Thursday, July 30, 2015

DVD REVIEW - Thoughts on the CGR Perks (from May 2015)

(Originally aired on Episode 41 of the DTM-Cast, back in May 2015, along with minor additions and tweaks)

So about a couple weeks ago, I finally received the Best of Classic Game Room 15th Anniversary 2-disc set that was supposed to be out in December in time for Christmas, but that didn't happen; it showed up in April and I'm guessing for those who didn't donate, it'll be available for purchase sometime this month if it isn't already; I haven't checked. I already got my copy; signed and delivered by the man himself. And also as part of the package that I had selected, I also received the Classic Game Room mockumentary film that was put out back in 2007 and personally, this was the big reason for my wanting to contribute. Not only because I was getting the new DVD, but if it came with the old DVD too, I'd figured; "Kill two birds with one stone and get them both."

So I did a video showcasing my quirks that week and, you know, I don't need to repeat what was said there, which wasn't much; it was just showing off the printed materials and the coasters and the DVDs itself, but what I thought I would do is give some quick thoughts on the productions themselves and... I don't want to call it reviewing because it's not really that.

I want to talk about the 2007 documentary first because, well, that came first.

Classic Game Room: The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show was basically a humorous lookback at the history of Game Room, the show's original 1999-2000 incarnation. And there's a selection of Game Room episodes on display; some you've seen before, such as the Ninja Golf episode and the Seaman episode, and there's a couple that are "officially" exclusive to this DVD, such as the Duck Hunt and Alien episodes. And in between the episodes, there's the mockumentary portions which feature Mark narrating the history of Game Room and one has to decide for himself how much of it is legit and how much is over-exaggeration, but there are some bits of behind the scenes stuff and outtakes scattered about and it's not bad.

Extras include a couple video blogs regarding the development of the documentary film, which are already on YouTube. There's an alternate commentary track with Mark where he talks about the film and also some insightful and sometimes over-exaggerated observations regarding Game Room. But on a whole, it's a fairly good mockumentary with a selection of choice Game Room episodes for good measure.

Now, regarding the Best of Classic Game Room... yeah, let me just set you up as to what to expect; you're getting 50+ reviews worth of Classic Game Room episodes spanning from the original Game Room days in 1999-2000 to last year. Most of these reviews are already online, but there are a couple of them that are exclusive to this video. You've got an audio commentary with Mark Bussler, which is actually quite entertaining and informative in its own right. At one point, he even pokes fun of his monotone delivery during the HD era in 2008 when the show made its official comeback. There's some behind the scenes content, some outtakes, and a conversation between Mark and former Game Room host David Crosson, which was a highlight.

So, speaking as a backer for this thing and speaking as someone who has enjoyed Classic Game Room since the resurgence of the show back in 2008, I have to say that I was satisfied with The Best Of Classic Game Room. In terms of the content on disc, there's some good stuff there, some good choices for reviews to represent the show's best, and presented in the highest quality possible on DVD format, the extra bits were pleasant, I enjoyed the segments between Mark and Dave - that made the DVD worthwhile in my book - but at the same time, there were bits of it that left me underwhelmed.

For one, I would've liked to have been able to skip to specific reviews rather than have to scan for them, I would've loved for some of the stuff, like the Mark & Dave conversional bits, to have been their own thing rather than scattered throughout the main program. And also, it would've been nice to see some reviews exclusive to this DVD; I know they advertised Super Metroid and Shenmue as DVD exclusives at one point, but those eventually made it to YouTube before the DVD's release and so it just blows the wind from the sail. You've got a couple on there, though, such as the reviews of Arkanoid as well as Mark's Broken Game Boy Advance SP that still works.

But, no, other than those minor bits, I'm quite happy with the way the DVD and the product turned out.

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