went to the Xbox after Microsoft bought them and had a smooth development cycle, before the higher-ups gave the dev team the option to ultimately jump to the Xbox 360 even though they could have released on the Xbox if they wanted.invoked
  • Christmas Rushed: Another common reason for games discussed on Wha Happen end up being a buggy, broken mess is that the higher-ups mandated that a game be released by a specific season or date regardless of its current state during development. Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition, and Warcraft III: Reforged are some examples that were discussed on the show.invoked
  • 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!
  • Continuity Reboot: One of the many problems that helped wreck Saints Row (2022) and its creator: While the game was initially meant to be a Soft Reboot dealing with one of the endings of Saints Row 4, it was ultimately decided to create a new cast of characters, ultimately meaning that time and resources were needed for world building. Furthermore, the attempt to go back to the franchise's roots instead pushed them back into the crazy superhero-esque styles of the later games without the benefit of a decade's worth of continuity the fans were invested in to fall back on.
    Matt: So Volition were essentially writing themselves into a corner: How do you just suddenly create brand-new personalities that can compare to an entire decade's worth of memorable moments, growth, and emotional payoffs? Well, as we'll see in this case at least, um, you really can't.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Deconstructed. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe was birthed from the idea that the hype that a fighting game featuring two popular franchises would result in significantly larger sales than the previous Mortal Kombat games. In practice, the clashing tones would cause a multitude of problems as the developers had to tone down the violence to meet DC Comics' requests. This resulted in criticism from fans and critics that the end result is lackluster in execution, especially with how Fatalities and Heroic Brutalities were handled, and it only resulted in marginally better sales than the past few entries, which didn't save Midway from their inevitable demise.
  • 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.
  • Creator's Apathy:
    • This is one of the main reasons why Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22 was part of the The Worst Fighting Game - the game was originally released as one of the earliest PlayStation games and it shows. However, Infogrames/Atari and Funimation, wanting to cash in on the exploding Dragon Ball Z boom and not wanting to wait for a Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, decided to haul this out at the tail end of the PlayStation's life. Even worse, instead of trying to polish it up and give it a little love, they instead removed things from the game, making it obvious it was a cash grab.invoked
    • Silicon Knights and Dennis Dyack were, behind-the-scenes, incredibly indifferent about the development of X-Men: Destiny. SK only took the project on in order to just stay afloat while Dyack attempt to pitch projects to other publishers, which also affected the studio's general morale. The standout instance of apathy, recalled by assistant director Julian Spillane, was when he was asked to review a boss fight against Juggernaut, where the player needed to attack him until his health bar was depleted. When he stated that Marvel would never approve of this fight, due to Juggernaut being magically invincible, even suggesting an alternative method of defeating him, Spillane was told he was focusing on "unimportant details" and submitted the build to Marvel and Activision anyways. After that incident, the studio received copies of the hardcover X-Men encyclopedia, and the final boss fight against Juggernaut was changed to what Spillane had suggested.
  • 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 (2020): 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 deadnote . 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 what many had believed at the time, 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, as the Kotaku article revealed, 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.invoked
    • 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:invoked
      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 tumultuous problems throughout November 2022 in the wake of Elon Musk taking over as CEO and speculation how the platform would shut down altogether at the time.
  • 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: Any Wha Happun? episode that doesn't have a Bittersweet Ending has a 95% chance of having this, though some stick out in just how catastrophic the featured production turned out to be for everyone involved.
    • Too Human, already marred by its extremely prolonged production cycle, proved to be the breaking point 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. X-Men: Destiny was also in development at the same time to help keep the studio afloat, but it was both a commercial and critical failure, with any unsold copies also needing to be destroyed due to the aforementioned lawsuit.
    • 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 Wii U exclusive Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.
