No, Noah Antwiler hasn't died or anything. At least, I don't think he has — it's hard to tell seeing as he has been dormant for so long. I just wanted to look back at the work of Noah Antwiler a.k.a. Spoony and try to work out how/why/when it all went so wrong.
How I Discovered Spoony
Internet entertainment was in its infancy, YouTube was hardly out of diapers when I discovered The Angry Nintendo Nerd. An old work colleague sent me an email with a link to a YouTube video. That video was a "review" of the old NES game Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I watched it and realized how I just wasted 6 minutes and 30 seconds of my life. But that was because, at the time, I didn't realize this angry nerd was a character played up for laughs. It was when I re-watched the video (I had a spare 6:30 to waste) when it hit me and I "got" the character.
I became a fan of "The Nerd" and started to eagerly await his videos. From James Rolfe and his marvelous creation, I discovered The Nostalgia Critic — didn't like him then and still don't. Anyway, cutting a long-ish story short: From The Nostalgia Critic, I was introduced to other, similar reviewers, and Spoony was one of them.
He was like a whirling dervish, a breath of fresh air, a real nerd's nerd. It was clear to me that this Spoony fellow had a passion and talent for what he was doing. Even his early videos (as rough and messy as they were) had something — a charm and an attraction that was hard to ignore. Spoony made subtle references from (at the time) long forgotten and obscure movies, he was a John Carpenter fan and that made him OK in my book. It was obvious that he knew what he liked and he liked what he knew. I instantly liked this guy and became a fan within minutes; he just struck a chord.
Why He Was Amazing
I didn't much enjoy his Final Fantasy obsession. I preferred it when he did things a little off the beaten track. Other internet reviewers would stick with the tired and tested movies and games to be safe. Yeah, of course, he did his share of "safe" videos, but he would also cover some pretty obscure stuff along the way. His Terror T.R.A.X riffs, the FMV Hell series. I still laugh at the "Make My Video" mental-breakdown.
His coverage of the Knightmare TV show brought back plenty of happy memories from my childhood, so much so I wrote my own article covering Knightmare. Spoony inspired me and still does to this day.
He would seek out rare and unknown games/movies and turn the worst of the worst into funny and entertaining viewing. I mean, he made that Dirty Dancing PC game fun to watch — that's impressive. His review of the NES Dirty Harry game still has people questioning the ending.
It was with his Yor: Hunter From the Future review when he first introduced the world to Reb "best action film actor ever" Brown. Later, he showcased the awesomeness that is Reb Brown as often as he could with his annual "Rebuary" celebration where he would dig up films most people didn't even know existed. Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon, Howling II: Stirba — Werewolf Bitch, Death of a Soldier, Strike Commando, Robowar and let's not forget the pure, testosterone-fueled Cage and Cage II, also starring The Hulk himself (Lou Ferrigno), who likes to wrestle:
Spoony's complete destruction of the Highlander franchise was well written and observed as he covered all the sequels and systematically ripped them apart as any and every loyal fan of the original Highlander movie has wanted to do for years. It was Spoony that introduced me to the complete abomination that was Highlander: The Source, a film I didn't even know existed. I both want to thank and wish to slap Noah for that.
His Riff Theater series, where he pokes fun at various training videos from companies like Gamecrazy (with the whiter than white Zelda), Nintendo, Hallmark and the cream of the crop: the Wendy's training video saga. I still say "frea-shist" and like to sing "Hot Drinks" whenever I make a coffee to this day.
I loved his play-through/riff on Ripper for the PC, even if only for Spoony's amazing Christopher Walken impersonation (it just needed more cowbell). The Phantasmagoria 2 Let's Play was great fun to watch, and even though I can't stand watching other people play games, Noah made this boring concept fun and enjoyable.
Sometimes, in mid review, he would just break out his action figures/models and start playing with them. Who didn't enjoy the epic battle between Neo from The Matrix and Big Daddy from Bioshock? Lest we forget the gargantuan fight between Golden Age Superman and Dizzy Gillespie. Spoony was hilarious. His review of The Thing game on the PC is still funny today and one of his classics I often find myself re-watching.
Then there was his Black Hole of Board Games series, where he would dig out those old dust-covered board games from our youth and spend hours just making fun of how bad they were, especially the VCR ones. Sitting there and listening to Noah and Brad "Cinema Snob" Jones talk about the Rocky films for over two hours during a podcast is something I have done more than once and will do again because it so damn entertaining.
Of course, one can not write an article on some of Spoony's greatest hits without mentioning his simply sublime Ultima retrospective. An amazing look back at a game series that started with Akalabeth (basically Ultima 0) and right through to Ultima 9: Ascension, a retrospective he started in 2010 and would not finish until 2012. The sheer passion and dedication really shined through in the final product. Spoony's Ultima retrospective could quite simply be his opus.
Just don't ask him: "What's a paladin?"
"They were sometimes known as the Twelve Peers. Now, historically they were the foremost members of Charlemagne's court, although many of their famous exploits are largely fictitious, representing Christian martial superiority over the Saracen hordes."
He would engage with his fans like no others did at the time. He even held interesting conversations via the message board on his site. Over the years, he built up one of the most impressive, enjoyable and diverse collection of videos around. He was the king.
What Went Wrong?
Spoony was continually uploading new content on a regular basis beginning in 2007 but started to slow down in 2014 and then pretty much stopped by 2016. Gone were his well-written parodies, his well-observed critique and gone was his sharp wit, humor and charm. He started to upload wrestling videos and his game/movie rants died off.
Spoony changed, especially from late 2013 onward. He became less fun and more bitter. He would get out his "ban hammer" and slam it down on anyone who dared to critique or question him, he disabled comments on his YouTube videos and on his site. He began to distance himself from the very people who made him internet famous to begin with, and his fans began to turn against him just as fast as he turned against them. Some of this is connected to his reported bipolar disorder but some of it is also connected to his ego and overinflated opinion of himself too.
As I mentioned, Noah has been diagnosed as being bipolar. I used to suffer from depression. My girlfriend also suffers from depression; she struggles with it far, far worse then I do. Yet there is something we share about our depression: We don't take it out on those that are around us and support us — a lesson young Noah could've learned well from.
There is a great (but over an hour long) video on YouTube that perfectly shows just how low and disrespectful Spoony has become while he was doing an Alien: Isolation Let's Play. His snide and snippy comments to the very people who have not given up on him yet and still offer support as well as his blatant hypocrisy and disrespect are highlighted in this video. I really don't think you can put all the blame for the downturn of Noah on his depression. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact he just became bitter, twisted, whiny and lazy.
I don't want to get into his Patreon shenanigans and broken promises over his Spoony movie or the complete mess his Twitter account has become via his vitriolic messages, as there are plenty of other videos and articles that have already covered this. I just wanted to look back at one of the best internet entertainers ever.
I stopped watching Spoony years ago. Well, he doesn't upload anything worth watching, so I think its more a case of he stopped supplying his fans more than I stopped watching. Though, I do still go back and re-watch some of his classic videos. Why? Because I like(d) Spoony. When he was on top, he was one of the very best, most charismatic and funniest people on the internet and provided me with hours upon hours of entertainment. For that, I am grateful. But now, Spoony is an empty shell and it's all a bit sad.
Thanks for all the entertainment over the years, Noah. Please check out his site at The Spoony Experiment as he does have some great content well worth watching circa 2007.
Are there any Spoony fans out there? What are some of your favorite videos, rants, moments from The Spoony One? Let me know in the comments below.
(Sources: The Spoony Experiment)