Classic Game Room
Classic Game Room (commonly abbreviated CGR) was a video game review web series produced, directed, edited and hosted by Mark Bussler of Inecom, LLC. The show reviewed both retro and modern video games along with gaming accessories, pinball machines, and minutiae such as gaming mousepads and food products.
|Classic Game Room|
The Classic Game Room Mark 3 title card (2016-2017).
|Genre||Video game reviewer, sketch comedy|
|Created by||Mark Bussler|
|Directed by||Mark Bussler|
|Starring||Mark Bussler (1999–2019), David Crosson (1999–2000),|
Derek Buck (cameos; 2010–2015)
|Theme music composer||Tom Myers|
|Opening theme||"Flock of Cowboys"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||16|
|No. of episodes||2,796 (as of August 18, 2018)|
|Production location(s)||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|Running time||Varies, usually 2–9 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||Inecom, LLC|
YouTube (2008–2013, 2014–2018, 2018-2019)
Amazon Prime (2016–2019)
|Picture format||480p 4:3 SDTV (1999-2008) 1080p 16:9 HDTV (2008-2019) WMV / FLV / MOV|
|Original release||Original series: November 7, 1999 – October 23, 2000.|
Revived series: February 28, 2008 - January 19, 2018.
2085 series: March 2, 2018 - April 24 2019. (2 unaired)
Infinity series: December 31 2018 - April 24 2019
The show broadcast its reviews via video-sharing website YouTube under the screen name 'Lord Karnage' until late 2013, when they moved to Dailymotion, citing issues with YouTube. On May 8, 2014, via the Classic Game Room's Facebook Page and YouTube channel, it was announced that the show would again be posting episodes on YouTube. It has also moved onto Patreon and Amazon Prime, before finally being cancelled in April 2019.
The Game Room Era (1999-2000)Edit
Originally titled The Game Room and presented by Mark Bussler and David Crosson, it was the first professional video game review show on the internet. Founded by Bussler, it launched on November 7, 1999 on the internet startup website FromUSAlive. The pair had met at film school and shared a mutual love of movies and video games.
At first, Bussler and Crosson planned to review mainly then-modern games, but after a segment on older games proved to be popular, the show began reviewing earlier titles. The show was run on a tight US$50 budget, so improvised special effects were used. However, the low-budget nature of the show led to slow episode production rates, and when revenue failed to cover the costs of running the show, The Game Room was canceled on October 23, 2000. Tokyo Xtreme Racer 2 for the Sega Dreamcast was the last game to be reviewed on the show. Crosson moved onto a career in pharmaceuticals, while Bussler would spend the next 8 years producing and directing documentaries on American history, such as Expo: Magic of the White City, and working with actors such as Gene Wilder and Richard Dreyfuss.
The Revival (HD) Era (2008-2015)Edit
The show returned as Classic Game Room HD (HD standing for Heavy Duty according to Bussler) on February 20, 2008, hosted by Bussler. Crosson appeared at the end of the show's first episodes, Captain America and The Avengers, where Mark asked him what he thought of the game.
On August 29, 2009 Bussler announced the launch of the Classic Game Room website ClassicGameRoom.net (now ClassicGameRoom.com) on the show's YouTube channel. The website hosts links and embedded videos to all the show's episodes as well as written reviews. Later, the site began hosting reviews written by fans of the show as well as linking to their videos.
In May 2010, Inecom launched a second show titled CGR Undertow hosted by Derek Buck. Later he was joined by TJ and a rotating cast of other reviews. The show had reviewers give their own take on games reviewed by Mark as well as other games not reviewed on the main show. In early 2012, some Classic Game Room reviews were co-hosted by Derek and TJ.
In late 2013, Classic Game Room left YouTube and began posting videos on Dailymotion. On May 8, 2014, Classic Game Room announced via its Facebook page and YouTube Channel that they will be returning to YouTube on May 10. Episodes first hosted on Dailymotion were added to their respective YouTube channels. The last episode posted on dailymotion was the review of Mario Kart 8.
On November 2, 2015, Bussler announced that the show would highly slow its production following the end of the 2015 year. Changes would include the shutting down of the show store and its secondary channel CGR Undertow entirely ending production. Bussler stated that this is due to a change in his life and he would like to focus more on his writing and film making. He also said that he would continue the show as a hobby similar to how it began for him.
