James Duncan Rolfe (born July 10, 1980) and Mike Matei (born October 5, 1980 ), better known online as Cinemassacre (or The Angry Video Game Nerd, formerly JamesNintendoNerd), are YouTubers who hosts multiple shows which one of them is The Angry Video Game Nerd. The Angry Video Game Nerd reviews classic games from past video game consoles such as NES, SNES and others. His videos mainly consist of comical gaming reviews that involve Rolfe getting extremely angry at bad video games. The show is written and produced by Rolfe and Matei.
The channel is also host to James & Mike Mondays, a Let's Play style show with Rolfe and friend Mike Matei. He also reviewed the infamous "worst video game of all time" Atari E.T. game from 1982 in his official movie.
Rolfe and the Nerd series have been extremely influential in popularizing and pioneering internet reviewing, with YouTubers such as JonTron and Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic) acknowledging Rolfe as a inspiration as well as his non AVGN videos. Many have also called Rolfe one of the most important internet celebrities.
James Duncan Rolfe (born July 10, 1980) is an American actor, filmmaker, film/video game critic, and internet personality. Rolfe is best known for creating and starring in the webshow Angry Video Game Nerd, a joint production of Rolfe's Cinemassacre Productions, GameTrailers, and ScrewAttack on the online video platform YouTube. His other projects include reviews of board games and classic horror films.
Rolfe began creating homemade video productions in the late 1980s. He has created more than 270 film, including shorts, features and webisodes, during his career. His career as an Internet celebrity took off in 2004 with the beginning of the Angry Video Game Nerd. Two years later, Rolfe gained mainstream attention when one of his videos went viral after friend and collaborator Mike Matei persuaded him to publish them on the Internet. Between this time, he filmed videos he created on his own and most of them have been released on his website, Cinemassacre.
Rolfe was born in New Jersey on July 10, 1980. His parents bought him an audio recorder as a Christmas present sometime in the early to mid-1980s. Later, he got a camera and took photographs with friends performing fights for new projects. He was inspired by The Legend of Zelda and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to create adventure stories. Rolfe also illustrated comic books, which he updated monthly. One such comic he created had a plot inspired by the video game The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Rolfe started filming shorts in 1989 and continued this hobby into the early 1990s. He used Mario Paint for a few of his early films. He eventually took classes for hand-drawn animation at a university. His early films did not have scripts or rehearsal. However, once he started writing scripts, his friends gradually lost interest because of the pressure of trying to remember their lines, which left many of Rolfe's films unfinished. He then tried his hand at action figures or puppets. The plot of The Giant Movie Director (1994) involved toys coming to life.
Rolfe attended the University of the Arts and has a bachelor's degree in fine arts.
Since his early teen years, Rolfe operated and ran an annual "haunted house" Halloween attraction out of his parents garage (the same garage was later used in building a graveyard for his horror comedy film The Deader, the Better and again used in his film/series pilot Jersey Odysseys: Legend of the Blue Hole), using a collection of several props and antiques that he later reused multiple times in his other films.
In May 1996, he filmed A Night of Total Terror in his backyard, a horror film that he has called "the turning point of my life". In the late 1990s, Rolfe created several films such as the B-horror movie The Head Incident that he finished in 1999 but did not release until its tenth anniversary in 2009. He also made Cinemaphobia in 2001, which follows an actor who suffers from an overload of work and sees hallucinations of cameras following him. Two versions of the film were made, a ten-minute version and an extended, fifteen-minute version. Rolfe has stated his preference for the shorter ten-minute version. The same year, he created Kung Fu Werewolf from Outer Space which is a mainly silent movie except for narration. He also created an hour-long comedy film entitled Stoney, which is a spoof of the 1976 film Rocky. His eighth film of 2001 was It Came from Beyond the Toilet. In 2003, he created another film, Curse of the Cat Lover's Grave, which was split into three parts to define three different horror genres. Rolfe made a pilot of a planned web series entitled Jersey Odysseys: Legend of the Blue Hole, which is based on the urban legends of the state of New Jersey. The pilot centers around on the legend of the Jersey Devil.
