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"Doctor Ivan Ostril: after a freak accident, exposure to bad video games now causes him to transform into… The Shovelwarewolf."

The Shovelwarewolf is a series by Random Encounters that updates once a week each October, with a season finale uploaded on Halloween and an extra episode on Christmas Eve.

Doctor Ivan Ostril was a scientist hired to study the psychological effects of video games until a Freak Lab Accident left him with an unusual affliction. Now, whenever he plays a game that was hurriedly churned out to make a quick buck with little regard for quality, he transforms into a werewolf… The Shovelwarewolf, to be precise.

Naturally, Ivan is doing his best to discover a cure for his condition. Unfortunately, there are others who wish to control him for their own goals...

You can watch The Shovelwarewolf here.

     Games Reviewed by The Shovelwarewolf: 

Contains the following tropes:

  • Artifact Title: The first season has the Shovelwarewolf covering obscure shovelware games consisting of cheaply made licensed titles. The second season onwards drops this aspect and features generally bad games that are more widely known for their poor quality.
  • Aside Glance: Shovelwarewolf frequently turns to the camera while delivering one-liners.
  • Back from the Dead: Despite being blown up by the UFO's weaponry at the end of Season 3, Biffalo Bub manages to return as Prince Tricky's true identity. Subverted when he's actually a Biffalo Bub from an alternate reality where the Shovelwarewolf was the one who got blown up by the UFO while he was the one beamed up.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Minigame Games for Ivan/Shovelwarewolf.
    • Disrespecting Bubsy the Bobcat for Biffalo Bub.
  • Bond One-Liner: After using a laser to set fire to a copy of GoldenEye: Rogue Agent: "Now that's how you burn a disc!"
  • Call-Back: In the Season 3 finale, Shovelwarewolf wonders if Susan is going to show up to save him just like she did the last time he was forced to play a Zelda CD-i title.
  • Caustic Critic: Neither Ivan nor Shovelwarewolf have much patience for the many flaws found in the games they’re forced to play, nor are they at all shy about pointing them out.
  • Central Theme: Each season has one regarding the games it covers.
    • Season 1: licensed tie-ins
    • Season 2: terrible entries in beloved franchises
    • Season 3: infamous “classic” games, generally considered to be the worst games of all time.
    • Season 4: gaming peripherals
    • Season 5: multiplayer games and game modes
  • Chess with Death: Season 5's premise. Shovelwarewolf must beat Death in three out of five rounds of multiplayer games if he wants to live. After losing three rounds, he raises the stakes to best out of seven. If he wins, he returns to life and is freed from his curse. But if Death wins, Shovelwarewolf will play video games with him forever.
  • Christmas Episode: Three so far: one where Santa quickly comes to regret giving Ivan a copy of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a Home Alone homage, and a case of How the Character Stole Christmas.
  • Cliffhanger: Season 4's Christmas episode ended with a critically injured Shovelwarewolf trapped aboard the UFO as it crashed to Earth and exploded.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: At a certain point in the matchups in Shaq Fu: "Rejected Jellicle Cat vs. Shantae's grandma! This oughta be a good one!"
  • Couch Gag:
    • Whiteboard doodles in Season 1
    • A Gag Dubbed cutscene in Seasons 2 and 5
    • Biffalo Bub playing with his action figures in Season 3
  • Deadpan Snarker: A trait that both Ivan and Shovelwarewolf share.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Something made of glass always gets knocked over during Ivan’s transformations (A bottle in season 1, a drinking glass in season 2, a vase in season 3, a lava lamp in season 4, and two decorative glasses in season 5). This trope is parodied as often as it's played straight throughout the series, such as showing the glass increasingly covered in tape or a plastic water bottle somehow shattering on impact.
  • Edutainment: As Shovelwarewolf discovers the hard way, Nat Geo Challenge is an example of this trope being done badly. The game is little more than a glorified pack of natural science trivia flashcards. What’s worse is that it doesn’t actually teach you anything about the subjects it covers, so not only would you have to already know the answer in order to get the question right, but you still wouldn’t be learning anything new.
  • Evil Plan: Prince Tricky/ Biffalo Bub's goal throughout Season 4. By harnessing life energy stolen from versions of himself and Shovelwarewolf throughout The Multiverse, he created the Power Gauntlet. Shovelwarewolf's destructive rage fueled the Gauntlet, and with a snap of his fingers, Biffalo Bub made it so all video games in existence became Bubsy games.
  • Explosive Leash: How Biffalo Bub forces Ivan to comply with his demands.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Biffalo Bub is mentioned in a radio broadcast in the Season 2 finale.
