Hey everybody. Since Bores is drilling himself deeper into the Skylanders hole with no intention to get out, the blog has been sparse.
So a reader offered to contribute content, his own theory on what the Irate Gamer is.
After this line, read Brandon's theory. Enjoy.
Just What is Up With the Irate Gamer Anyway?
Hello there, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brandon Brown. It might not mean much right now, but let it be known for the record. Now, the following exposition assumes that you're vaguely familiar with the Irate Gamer's work at best (unless, of course, you're reading this from the blog; in which case, the majority of it will be preaching to the choir.) If you're not, you will be by the end of this.
Started in 2007 by Chris Bores, the Irate Gamer became one of the better known reviewers of the first game reviewing boom that occurred in the infancy of YouTube. Though his show was one of the more successful ones to come out of this lucrative time, it was also, quite possibly, the most universally reviled of all. The reasons for this ranging from, what many viewers perceived to be, a lack of substance suffocated with gratuitous special effects, intellectually dishonest representations of many beloved games, sub-par writing, acting, and direction, and even plagiarism from the works of other reviewers, most notably the Angry Video Game Nerd. However, the past transgressions of Mr. Bores will not be the main focus of this exposition, but will be cited at certain times to give backing to the assertions to which they apply.
Let's begin with the very character of the Irate Gamer himself. If there's one thing Mr. Bores has done right by the character, it's that he consistently gets mad about some of the details of each game that he reviews. Unfortunately, that's one of the only things about the Irate Gamer that is consistent. For example, he gets mad at Contra for being difficult, but then gets mad at Power Rangers on the Sega Genesis for being easy. On top of that, he's very inconsistent with how he treats his friends. In the MUSCLE review, he makes his friend Tony welcome to be a part of the review and even values his opinion of the game. In the review of Power Rangers on the Super Nintendo, however, he throws him out after making a simple observation. What's worse than this is the Irate Gamer's tendency to frequently dabble in a bit of the old ultra-violence. This can be seen not only in the ways that he destroys many of the games he reviews, which would be extremely gruesome if recreated on humans, but also in the ways that he just plays the games. Like in the Goonies 2 episode where the Irate Gamer repeatedly strikes an elderly woman in the game with a hammer, and takes pleasure in needlessly causing her pain.
Not only does he dabble in that, but also in the occasional killing of other characters. Unlike the Angry Video Game Nerd's violent encounters with Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and even Bugs Bunny, where his killings are more justified as his life appears to be in grave danger as a result of their actions, most of the Irate Gamer's homicidal incidents are either caused by an annoyance or, in the case of R.O.B. The Robot, his abusive nature.
A truly odd phenomenon you might pick up on as you watch the Irate Gamer Show is that most of victims who are killed off in this fashion tend to reappear alive in a later episode. Though an average viewer could chalk this up to one of the many discontinuities that Bores' flawed writing lets slide, I believe that it's possible that they are apparitions formed by the Irate Gamer's conscience, the voices of his victims resonating with the hope that he will reflect on the consequences of his actions. Their cries fall on deaf ears, as the Irate Gamer doesn't pay them the attention that the reappearance of a previously killed off character should reasonably be getting or even show remorse for any of his actions, and since their deaths don't have any major impact whatsoever as far as the narrative is concerned, it's almost as if he wants the viewer not to think about it either.
This isn't to say that he has only shed the blood of innocents in his 7-year run. The most justifiable is found in the Predator episode. While it's questionable as to why the Predator appears in the way that he does, it's unmistakable that he wants to kill the Irate Gamer. In spite of the Predator's uncharacteristic weakness, the Irate Gamer overpowers and kills him, and he never reappears in the later episodes. If you've seen the Season 4 story arc, you might be wondering why I've omitted the Odyssey clones, namely the giant one, but I'll explain that later.
As deplorable or occasionally understandable each killing is, none of them is surpassed by his actions in the conclusion of his ET episodes. Following a highly improbable escape from the FBI, and the subsequent “reviews” which, for no explained reason, required him to return to the place that they were at in order to be completed, the Irate Gamer puts all of the ET games into a box with what is supposed to be an explosive device. The box is then retrieved by what we can assume are the aliens that brought ET home in the film. The Irate Gamer seems satisfied to have made the reunion possible. This is until he reflects on all of the displeasure that the games caused him over the past two episodes. Without any hesitation, he triggers the explosives, destroying the alien spacecraft in the process.