Later, in 2004, he got a job editing industrial training videos, which he quit in early 2007.
In May 2007, he began a new web series called You Know What's Bullshit?, in which he rants about everyday pet peeves; such as pennies, shoelaces, pay toilets, and printers. Originally just being rants by Rolfe, he instead decided to create a new character to host the series–"The Bullshit Man" (which is just Rolfe wearing a mask resembling cow dung).
In 2007, Rolfe began filming The Deader, the Better, a classic-style B-movie horror film that pays homage to the 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead. The film was shown at the Atlanta Horror Fest in October 2007. On May 5, 2006, Rolfe released a music video that included stock footage from a trip he had made to England and Scotland. The music used in his work was from the Black Sabbath single "Heaven and Hell". Rolfe also participated in the 48 Hour Film Project between 2004 and 2007. In the 2007 event, he was the Audience Award Winner for his film Spaghetti Western. His other entries were a trilogy of films called Death Suit (2004), Death Seen (2005) and Death Secret (2006).
Angry Video Game Nerd
Rolfe's career did not gain much momentum until May 2004, when he filmed a 5-minute short review of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game Castlevania II: Simon's Quest under the name "Bad NES Games". His character was originally named "The Angry Nintendo Nerd" but was changed to "The Angry Video Game Nerd" to avoid trademark issues and because he started reviewing games on other consoles (e.g. Sega Genesis, Atari 2600). Rolfe conceived the basis of his character while he was studying at the University of the Arts of Philadelphia when he attended from 1999 to 2004. Rolfe then made another video, which was supposed to be the last of the series, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because it was the game he hated most. His beer drinking in most of the video was done on purpose as to say "these games are so bad I'm forced to drink". Both of these became generic traits of "The Nerd", which would appear in future videos. The choice of Rolling Rock was coincidental as it happened to be the only beer that Rolfe had in his refrigerator, and this eventually became an identifying trait of his character, although in more recent videos, he has also included Yuengling beer, hard-liquor and non-alcoholic hot sauce. Originally his videos were meant to be private. However, Rolfe's friend and collaborator, Mike Matei, convinced him to post the videos on a YouTube channel called "JamesNintendoNerd" (now called Cinemassacre) on April 6, 2006, which Matei created and managed for him.
On September 12, 2006, Rolfe's character first gained mainstream attention when his review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became viral on YouTube. His videos are also posted on GameTrailers and ScrewAttack and have gained 30 million views monthly. He has over 3 million subscribers, as of September 2019. At the end of 2007, Rolfe halted the production of the series and cancelled an appearance at MAGFest after suffering from a break in his voice. On March 17, 2010, he made the announcement that he was suffering from burnout as a result of consistently writing, directing and starring in the videos, and that the show would be entering a brief hiatus. It was scheduled to return in May 2010; however, an episode was released on April 30. Episodes are released on either the first or second Wednesday of each month, as opposed to two episodes per month due to Rolfe's other projects. Episodes were at one point posted on YouTube over a year after their original release on GameTrailers. Rolfe formerly had affiliations with ScrewAttack before leaving in 2013.
Rolfe's character gained further fame through a fictional feud with the Nostalgia Critic (played by Doug Walker). This began with the Critic launching a satirical attack in an early episode. The feud took place over many episodes between 2008 and 2009. The two characters, and real-life comedians, are now good friends. Walker has informed his viewers of Rolfe's projects, and Rolfe has contributed to some of the Critic's subsequent videos.
Rolfe made a cameo appearance as the Nerd in a music video parody of Britney Spears' single "Piece of Me" entitled "Piece of Meat" on cinevore.com.
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
For a period, Rolfe focused his efforts on producing Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, which revolves around E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the video game for the Atari 2600. The film is a collaboration between Rolfe and Kevin Finn and was entirely funded by fan donations. The release of the film was to coincide with the 31st anniversary of the 1983 video game crash.
