James Rolfe Talks the Angry Video Game Nerd

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Few YouTube creators have had an impact as large as James Rolfe’s, with the Angry Video Game Nerd videos constantly cited by TCU listeners as having inspired their work – including Kevin. James, AVGN, Cinemassacre and the ecosystem they’ve built over the last 15 years paved the way for video game commentary content to flourish, and we’ve finally corralled James into spending some time talking to us about it. But if AVGN never existed and James started fresh today, what would his channel be about?

As James continues to refine his book, he knows one thing: it’s not possible to walk into a GameStop. Aside from the occasional public recognition, the AVGN life is fairly tame – unless someone sees him in traffic. It’s not all 8-bit life, though; the origins of the AVGN phenomenon can actually be found deep in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens with a film about the Legend of the Blue Hole.

AVGN itself started with a few funny videos and then evolved as its popularity grew. Production values increased along with the complexity of scripts, and a bit of profanity started to flow. But as James’ unique presence exploded and YouTube flourished, so did a legion of copycats. Even the ones who tried to be original tended to get angrier. That’s when it became obvious that AVGN was doing something different with its level of analysis and nuance… and James’ formula hasn’t changed.

The shows over the years have, though, for a host of reasons. Some just weren’t popular or worth the effort. Others, like Board James, ran their natural course. But for all the changes and evolutions, the core of the Nerd has remained the same – and James wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s the future hold? Horror, perhaps. The book. Conventions. Nerding and assorted Nerdery. It’s almost as if James is just getting started.

We’re sorry that no one could join us live for this one, since Discord went down right when we were recording and our options were to talk to James elsewhere or cancel entirely (and probably not be able to reschedule). Hopefully James can come back to promote his book and be subjected to the Patron Question Gauntlet (PGQ).

We’ve got Brady Haran of Numberphile (and 8 other channels!) on Tuesday at 6pm ET in the Discord, so GET INNNNN. We miss you.

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CREDITS:

Hosts: Kevin Lieber and Matt Tabor

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152 episodes