Noah Antwiler, also known as The Spoony One or just Spoony, is a popular internet video game and film critic in charge of the website The Spoony Experiment, and a former member of the review site That Guy With The Glasses. Antwiler describes himself as the "[...]terrifying result of a generation raised on MTV and films by Jean-Claude van Damme and Steven Seagal at the height of their popularity". Antwiler's rise to popularity was heavily influenced by his scathing review of Final Fantasy VIII, which remains one of his most infamous and popular reviews.
Antwiler's pseudonym began at a Dungeons & Dragons table, where Antwiler played as a bard. The name is a tribute to a famous scene in Final Fantasy IV, where the game's bard Edward is attacked by Tellah, who shouts "You Spoony Bard!" Antwiler was unaware of what the word meant, but was trying to think of a name for his Dungeons & Dragons bard character, and after rejecting "Edward" as too obvious, "Tandem the Spoony" was born - Antwiler reflects in a later video that in spite of his ignorance about the word at the time, its meaning did fit his character. Eventually during play sessions the character was referred to by friends as "the Spoony guy" or simply "Spoony". Antwiler decided to use the name as an internet handle, because it is "infinitely more memorable and interesting than Noah Antwiler."
Antwiler's first reviews were improvised without scripts before he refined his process, and his early videos were done to show friends on message boards. When Antwiler began his Final Fantasy VIII review, word of mouth lead to the review becoming massively popular, and Antwiler received thousands of emails alternatively denouncing and applauding his work. Antwiler decided to continue with the review after seeing this response, stating "I knew from that moment, I had to keep making videos like that, if only to keep generating responses that passionate."
Today Antwiler reviews many old video games and films as The Spoony One, and occasionally reviews new movies and games in v-logs. Targets for review besides Final Fantasy have included Reb Brown films, early FMV games in a series titled "FMV Hell," the Ultima video game series, and the Highlander franchise, among many other franchises and themes. Antwiler has also hosted "Wrestle Wrestle" covering recent televised wrestling programs, and a series of Dungeons & Dragons focused tabletop RPG anecdotes in a series called "Counter Monkey". Spoony's accomplices in his reviews are his robotic puppet Burton, and Spoony's mad scientist counterpart Dr. Insano, played by Antwiler. Antwiler also plays a multitude of other characters for different reviews, and occasionally reviews new games and movies out-of-character, sometimes with his real-life brother Miles. Reviews featuring other That Guy With The Glasses reviewers also occur, most frequently Linkara of "Atop the Fourth Wall".
Final Fantasy reviewsEdit
- “The entire scene takes a half-hour of real time, where nothing is accomplished except a few brief minutes of throwing harpoons at magic mushrooms in the forest, and the rest of it is spent watching Laguna be a complete McFly.”
- —The Spoony One on the Laguna dream sequences.
From April 2007 to July 2009, Spoony reviewed Final Fantasy VIII in an eleven-part review. Spoony is openly critical of the game, complaining about the complex and tedious draw mechanic and the Junction System, as well as the game's plot and characters, particularly Squall Leonhart, whom he names "Emo Git", and Rinoa Heartilly, whom he names "A Whore" and her dog "Anal". He also said that the twist of the game revealing that Squall, Seifer, Zell, Selphie, and Irvine all grew up in the same orphanage and just forgot about it until years later was too random and convenient for the plot. He also said that how the Guardian Forces were implemented into the plot was poorly handled. He also ridicules Laguna's incompetence, particularly the scene where Laguna decides to tickle Ward to treat his companion's near fatal wounds. He also said that the dream sequences of Laguna's past were all completely pointless and served to only pad the game. He also criticized the main antagonist Ultimecia for having a bizarre character design, a weak motivation for her scheme of time compression, and her speech impediment of replacing C with K. Overall, he stated that the game was terrible and that it marked the point when the quality of the Final Fantasy series started to wane (although in a later review, he said that the game still felt like a Final Fantasy unlike the games from the PlayStation 2 era onward). In the review's conclusion Dr. Insano, fed up with Spoony's reviews, hires Squall (Antwiler cosplaying) to kill him. Though Squall succeeds in fatally stabbing him, Spoony triggers a self-destruct mechanism on Burton, destroying his home and killing them both.
