Weird Video Wednesday: AVGN meets Seaman

The Angry Video Game Nerd (formerly the Angry Nintendo Nerd) has to be one of the most consistently entertaining Youtubers out there. Often puerile, always funny, I’ve been an on-off fan of James Rolfe’s content for years. With over 100 episodes exploring some of the worst and weirdest videogames ever made, I can practically guarantee this won’t be the last time I draw upon the AVGN back catalogue in this weekly ritual.

For me, the most compelling videos from the AVGN are those that teach the viewer about an interesting topic, showcase some impressive video editing skills, and feature plenty of relatable “I’d hate to play that” moments. All of the above through an unhealthy swear filter. Why Seaman for Dreamcast then, and not an earlier, classic episode like Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

Well, Seaman is a fascinating and utterly bizarre game from the mind of Yoot Saito – we all know what that entails – and Rolfe does a stellar job of getting the key info across. On top of that, this video wonderfully showcases his own creative sense of humour by taking this video in some crazy directions above and beyond even what Saito is capable of. Now that’s really saying something, isn’t it!?

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13 comments

  1. Red Metal

    The AVGN has made a lot of hilarious videos over the years, hasn’t he? I’ve been following his content since late 2006 when he started out on YouTube. Hard to believe it’s almost been ten years. I agree with you in that I feel he has been more consistently funny than many of the people he may have inspired. I think what helps is that his anger is exaggerated and goofy while the other people doing the caustic critic thing are more genuine in their negativity, giving their content a toxic vibe.

    • themancalledscott

      Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw is probably the worst such offender of the “toxic vibe” I can think of. Just another self-important hipster who gets off on ridiculing the things people like and drops as many f/c-bombs as possible to appear “edgy.” He’s everything that’s wrong with gaming critiques.

      AVGN is hilarious though. Just a shame so many people lump him with the annoying and unfunny nostalgia critic as though they are on equal levels.

      • Red Metal

        Though one wouldn’t think it, I do enjoy his reviews. In fact, it was through his work that I found myself encouraged to try Dark Souls and Papers, Please out for myself – both of those games I enjoyed immensely. I also mentioned him in some of my essays (though not by name). That said, I totally understand where you’re coming from, and I myself think that his biggest weakness as a critic is that he really lets his biases get the better of him (his secondary weakness is that he seems to have a hard time accepting that people may not share the same opinion as him). In fact, in a weird way, he’s one of the people who inspired me to become a game critic myself, but not in the way one would expect. Indeed, when I set out to create my review site, it was with the goal of becoming his antithesis.

        Enjoying video games as a hobby is largely (I would also argue wrongly) perceived as immature by those not in the know, but considering that the juvenile, egotistical critics are put up on a high pedestal by its members while the professional ones are mostly ignored, it really doesn’t help their case, does it? I’d say his popularity is more of a symptom, rather than the cause, of this poorly-thought-out form of cynicism that’s pervasive on the internet because it was headed in that direction anyway; if it wasn’t him they latched onto, it would have been another (though I think we have him to blame for the annoying anti-Nintendo sentiment that pops up every now and again – that’s what happens when you follow someone’s word blindly without thinking for yourself). He has mentioned hating hipsters, but according to a completely reliable source, hipsters love saying how much they hate hipsters, so…

        As for the Nostalgia Critic, I do like his work as well, but he is a lot more hit-or-miss, which is likely a natural consequence of his being a weekly show, so it makes sense that the quality would be more likely to stagnate. The Nerd’s track record isn’t perfect, but his duds are far and few in between because it’s clear he takes more time to make his videos. Again, I like the Critic (it helps that he comes across as a deconstruction of the caustic critic despite being one of the first to really cement the trope), but I won’t raise a finger to defend him if you don’t.

      • veryverygaming

        Interesting debate! I think I’m somewhere in the middle of you two with these other Youtube critics. Not a fan of the Nostalgia Critic – too shrill. Ben Yahtzee I’ve barely watched. The stuff I saw of his was OK but not compelling enough for me to go back to check out his output. I should also put in a word for the Happy Video Game Nerd, I can’t vouch for him entirely as I’ve only watched his review of Enemy Zero on the Saturn, but that was really good and balanced I thought. And, definitely his shtick is a reaction against the kind of cynicism you guys are talking about, so you might want to check him out.