CGR Mark 3, Patreon and Amazon (2016-2017)Edit
Bussler later opened a Patreon for the series at the recommendation of fans in order to keep the series operating as normal, but would be renamed Classic Game Room Mark 3. The first CGR Mk3 was released on January 8, 2016. During mid-2016, due to declining YouTube ad revenue, Bussler experimented with a premium content delivery system. Subscribers on Patreon received full length game reviews, dubbed "Hyper Cuts", and free streaming video services received significantly shortened preview-length versions of the same reviews - effectively creating a partial paywall.
After this was met with negative reaction by fans, overall average runtime of the free streaming reviews returned to their normal length, with extended reviews available to Patreon subscribers. The extended reviews later became available on Amazon Prime in December that year.
CGR Mark 4 (2017-2018)Edit
In June 2017, Bussler announced another update to Classic Game Room, intending to broaden the content variety that would encompass toys, comics and anything else Bussler fancied. Subsequent videos dropped the Mark 3 moniker.
Classic Game Room 2085 (2018)Edit
On January 19, Bussler announced another new move off on YouTube and supposedly permanently onto Amazon Prime, under the new title of Classic Game Room 2085, for March. Bussler cited irrevocable differences and frustration with YouTube and its services as the contributing factor. Season 1 debuted on March 2.
On Feb 5 2019, Bussler said a second season was as yet undecided, though now unlikely.
Classic Game Room Infinity (2018-2019)Edit
As of December 2018, Bussler returned to YouTube (as well as to Instagram and Tik Tok) with a new show titled Classic Game Room Infinity, which focuses on shorter, snappier content.
Closure and rebrandingEdit
On April 24, 2019, Bussler announced on Instagram that he had decided to end all video production, and to continue the Classic Game Room brand as a book publishing company. It has distributed books on video games, video production and American history.
Bussler has also conducted a number of interviews with people involved with the video game industry, as part of the CGR Interviews series, such as his interview with Tommy Tallarico, video game soundtrack composer and founder of the Video Games Live concert series. In addition, Bussler has been interviewed for The Art of Community book.
A documentary film, Classic Game Room - The Rise and Fall of the Internet's Greatest Video Game Review Show was released on August 28, 2007, on DVD. It is 100 minutes long and featured footage from a number of the original reviews and commentary from Bussler and Crosson. The film was directed by Mark Bussler.
In 2015, a second film, also directed by Bussler, The Best of Classic Game Room: 15th Anniversary Collection was released on Blu-Ray and DVD. It has a run time of 280 minutes and features a collection of videos previously available on YouTube but also includes plenty of exclusive material including exclusive game reviews, an interview with Dave Crosson, a commentary track and more all wrapped in a comedic story arc involving time travel, robots, and clones.
2015 also saw the release of a compilation film from the sister channel CGR Undertow, A Great Big Bunch of CGR Undertow on DVD. It is a collection of previously released reviews presented by Derek Buck and his clone. Special features include a mini documentary and a blooper reel.
In 2016, Bussler announced a series of feature length video game reviews, the Classic Game Room Feature Reviews, beginning with MUSHA. The 90 minute reviews, funded by Kickstarter crowdfunding, would be in-depth analysis of games, covering everything from presentation to controllers, with comical elements. The following reviews were Herzog Zwei and Super Pac-Man.
- Expo: Magic of the White City - a 2005 documentary by Bussler on the Chicago World's Fair, narrated by Wilder.
- "Classic Game Room - CGR 2085 Podcast Making Of "My Love Affair with Star Wars"". Retrieved February 14, 2016.
- "Cool Interview with Game Room's Mark Bussler". J2games.com. Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- "Interview with Mark Bussler on Movie Addict Headquarters via". Blogtalkradio.com. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- Mark Bussler (2007). Classic Game Room: The rise and... (DVD). Inecom LLC.
- Briggs, Tom. "Interview: Mark Bussler". Sega-16. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Projectgames.com". Archived from the original on March 2, 2001. Retrieved July 4, 2019.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Mark Bussler. IMDb.com
- Loaded Cartridge Interview with Mark Bussler Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- "Destructoid interview with Classic Game Room's Mark Bussler". Destructoid.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- "Classic Game Room - CAPTAIN AMERICA and the AVENGERS review for Sega Genesis". YouTube. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Classic Game Room Website! 8/29/2009". YouTube. 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Classic Game Room - CHOPLIFTER HD review". YouTube. 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Classic Game Room RETURNS TO YOUTUBE". YouTube. 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "My book on the Chicago 1933's World Fair". Instagram. 2019-04-24. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
- "hlopshop.com". hlopshop.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "Second Edition Community Interviews: Mark Bussler, Classic Game Room". Art Of Community Online. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- "The Best of Classic Game Room: 15th Anniversary Collection". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
- "A Great Big Bunch of CGR Undertow". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015-04-25.