Thursday, 14 April 2016

Top 20 Spoony Experiment Episodes

Oh boy… this is going to be a tough one. Okay, I briefly touched on my own disdain for certain reviewers back with Todd In The Shadows, but this is the genuine article. I do not like Noah Antwiler. At all. Between the price gouging on his Patreon page (charging $100/month for a Cards Against Humanity game with him? Seriously, dude?), the utter lack of content of late that has seen a very steep decline in quality when it does come around, making his decision to charge Patrons per month, not per video, a little suspect, and his sheer dickish behaviour on social media (and no, blocking me on Twitter doesn’t qualify him for that, although he is probably one of the few people who has), I feel I have reason enough to hate this guy. But this list wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have some weirdly-shaped place in my critical heart for the man’s work. I sincerely hope that whatever fanboys may or may not come my way don’t take the above statements at face value, as this is yet another continuation of my running theme of separating a reviewer’s on and off-camera actions. So, for the few people that are still reading this after all that, here I am with my Top 20 picks for the best episodes of The Spoony Experiment. And no, I’m not including Let’s Plays, as that’s an entirely different list altogether.

#20: Knightmare

Kitschy fantasy chic: A good parameter for Spoony’s preference of subject material. While he gives good criticism of the contestants for the show, probably the weirdest thing about it is that, for at least once since its creation, this video’s guide to beating the game could’ve been used to help win the game.

#19: The Thing

The oldest video on our list, I’d almost call it “classic Spoony” with how it encapsulates a lot about what made Spoony so good in the early days: The counting gag, commenting on extremely buggy A.I., and his use of music. It’s material like this that made me want to do this list in the first place.

#18: Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead’s Revenge

Spoony kind of takes us on the entire gamer’s journey with this review. He goes through all the steps that went into the review, from getting it to trying to play it to background research to make sense of any of it. Even though this would not one but two follow-up videos, one of which featuring LordKaT, this is where the sense of confusion and anger was best put forward. I’m pretty sure that this is another video that influenced me to do the Vacation review the way I did it.

#17: Privateer 2: The Darkening (Apologies for the French subtitles)
This review presents an interesting dichotomy when it comes to FMV games: Is the story in the videos worth the gameplay? And with this one, despite how the FMV is actually pretty good for the era and the story is good, the gameplay is bad to the point of impossible to play. Have to admit, it’s always good seeing one of these reviews featuring Christopher Walken, but the history the Privateer series has with Spoony adds a lot to it too.

#16: Gamecrazy Training Video

This is one of the most unintentionally cringey comedies of all time that, under normal circumstances, would be rendered completely unwatchable. However, because Spoony is there to make nice gaming jokes and be appalled at Zelda’s wiggerisms with you, he makes it more than tolerable. That, and he’s making far more entertaining commentary than either of the sportscasters in this thing.

#15: Demolition Man (3DO)

Another arguable “classic” review, Spoony’s referencing of the original film, both on and off-screen, lays a nice groundwork for some good riffs on how unwieldly this particular video game adaptation is. I know this is going to make me sound really friggin’ young, but this video was the first time I learned that this film even existed. Now, it’s easily one of my favourite action movies ever.

#14: Deadliest Warrior: The Game (Apologies again)

This video is on here not so much for the review, but more for the follow-up to said review where the developers responded to his criticisms. This is something that has come up a lot in recent times, with game developers specifically hitting back on game critics who don’t like their work, and it is immensely satisfying seeing Spoony shooting back every comment that developer Spike Games made on his video, especially with how they try to cover their own arses on what’s wrong with the game.

#13: The Spoony Snob: Revenge In The House Of Usher

He does the entire episode as The Cinema Snob. I’d make a joke about trying to trick fans or something, except I like how much detail goes into his recreation of the Snob. From the vocal delivery to the grainy video and sound quality, he isn’t messing around. As for the content, it works kind of like the Diamanda Hagan Possession reviews: It’s the Snob’s brand of humour said with Spoony’s range for anger, and it works pretty well.

#12: Highlander 2: The Quickening

For Spoony, this is the review. This is his Batman & Robin. This is his E.T. The Porno. This is the one that will probably be most commonly attached to him, regardless of how much time passes. And it definitely has some reason to be there: His annoyances with the mythos mangling, his riffing on just how camp Michael Ironside is in this movie, the idiocy of the fucking sun shield? It’s all golden.

#11: Beastmaster 2: Through The Portal Of Time

Spoony probably gives some of his best reactions in this review, including his completely blank expression after a particularly inane proclamation from the admittedly hot sorceress. Back when I did video reviews, I was aiming for anything close to this hilariously affected. Whether it was the aforementioned stupid writing singularity, the crammed-in anachronistic dialogue or the unabashedly homosexual character choices, this has plenty of chum for Spoony to chew on.

