Monday, May 9, 2011

Meeting the Angry Video Game Nerd

This past weekend I got to meet the Angry Video Game Nerd. For the uninitiated the Nerd is a foul-mouthed, beer drinking nerd who tortures himself by reviewing the crappiest video games in history. His reviews are so entertaining because James Rolfe who created and stars as the Nerd is a really talented guy. He directs, writes, acts, and owns his own production company Cinemassacre. (I guess that's a quadruple threat?). The humor in his videos is mainly of the scatological variety, but that's part of it's draw; he says what some of us might think, but most of us would never say.

There's definitely a nostalgic element to the videos. I and much of my generation grew up playing, Atari, Nintendo and other early video game systems. But those days are far behind us. I don't even think Atari is compatible with digital televisions.

Rolfe, who has basically been a director since he could carry a video camera, is the ultimate movie buff and so he fills his videos with endless tributes to popular culture. One of my favorite episodes is his review of Star Trek video games which features an homage to the original series' absurd fight scenes.

And Rolfe is no one trick pony, in addition to the Nerd he does other series such as Board James, You Know What's Bullshit, and Over Analyzers. He's done short film work like The Deader the Better and Legend of the Blue Hole. He does movie reviews, examines the history of movies and video technologies and has documentaries about visiting the locations featured in movies.

The one common thread is that you feel like you get to know the real James Rolfe. I know it's the Johnny Carson syndrome and I don't really know him, but I feel like I do.

Rolfe attended the Too Many Games Convention in Oaks, PA (about a 5 minutes drive from my apartment) and my wife and I went to the convention just to see the Nerd in person.

First there was a screening of some of the Nerd videos. Then there was a Q and A session during which it struck me is how good Rolfe is to his fans, no matter what kind of a loaded questions people asked or no matter how socially awkward the questioner was, he just rolled with it and was always polite.

I had all these things I wanted to talk to him about. I wanted to tell him about my experiences writing screenplays and filming short films from way back when I was still in High School. I also wanted to ask his advice because I'm thinking about doing some filming in the ghost town of Centralia, PA, but there was such a tremendous crowd to see Rolfe, even at this tiny suburban convention that I didn't really get the chance. Basically all Rolfe had time for was to sign my stuff and let me snap a picture with him.

Don't get me wrong, It was neat to meet him and shake his hand and tell him I was a fan, and I appreciate him signing my SNES and the ET Atari Cartridge (that might be worth something in the future because ET will be the featured game in the upcoming Angry Video Game Nerd feature film) and I love having the picture (though I wish I'd put down my bag). It's just like I said before, I've watched so many of the videos I sometimes feel like we're already old friends and it's disappointing when that false image is shattered. He doesn't actually know me and probably never will.


  1. Excellent article, I know exactly what your saying. He is very good to his fans in that he takes requests, shows up at conventions and is just generally a likeable figure. I have watched all his videos on his YouTube channel and follow him on facebook just so I can lmow exactly when the new vids are out! ;)

  2. I know it's been a day and 7 years since you posted this, but man i gotta say... That is the absolute worst photo that you could have possibly taken with the nerd. You actually made him look cool by how Aspergery awkward you and your shoulder bag stood there. Don't get me wrong, I love it. Cracked me right up. And you got to meet someone you admire which is a great experience. You just hilariously botched the picture to the point that anyone that may not know who the nerd is, would just assume that you must obviously be the nerd and you're taking an "in character" photo with an excited fan. Love it.