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Game Theory

  • Ass Pull: The theories on Mario and FNAF have been accused of having rather contrived explanations that focus too much on speculation instead of hard evidence or confirmation by the creators. In particular, the "Mario is Communist" video has been criticized for focusing too much on red coloration as added to represent communism when most programmers view the red coloration more for color contrast, though seeing as it was a parody theory, most people missed the point .
  • Author's Saving Throw:
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    • When people complained that there wasn't any sponsor in the Is The MMO Genre Dying?, MatPat later put an annotation saying this video was sponsored by Game of War. However, this soon lead to even more backlash from suspicions that the sponsor affected the outcome of the theory.
    • His W.D. Gaster video addressed criticism leveled at the Sans Is Ness video and Game Theory as a whole by reiterating that he doesn't try to claim his theories are canon and is only trying to introduce alternate ways of thinking based on evidence that may support what he says. Much like the above, the actual results of this were... divisive.
    • In more recent years, it appears that even Mat realized how ridiculous the Sans is Ness theory was, and has made it a Running Gag.
    • A common complaint about MatPat’s later theories is that they were stretched out to be far longer than his earlier ones, and that extra time was being used to make unfunny jokes instead of fleshing out the theory. Since these complaints, his videos have been consistently shorter.
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    • Matt was in the process of making a video on the Empire's "Fire Storm" weapon part of the Operation: Cinder plot shown in Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) that Electronic Arts originally offered to sponsor. When the Loot Crate and In-Game Economy controversies broke out and created their own fire storm, Matt decided it was better to distance himself from EA and declined the sponsorship, but elected to upload the video as it was most of the way done. He also added in a foreword at the start of the video explaining the situation and mentioning his stance on the matter.
    • As mentioned under, Older Than They Think below, Matt has received criticism in the past for not acknowledging when a theory he's stating is actually an already established fan theory, instead of one he himself made. In his theory on Doki Doki Literature Club!, however, he specifically acknowledges and gives credit to the specific Redditors who found evidence that he himself was incapable of deciphering.
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    • The first episode Petscop received a large amount of criticism from the series community for entirely basing it as a telling of the Candace Newmaker case, an interpretation that was largely debunked as just thematic references. A year later, MatPat did a sequel video where he avoided the same mistake.
    • In Does Fortnite Make You VIOLENT?, when MatPat surveyed his audience, he left open a gender section where the participants could list their gender identity. While it sounds inclusive in theory, many participants opted to jokingly self-identify as a random object such as a Coca-Cola bottle or a weaponized battle toaster. MatPat then proceeded to list out some of the more interesting "genders" on the list without realizing that many feel that self-identifying as an object is usually only done as a trolling tactic that attempts to delegitimize trans and nonbinary people. This has now painted him as a transphobe among his critics, which he didn't help by referring to the backlash against him as a witch hunt on Twitter. It also made him appear to be a hypocrite considering he had earlier tweeted to just apologize if a mistake is made. note  All that being said, in You ARE Your Character!, he had another poll where he didn't make the same mistake, instead giving the four gender options of male, female, nonbinary, and preferred not to say, where he treated all options seriously.
    • Kirby - Dream Land's Biggest Threat was the first part of a planned two-part theory that used evidence from the games to indicate that Kirby was actually a destructive force of chaos rather than the protagonist he is usually portrayed as, with the second episode being planned to tie this in with Void Termina and other lore from the series. However, the episode received a lot of criticism for seemingly cherry-picking Kirby's motives as well as discounting the fact that he is still only a baby, which accounts for most of his decisions; there was also the fact that the lore that the planned second episode would focus on had already been elaborated on by many other Youtubers. In response, MatPat instead made a different episode focused on Kirby's flight ability, creating a disclaimer at the episode beginning explaining his choices and acknowledging the criticism leveled towards his original theory.
    • MatPat adding sources in the descriptions of his later theories, allowing his fans to read back his research. Especially in his science-based theories
  • Awesome Music: "Science Blaster", the opening theme for the series that was made specifically for the show.