#10: DOA: Dead Or Alive

Given my own championing of enjoying movies for… let’s say less than preferable reasons, it’s nice seeing a reviewer just admit that they like watching girls in bikinis doing martial arts. Whenever a similar notion has been made, it’s usually shrouded by enough exaggeration to still be a joke. Here, he’s more honest about it and, given the crap he’s usually subjected to, it’s understandable why he would be appreciative of even this.

#9: Cage 2: The Arena Of Death

As someone who learnt everything that he knows about the art of cinema on the fly, I’ve had to pick up bits and pieces wherever I find them. Which leads to this review, where I developed a better for sound mixing, particularly when it comes to stock sound effects. Ever since I first watched, I genuinely feel like I am looking at cinema with a better eye than I did before. Kind of makes my opening bitch fest feel even weirder, thinking back on it.

#8: The Dungeonmaster (Apologies for the now Russian subtitles)

One of only two reviews where Spoony reviewed in-character as Dr. Insano, and while Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was funny, this is even better. The vocal inflections for Insano's accent hit the jokes perfectly, and the jokes themselves about the utter weird that is this film and its set pieces are all good, even the X-Calibrate commercial mock-up featuring hella underrated reviewer Guru Larry.

#7: Terror T.R.A.X.: Track Of The Vampire (PC)

In terms of straight riffing, this is Spoony at his peak of development. His alternate character voices are great, the mocking of the cheesy material is even better, and he actually managed to re-use the Malibu gag from Dragon Strike and still have it work. Undoubtedly better than either of the CD Let’s Plays Spoony did of Terror T.R.A.X.. Oh, fun fact: The cinematography for this game’s FMV, Matthew Libatique, is the DOP for the majority of Darren Aronofsky’s movies including Requiem For A Dream. Don’t believe me?

#6: Mazes And Monsters

Starting out on a note that pretty much decimates any reasonable attempt the film’s intent may have had in ‘informing people’, his well-admitted love for D&D shines through here as he showcases one of Tom Hanks’ more embarrassing roles, second only to being a producer on My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. He may be addressing stereotypes but, honestly, his depiction works in every way that Sheldon doesn’t: It makes sense and doesn’t feel like a gross exaggeration.

#5: Highlander: The Source

This, I get the feeling, is kind of like the Futurama to The Quickening review’s Simpsons; the lesser-appreciated, yet far superior, product. Despite how he misses a big plot hole where the Source allows the Highlander to have a child, when winning the Prize did exactly that in the original, Spoony still brings out how the film somehow managed to do more damage to the franchise than a relocation to an alien planet.

#4: Robowar

Ed Glaser and co.’s parody interludes with Predaborg are awesome on their own, but Spoony’s riffing on how much this film ripped off Predator, among other things, makes this the complete package it is. Also, much like Paw with Snoopy, Come Home, he has ensured that a phrase will be stuck in my head with the robot that just says “greasy”.

#3: Nightmare: Back In The Hole

The original video’s sheer existence, about a board game that I grew up on and thought that the rest of the world didn’t know about, was what first got into the guy’s videos proper. This video, though, took everything that was good about that first review and multiplied them several times. The interludes with the game hosts are as well-arranged as ever, the gripes get deeper into the problems with not only the original but its expansions and spin-offs as well, and… goddamn it, this brought me back to the cheesy game masters that I weirdly loved as a kid. No joke, whenever I’m writing one of these lists or reviews, I’m usually watching one of the Nightmare tapes on its own. Yeah, I’m fucking weird; this entire list combined with my introduction should have clued you in on that one.

#2: Justin Bieber: Always Be Mine

Easily the most vlog-y of all the picks on this list, I just love how well Spoony bounces off of Brad and Brian. The choice of game is just the cherry on the cake, when the odd dancing and workout instructions they get from it are this good. It simultaneously makes them look both old and young, as they try to figure out how to do the Running Man off of YouTube.

#1: Ultima 9: Ascension

I mentioned last time that I wasn’t massive on the storyline(?) for The Spoony Experiment and I still mean that. That said, this is probably the only episode that has delivered a decent amount of weight thus far. His confrontation with the Guardian, the offer made, the response that is badass in a way I can’t really justify, even the revelation of what the show is actually about; it’s all great in how Spoony portrays it. Add to this a video game whose review had been a long time coming, and you have my absolute favourite video of his.
Well, we’ve looked at a couple of video game reviewers on this blog already; I think it’s time we get into the true original.


  1. I must say, I always appreciate it when people go over their emotions and are capable of giving credit to people that they have problems with.

    NOW TRUE, The SpoonyOne lost all credibility that he once had, so maybe this sort of loses all meaning now, but I feel like saying that I appreciate you being able to see things this way, and not just hate a guy through and through (even if ... again... he might deserve such treatment nowadays)

    1. Well, thank you for noticing. Honestly, if I made this list today, I would likely be a lot more bitter about the guy as the problems I mentioned have only gotten worse of late.

      But I don't do this to make enemies. I just miss the guy who was one of the first Internet critics I started watching, and not the shadow he's become.

  2. Great list, had fun watching a couple of these