Dr. David's Indie Spotlight - E3 2013: Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is fun as f*ck and hard as balls
One of the highlights of my E3 2013 experience was sitting down with ScrewAttack's Craig Skistimas and getting some hands-on time with the upcoming Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures. It was a highlight because it was just totally different from pretty much every meeting I had with any other publisher or developer at the show. Along with GameZone Director Max Baehr, I sat down on the floor near the media room with Craig and played a bit of AVGN Adventures while he guided me through it and provided some important info on the game. It ended up just being three dudes playing video games, laughing at the humor of foul language, and talking about why video games are awesome.
Right from the get-go it's easy to see that this is a true representation of the Nerd in video game form. I died about 20 seconds (more like 11 seconds) into the preview build of AVGN Adventures, and I immediately witnessed the Nerd spouting off in true foul-mouthed fashion. Every time he dies in the game, he'll make a different derogatory remark toward the game itself. The Nerd knows that he's in a video game, but just because he's the star of this project doesn't mean he's going easy on it.
Of course, AVGN Adventures isn't the sole victim of being verbally berated by its own protagonist. Many of the things you encounter, whether they're sh*tty weapons like rocks or certain gameplay elements, will be talked down to by the nerd. You can bet that if something is happening in the game, the Nerd will dish out offensive punishment toward it. If you're a fan of the famous internet video series, all of this stuff will seem familiar or fitting to you, so hearing the Nerd talk about whales and seminal fluid will likely bring up warm and fuzzy feelings
AVGN Adventures is a platform-shooter that draws influence from several classic titles including Contra, Mega Man, and Gunstar Heroes. The developer, FreakZone Games, is building the game to be NES levels of hard. Unlike the games that cause the Nerd so much grief, however, dying in AVGN Adventures is always your fault, not the game's. This is because for every fiendishly placed obstruction or enemy there's a fair way to get through it. Every time I died while playing, I instantly realized that I could've done something differently to avoid sending the Nerd straight into his painful demise.
You can fire your NES Zapper at baddies that are in front of you, but anchoring down allows you to stand still and shoot around the Nerd. The actual platforming in AVGN Adventures is joyously tight, and the controls are remarkably
seminal fluid (oops) and responsive. While playing the demo I was reminded of Super Meat Boy, which featured some of the best controls in a 2D game in recent memory (and, like, of all time). It's great to see that this project has great controls, and it makes me excited at the prospect of controlling the Nerd without having to deal with the problems he faces while playing video games.
Various power-ups (aside from rocks) can be used during the course of your adventure. The Glitch Gremlin, for example, can cause the game to get all buggy and acts as a time-stopper. This is useful for getting through areas that are riddled with enemies and moving perils. There are also extra lives and bottles of Rolling Rock beer to give the Nerd some extra hits.
Aside from drawing influence from great games, AVGN Adventures also parodies older titles that weren't all that amazing. One of these is Silver Surfer, as was indicated by the stage where the Nerd rides a board through space. The enemies here consisted of flying hazards including penis rockets. Seriously, these things should be in more video games, because they're amazingly hilarious ... because they're penises ... and penises are funny.
The Nerd isn't the only playable character. Aside from the titular protagonist, you can discover Guitar Guy, who shoots sound waves from his guitar. These waves go through walls and follow an undulating pattern, but they're not as powerful as the Nerd's shots. In addition to these two dudes, series collaborator Mike Matei and Bullsh*t Man (of You Know What's Bullsh*t? fame) will also be in the game, and they'll feature their own abilities, such as jumping really high or using feces as a weapon.
Currently, ScrewAttack Games and FreakZone are planning on completing and releasing AVGN Adventures this year. The game will initially launch for the PC on Steam, but there are plans for the game to arrive on the Wii U and 3DS eShop, as well as the PlayStation Network and possibly Xbox Live Arcade (if, ya know, Microsoft opens up the platform a bit and eases up on the “no self publishing” crap). When asked about requests from the ESRB or console manufacturers for the game to be censored, Craig responded with an awesomely emphatic, “There's no f*cking way we do that.” That's good to know, and it's great to see that AVGN Adventures is on its way to delivering a hell of an experience, not just for fans of the Nerd, but for people who just appreciate a damn good game.
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