  • Bizarro Episode: The theory that Kirby's Epic Yarn was made to train kids to combat yarn-bombing is out there even by MatPat's standards.
  • Base-Breaking Character: MatPat's decision to personify both Nugget and Monika in their respective games' theories was met with positive reception by fans, the reappearance of those characters in later theories that have nothing to do with them (Monika appearing in the Petscop video, and Nugget in the Duck Season video), has led to them becoming this.
  • Broken Base:
    • The channel has a fairly large number of Five Nights at Freddy's videos (without counting livestreams), even more than Mario and Zelda theories. Either you love how much attention he gives to the series and the fans or you're sick of it and hate MatPat for pandering to FNAF fans so much.
      • Lampshaded in his YouTube Rewind/Facebook's 2015 Year in Review. Still doesn't solve the problem about having tons of FNAF videos, but at least he's aware that maybe he gave too much focus on Freddy and Pals.
    • MatPat's smug and quippy attitude in some of his videos has been a sore spot of contention. Some fans don't mind it or even find it hilarious, while others find his persona to be excessively narcissistic and egotistical, especially when he claims to know better than the game than the creators working on them.
    • Some of his videos covering recent new games are sponsored by game developers of said games (i.e. the Halo armor video is sponsored by Microsoft). Some fans have accused MatPat of having a conflict of interest and turning into a corporate Sell-Out. However, some fans don't mind that MatPat is making a quick buck from video game companies given his background as a Starving Artist struggling with depression and unemployment. Not helping matters is the fact that the "Is the MMO Genre Dying?" video has been accused of ignoring other successful forms of MMO monetization like Buy-to-Play, making it seem like an obvious pro-mobile gaming video and advertisement for sponsor Game of War.
    • Two other shows hosted on the channel, Game Drake's Crossover and Gaijin Goombah's Game Exchange, have garnered their fair share of contention. Crossover's attempts to link unrelated franchises is either amusing or as contrived as Game Theory's more infamous theories. Meanwhile Game Exchange is widely praised, studying the cultural influences, especially Japanese ones, in games, but it has also been criticized at times for defending games (notably Metroid: Other M) that aren't well liked outside of Japan, though this backlash may be due to Values Dissonance.
    • In 2016, MatPat announced he would host a new show, Game Lab, exclusive to the subscription-based YouTube Red. While many fans were excited since it focuses more on hard science instead of random fan theories, several were worried that MatPat's commitment to Game Lab would divert attention away from his Game Theorists and Film Theorists channels, possibly negatively impacting their quality.
    • MatPat's gamer-centric episode in which he gave Pope Francis a copy of Undertale. The fan reaction was polarizing to say the least; in general, most people applaud him for trying to show a more positive side to gaming culture and for advocating the use of games to espouse empathy among people. Some are skeptical about MatPat's claims and feel that his references to recent tragedies was untimely and inappropriate regardless of his intent. Others just thought that the video sounded really pretentious. It should be noted though that his idea of using games to help improve society and promote empathy isn't without precedent, shared by many other intellectuals like game designers Jane Mcgonigal and James Portnow.
    • His third Undertale theory, not so much for the theory itself, but rather for the part of the video where he discusses the negative reception of the first two Undertale videos. Some people feel bad for him, agreeing that the backlash was unwarranted and went too far, while others argue that he deserved the criticisms for releasing unsatisfactory videos, and his attempt at justifying them screams of Never My Fault and emotional manipulation.
    • His second Petscop theory, not because of the theory itself, but because of the video, which exhibits intentional audio glitches, eerie edits, and an overall uneasy tone. Some praised the video to be among Game Theory's best edited, creating an atmosphere that meshes with the topic's horror and mystery elements perfectly, while others felt that it was actually too effective, scaring them to the point that they couldn't even finish the video.
    • In general, the argument that each video's point is that "it's just a theory", and that they are ultimately supposed to be taken with a grain of salt. On one hand, some agree that the theories are only really for entertainment, aren't really being asserted as truth, and that the detractors are taking things too seriously; on the other hand, detractors believe this is essentially using the fan theory equivalent of It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars to excuse poor research and questionable sourcing (or lack thereof).