Any person who knows their history and/or keeps track of world events can reasonably infer that an attack on a vessel, military or civilian, is usually elevated to a global crisis soon after it occurs. By extension, an attack on an extraterrestrial vessel, could quite possibly spur a conflict of interstellar proportions. A conflict that could lead to an all-out war against humanity, one that could bring its extinction well into the realm of possibility, all because of one ultra-violent video game reviewer's petty annoyance with some poorly made games. Nevertheless, it won't matter because no matter how much trouble his weakness in the forebrain will cause him to get into, his most ideal scenario will always play out in the end. It's mainly because of Bores' anemic writing that all of the Irate Gamer's conflicts are ultimately rendered pointless and cheap, as he never really has to grow or overcome anything because something will always happen, whether logic permits or not, that will solve his problems for him. The ultimate casualties are the missed opportunities for interesting and satisfying stories, such as an interstellar war that could have been rich in science fiction themes; but even if Bores were to do such a thing now, it would seem like quite the afterthought given how far removed the subsequent episodes are from the idea.
Now, it would be wise for me to get off the subject of killing before it becomes cancerous and corrupts the bigger theory ahead, so I'll now turn to the Evil Gamer for the time being. The Evil Gamer first appeared in the Super Mario Bros. 2 episode, and despite his namesake, he began as a relatively mild character who looked exactly like the Irate Gamer. Despite having less than a minute of screen time before hand, he attempts to violently takeover the Irate Gamer's show, but fails and gets killed by the Irate Gamer (trust me, we're past the whole killing thing... for now). He spends a considerable amount of time plotting against the Irate Gamer in Hell, yet this can only be assumed since none of the planning is shown or explained until it has been executed, and he eventually ends up roaming the Earth once more. The Monster Party episode begins with him explaining that he was the mastermind of certain attempts on the Irate Gamer's life, and that he is going to put his ultimate scheme to get rid of the Irate Gamer into motion very soon. Predictably, it ends in failure. It's also notable that the Evil Gamer's appearance changes to, based on Bores' Back to the Past video, what is assumed to be the way Bores looked in his younger years.
The Season 4 story arc has the Evil Gamer demoted to being a simple minion of the Shadow Overlord (clever name, by the way, Bores). It's in the 7-Up Spot episode that we see Evil Gamer making an attempt to steal the Irate Gamer's Magnavox Odyssey so that the Shadow Overlord can make an army of robots based on the computer HAL that the Irate Gamer fought against during the History of Video Games series. After finally accomplishing something, the Evil Gamer, along with the original HAL who has been given a body and the name RED (which stands for, get this, Robotic Electromat[sic] Device. Pure genius), gives orders to the army of Odyssey clones to start a war.
Irate Gamer responds by sending ROB the Robot, who, despite being completely disintegrated in the conclusion of the eponymous episode, has been repaired and reprogrammed to be one of the “good guys” (Again, I'll be explaining this at the end, which is near), out to fight the clones. Seven episodes (and two years in real time) later, the Shadow Overlord unleashes his final ace-in-the-hole: a giant Odyssey Clone which, oddly enough, is the only one that even begins to demonstrate that it's actually a threat. He does this by knocking down buildings and trampling the X-Men, half of them having just come back to life after being killed four episodes prior by, who else, the Irate Gamer (and here I was thinking that he should be the hero of the story. Syndrome from The Incredibles seems to be a more benign character than him, and a better written one I might add).
A mysterious figure then appears before the Irate Gamer and takes him somewhere to “meet up with his friends”. This mysterious figure, for those who can recall the highly forgettable He-Man and the Masters of the Universe episode, is the same person who gave the Irate Gamer the Sword of Macguffin and the Power of Macguffin/Macguffin Force that accompanies it (No, that's not a cheap insult, it's merely the form of the plot device stripped of its total unoriginality). What does this omnipotent force afford him you ask? It pretty much just changes his shirt a different color, allows him to go inside a television, and gives him the ability to attempt to suspend disbelief to the point that one could think that the X-Men, despite having dealt with many superior behemoths, namely the Sentinels, throughout the comics, TV shows, and even the most recent film, are incapable of handling the situation yet a homicidal, third-rate, Internet video game “reviewer” and his merry band of severely underdeveloped companions are the only people who can get the job done.