Rolfe had a cameo in a Doritos and Pepsi commercial published online in November 2010. The ad was part of a voting contest of which the winning clip was to be shown during Super Bowl XLV. However, the ad was eventually withdrawn due to public backlash, because it spoofed the Catholic practice of Eucharist. In 2007, Rolfe had a cameo in the fan film Return of the Ghostbusters. He was featured in the 2009 documentary His Name Was Jason, in which he talks about the Friday the 13th movie series and its antagonist Jason Voorhees. Similarly, Rolfe appeared in a bonus feature to the 2010 documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, in which he discusses the Nightmare on Elm Street NES game, a title he had previously covered as the Nerd in the 13th AVGN episode. The bonus feature can be found on the second disc of the Never Sleep Again DVD set.
In 2010, it was announced that Rolfe was set to feature in a low-budget remake of Plan 9 from Outer Space entitled Plan 9, which was released through Video on Demand beginning February 16, 2016, and then released on physical media in stores on January 5, 2017. Around early to mid January 2013, Rolfe played a brief role as a news reporter in an independent short film about Sonic the Hedgehog. He is set to appear in the upcoming film In Search of Darkness, a documentary about 1980s horror films.
Commitment to the YouTube videos has slowed Rolfe's progress in making new features, but he did make a trilogy of new shorts after the AVGN movie, including Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The Movie (2015), based on the video game, Flying Fuckernauts vs. The Astro-Bastards (2016), a tribute to B-movie sci-fi, and Mimal the Elf (2017), a mockumentary. On May 25, 2017, in a general update video about the future of the YouTube channel, Rolfe announced he was in very early development on what he termed an "atmospheric horror movie... [the film would] take place in one room... very minimal". On December 29, Rolfe announced that 2018 would lean more toward his own original projects, and that he had begun writing the untitled horror film. It would be in the vein of past projects, such as Legend of the Blue Hole and Cinemaphobia. On August 8, 2018, Rolfe said he was 50-75% done with the script, and that it would contain some type of 'nostalgia theming', but it would likely undergo further rewrites and had no plans to film it in the near future. On June 19, 2019, Rolfe said the script was completed, but commitment to video production would delay the project for the foreseeable future.
Other Video Series
Cinemassacre has published a number of other reviews featuring James and associates as themselves. The topics include video games (under the James & Mike Mondays series), video game peripherals such as the VictorMaxx Stuntmaster headset, and films. One of Rolfe's other series is Board James, where he and Mike Matei review old board games in a humorous way, often with recurring characters. This show eventually developed into a psychological horror series, while still containing board game reviews in each episode.
Rolfe was involved in a fifteen-part series titled OverAnalyzers, where he played the part of the manager of a fictional company that over analyzed various pop culture references. The series was edited and produced by another website called Cinevore. He also worked as a film reviewer on Spike.com.
Rolfe has run Monster Madness, in which he reviews one horror movie for each day in October, since 2007. Each year, he has adopted a different theme for Monster Madness. 2007 was the history of horror. 2008 was Godzillathon, in which he reviewed all of the Godzilla films chronologically. 2009 was Monster Madness Three, which dealt with a variety of popular and little known films of horror. 2010 was Camp Cult, which dealt with both campy horror films as well as cult classic films, such as Troll 2. 2011 was Sequel-A-Thon, which dealt with horror sequels. And 2012 was 80's-a-Thon, which included only movies made in the 1980s. While the first five years of Monster Madness have been one film review per day for the entirety of the month of October 2012's 80's-a-Thon series of Monster Madness was reduced to every other day of October due to the production of The Angry Video Game Nerd Movie. Despite the decreased number of film reviews, the film reviews in 80's-a-Thon were longer than previous reviews on Monster Madness. With October 2013's Sequel-A-Thon 2, Monster Madness has returned to one review per day. 2013 was Sequel-A-Thon 2, which dealt with more horror sequels. The final 31 marathon Monster Madness series ran during October 2016. Rolfe expressed his desire to move onto other Halloween-themed projects and reviews in the future, but said that Monster Madness will always live on in some way.