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: Played for Laughs at the end of his Leap of Faith video:
    MatPat: So in the end, what have we learned today? Don't jump off of buildings. You will die.
  • Critical Research Failure: One of the points MatPat brings up in his "The Metroid Morph Ball is LAME" is that crawling would be just as effective as using the Morph Ball. This completely disregards any of the power-ups from that series that would be difficult or impossible to use otherwise such as any of the Bombs, Bomb Jumping, the Boost Ball, the Hyper Ball, the Spider Ball, etc.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • He gives Handsome Jack this treatment in his Borderlands 2 video, arguing at the end he really is the hero wanting to bring peace while not mentioning some of his more grievous crimes from the games, like his murder and torture of innocents, running the city of Opportunity like a crapsaccharine Orwellian dictatorship, abusing his own daughter for almost her entire life and ejecting four innocent scientists out an airlock on the mere suspicion that one might be a traitor, giving Moxxi and Lilith decent motivation for betraying him. However, the theory can be defended on the grounds that the theory only applies for the first game, and doesn't outright excuse him of his actions, merely presenting him as a Fallen Hero.
    • He is even giving Bowser this treatment while going along with the Stock Epileptic Trees by having written off Mario as the true villain of their game series.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The portrayal of Nugget by MatPat's wife Stephanie during their playthrough of the game proved to be quite a hit with fans, leading to Nugget appearing in a number of other videos and even the official channel banner.
  • Face of the Band: MatPat; as far as most people care, Gaijin Goombahnote , Ronnienote , Drakenote , and Kennynote  don't exist.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Gnoggin, a similar show on YouTube, to the point where flame wars have broken out in the comments of videos on both sides. It doesn't help that Gnoggin has made at least three videos specifically to discredit MatPat's theories, and several people treat Gnoggin as the "Let's talk smack about Game Theory" channel. There's also the allegations that the Game Theory about Smash Bros. being about Masahiro Sakurai's disillusionment with the series and the games industry in general is directly ripping off Gnoggin's theory about Super Smash Brothers being about living with autism. Another point of contention is MatPat doing an amiibo theory one week after Gnoggin, with the exact same theory.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • All the jokes mocking MatPat's infamous "Sans is Ness" and (to a lesser extent) "Why I Gave the Pope Undertale" videos become this when MatPat addresses in "Who Is Gaster?" that the hate and ridicule he got from those videos had really cut him deep.
    • In his "Why I Gave The Pope Undertale" video, he explained that the main reason why he gave Pope Francis Undertale was that gamers are getting unjustifiably bad press and that Undertale would show the gaming community in a more positive light. Almost a month later, the Pope held a speech explaining his views that gaming is preventing the youth from doing activism and is disconnecting them from Jesus, showing that he couldn't disagree more with MatPat's views. This doubles as Hilarious in Hindsight, depending on how seriously one takes the Pope's or MatPat's opinion on this subject.
    • MatPat's jokes about his treatment of his editor Ronnie, often comparing it to slave labor, becomes much harder to watch after Ronnie died by suicide.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Mat's speech about a friend he knew back in choir who he stopped from completing a suicide attempt becomes far sadder when Ronnie died by suicide later that year, with MatPat releasing a video in late July talking about Ronnie.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: His constant jabs at Nintendo, the Wii U, and some of their franchises (Mario in particular) is known to really rile up Nintendo fans, especially ones who outright detest the Game Theory fandom for acting like MatPat's theories are 100% fact (when they're not supposed to be).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Polybius video from 2012 has a graphic of The Angry Video Game Nerd getting bombarded by lights and messages from a Polybius cabinet. For Halloween 2017, the AVGN decided to make a special 150th episode...
    • When talking about the announcement of Ultimate Custom Night in the "FNAF STUMPED ME" video, MatPat remarks that it "Might be time for Markiplier to give up his FNAF crown". Once the game came out, Markiplier actually did eventually give up on beating 50/20 mode.