    • TimeSplitters is an incredibly disheartening episode, with Matt starting off the episode by noting how the series' longtime developer, Free Radical Design, was closed down by the Embracer Group before the video was published. While Timesplitters' sales weren't as strong as other competitors, the series had a strong cult following that continued for decades. However, Free Radical Design would end up being shuffled through different publishers, which led to the series going dormant and Free Radical being restructured as it worked on games for Crytek. Fans were given a bright spot of hope in 2021, as Free Radical Design was reformed and a new TimeSplitters game was announced, with even the original creators, David Doak and Steve Ellis, coming back to work on it after they both took a break from active game development. Unfortunately, due to the Embracer Group's mismanaged business decisions with its reckless acquisitions and failure to secure a 2 billion dollar investment, many studios were shut down and employees were laid off, Free Radical Design included. The TimeSplitters game that was previously announced was cancelled in the middle of development. Matt notes this is an incredibly downtrodden end for the series, as it had an intensely positive start, only for it to be thrown through various troubles, then given a second lease on life, before that lease was promptly taken away in short order.
      Matt: Out of all the episodes I've done on What Happened?, this has to be one of the most unbelievably unfair — easily the most disappointing and upsetting way a story can end. For a franchise to have been teased for so long and out of the limelight for the better part two decades, to then actually getting a second chance at life with most of the original creators back on board, only for all of it to be taken away before they could show their work with the rest of the world... and all just because some the incompetent ogres at the top botched a business deal that was bad for the entire industry from like, the very beginning, and then for hundreds of people who had nothing to do with that having to pay for it? [...] well, it just... sucks. Uh, yeah, so... Happy Holidays, I guess?note 
  • 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 "let’s play" style (a la Flophouse Plays) in the continuity of the Criticom test, before the show settled into a more structured written format (a la Wha Happun?).
    • Wha Happun?'s intro initially started out with human!Matt standing at a podium before shrugging his shoulders and the set appeared around him. The series had a copyright-infringing theme (whose removal consequently has led to all prior videos beginning rather abruptly with a half-second still of Matt before cutting straight to the title card) that would be swapped out in favor of the current theme by the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) episode. The more elaborate current intro wouldn't be until the video for Scalebound.
  • 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) being standout 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 invokedbarely 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.
    • Metroid Prime is by far one of the most successful games to still have enough production issues to be worth an episode of Wha Happun? Between a fresh team, unfamiliar developer tools, a deadline creeping up their backs and Jeff Spangenberg's unfathomable mismanagement for the first year or so of the project, Matt mentions it's nothing less than a miracle and a show of the Retro Studio team's determination that the game came out on time, well-polished and handled the Metroid franchise's 3D leap and genre changeover better than many other franchises, earning it critical acclaim.
    • The Mighty No. 9 episode of Wha Happun? ends with Matt noting that despite all the troubles and stress of the game's development, mixed-to-negative reception of the finished product, and their professional reputation taking a hit, Inti Creates managed to bounce back from the debacle. Instead of closing down like other unfortunate developers and/or publishers, the studio is still pumping out well-regarded games such as the Azure Striker Gunvolt Series, Blaster Master Zero and Blaster Master Zero II, Dragon: Marked for Death, and Matt's personal jewel, Gal*Gun.
    • While Rambo: The Video Game was a poorly-reviewed flop, Matt notes that, to his surprise, developer Teyon Studios would continue to work on the game and even release a surprisingly improved DLC for it two years after launch—because fans would want it. He then praises them for continuing on and creating a warmly received game he himself absolutely loved, Terminator: Resistance, having learned from their experiences with Rambo to make a much better game.
    • The original Resident Evil 2 had a lot of things going wrong during its development. It had put an inexperienced Hideki Kamiya in the role of director, with the first build and story outline of the game being scrapped altogether after it had failed to impress Capcom higher-ups, forcing it to be rewritten. This is on top of having an immense amount of pressure to live up to the first game, being behind in development, and even a technical issue that couldn't be fixed in time that forced the game to be printed on two discs. Despite these problems, it resulted in one of the best-selling games in the franchise, and even resulted in pay bonuses for Mikami and his staff.
    • Resident Evil 4 is also one of the most successful examples, where after several scrapped builds, Shinji Mikami working himself to the bone, and several doubts, the fourth entry would become a critically acclaimed breakout hit and being one of Capcom's most commercially successful projects (selling over 11 million copies after being ported to several systems), with a remake released in 2023. Downplayed for Mikami himself, where he ended up being so burnt out with its development that he joined up with Clover Studio to make God Hand (a game that Mikami looks upon favorably, despite its Acclaimed Flop status) before leaving Capcom officially in 2007.
