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Classic Game Room is an online video game review show made by Mark Bussler which started in 1999, making it the first web game review show.
The first incarnation was know as The Game Room was a subscriber feature on the website "From US Alive". Presented by Mark Bussler and David Crosson, it was mostly a straight review show of then-current games and a few retro titles, with the occasional bit of silliness. Though it gained something of a cult fan base, it was a bit too ahead of its time (most internet connections were still on dial-up) and folded in 2000.
Fast forward to 2007: Mark Bussler uploads a few episodes on a little site known as YouTube to promote a DVD documentary about the show. The videos became much more popular than he expected, and in 2008, he decides to revive it as Classic Game Room HD with backing from the Inecom Company.
Other than its troubled history, it's a standard review show without much in the way of bells and whistles, with most of the humor coming from Mark musing about the inherent Fridge Logic of the medium, or just letting loose about nothing in particular. Though the show is mostly about the games, it also has reviewed consoles, accessories, game packaging, and even more peripheral stuff (like food based on games).
Tropes notably averted for a Video Review Show:
- Accentuate the Negative and Caustic Critic: Mark likes almost everything he reviewed, and he gives less flak to So Okay It's Average and bad but not quite irredeemable games. And even when faced with notorious turds such as Cyborg Justice or Heavy Nova, he's quite mellow. He can still rip on the occasional bad game without entering Caustic Critic territory.
- Mid-Review Sketch Show: The videos are strictly about the actual reviews, and the theatrics are kept to separate videos. The original run had a few skits during the reviews, but it was still quite a bit more focused than the review shows of today.
Classic Game Room provides examples of:
- Adult Child: Mark is one. He points that out when he mentions Big in one of his recent toy reviews.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe (review) :The plot of Cyber Speedway is about a young hotshot hired by the government to participate in a galactic racing contest which has replaced war. However Mark has the Japanese version so he assumes it's really about a drunk fratboy trying to pay accident fees.
- Ascended Fanboy: Mohammed from Qatar who donated lots and lots of games and game systems to CGR and even became some kind of meme has appeared on the show and gave an interview.
- Author Appeal: Mark loves them flamethrowers.
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: Robocop vs. Terminator is awesome enough, but the games using flamethrowers got him to do this.
- Ax Crazy: Lord Karnage, a recurring character he made up for the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 review. He had to register his hairs as a lethal weapon, the organizers gave him an award just so he wouldn't kill everybody and if he doesn't get complimented regularly, someone dies.
- Bad Future: Claims that in the future, we will be too busy fighting robots to watch these videos.
- Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Done in this review of Art of Fighting 3, when Mark lost his train of thought.
- Cloning Blues: Clone!Derek was created to be Derek's co-host for CGRundertow's Tweet Sack. Clone!Derek turns out to be a dick.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Taken Up to Eleven during the original run's review of Robotron 64.
- Gag Sub: The Jupiter Strike review has him inserting silly subtitles during the intro cutscene.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Heyzoos the Coked Up Chicken loves Coke... the cola.
- ...and, as revealed in the screen test video, cocaine.
- Memetic Badass [invoked]: Lord Karnage.
- Mohammed from Qatar.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: The Coked Up Chicken.
- Missing Episode: Some of the original Game Room episodes are neither on the Youtube channel or on the DVD.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Some of his conference antics. Examples includes putting a Vectrex overlay on the camera, asking the E3 Valkyria Chronicles II booth if the game is going to receive a Game Gear port and faking amazement at the "naturally-formed fan" of the Cabela's Dangerous Hunt 2011 truck.
- Reference Overdosed: A Classic Game Room review will have a probably reference various movies, 80s rock bands, 80s cartoons, old muscle cars, beer, Vectrex, and Cosmic Carnage.
- Running Gag:
- Wind Squid.
- Cosmic Carnage.
- Saying that a game needs a flamethrower or a Vectrex port.
- Rule of Cool: Mark thrives on this. Any game with ninjas, spaceships or cars, flamethrowers and explosions will be awesome.
- Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Half of the Ridge Racer 7 review is dedicated to the Xevious minigame and how much better it is than the actual racing portion.
Allow me to make my own commentary: THIS GAME SUCKS, let's go play Xevious!
Here's a few seconds of multiplayer. Okay, that's great. Back to helicopters!
- So Bad It's Good: In-universe: Mark likes games so cheesy even if a game is bad or not so good.
There are many of us that enjoy videogames that aren't very good, but have something likable and cheesy about them that makes them so much damn fun.
- Sound Effect Bleep: Done every time profanity is used.
- Bizarely, Mark refers to most of the other players as 'dickheads' in his review of the multiplayer in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, but bleeps out the 'heads' part, not the obscenity itself
- His Saints Row: The Third review doesn't bleep out any swearing from the gameplay.
- Undertow uses Super Mario Bros. sounds as a censor.
- Spin-Off: CGR Undertow, in which other Inecom staff review more Play Station and Nintendo titles.
- And CGR Overboard which focuses on a PC and mobile games.
- Stylistic Suck: The Wind Squid videos.
- Suckiness Is Painful: Just mentioning the name of the film Johnny Mnemonic hurts Mark's ears.
- Take a Third Option: Which is better? The Nintendo Wii controller, or the PlayStation Move controller? The answer is the Sega Genesis controller.
- This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: His review of Virtua Fighter Kids.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Beer.
- Verbal Tic: Mark tends to pause and put emphasis on some words, sometimes to the point of giving an almost Shatner-esque delivery.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Demonstrated in their Seaman review, in which they try to kill Seaman after getting fed up with the bad voice recognition and then reset the clock just to do it slowly. They succeed.
- Unfortunate Implications: Parodied occasionally, like when he noted the Sega Dreamcast Sports Edition was black, and claimed it was just reinforcing stereotypes.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: His reaction to the plot of Space Dungeon.
- Pretending an interstate drive was a photo-realistic game.
- In his Double Dragon Neo Geo CD review, he says that you have to respect anybody who shows up in a fight with a Buick Roadmaster...with a JET ENGINE on top.
- Buying a Sega Saturn.
- Mark can review a anything, including a sticker, and still make it interesting.
- Who Writes This Crap?: The Coked Up Chicken in his "screen test".
- You Bastard: In the L.A Machineguns review:
We're all special. And we're all different. Except you!