Sunday, July 26, 2020


It's difficult to keep up with the media landscape these days. With the world ending, a lot of movies that we were all looking forward to have been pushed back almost indefinitely. On the other hand, so many reviewers, YouTubers, and nostalgia wankers keep watching and re-watching the same handful of films ad nauseam. We can't have new cult classics if we keep worshiping the old classics forever; we need to look to the future and see what new creative minds are cooking up for us to consume. And that's why you need TROMA NOW!

It's my favorite streaming service. It does have all of the classic Troma movies that are essential for living, but there are new ones too; plus shorts, music videos, documentaries, classic films from the Roan archive, comics, and movies from up and coming new creators. 

In all honesty I wanted to bring this up because of the amazing movie, EVUL TWINZ. I cannot put into words how much I truly enjoy this movie. It's vulgar, disgusting, vile, irredeemable, but also somehow loving, charming, and just filled to bursting with personality. 

Sadly, there's no trailer I can share; EVUL TWINZ just suddenly appeared on Troma Now one day and the world was never the same. Like a meteor falling to the earth, EVUL TWINZ has left a huge impact; at least with me, I think it's great. 

The only synopsis I can give that doesn't spoil the whole story is Jack and Larry, the titular twins, are off their meds and are now hungry cannibals. That's it. That's the whole plot. 

I'm not sure if there will ever be a sequel. I hope so, but there's some stuff after the credits that indicate that there won't be. Mercedes the Muse, the director, did a great job with this movie and my fanboy dream would be for Jack and Larry to appear in the background of all her future films. 

So yeah, get Troma Now, watch amazingly strange and unique films, support living artists and new creators, and if that doesn't sound interesting to you then also consider that Troma Now has the complete Toxic Crusaders cartoon show and Toxic Crusader comics! 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Screaming and cursing at old video games

© Irate Gamer & AVGN 

So the Irate Gamer, Chris Bores, is making videos again. I think that's pretty great actually. I miss the era of angry, cartoony reviewers spouting out random curse words at old video games. There used to be a bunch but that trend has slowly slipped away and it's a bit of a bummer if you ask me. Cinemassacre's Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN), James Rolfe, has never stopped making content for his channel but he has expanded on the types of media he reviews. He even made a fun movie for his fans a few years ago. 

These reviewers are to my generation what horror hosts were to older generations. Oh, horror hosts are still around, James Rolfe (AVGN) definitely counts as one if you ask me, but the angry video game reviewer, or, video game reviewers in general are a by-product of video gaming culture. It's funny how it's the same sort of premise too; horror hosts and angry video game reviewers could showcase nothing but "good" movies or video games for their show, but I guess it's more fun to talk about the so-called "bad" movies or video games. I bet there are cultural and psychological reasons for that but I'm not one to comment on that sort of thing. 

Currently, Mister Lobo of Cinema Insomnia and OSI74 do an amazing job and carrying on the classic horror host tradition, but there's also Mummy and the Monkey, Arachna of the Spider People from Beware Theater, and the newest host on the block, Igorro! They're all amazing and you should definitely check them out. 

In his newest video, second to the newest season, Chris Bores and James Rolfe team-up so that the Irate Gamer can get through reviewing Dick Tracy for the NES. It's a fun video, even if AVGN already reviewed that game like a decade ago. There are lots of references to old AVGN episodes, old Irate Gamer episodes, some simple homages to reviewers from the past, and even some shade tossed at Channel Awesome for good measure. Chris, as the Irate Gamer, is absolutely energetic in this and you can tell he's giving it his all. James, as AVGN, is a bit more subdued than usual but you can tell he's enjoying his extended cameo in the episode. I hope they work together again sometime soon. 

There were a bunch of shows on TV when I was a kid that had the roots of all this stuff; Nick Arcade for example, or Video Power with Johnny Arcade. There were a bunch more but my memory is pretty hazy. The hosts in these old shows were presented as like masters of the games, and they'd share their expertise and tips with the kids watching.

