Pioneer Approaches describe this story as ‘A Tribute to the Nerd’, in which Simon imagines a new situation for the Angry Video Game Nerd, with an interesting twist….
Please read on to find out about Simon, and to read the story, below:
Simon Gifford has been writing film reviews for local community organisations, intermittently, for the past few years
As well as writing, Simon likes singing and acting as he feels it is a good way to express himself and his feelings. He has been performing publicly in Hertfordshire for Pioneer Approaches and the Purple All-Stars, as well as attending college in London to study Performing Arts with Beats Learning (and formerly Squeaky Gate) in St. Albans at Trestle Arts Base
A spokesman for people on the autistic spectrum (and quiz team winner extraordinaire!), this is his first short story – a work of fanfiction inspired by Angry Video Game Nerd, and written as a tribute to the work of James Rolfe, with Mike Matei, at Cinemassacre (More info here)
Warning for sensitive souls out there: contains strong language!
FANFICTION – A TRIBUTE TO THE NERD
by Simon Gifford
Once there was a cynical, disgruntled character called The Angry Video Game Nerd.
He was a young man in his mid-20’s, dressed like a junior office worker in a white collared shirt with a pocket full of pens, gap slacks and brightly polished shoes. He expelled his frustration playing bad video games.
He hated atrocious controls, poor level design, bad graphics and annoying cheap deaths that made games unnecessarily hard.
Today had really been the same as every other crappy day. He’d risen from his sleep, taken a shower, and tried to get something to eat (French toast was his usual choice), then after that, he casually fired up the old NES, a symbol of his youth. He was the fucking Nerd.
Today he was attempting to play through a level of an old video game, perhaps Castlevania, Karate Kid or Battletoads, but try as he might – he always came up short.
Just when he thought he’d won, there was always something that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory; there were too many enemies on the screen at once, or maybe he couldn’t figure out where to go, or the weapons he had were absolutely useless, or he would just miss that crucial jump onto a ledge.
The first time he failed, he shrugged and tried again. “Just one more try” he said to himself.
This was the 258th time, and it was beginning to lose its appeal.
So why the hell did he carry on playing?
Did he keep trying in the forlorn hope he’d find an enjoyable game?
Was it an addiction, or a part of his personality that was controlling his soul?
Was there something wrong with him?
In fact, he was also extremely lonely, he barely had anyone to play with him.
“I’d rather have a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in my ear than continue playing this putrid shit! Why did they program this in such an asinine, ridiculous way? This game sucks!”
He angrily tossed the NES controller to the floor and sighed, and grabbed a bottle of Rolling Rock beer from his fridge. The pressure of playing bad games often made him turn to alcohol as some kind of coping mechanism.
He tried recalling the first time he had played video games as a child, beginning with simple Atari 2600 games like Missile Command or Space Invaders, and moving onto Super Mario Bros. 3 on the Nintendo Entertainment System, one of the greatest games ever made –sure, those games could be frustrating, but ultimately they were just fun. They were meant to be enjoyed, wasn’t that what games were for?
Why did games companies punish honest fans? They didn’t care. They were just assholes in suits trying to make money, at the end of the day.
And come to that, why was it that so many people loved watching him playing terrible games? They even, incredibly, found it amusing. Did they have a sense that sharing pain made them feel better, like some kind of schadenfreude? It was as if they were sharing all his horrible experiences. It was all his fault!
He shook his head sadly.
“Maybe… if I wasn’t around, maybe shitty games wouldn’t be either” pondered the Nerd.
Then all his pent up rage came out in a kind of explosion, in one simple phrase. “What was I thinking? What a shitload of fuck!”
Later that snowy night, he stood on the footbridge above the water. He’d made a decision. He wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but he’d made it. The world would be better off without him.
It was now or never. He closed his eyes and suddenly images began to appear in his mind, as he muttered to himself
‘No.. more.. Simon’s Quest, no more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… no more Ninja Turtles, no more…. Little Red Hood..’
Then, everything went dark.
One morning, James woke up and after taking a shower, and dressing, he decided the first thing he’d do was check his email and browse the internet.
James was a young man in his mid-20’s and usually wore jeans with a checked shirt or T-shirts adorned with video-games or movie logos, nothing too dressy. Lots of his friends said he was such a nice guy.
He switched on his laptop to read today’s news and check his mail.
Then he reeled back in shock. On the screen it said:
“REPORTS OF THE DEATH OF THE ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD….”
No, this wasn’t right. This wasn’t normal. He blinked just to make sure he hadn’t missed a part of the sentence saying …”Have been greatly exaggerated”, but it wasn’t there.
Instead there were pictures of a high snowy bridge, and a man in a white shirt with a pocketful of pens, and a gun in his hand.
Everything was crystal clear.
The Nerd was a very popular internet celebrity. James just couldn’t let this happen – for his fans, and the Nerd himself.
Slowly, James stood up.
He had to do something, to save AVGN and the gaming side of the Internet.
The Nerd looked around nervously. He could feel something, some kind of…… presence. Who or what was it?
There was some type of message that appeared to be formed by fire and lights in the night sky, and read:
I’M GONNA TAKE YOU BACK TO THE PAST….
This was baffling. Where had this message come from? Who was writing this weird shit?
Then there was a subsequent message.
IT CAN’T END LIKE THIS.
PLEASE PUT THE GUN DOWN….