        Overall I think it’s a really interesting question about negativity when discussing games. Generally I tune out/ignore anything that I find overly negative but it’s a fine line sometimes. I was put onto a gaming podcast recently called Cane and Rinse, that, while pretty good for the most part, I decided to stop listening to because there was a certain negative vibe that kept cropping up regularly. It’s one of those weird things that is hard to put my finger on. Something about the fact that every discussion of every game from the pre-HD era has to include at least one comment about how “the graphics aren’t that great, it’s not HD”, as if that needed to be said. There’s just some little things like that, it’s not bad but over time it irritates me. (Now sincerely hoping I don’t come off as too negative on my podcast…)

        • themancalledscott

          That’s exactly what gets me with the Nostalgia Critic. Everything is shrill, shrieking, screaming… It’s just an assault on the ears! Not to mention he likes those Transformers movies waaaay too much (nostalgia should only go so far).

          I find Ben Yahtzee to be utterly repugnant. He basically represents everything that’s wrong with gamers these days. If I were someone who didn’t play video games, and saw his videos for reference, I probably would never touch them. I wouldn’t want to be a part of something that creates such a repellent human being.

          It’s hard to say why gamers are so negative. Sadly, movie audiences are becoming similar these days. I’ve written more than a few blogs on the subject, but it just seems like people these days want to hate things. It’s sad really… Hopefully it all ends up being just a fad, and eventually people will get back to having actual opinions instead of letting cynicism be their guide.

          • veryverygaming

            I watched a few more Zero Punctuation videos… yeah, not for me. I think they’re OK, but you have to like a person to some extent to find them funny. And I don’t find these vids funny (and to be funny seems to be the main aim as they aren’t particularly informative).

            I noticed on his wiki page he cites Charlie Brooker as one of his biggest influences, which makes a lot of sense as they have a similarly deadpan delivery style. The difference is I really like Brooker and do find him funny. Go figure.

          • themancalledscott

            Exactly. Nothing about his videos seem informative, just slandering and swearing in an act of extolling his own virtues by belittling what other people like. There’s no real reviewing to them.

            On an unrelated note, I figured I’d drop a little self-promotion and let you know I recently wrote a blog chronicling all of my Game of the Years (and an additional one with statistics based on said blog) if you want you check it out. And feel free to self-promote yourself on my site any time.

  2. themancalledscott

    I feel AVGN’s best episodes are Dark Castle, Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, and his movie review of TMNT 3, which sums up all my feelings of that movie beautifully.

    • veryverygaming

      The Big Rigs episode was amazing, I forgot about that one! Is Dark Castle the Megadrive/CD-i game? If so I know the one you’re talking about (curse these generic game names). I’ve not seen the TMNT 3 review. Don’t know anything about the films but I might check it out anyway.

      • themancalledscott

        Yes, that’s the Dark Castle one. He starts with the Genesis/Megadrive version then moves onto the CDi one, which he eventually whips.

        Definitely check out his TMNT3 review. It gives a basic idea of the movie even if you haven’t seen it.

        Still hoping AVGN tackles Sonic 2006 one day.

  3. moresleepneeded

    I have not heard of this game, but it does seem strange. The game seems to be intended as a high concept, such as demonstrating ideas similar to actual life (like only continuing forward and not being able to replay material) and some seemingly spiritual elements (the idea of watching these creatures grow with little control over them and not being able to use tricks to speed up the game). It must seem a little boring, watching the Seamen and only being able to slightly control their environment and constantly staring at such weird looking creatures. I was interested to see a device which allowed the Dreamcast to be voice activated and the game being dated by immediately assuming the year is 1998.

      • moresleepneeded

        Unfortunately, I have not heard of Hey You Pikachu. I can see how this sort of game could be played on the Nintendo 64, I remember the controller allowed the player to plug in a number of attachments, some of which seemed to be designed for use with one game.

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