  • 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.invoked
    • 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.
    • An interesting case as to what destroyed Volition Inc after 30 years in the business - the company had been bought up by Embracer Group in a massive buying spree including Gearbox, THQ Nordic and more. However, the buying spree was so much, they were hedging their bets on getting funding from a Saudi group and when that fell through they turned to Voilition and Saints Row (2022) to get them out. When that failed, the company was shuttered.
    • When discussing Tekken (2010), Matt is clearly confused when Namco's only note on the script was to cut anything provocative concerning Nina and Ana Williams, which he points out doesn't make sense, what with Tekken: The Motion Picture giving a shower scene to Ana, among others.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: In the Wha Happun? episode focusing on DOA: Dead or Alive, when he mentions that Mark A. Altman of Mind Fire Entertainment, who optioned for making a Dead or Alive movie, is the same one who wrote and produced House of the Dead, the episode ends there as if just that is enough to prove why the movie was so bad, but stops and reveals there's much more to than than just Mr. Altman.
  • Follow the Leader: 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.invoked
    • The BMX XXX episode of Wha Happun?, opens with Matt 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?
    • 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.
    • Both episodes of What Happen? discussing both X-Men: Destiny and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned note that they were both using Karma Meter mechanics modeled after the success of BioWare's Mass Effect franchise.
    • The episode of What Happen? discussing Kameo: Elements of Power mentions that the game started out by following the "Gotta Catch 'Em All" idea started with Pokémon, only changing gears once they realized it was more fun to fight as the monsters.
    • Downplayed in the What Happen? episode on Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects as the only reason the game was a fighting game so soon after the end of Capcom's reign with the Marvel license was because Activision had the rights to other genres and this was the only one that Electronic Arts Vancouver could use.
  • 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?.invoked
    • 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.invoked
    • 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 .invoked
    • 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.invoked
  • 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 Matt, it's what he calls "poverty fighters", fighting games that were not well-received by critics or even most players, but are charming to him in spite of or even because of their jankiness or game design. Two prominent examples are War Gods and Street Fighter: The Movie, which he's not only played numerous times on his channels, but when putting them under the Worst Fighting Game microscope, both games avoided the bad tiers entirely and into its own category called "That'll Be Just Fine".
    • 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.
  • History Repeats: In his What Happen? episode for Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, Matt makes note that it seems that the same thing that befell that game (a brand new Indy game being made and going silent when a divisive new entry makes its appearance) is happening again with a supposed new entry being made and no news being revealed while a divisive new entry appears.
  • 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.
    • GuileWinQuote also tells Matt this in the episode for The Masters Fighter due to how horrible the game just plays, being a terrible Korean ripoff of other games made at a time where everyone was going 3D.
  • 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. He also uses the "Metroidvania" term during his sponsor read for Blast Brigade.
    • 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 its strongest negatives, with reviews 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 the next year.
    • Nintendo dismissed DVD-ROM disks as being a fad that wouldn't last long, which led to the Nintendo Gamecube using its own proprietary set of disks. These were smaller disks that, while holding more space than normal CD-ROMs (~1.8 GB compared to ~760 MB), held less space than DVD-ROM disks (~4.7 GB). This ended up damaging the Gamecube's potential, as while the special disks prevented piracy, it limited what could be put on them, especially with third-party developers. Meanwhile, the DVD-ROM would become a standard media disk that the PS2 and Xbox would run their games on.
  • 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.
  • Market-Based Title: In his The Worst Fighting Game episode for Deadly Arts, Matt points out that the game actually has a different title for its Japanese and European release: G.A.S.P.!!: Fighters NEXTream. However, not only does he swap between using the two titles, he ends up mixing up their names a bit.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: Matt criticizes this in The Worst Fighting Game episode featuring Savage Warriors as the game claims it has "3D Bio Motion", which he easily compares to the Sega Genesis' infamous "Blast Processing". The main complaint comes from the game's infamous ad, which claims that, because Mortal Kombat II doesn't have "3D Bio Motion", Savage Warriors is instantly superior.