  • Hype Backlash: As Game Theory is considered one of the most popular non-"Let's Play" channels (with 9 million+ subscribers), it's natural that some will hate MatPat for his overexposure. Among all his videos, his Mario and FNAF ones are among the highest viewed yet also the most polarizing, with some viewers criticizing these videos for having too many research errors and relying too much hackneyed guesses instead hard science and history.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: MatPat ends each episode by claiming that it's "just a theory", and fans have interpreted this as meaning that his theories should be exempt from critique, and any "debunking" responses are taking it too seriously. Of course, this ignores the fact that, in the scientific world, MatPat's "theories" (which are actually closer to hypotheses than theories) would naturally undergo lots of peer review, so saying it's "just a theory" to ward off criticism would be completely missing the point. For his part, Matt has said that he says this as a reminder that at the end of the day he really is only talking about a theory and that his opinion is just one of many, so it should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • It's become popular for gamers to post theories that end with "But hey, that's just a theory... A GAME THEORY." A lot of the time, it's making fun of the series. But hey, that's just a theory, A MEME THEORY.
    • "LINK IS DEAD!" (from the infamous Majora's Mask video usually detested by Zelda fans who stick only to canon information and hate it when Game Theory fans parrot said theory like it's a fact).
      • "SANS IS NESS!" is even more popular online but in this case it's mocking his badly-researched Undertale and EarthBound video.
    • "Sens," in mocking reference to the Sans is Ness video. It has become a small Running Gag among fans of "high quality video game ripper" SiIvaGunner, particularly with "rips" involving music having to do with Sans or EarthBound.
    • After MatPat infamously gave The Pope a copy of Undertale, the internet was awash in people parodying the event.
    • I JUST SIMULTANEOUSLY WHIPPED AND NAE NAE'D!!
  • Narm: It's kind of hard to take the "Mario is Mental" theory seriously when Matt grimly talks about Mario being an unfeeling sociopath while the video constantly cuts to Mario grinding Luigi's shoe in as both brothers awkwardly grin like it's the worst thing ever.
  • Nausea Fuel: Some episodes, some as Why Star Fox has NO LEGS and BEWARE Link's Hookshot! contain very detailed studies of real-life human anatomy.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Many research failures are usually forgotten by the majority of the viewers but a few of them are so absurd no one can forget it. "Wario is practically 10 feet tall" and "Sans is Ness!" are easily his most quoted mistake and are always mentioned when someone is trying to make fun of the channel.
    • The channel being overrun with FNAF videos is not a reputation it will escape anytime soon.
  • Older Than They Think: MatPat did not create a number of the theories, he simply put them in video form. Ones such as "Cloud accidentally killed Aerith" or "Rosalina is related to Peach" (though not the part about Luigi being Rosalina's father) have been floating around for years. This brings even more fuel to the fire that is the Game Theory and Gnoggin Fandom Rivalry, since Lockstin in the past made videos on theories that didn't originate from him and has given credit to where it's due (Jar Jar Binks Sith theory) or flat out admit a theory idea isn't his own (Bowser is dead and possessed theory).
  • Poison Oak Epileptic Trees: Many of his more older theories could fit this, especially the one about Sans from Undertale being Ness from EarthBound, Phoenix Wright being an Amoral Attorney, and MANY of his Super Mario Bros. and Five Nights at Freddy's theories.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Mario has constantly been on the receiving end of this from MatPat himself ever since his theory where he is portrayed as a sociopath. Nintendo itself sometimes gets this treatment oddly enough, especially during the Wii U arc. This has worsened in his "Toad's Deadly Secret" episode, where he proposes that Peach is the true Big Bad of the Mario franchise, using her parasitic followers to run the Goombas out of their native homeland, with Bowser as the tragic, reluctant Big Good just trying to combat a parasitic threat.
    • Parodied in the Harry Potter video when he mentions that Ron is Voldemort.
    • Phoenix Wright got this treatment as well, being accused of tampering with the crime scene and presenting unknown evidence, failing to acknowledge that prosecutors Miles Edgeworth (pre-Heel–Face Turn) and Manfred von Karma have done far worse. In the same game, no less.