In 2017, Son of Monster Madness debuted, which consisted simply of five new reviews, with the rest of October bulked by reuploads of older reviews previously not available on YouTube.
On May 17, 2016, James uploaded a video to Cinemassacre's YouTube channel in which he expressed unhappiness with the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot film and how he planned on not seeing it or releasing a review. This stance was criticized by some in the entertainment industry, who saw most backlash against the movie as being grounded in sexism.
Rolfe attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2004. He continued residing in Philadelphia after graduation. He briefly relocated to Los Angeles while filming Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (2014), returning to Philadelphia upon completion of the movie.
In 2004, Rolfe was involved in a car crash when a utility trailer came loose from its truck, flung out to the other part of the highway, and hit him head-on. Miraculously, Rolfe sustained no physical injuries from the crash, while his Saturn Ion, which he had bought just nine days prior, was wrecked. Later that year, Rolfe discussed his experience in a short movie, Mechanical Losses, which can be seen on YouTube.
Rolfe met April Chmura in July 2004; she was a cinematographer on the early Nerd episodes. They began dating shortly after and got married in November 2007. He announced at the premiere trailer for Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie in November 2012, that they were expecting their first child. In April 2013, she gave birth to a baby girl. Rolfe has not divulged details about his daughter except for a few photos and expressing thanks that his wife got past complications resulting during childbirth.
In November 2013, April posted an update on James's Cinemassacre website that their daughter is continually seeking medical treatment due to unspecified complications. On April 13, 2016, Rolfe revealed what happened while announcing an auction of various Cinemassacre memorabilia to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children. During birth, his daughter suffered nerve damage in one of her arms, and required many months of physical therapy to gain full use of it. Rolfe expressed gratitude to Shriners for all they did for his family during that time.
On April 19, 2017, Rolfe announced on his Twitter account that he and his wife April are expecting another daughter. Their second daughter was born on August 31, 2017.
Rolfe is a fan of heavy metal music. He has stated his favorite band is Black Sabbath. He also enjoys Iron Maiden and Pantera.
He has a younger sister named Gina (born 1984). They are of Italian ancestry.
Angry Video Game Nerd
The most popular of the channel's shows, the show revolves around Rolfe playing a character known as "The Nerd" reviewing old school video games which he deems of poor quality. After he's done reviewing them, he very frequently destroys the game in some way. The series has also strayed from reviewing the game itself, into different storylines and plotlines to help further the episode. There are also numerous characters that have been introduced into the series, often to coincide with the video, these character include Guitar Guy, Glitch Gremlin, Shitpickle, The Joker, Batman, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Leatherface, and several others.
James & Mike Mondays
James and Mike Mondays (previously known as James and Mike Play) is a series where James Rolfe and his friend Mike Matei play either classic or modern games unscripted, often times having other guests on, such as Bad Luck Bootsy, Kyle (the guy who sings the AVGN theme song), JonTron, Macaulay Culkin, among others.
Normal James & Mike Monday
James & Mike Mondays WITH GUEST
This show features Rolfe playing old board games mostly from the 1980's and early 1990's as a character called "Board James".
The show often strays from only reviewing the game itself, into cinematic horror-comedy style humor. The show also co-stars Mike Matei as Motherf——cker Mike, alongside Brendan Castner as Bootsy.
You Know Whats Bullsh!t
A series starring Rolfe where he rants about different subjects that he calls bullshit, while wearing a bullshit mask.
2007 - History of Horror
During the first Monster Madness in October of 2007, James did a "History of Horror" where he talked about 30 of the best and/or most influencial horror movies in history, staring in the 1930's, and ending in the 2,000's.
2008 - Godzillathon
During the 2008 Monster Madness, James did a Godzillathon, where he reviewed all 29 of the major Godzilla films up to that point, even the 1998 Godzilla American remake.
2009 - Monster Madness Three
During the 2009 Monster Madness, James did the same thing he did the first time, two years ago, where he chronicalled the history of horror movies, from 1910 up until the 2000's, for thirty days in a row.