It was always said that Irate Gamer definitely took inspiration from AVGN, and that's pretty apparent when you watch his older videos, but I never saw that as a bad thing. Everyone takes inspiration from something they enjoy and it's fun to recreate it or to emulate it in your own way. The Irate Gamer and AVGN shows are prettty different, even if the through-plot is "let's scream and cruse at old frustrating video games".

Actually, I purchased the first three seasons of The Irate Gamer on DVD from the Irate Store on Etsy. I really didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did. It's definitely a show from the early days of YouTube; no lavish sets or lighting, charming special effects that remind me of old public access shows that I enjoyed, and there's an odd but easily accessible theology to Irate Gamer that's pretty fun. There are evil twins, monsters, skeletons, and all kinds of fun nonsense. By their nature, shows like this are silly and any attempt to take them too seriously is the wrong way to enjoy them. It's a good time, not a super serious critique. 

If you're wondering about the Irate Gamer DVD; it's good. All the old, classic episodes are there. There is some bonus content (bloopers, trailers, etc.), and if you appreciate this genre it's definitely worth it. My favorite episode is the one where Irate Gamer reviews all the E.T. games and hates them, but is far too nostalgic for the movie to destroy them.  It's pretty funny. 

It is pretty fun to poke fun at this genre though. In reality, both Irate Gamer and AVGN are more showcases of reactions with a sprinkling of a review during any given episode. I guess video game fans wanted more serious reviews from critics, and that's how the cable channel G4 came to be back in the early 2000's; there was a clear market for video gaming reviews as a cultural touchstone and since video games were sort of transcending the "game" aspect and leaning more into a "serious medium" for storytelling, video game fans just wanted to be taken more seriously, so we got stuff like XPlay and Attack of the Show

I mean that's just a thought, I don't really know. I grew up with a show called The Anti-Gravity room on Sci-Fi channel, and I feel like the programming on G4 was the next inevitable evolution of that same overall concept. Admittedly, Anti-Gravity was more general nerd sub-cultural stuff (of it's day of course, now it's all more mainstream) so the focus wasn't entirely on video games.

Again it's all in good fun, and I don't like poking fun at the work anyone does for their videos. I feel like it's needlessly mean; but it did give us the greatest episode of Game Grumps ever. 

I genuinely watch this video whenever I need a good laugh and it's always, ALWAYS funny. Apparently they're making fun of both Irate Gamer but more a guy who called himself The Game Dude, or Gamedude8899. He was another reviewer inspired by the AVGN method of screaming and cursing at old video games. 

Regrettably, Game Dude is a bit more infamous because of the choices he made in his personal life. His reviews are mostly fine I suppose, but they never reached the quality I think he wanted. I'm not sure how I can say that, but I watched a few episodes recently and there's something missing that I can't really put my finger on. 

A number of Game Dude's reviews have been saved and archived by the YouTube account, GameDude8899, and if nothing else they're worth checking out as a curiosity of their time period.

 The Game Dude theme song is a real ear-worm too, so be wary. I find myself humming it at times and I'm not sure how to feel about that. 

So yeah, I'm not much of a gamer. I enjoy fighting games, and when I was younger I'd play some platform games. I do have a Steam account so I've been trying to get back into it but I don't think I really have the patience for video games like I used to. Like, I don't think I can dedicate 10 hours or more of my life to any game like I used to when I was a kid. These days, I can play for about an hour at a time.

I don't even have any consoles anymore, besides this portable Atari throwback device that I play every once in a while. It has BOTH Yars Revenge games on it! BOTH!! It's basically everything I ever wanted from a portable console. 

Maybe I should start a show called The Modestly Content Average Gamer™ (MCAG) where I play a game for a little while, get bored, check my smartphone, then take a nap. It'll be a cult sensation for sure!