    Matt McMuscles: Look, you can't pull something out of your ass and say "Other stuff sucks because it doesn't have that ass stuff you pulled out". I can't just make a game myself and say it has, I dunno... "4D Echo Vibes" and since Tekken 8 doesn't have it, it must be shit!
  • 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.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Matt makes his displeasure about Deadly Arts not involving anything deadly in it known.
  • "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 rifling 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. It's 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.invoked
    • 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 Super Bowl ad) meant that its 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).invoked
  • 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.
    • The Duke Nukem Forever episode catalogues the years' long development cycle driven by George Broussard's continually changing desires for the game.
    • The Too Human episode focuses heavily on Dennis Dyack's attitude towards failed business relationships and online critics.
    • The Mighty No. 9 episode focuses on how while Keiji Inafune had the benefit of having the experience of being the shepherd of Mega Man and the backing of Inti Creates, a studio he had worked with extensively before and even developed a well-regarded Mega Man subseries, he was getting too focused on turning the property into a franchise before he even had a game out, with the pressure of making ten different versions and feature-creep overwhelming the studio from meeting the listed stretch goals (including a multiplayer mode when they had no experience with the netcoding required of it).
    • 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.invoked
  • Repressed Memories: In The Worst Fighting Game of Expect No Mercy, Matt explained that he bought the game for Windows 95 back in the '90s and enjoyed playing those fighting games instead of more mainstream games like Diablo or Quake. As he analyzes the game more and more, it occurs to him that he had blocked out just how horrible the game actually was.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • Matt's episode of Cooking Mama Cookstar was only about a few months after the game's disastrous launch, which also resulted in strange rumors cropping up about the game. Matt prefaces the video by admitting that his take on the game's production could be rendered outdated at any moment.
    • Matt's coverage of The Day Before has him admit that despite that the game having a lot of coverage before its eventual release and un-release, Matt is doing this episode a few weeks after the fact and that he himself had never heard of the game until the controversies about it being a scam came to light, outside of the trademark dispute over its name.
  • 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 (with the clip sometimes getting distorted in subsequent videos).
      • 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.
      • Lampshaded in The Simpsons Wrestling, where he starts by rolling out some of his usual Simpsons clips at the very beginning, and then confirming that he'll be using more throughout the video — a promise he makes good on.
    • 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 or an unlikable character.
    • 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.
    • As detailed under Affectionate Nickname, Matt often refers to the PlayStation 2 as the "PS double ballin'," with the other versions of the console getting similar nicknames, such as "PS singular ballin'," "PS triple ballin'," and so on.
    • 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.
    • If Matt brings up his beloved War Gods, expect him to jab his good buddy Maximilian Dood, who despises it.
      Maximilian: This game SUCKS!
      Matt: (deep inhale of Tranquil Fury)
    • If a game or something else slows down during development, Matt will describe it by saying "Slowed down, waaayyyyy down," while drawing out the "way" part with distorted audio.
    • Whenever Dragon Ball Z is the topic of a video, Matt will make mention to the series widespread popularity in the 2000's and will mention he or others watching Anime Music Videos during that time, which leads to him playing a few seconds of an DBZ-themed AMV.
    • Randomly inserting "I have SEEN the amateur and it is YOU!" from Expect No Mercy whenever it's brought up during its reign as The Worst Fighting Game.
  • Self-Deprecation: Matt's review of Street Fighter 6 starts with an intro of how well documented it is that Street Fighter V didn't exactly have a smooth launch, with many YouTube videos being made in response over the years, some of which he calls "clickbait". Among the examples he floats on the screen is the thumbnail to his own Wha Happun? episode of SFV.
  • "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.invoked
  • Shaped Like Itself: From 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.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Wha Happun? delved into how a relatively simple tweak saved Alien: Resurrection. After a tumultuous development where, like GoldenEye (1997), it missed the film's release by several years, the third-person shooter (which was the style at the time) was nearing completion when the developers at Argonaut Games were struggling with two big issues. Their rendering technique was taxing the system to where they were struggling with various technical issues, and as a result, had to limit the enemy AI to basically bumrush the player in low numbers, which made the game not scary. However, they had implemented a first-person view and control scheme when crawling through vents and realized they could apply it to the entire game, which benefitted the build in three ways: they didn't have to throw out their existing work (which had already happened), it would amp up the game's difficulty and scare factor with a first-person perspective limiting what players could see, and the game's technical performance improved with less to display. As a bonus, the game was one of the first pioneers of the now-standard dual-analog control scheme for console FPS games (which would become popularized by Halo: Combat Evolved), though at the time, this control scheme was criticized instead of praised by reviewers.