“Ye… aaaarghhh!” The Nerd jumped back in shock. Someone – or something, knew he was here. That meant they could see him.
The gun fell from his hand like a hot poker.
“WHO’S THERE?” The Nerd screamed at the top of his lungs.
“WHO ARE YOU? HOW CAN YOU SEE ME?!”
Now the message read:
YOU MAY NOT KNOW ME, BUT I KNOW YOU.
I CAN SEE EVERYTHING. I’M CLOSER THAN YOU THINK. WHO AM I?
FIGURE IT OUT! COME OONNNN, TAKE A GUESS!
The Nerd backed away slowly in bewilderment and horror.
This was nuts. He had to get away from here.
Soon enough, he was back at his house. Sweat was falling off his brow from running so quickly, as he feverishly closed the front door behind him. Was he having a nightmare?
“At least that stupid weirdo won’t bother me anymore with his sky-writing”, he thought to himself.
He collapsed on the couch, and switched on the TV. Maybe some brain mush like late night poker or the Weather Channel would help him forget all this.
Some time passed, and then suddenly he heard… a disembodied voice talking to him – where was it coming from?
“Hello” it said, quite calmly.
“I can see you. Ask me a question. The answer can only be yes, or no”
“Y-YAAAAA – WH… WHAT THE HELL!!” screamed the Nerd – any thoughts of a peaceful sleep had immediately vanished.
“WHY ARE YOU GOING ON TORMENTING ME? HOW CAN YOU SEE ME?! WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!”
“That’s not a yes or no question!” snapped the voice, rather more threateningly.
The Nerd desperately searched his brain for an appropriate response.“Errrm, okay… Are you anywhere in the house?”
“Yes” answered the voice, almost ominously.
Anxiously peering round, The Nerd observed his sitting room mirror, and saw, looking back at him – someone who… appeared to have similar facial features, but was also rather different due to his choice of more relaxed clothing – a red and black checked shirt, over a plain T-shirt, and Levis jeans.
The reflection’s stare was somewhat intense.
“Now, just remember what I said earlier – I’m takin’ you back to the past, ‘cause that’s what I do best”.
Now the voice sounded calmer, friendlier even. “C’mon, just look inside, and I’ll show you your past”.
Cautiously, the Nerd peered inside the mirror – and saw a scene with a young boy, probably about 10 or 11 years old, excitedly opening a present. Perhaps it was Christmas?
His face broke into a massive smile as he excitedly ripped the paper off the box to reveal a Super Nintendo system and Super Mario World. He danced around and looked so happy!
“Remember how you loved Mario World, Sonic, Street Fighter, it was just awesome!” grinned the apparition. “You see, Nerd, you really had a wonderful life, playing amazing games when you were a kid”.
The Nerd pondered this – grudgingly he had to admit, it was true and he had lots of fun, but that was through the eyes of a child, and yet he was an adult.
Then the scene changed, to one that made the Nerd’s blood turn to ice. It was very familiar as he saw… himself.
He was standing on a snowy bridge, with a gun pointed at his head, with nothing but stars in the sky for company.
“Wait… is this… me?” The Nerd asked. “N… n-now just tell me what the FUCK is going on!”
“I don’t want this to happen to you” said the figure in the mirror. “You’re too important!”
“Are you fucking serious? Why do you even care what happens to me?” snapped the Nerd incredulously. ”I’m just one guy, I’m not imperative to anyone, or anything”
Then his shoulders dropped, weary and defeated. “I… wish this never happened. I just wanted to put an end to the pain, and have some closure” he said, almost sounding as if he was going to cry. “I thought… if I wasn’t here, maybe awful games wouldn’t be either”.
The character in the mirror gave a sort of smile. “All we have to decide… is what to do with the time that is given to us. You’re more important than you know.
Without you, no one would know good games from bad ones, and so they wouldn’t be able to avoid them. You warn people about shitty games.
Good and evil, pleasure and pain, yin and yang. They need to balance. That’s how the world works.
You’re a guardian watching over us, and there’s a part of you in everyone on the planet”
“What the – what d’ you mean?” The Nerd asked.
The scene changed again, and showed people playing more video games, but this time, they were getting so frustrated at them and getting so angry. In fact, they sounded suspiciously like….
The Nerd blinked, he could scarcely believe what he was seeing. It meant other people out there shared his feelings of rage and pain.
He wasn’t alone because there were many other people just like him.
“Now, do you see what I meant?” the person in the mirror said.
“There are people out there in the world, just like you. I had to do what I did, to show you your life is precious, and that many people would be upset if you were gone.
You know who you are. You’re a Nerd. You’ll always be a Nerd, a Video Game Nerd”.
With new understanding, the Nerd nodded. His calling was to fight against bad video games and tell people about them, it was his destiny to fight a battle that would continue until the end of time.
In fact, his goal wasn’t to prevent them, but to survive them.
Maybe one day, he would even find a game he actually enjoyed playing.
James sat back in his chair, and let out a contented sigh to think back on what he’d done. The title on the laptop screen now said
‘It’s a Wonderful Nerd Life’
By James Rolfe, Actor/Film-maker
A New Angry Video Game Nerd Episode
And so his story was complete…. His legacy would live on.
Simon Gifford 2015
The author has incorporated direct quotes from AVGN, to give an accurate representation of the character and as an homage to the writing of James Rolfe