The Geek Critique is a gaming-centric YouTube channel created by Josh Wallen. The channel originally started with Josh and his friends (Kalin, Steven and Lennon) doing goofy Let's Play videos, but later shifted towards focusing on game reviews, with said videos often taking the form of long-form documentary-style retrospectives.
- Author Appeal: Josh really likes Sonic and Donkey Kong Country. Since many of his retrospectives tend to begin with a section discussing his history with a given game or franchise, a good portion of the Sonic and Donkey Kong Country ones tend to be deep dives not only into his own relationship with a given entry, but the state of the fandom at the time as well.
- Artifact Title: Zig-Zagged. The name was originally used for a newspaper column and then a podcast. It fell out of relevance when Josh began doing Let's Plays, but returned to making perfect sense when the main channel was revamped to focus on retrospectives and game critique. The Let's Play channel still uses it, however.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Discussed in "DREAMCAST: Sega's Fall From the Cutting Edge" as a possible modus operandi of the Dreamcast and, perhaps, Sega as a whole.
- Bait-and-Switch: A particularly brutal one with Sonic Heroes:"The gameplay is BROKEN! ..into three distinct styles."
- Berserk Button: Lampshaded in the Metroid: Other M review, when Alisha breaks character as "Samus" to complain about Samus seemingly forgetting about her adoptive family, in a parody of how easily the game manages to hit the fandom's Berserk ButtonIn-Game Samus (describing Adam): ...The closest thing to a father I had.
Alisha: Except, you know, remember, like, your other father? Who actually raised you? Your Bird Dad?
Josh: Bird Dad? What the crap's a "Bird Dad?" You're here to be a parody of Samus, what are you doing?
Alisha: You remember Gray Voice?
Alisha: And your other bird dad? You had TWO of those, actually.
Josh (muttering): Did anyone read the manga?
Alisha: You had double the father figures, who raised you to be a powerful bird warrior. Gave you bird DNA so you could use the Chozo suit.
Josh (at the same time): Yeah, okay, I don't know if that's... that's not completely right.
Alisha: They gave you all this awesome power that you have, but NO. I guess they just mean NOTHING to you.
Josh: Are you done? Guys, I apologize—
- Book-Ends: The introduction to the video on Another Metroid 2 Remake ends on the line "It's just too bad that Nintendo doesn't see it that way." The video itself ends on the line "It's too bad Nintendo didn't see it that way."
- Butt-Monkey: Kalin, most of the time.
- Continuing is Painful: Discussed. Josh's biggest issue with the original Metroid is this.
- Crack Fic: One stream, Josh and Friends read a bizarre fan fiction called "Tails' Goldfish". This fic involves, among other things, a recolor fan character obsessed with gum and lawn chairs, Knuckles eating a goldfish whole and poor English. Makes a return during the "Sonic 1 With ShayMay" stream, much to Shay's bemusement.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: Surprisingly, Josh doesn't seem to consider Metroid's copious amounts of these to be a major flaw.
- Downer Ending: His review of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) ends on this note, with Josh accentuating how much the game had permanently tainted the reputation of the franchise to the point where he questions if the series was ever actually good.
- Double Entendre: This exchange:
- Gateway Series: Discussed in regards to the Super Smash Bros. series, with him using the term "kingmaker" to describe the franchise's tendency to do this with series such as Fire Emblem.
- Gone Horribly Right: Josh summarized the goal that Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) aimed to accomplish as this.This was supposed to be the game that would redefine Sonic the Hedgehog for a new era, and it succeeded.
- Lost Episode: A good few of the Let's Plays, due to unfortunate circumstances.
- Memetic Loser: Played for Laughs. A Running Gag is Kalin's complete ineptitude at basically everything, but especially video games.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: Parodied. Josh states that the reason Kalin had been gone so long is because he wrecked a boat and was drowning in Underwater Marble Zone.
- Noodle Incident: As noted by the commentators, some dialog during Tails' Goldfish seems to indicate Tails has a history of getting his pets eaten.
- Replacement Scrappy: In his Donkey Kong 64 video, views Tiny Kong and Chunky Kong are this. He goes on to say that while Tiny Kong is alright, she's really no substitute for the much more charming Dixie and probably should've just been her in the first place... before realizing that would have meant Kiddy Kong would also return and — actually, you know what, Tiny and Chunky are fine.
- The Scrappy: A Running Gag throughout the Donkey Kong Country retrospectives is Josh's intense hatred for Kiddy Kong. Kiddy's non-presence is ultimately why he decides the Replacement Scrappies in Donkey Kong 64 are acceptable.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
- Josh tends to use the term "superannuated" when discussing how the first entry in a gaming franchise can be made irrelevant by later installments, despite having the distinction of being the one that started it all. The two biggest examples are him feeling that the outdated controls of Super Mario Kart make it near unplayable compared to later Mario Kart games, and that the existence of Metroid: Zero Mission means no one has any good reason to play the original NES Metroid outside of nostalgia or curiosity.
- Discusses this during the Metroid review, when airing his frustration about the difficulty of the NES classic. He notes that older generations of gamers are more willing to accept the outdated game design choices and elements present in the games they grew up with, as opposed to younger gamers who immediately scoff at them. Specifically, he points out how his younger viewers questioned why he didn't complain about requiring in-game collectibles to use Save Points back in his Donkey Kong Country 2 review, responding that such a save system was actually one of the better ones at the time.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: Discussed. Kalin claims these are "his way" and is frustrated when Josh discourages it. It usually doesn't end well.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Lampshaded. When he first makes use of the word "superannuated", he follows it with "Oh no, it's time for geek words!" before defining it.
- Sex God/The Pornomancer: A series of events in the 2016 Hacking Contest stream leads to Kalin receiving this reputation.
- Signing Off Catchphrase: "You keep geekin', I'll keep... critiquin'."
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: Back in the let's play era, Josh usually played the straight man to Kalin's wise guy.
- Take That!: "Nintendo's All-Stars and also the Ice Climbers are in it."
- That One Level: Discussed. Kalin treats Marble Zone and any underwater levels as this. Culminates in the hack Underwater Marble Zone.
- Video Game Perversity Potential: Discussed. Josh claims that Kalin would make a great 3D modeler for Sonic Adventure Generations... And by that, he means hed turn Sonic into a giant blue penis.