    • His Cuphead theory asserts that Cuphead and Mugman are selling illegal alcohol and, thus, are no better than the literal devil. While it can be argued that committing something illegal is wrong, no matter the scenario, considering many people, both then and today, saw the Prohibition as a big joke (which, as MatPat himself even acknowledges, is the main reason why it was so short-lived), trying to make them morally equivalent to Satan isn't really fooling anybody.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Has increasingly been more forgiving on the faults and potential misdeeds of the antagonists of certain franchises than the ones of what he sees as the Designated Heroes and their hidden evils.
  • Seasonal Rot: The sentiment among older fans is that Mat's newer theories (especially the ones that have to do with lore instead of math and science) have increasingly become more flimsy and farfetched, prone to being easily debunked due to cherry-picked facts and/or rushed research, and seemingly made for the sake of getting attention or a personal gripe, rather than coming to an actually plausible conclusion with the episode's theory. Usually cited as the worst:
    • The "Mario is Mental" videos, for using anything (even minor things) as proof that Mario is a cruel sociopath.
      • The "Luigi's Secret Identity" video, while not as infamous, is also disliked by fans for implying that Matt is a Trolling Creator and that he's making the theories just to piss off Mario fans (a massive indicator is that the Luigi theory goes against the "Mario is Mental" videos, where he's on Luigi's side).
    • FNaF4 video for flat out accusing Scott of making the game wrong, on the account of believing that brain damage causes a narrow set of symptoms. This is to the point that Scott himself commented on the video by politely saying that the theory was wrong.
    • Are MMOs Dying for being an obvious ad for a mobile game, taking the idea of a sponsored video to a whole new level and ignoring actual successful and current MMOs.
    • The Undertale Sequel to EarthBound Theory. To keep it brief, Mat ignores the lore of both Undertale and EarthBound, makes stretches far beyond logical, and he cites an old ROM hack that Toby made during his teenage years that he considers a total Old Shame.
    • The For Honor video. MatPat makes several mistakes that could have been avoided by simply googling, like saying that greaves are worn on arms, that vikings lived in a frozen wasteland, or that vikings went into battle "practically nude." He even contradicts himself when he says that vikings can't counter arrows...despite him mentioning earlier in the video that vikings had shields.
  • Squick: MatPat believes that both the "mental" theory and the "timeline" theory hold up; in other words, even though Jumpman is clearly stated in the latter theory to be Mario's father, Mario is still a dangerous sociopath and man whore. What he fails to realize is this: if Jumpman is Mario's father, and Mario is potentially seeing Pauline on the side, it implies he committed patricide to have intercourse with his own mother.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: His "Who would survive?" video about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. It would have been interesting to see him discuss how certain characters' abilities, equipment, and the like would help them, as well as which characters would likely be immune to it. A good example would be talking about how characters from the Mario series would be fine since a lot of them have doctorates and amazing medicine. He could have also talked about how Dr. Eggman could use his technology to protect himself. Instead, he spends the video talking about which characters would be able to wear a protection mask and how facial hair would interfere. He doesn't even discuss how certain characters have unique things that could help them with the virus. He completely ignores this and states that Mario and Eggman would be at risk simply because of their facial hair. He even tries to show how a mask would fit over Master Chief, completely ignoring the fact that his own suit already offers him complete protection as long as he's wearing it, which itself would be worth bringing up.
  • Win Back The Crowd: MatPat's recent videos, especially his Minecraft lore theories, have been much more warmly received for being well backed by evidence and intriguing.

Film Theory

  • Awesome Music: "Phase Shift", the opening theme also made specifically for the show.
  • Bizarro Episode: The theory where he tries to prove Deadpool and Ernest Hemingway are the same person is surreal, even compared to some of MatPat's more out-there theories. Although considering the subject matter this may have been intentional.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Refers to Arthur Fleck's murder of his mother in Joker (2019) as "a very aggressive pillow fight".