So, after over six months of real time, the cloaked stranger takes the Irate Gamer to a place where we see his frequent punching bags (I mean, friends) and an elderly fellow named the Sage Elder (refer to Shadow Overlord comment) who tells them that they must pilot a Megazord just like in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, as the Wise Sage points out. “Quiet you, you wanna get us all sued?” says the Elder not realizing that a simple name drop is trivial compared to the blatant lifting of copyrighted ideas and footage found over the next two episodes (Episodes which Bores fully intends to sell on a DVD for the purpose of economic gain despite not owning of all their content or likely even having the proper authorization to profit from it).
Their plan hits a snag as the Megazord is out of power, and the Irate Gamer must use the Power of Macguffin/Macguffin Force in order to make it fully operational. Conveniently, the way he is told to summon it is by “reviewing” another game: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the Sega Genesis. (Now here's a fast fact: This episode was my main motivation for escalating my distaste with the Irate Gamer Show to the point of actually writing about it. More specifically, it was the fact that he “reviewed” a game on the Sega Genesis, which was the first console I ever played extensively and could recall fond memories of.) After successfully regaining power, the Irate Gamer and company take on the giant Odyssey Clone. Despite the stock footage having put up a strong fight, the Megazord falls and is about to be destroyed.
In the final episode, the Genie saves the day just before the giant Odyssey Clone can finish the Irate Gamer Team. He diverts the Clone's attention long enough for the Irate Gamer to “review” Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the Sega CD. It's when the Genie becomes fatigued that the Megazord reaches full power once more. This time, Irate Gamer is equipped with the Sword of Macguffin (which, despite originally being made of plastic and small enough to be handled by a single man, is now the same as the sword used by the Megazord in the TV show). The Irate Gamer makes short work of the Clone, with the Clone yielding and uttering “Please don't hurt me.” before being killed. The citizens of Nondescript Greenscreen City, populated by a few guest stars, some of whom were former detractors of his, and, as the credits read, “a lot of Chris Bores's” (Now that's guaranteed to have a red line under it, SuperGGangsta.), make a joyful noise unto the Zord. Even the departed X-Men cheer from the heavens despite having been sent there by the Zord's pilot in the first place. The body of the giant Odyssey then crushes the Shadow Overlord, making RED and the Evil Gamer free to go get pizza, and the Irate Gamer inspired to “review” more games in the future; and there you have the Season 4 story arc in summary (An arc that would probably take as long, if not a shorter lapse of time, to watch it as it would to read it).
Now, before I get to the big reveal, I'll give my final thoughts on how Mr. Bores can improve future episodes should he decide to keep the show alive. First and foremost, the very structure of the reviewing portion needs an almost complete makeover. So little is actually done right (among those most of the basic facts) with his current reviewing format that each flaw continually becomes more obvious with each episode, culminating in the last two episodes where he transparently shows us that even though he and everyone around him are in “immediate danger”, the Irate Gamer still has all the time he needs to play and review games with the same demeanor and amount of content as other less perilous episodes. Despite what that little metahumor suggests, I'm not so dense as to not mention that Mr. Bores most likely spends more time than that playing the games, but such gems as the Brutal Legend and South Park: Stick of Truth IG Neo episodes seem to raise doubts on the notion. Last but not least, he should sharpen the writing as a whole. Besides the reviewing, the plots should be more complex, the characters, Irate Gamer most of all, should be more likable, the comedy should be more set-up and deliberate instead of opting for the Seltzerberg-esque approach which has plagued his videos in varying degrees. I could go on, but, quite frankly, enough is enough. Now we get to the marrow, and perhaps the very soul, of this misguided work of fiction we know as the Irate Gamer.
Trusting that you'll recall the reappearance phonemenon that I mentioned (if you don't, I suggest scrolling up a bit), I'll continue with the example of the Evil Gamer. The change in his appearance which I spoke on earlier has a more symbolic meaning than it seems to let on. This is because the Evil Gamer represents Bores' opinions of the Angry Video Game Nerd. At first glance, he looks identical to the Irate Gamer and, despite not being much of a friend to him, has a noticeable yet downplayed presence in the show until he unsuccessfully attempts to kill him. Following this failure, the Evil Gamer continues to bear the same resemblance and attempt to kill the Irate Gamer. It's after the Evil Gamer's escape from Hell that his appearance changes to that of the younger Bores and his schemes turn even more cartoonishly grandiose, with him spawning an entire army of clones who oppose the Irate Gamer with a Magnavox Odyssey.