    • One of the first things Bub notices about Shovelwarewolf is his nice fur coat.
    • "Ughhh… I wish aliens would come take me away so I could quit playing this garbage."
    • In the Hey You, Pikachu! episode, Ivan is seen reading The Infinity Gauntlet.
  • Freak Lab Accident: The cause of Ivan’s affliction.
  • From Bad to Worse: Ivan goes from being locked away in his lab by his shady employers to trapped in a hillbilly’s Torture Cellar to abducted by aliens and then playing Chess with Death. Poor guy just can’t catch a break.
  • Giggling Villain: Biffalo Bub is constantly cackling during his interactions with Ivan/Shovelwarewolf.
  • Grand Finale: The fifth season is this, with the last game Ivan plays being Carmageddon 64. In the end, he wins, but makes alterations to his deal with Death when Death tells him that all games in reality are still Bubsy games courtesy of Biffalo Bub, in that he gets sent back and all video games get restored, but keeps his curse. Fortunately, Susan reveals that she has gathered information from Ivan's time in the company that he could use to potentially create a cure for himself.
  • Harmful to Hitchhikers: Biffalo Bub gets his hands on Shovelwarewolf by convincing him to hop in his truck as an alternative to walking aimlessly down the road.
  • Hope Spot: Season 2 ends with Ivan escaping his employers and driving to a safe house. At the end of the Christmas episode, he's forced to flee, is told by his Only Friend that they probably won't meet again, and ends up getting kidnapped by a deranged lunatic.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: It's implied that a lightning strike was behind Ivan's Freak Lab Accident.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Plagues Ivan/Shovelwarewolf in Ski-Doo Snowmobile Challenge, Duck Dynasty, and Sonic 2006.
  • Magic Pants: Played with. Ivan keeps his pants, shoes, and lab coat when he transforms, but somehow loses his shirt. In Season 3 onward, his t-shirt gets ripped down the front to resemble his old coat when he transforms, but it’s somehow intact after he reverts.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Doctor Susan Ally
    • Biffalo Bub isn't just a Buffalo Bill spoof; he's also a deranged Bubsy fanboy.
  • No Fair Cheating: Enforced; while playing Stack Up, Shovelwarewolf wonders aloud what’s stopping him from manually setting the blocks into position instead of waiting for ROB to move them like the game intended. His captors inform him that he’ll be put back into stasis and forced to replay ''The Grinch'' for all eternity if he doesn’t play fair. He complies.
  • No Name Given: For a while, we only knew Ivan's employers as "The Company" and his therapist by her job title. They're revealed to be The Inscape Corporation and Dr. Susan Ally at the end of Season 2.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Exposure to shoddy video games, not the full moon, is what makes Ivan transform. He maintains his mental faculties in this state, and although he's much more aggressive, he only takes it out on the video games that triggered his condition.
  • Painful Transformation Sequence: Ivan spends a good amount of time seizing up and writhing in pain on the floor while stock science footage is shown on the screen. Averted in Season 5, as Shovelwarewolf spends it permanently transformed.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Shovelwarewolf delivers one to Lt. Simms in Night Trap after one too many Game Overs.
    "I'm the screwup? You're the one who put a single werewolf in charge of simultaneously watching eight separate cameras while vampire ninjas flooded the house! You're the screwup, mouth breather!"
  • Running Gag: Ivan/Shovelwarewolf smashing a glass while transforming.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Shrink: Ivan’s employers provide him with one in Season 2, though they later end up firing her so they can "take a different approach" regarding their experiments. She comes back to help Ivan escape in the finale.
  • Take That!: Season 3, Episode 2 takes a few potshots at Batman Vs. Superman, particularly regarding the plot point about Martha's name.
  • That Satisfying "Crunch!": Shovelwarewolf ends up destroying each game he’s forced to play, usually in a thematically appropriate manner if he has the means. He'll settle for chucking the cartridge against a wall or just smashing it if he has to, though. Death gets in on the action in Season 5 whenever he loses a game.
    • Defied with Steel Battalion and its infamous controller system, as it cost way too much to allow Shovelwarewolf to wreck it.
  • Unexplained Recovery: At the end of Season 1, one of Ivan’s hands is permanently clawed and furry. It’s back to normal at the start of Season 2.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    Shovelwarewolf: And what would a Bubsy game be without an annoying bobcat who doesn't shut up?!
    Biffalo Bub: A Sonic the Hedgehog game?
    Shovelwarewolf: That's not as far from the truth as I'd like.