2010 - Camp Cult
During the 2010 Monster Madness, James did a thing called Camp Cult, where he talked about a movie every single day that is considered a cult classic by today's standards, although not all of them are considered good. In addition, he also did bonus videos such as a tribute to Monstervisision, his Crestwood House Monster Books collection, and his collection of the Universal Studios Monster Classics.
2011 - Sequel-a-Thon
During the 2011 Monster Madness, James did Sequel-a-Thon, where he went back and reviewed all of the major sequels to a few of the series they've talked about before, including Frankenstein, Dracula, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween.
2012 - 80's-a-Thon
During the 2012 Monster Madness, James did 80's-a-Thon, where he reviewed 16 classic horror movies or monster movies from the 80's, uploading one every other day, rather than other years, where he uploaded one every single day.
2013 - Sequel-a-Thon 2
During the 2013 Monster Madness, James did another Sequel-a-Thon, where he talked about all the major sequels of not only films he's talked about before on Monster Madness, but sequels to series he hasn't, including The Mummy, Frankenstein, Gamera, Alien, and the Of the Dead Franchise; in addition, he also ended it with a full commentary of Night of the Living Dead due to it being in the public domain.
2014 - Monster Madness Eight
During the 2014 Monster Madness, James chose to not have any sort of specific category, but instead just review random horror movies throughout the decades. One day he would review one from the 1930's, the next from the 2000's, and the next he'd go back several decades, all month long.
2015 - Monster Madness Nine
During the 2015 Monster Madness, James chose to not have any sort of specific category, but instead just review random horror movies throughout the decades. One day he would review one from the 1930's, the next from the 2000's, and the next he'd go back several decades, all month long. Aside from his normal reviews, of which he did 27 of, James also did four discussions about Horror Movies or Halloween, too.
2016 - Monster Madness X
The 2016 version of Monster Madness has been said to be James' last ever Monster Madness, after ten years of doing the series. Every day of the week has a different theme. Modern Monday, Top 10 Tuesday, WTF Wednesday, Blood Thirsty Thursday, Franken Friday, and Whatever Weekends.
2017 - Monster Madness 11/Son of Monster Madness/Sunday Bloody Sunday
Even though he previously stated that he was done with Monster Madness, he did decide to bring it back during October of 2017, calling Son of Monster Madness. This time around, however, he would only post a review every Sunday, earning it its alternate name Sunday Bloody Sunday, which means five reviews in total.
2018 - Monster Madness 12
During October 2018, James uploaded very few new horror movie reviews, while compling the rest of the month with Resurrected Reviews. These are where he uploads old Monster Madness reviews to YouTube for the first time, editing out the clips and replacing them with still images to avoid copyright.
2019 - Monster Madness 13
Rental Reviews is a more recent series on the channel where James and his friends Justin, Tony, and Kiren, casually discuss & review various movies, sometimes horror, but not always. Occasionally Mike will join them too, but not often. The reviews take place in James' basement, which is laid out in the design of a retro video rental store, which he humorously calls Cinemassacre Video; this is due to James' deep seated nostalgia for old school video rental stores.
- Bullshit Man
- Beer Droid
- Mr. Riggs
Cinemassacre Extras (Channel)
James and Mike have another channel on YouTube, where they upload additional bonus material such as old Angry Video Games episodes in higher quality and other bonus material.
Angry Video Game Nerd Movie
It was announced that a movie based on his "Angry Nerd" Character would be made. The film premiered at the Grauman's Theater in Hollywood, California, on July 21, 2014.
Mike Matei known for creating the YouTube channel as JamesNintendoNerd, is an American YouTube Celebrity, gamer, writer and internet personality who plays video games with James Rolfe on James & Mike Mondays. Matei is also the co-writer for The Angry Video Game Nerd (series). He has played many guest characters on the show. Matei also drew the title cards that appear in the show's intro (episodes 5-100).