Translated, the identical appearance refers to vast similarity between AVGN and the Irate Gamer (which is widely believed to have been caused by Bores plagiarizing AVGN material) and Evil Gamer's initial presence represents James Rolfe's intention to ignore Bores' work. The Evil Gamer's fruitless efforts in Hell represents the “retaliatory” increase in production scale that AVGN episodes of the time began to see. The change in appearance, logically, represents the Irate Gamer becoming a more different reviewer than the AVGN by depicting AVGN as what he used to look like. The Magnavox Odyssey represents the old technology that the AVGN built his show on and the clones represent the mindless entities who are assumed to be his fans.
Let's now move onto RED and the Giant Odyssey Clone. While RED could possibly be, by loose interpretation, a more contemporary gaming personality such as JonTron considering Evil Gamer brought him to life in his more refined form and he commands a sizable following, RED most likely represents Mike Matei as he previously did battle with the Irate Gamer, is close to Evil Gamer, and commands a sizable following alongside Evil Gamer. While the battle I refer to occurred during the History of Video Games series, it represents another incident where Mike Matei leaked a PM that was sent to the AVGN's YouTube channel by Chris Bores wherein he confessed that he was fully aware of the similarities between their programs, and even showed interest in doing a crossover. The Giant Odyssey Clone is a collective representation of AVGN's fame, credibility, character, and influence. In more concise terms, the Giant Odyssey Clone is everything that AVGN built. It's portrayed as only being destructive, and most of the time that it's onscreen, it is seen muttering “Destroy.” with every building it knocks down. This changes when it is brought to the brink of destruction by the Irate Gamer, at which point it cries “Please, don't hurt me.” However, it must be noted that the deus ex machina in the form of the Genie was the only thing that made Irate Gamer victorious, otherwise, he and his friends would most likely have fallen. Oddly enough, the Genie himself has a symbolic meaning, but he does not represent a specific person.
In fact, he represents the Cheetahmen 2 incident that occurred in 2012 which he exploited to turn misinformed AVGN fans and former detractors into his fans through the use of the Ebegging spoof video (cleverly titled Ebegging: The Spoof). To those who turned, the Giant Odyssey Clone and all that it stood for had been destroyed indefinitely.
And now, as we come to all of these conclusions, we answer the titular question: just what is up with the Irate Gamer anyway? The answer may come as a shock, but I will explain it as gently as possible. The Irate Gamer represents everything that society at large believes is wrong with gamers. Among these things are immaturity, antisocial behavior, exaggerated motions when seen playing (like in various movies), and the pathological need to kill. On the other hand, he also represents everything that many gamers want to be. That is, his character and the events that make up the show's continuity are the embodiment of the fantasy he has constructed within his mind, a trait widely believed to tap into the escapist fantasies that many gamers construct when left to their own devices. What makes the show suffer in its quality lies in the deeply rooted and tightly coiled tether of harsh reality that keeps his fantasy from truly becoming as elaborate and gratifying as he wishes. The harsh reality being that he is actually a repressed, mentally off-balanced, homicidal weakling who is the polar opposite of what he imagines himself as. It is in the finale that he finally receives the adoration he needs in order to make his fantasy complete. However, like the peace that Adrian Veidt brokered in Watchmen, his ultimate victory isn't truly won.
Like the Irate Gamer wouldn't have been able to save the day without the Genie suddenly sparring with the Giant Odyssey Clone, Bores wouldn't even have a prayer of taking down the AVGN had it not been for the Cheetahmen 2 incident. There is a disconnect, however, as not only did the incident not destroy anything that the Giant Odyssey Clone signified, AVGN remains far more popular than the Irate Gamer to this day. On top of that, when the Irate Gamer expects to be further praised on the news for what he just did, the newscaster instead drops some more cold, hard reality by saying that the Power Rangers were responsible for the saving the day (because apparently newscasters like their metahumor with a strong dash of karma).
Given the fact that this may not be the end of the Irate Gamer Show, maybe the Irate Gamer will come to grips with the issues that he has. Maybe he will fulfill that fantasy that he created for himself. Maybe he will get better; but should that not be the case, anyone who has the indignation to be critical of Mr. Bores would do well to steer clear of future blunders.
So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think Bores is really smart enough to pull this off? Discuss among yourselves.