  • Even Better Sequel: His first DHMIS Theory received quite the praise. The second part was widely regarded as a satisfying and well-reinforced theory, possibly even MatPat's best. It helps that he outright said his theory wasn't the only possibility and cites the creators as a reason to watch other theories on the show.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A straight example of the latter is his theory that the main cast of Rogue One isn't heard of or mentioned in the Original Trilogy as they've turned to the Dark Side, and he takes the time to dismiss the idea of all of them being dead by the end of the movie, because would Disney/Lucasfilms really kill off their new characters in their Star Wars spin-off? Yes. Yes, they would.
    • In the Death Note theory, it says "Ronnie, 4:33am" in the Death Note, a year later, Ronnie "The Oni" Edwards killed himself. Which devastated Matpat as seen in his "Losing The Battle" video.
    • The thumbnail of the video dealing with Article 13 features a graphic of Spongebob Squarepants being ground up. Only three days after the video was uploaded, series creator Stephen Hillenburg died of ALS.
    • In his theory on Avengers: Endgame, Who WON'T Survive Avengers Endgame!, MatPat argues that Steve will sacrifice himself to stop Thanos, and Tony will survive so he can retire from being Iron Man and settle down with Pepper and have a kid, claiming both serve as the culmination of their character arcs. While he got the scenarios right, he got the characters reversed. While Tony and Pepper do have a daughter, Tony pulls a Heroic Sacrifice by using the Infinity Stones to snap Thanos and his forces away, killing himself in the process. Steve survives the final battle but returns to the past to settle down with Peggy Carter, retiring from being Captain America and Passing the Torch to Sam.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • MatPat argued that the tuppence in Mary Poppins would have been worthless had Michael put it into the bank. Come its sequel, and it turns out the tuppence ends up being what was needed to save Michael's house.
    • MatPat constantly jokes that his Film Theories predicting future events don't actually happen, citing Rogue One, Last Jedi, and other such movies. Come 2019, though, and two of his theories, Black Widow dying in Avengers: Endgame and Dany becoming the Mad Queen in Game of Thrones, end up becoming correct. Making this all the more funnier is that his theory for The Rise of Skywalker (another Star Wars movie), in which Palpatine created Rey as per a contingency plan, also ends up being correct, albeit differently from how he predicted it.
  • It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: In his Zootopia video, MatPat cautioned viewers that his Film Theory and Game Theory series are intended for introducing people to new ideas that they can then research themselves and that the videos shouldn't be taken completely at face value. Given how his Zootopia video does discuss controversial real life topics like the War on Drugs and police brutality, it's probably for the best.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Same as in his Game Theory videos, MatPat has the tendency to not always distinguish between his own theories and those he is simply regurgitating, the most egregious example being his Game of Thrones theory. Not only had the R+L=J theory existed for years (and is easily one of the most well-known fan theories around), but certain terminology in the video (such as encouraging fans to come back to the video once the theory is inevitably confirmed in show to congratulate him for being right) has irked certain people, since it sounds as if he's actively trying to claim credit for it.
    • His Simpsons theory on Where the Hell Is Springfield? is more or less commonly known Simpsons trivia and not some mind blowing theory like he made it out to be.
    • His Escape the Night theory was figured out by the fandom of the series about two years before the release of his video, and before he went on the show, in fact. Some fans were...not very happy about how the 'theory' was rather unoriginal.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Jumps onto the bandwagon that the trolls from Frozen are evil and had manipulated Hans into turning evil.
  • Rooting for the Empire: His habit has even spilled over into his Film Theory videos, where he goes on about the economic impact of the destruction of the Death Star, while twice dismissing any possible effect of Alderaan's.
  • Uncanny Valley: Many of the episode's title cards tend to have characters with shocked faces on them. This isn't particularly bad if the character was already shocked, but they're often photoshopped with this face and the results are...unsettling.
  • Win Back The Crowd: His Don't Hug Me I'm Scared theory has been more warmly received, for using far less shaky evidence and logic than his more infamous theories. It helps that this was a long-requested theory as well.

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