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures
Matei appeared as a playable character in 2013's The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures for Steam and Wii U. He wields a red lightsaber and has the ability to see through blocks hiding items that will assist the play such as health. His only quote is "Hey, Nerd! You're here too!" once the player stumbles upon him. When the actual Nerd reviewed such a game in AVGN Games, he didn't know who Mike was. This is because Mike only appears behind the scenes between the Nerd's fictitious world and James Rolfe's real world.
Mike's Game Glitches
On January 14, 2011, Mike Matei did his first solo video for Cinemassacre "How to Jump Over The Flagpole on Stage 1-1 in Super Mario Bros". Which went viral on the web. In interviews, Matei has stated that he originally was going to include this as part of the abandoned video "AVGN Game Glitches 2". Instead, Matei started his own spin-off series called "Mike's Game Glitches", where he showed the audience how to perform glitches and tricks in video games. This series ran from Feb 2011 to Feb 2012. Currently Matei spends most of his time editing James & Mike Mondays and other Cinemassacre videos.
James & Mike Mondays
Mike & Ryan Talk About Games
Though Mike began doing comedic videos, he has progressed into doing more serious critiques of games. Matei is a major contributor in helping with the video editing for Cinemassacre's Monster Madness. Rolfe also made many student films in college.
Starting with his review of McKids James got his close friend and musician Kyle Justin to write and record an offical theme song for the show, by taking a lot of the phrases that James has said in previous reviews and putting them into lyrics.
He's gonna take you back to the past, to play the shitty games that suck ass, he'd rather have a buffalow, take a diareah dump in his ear, he'd rather eat, the rotton asshole, of a roadkilled skunk and down it with beer, he's the angriest gamer you've ever heard, he's the angry Nintendo Nerd, he's the angry Atari Sega nerd, he's the angry video game nerd.
He's gonna take you back to the past, to play the shitty games that suck ass, he'd rather have a buffalow, take a diareah dump in his ear, he'd rather eat, the rotton asshole, of a roadkilled skunk and down it with beer, he's the angriest gamer you've ever heard, he's the angry Nintendo Nerd, he's the angry Atari Sega nerd, he's the angry video game nerd. When you turn on your TV, make sure it's tuned to channel 3, he's got a nerdy shirt, and a pocket pouch, although I've never seen him write anything down, he's got a power glove, and a filthy mouth, armed with his every will tear these games down. He's the angriest gamer you've ever heard, he's the angry Nintendo nerd, he's the angry Atari Sega nerd, he's the Angry Video Game Nerd. He plays the worst games of all time, horrible abonimations of mankind. They make him so mad he could spit, or say cowabunga - Cowa fuckin' piece of dog shit. The rip you off and down care one bit, but this nerd he doesn't forget it, like why can't a turtle swim, why can't I land a plane, they got a quick buck for this shit load of fuck. The characters names are wrong, why are the passwords so long, why don't the wapons do anything.....he's the angriest gamer you've ever heard.....the games suck so bad he makes up his own words. He's the angriest most pisssed off gaming nerd. He's the angry Atari, Amigo, CD-I, Colecovision, Intelevision, Sega, Neo Geo, Turbo GrafiX 16, Odyssey, 3DO, Commador, Ninento nerd.....he's the angry.....video game.....nerd.....
Christmas Alternative Lyrics
He's playing some games, the worst he recalls, he's gonna find out which ones suck the most balls, the Angry Video Game Nerd is here. Oh, he's making a list and checking it twice, he's gonna go home and eat chicken and rice, the Angry Video Game Nerd is here. He plays the games that stink, he knows which games to break, he just might even hate them all, cause he's mad for fuckin' sake. You better watch out, don't give these games a try, you better not play them, he's telling you why, the Angry Video Game Nerd is here.
Nintendo Power Alternative Lyrics
Get the power, Nintendo Power, get the clues that you can use Nintendo Power, higher and higher fighting your way through enemy fire.
As a one time thing James had the theme song remixed in a techno version.
- In the video "Top 10 Popular Films I Don't Love", James has stated he is of Italian descent.
- James has stated that he wanted to make movies ever since he was a kid.
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