  • 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 invokedObvious 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 (2003) 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. Indeed, when discussing Expect No Mercy, he explains that the big thing that kept it out of being the worst was that it was made in 1988, when fighting games were in its infancy, where Expect No Mercy was made in 1996, where it had no excuse.
  • Spanner in the Works: Isao Okowa, the late president of Sega’s then majority shareholder CSK Holdings, in the Wha Happun? episode on the Dreamcast. Rather than shut down the near-bankrupt Sega, as the public was expecting him to do, he loaned them $500 million of his own personal fortune to help pay off their debts, before waving the loan entirely on his deathbed, allowing Sega to transition into becoming a third party developer and preventing the Dreamcast from being a Creator Killer.invoked
  • Special Guest: Matt will occasionally feature a guest host with knowledge of or attachment to the subject for some of his videos. The following have been a guest on the channel:
  • 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.invoked
  • 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.
      • He then pulls this gag out again, though this time in regards to Activision.
        Matt: Activision. 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.
    • During the Worst Fighting Game episode on Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu, he makes a jab at Jump Force's artstyle while criticizing Taiketsu's own poor visuals.
    • When talking about the Atari Jaguar's ill-advised price-increase, Matt takes a jab at Sony for raising the price of the PlayStation 5 in multiple territories.
    • In the Wha Happen episode featuring the Nintendo GameCube, he takes a few potshots at Yuji Naka, who had been jailed for insider trading within Square Enix by the time the video was filmed.
  • 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.invoked
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: The reason why The Masters Fighter ended up being discussed on The Worst Fighting Game. It had shamelessly traced several sprites from various Fighting Games in the '90s, including Art of Fighting, The King of Fighters, and Street Fighter. The game's mechanics are also borrowed from SNK's franchise, but were not properly balanced, making the game an unplayable mess. Of the roster of plagiarized characters, only Gamp seems to be an original creation (with the editor of the Episode theorizing that Gamp was copied from Dee Jay's Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers sprites).invoked
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In his Wha Happun? episode for The Bouncer, he groans and cringes as he realizes that it was made by the same creator behind one of his most-hated games, Ehrgeiz.
  • Troubled Production: Discussed on Wha Happun? in the form of video essays and mini-documentaries. The series covers how certain games came to be made, including all of the sordid details behind its release. These can include Executive Meddling, crunch periods, lack of creative vision, or frequent staff turnovers as the main culprits as to how a game ended up the way it did. However, just because a game's production was rough doesn't necessarily mean it flopped; games like Doom (2016) and Metroid Prime were covered by the show because of how stressful and sordid their productions were on the staff members who made them, but the games themselves wound up being critical and commercial successes after their releases.invoked
  • Ur-Example: Per Matt's research into the entire Double Dragon franchise on Wha Happun?, he figures that 1990's Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone is the first, if not one of the first examples of in-game microtransactions. The arcade version of Double Dragon 3 had shops that allowed player to buy extra lives, health, weapons, special movies, and new playable characters, but each one required inserting another quarter into the machine to buy them. The negative feedback from American players was so fierce that the entire shop mechanic was removed from the Japanese cabinets before they were released a few months later.
  • Vaporware:invoked Various games spotlighted on Wha Happun? were ultimately never released, such as Scalebound, Thrill Kill, and Sonic X-treme.
  • Vindicated by History: Donkey Kong 64's composer 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.invoked
  • Wham Episode: His The Worst Fighting Game series was dedicated to searching for a game that could surpass Criticom as the worst fighting game of all time. As detailed in Accentuate the Negative above, after several duds, Matt found that Expect No Mercy had finally dethroned it as the worst of the worst. Matt then decides to try and find a game even worse than Expect No Mercy, which later turned out to be Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft.
  • 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.