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You keep geekin'.
"Oh my god you guys... that's... that's the old Mario design in a game that's not as old! Well, you know the rules, I've gotta go talk about Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles and, pro wrestling for some reason. Yet another enormous conversational tangent brought to you by The Geek Critique! (softer tone) There's a reason I named it that."
Josh Wallen in a moment of self-reflection

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 focusing on a different series, starting with Sonic, Donkey Kong, and Metroid.

The main channel can be found here. Josh and his friends continue to do Let's Plays and gaming streams (namely of Sonic the Hedgehog-related content) on his side channel TGC Genesis here.



  • 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.
    • Josh has also repeatedly stated that games that lean harder on skill-mastery tend to be ones he favors, to the point that it still feels weird to him when games don't have jump buttons that might imply he'd need it.
  • 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."
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  • 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 Button
    In-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?
    Josh: Y-yeah?
    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'd like to apologize fo—
    Alisha: CAW!!!
    Josh: Huuph, you see what I mean about that visceral negative reaction?
  • 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.
  • Call-Back: The video on the reveal to Metroid Dread features Alisha interrupting Josh again to get excited over the Chozo seen in the trailer, with a drawing of Old Bird holding an infant Samus and screaming "CAW!!!"
  • 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:
    Josh: Unlike you, I like going through tunnels.
    Josh:: That was a subtle gay joke.
    Kalin (expressing borderline no emotion): Subtlety.
  • Gateway Series: invoked 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: invoked Played for Laughs. A Running Gag is Kalin's complete ineptitude at basically everything, but especially video games.
  • Noodle Incident: As noted by the commentators, some dialog during Tails' Goldfish seems to indicate Tails has a history of getting his pets eaten.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Admits to falling prey to this in regards to Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. He starts his 2022 re-review of the game admitting that the original 2015 video was rooted in it: he hated the game as a child and wrote most of that script before even playing the game, assuming he'd feel the same way as an adult. Towards the end of his far more positive second look at DKC3, he spends some time critiquing that old video directly, highlighting all the segments where he seemed to deliberately miss the point or fail to realize very obvious things in an attempt to justify his childhood distaste for the title.
    2015 Josh: How cool would it have been if the Kremlings were horrifying abominations of science, evidence of K. Rool's experiences gone awry? Have everything start out all bright and happy, but as you get deeper into the game, something is going horribly wrong here.
    2022 Josh: That's... what... t-that's exactly what's happening!
  • 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.
  • Replacement Scrappy: invoked 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: invoked 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. When he re-reviewed DKC3, he rates the game much more positively than the first time around... but in line with the video releasing on April Fools' Day, not only does he not mention Kiddy once, constantly teasing him only to do a bait-and-switch each time, but Kiddy also gets edited out of screenshots he ought to be in, like the title screen.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: invoked
    • 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 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 DKC2's save system was actually one of the better ones at the time.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: invoked 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: invoked 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 he’d turn Sonic into a giant blue penis.