The destruction of his home and his death marked a divergence, where the Spoony Experiment acquired an in-universe storyline. In real life, Antwiler was moving out of his parents' home and was experiencing camera difficulties, and the conclusion of the Final Fantasy VIII review was intended as both a send-off to his old room and a possible ending to the site in case he could not continue filming reviews. He acquired a new camera though, and the site soon continued running. In the storyline Spoony was still dead, and fellow That Guy With The Glasses reviewer Lewis Lovhaug, aka Linkara, created a clone of him to continue reviewing his show. The real Spoony meanwhile was eventually revived and took part in numerous crossover reviews with Linkara before returning to take control of his show back.
In March 2010 Spoony returned to Final Fantasy with Final Fantasy X. He began by stating he loves the game's combat system, though he later states in a commentary of the videos and in his review of Final Fantasy X-2 that he hates the Sphere Grid. He also stated that he hates the linearity of the game's plot progression and level design. He also stated that the side quest Blitzball is slow, boring, way too complicated for it's own good, and that each game takes way too long. Spoony also said that he really likes the character of Auron, but hates Tidus, Wakka and Rikku; Tidus for being a whiny annoying character who's also extremely stupid, Wakka for never shutting up, and Rikku due to her being completely pointless to the story of the game and to only be used as a source of pedofilia-ish fanservice while being only fifteen years old. He also frequently criticizes the game's plotholes and character designs, and the protagonists' naivete in regards to Seymour, who Spoony sees as obviously evil. Special criticism is reserved for a scene where Wakka tries to cheer up the Al Bhed by comparing the destruction of their home to "happy festival fireworks", something that Spoony finds to be an extremely offensive and mean-sprited moment of the game.
Overall, he feels that Final Fantasy X is far worse than Final Fantasy VIII and in the review's conclusion the clone Spoony, who up to this point had been running the review, is attacked by his original counterpart, as well as Tidus (Antwiler cosplaying again) and Pumpkinhead, the antagonist of another video game that frustrated Spoony. With Linkara's assistance Spoony and his clone are teleported away, the process merging them together, all while Tidus is taken away by Doctor Isano for an autopsy so Isano can know how blitzball players can hold their breath for long periods of time.
In Spoony's absence Dr. Insano took over the website and began collecting footage for a Final Fantasy X-2 review. In his review he praises the battle system, but dislikes the easily exploitable dresspheres system the whole plot is based on and the fanservice "dress-up" it allows. He did stated that the side quests, while nice due to adding variety for the game, are, for the most part pointless, and that fully completing the game requires too much busy work. Spoony also found the plot repetitive stating that most of the main story is detecting a sphere, going to the sphere's location, traverse the area to find the sphere, fight a boss, and get one of the spheres that, according to Spoony, are usually not worth the effort. He also states that the whole plot is over the top, cheesy, and way too girly to be taken remotely seriously. He also dislikes the fact that the goal of the game is to bring back Tidus. He sarcastically praises Paine as a female version of Squall for male gamers to lust over without the homosexual undertones. Though he criticized the plot, plot holes, and certain gameplay elements, he prefers the game over the original and acknowledges it tried to do something with the Final Fantasy series that was new and different. He also compliments the game's 1000 Words sequence as genuinely emotional and having a good song, if translated poorly. However, even though Spoony was complimentary, he still finds it to be a bad game. In the finale Spoony is attacked by Yuna in revenge for killing Tidus, and is saved by Sephiroth, who compliments his work and hands him a copy of Final Fantasy XIII to review.
Spoony has made comments on Final Fantasy XIII in his Final Fantasy X review and some other reviews released during the same time period, and in the final part of his Final Fantasy X review implies Final Fantasy XIII is as bad or worse than Final Fantasy X. In the same segment he voices his hatred for Final Fantasy XIV, a game that has been near universally hated since its release. In a video log for Final Fantasy XIII, he said the game was "subtly the worst in the series", although he has also claimed that Final Fantasy XIII-2 is even worse. As far as the cast of characters go, he has mixed feelings towards them. Spoony somewhat likes Lightning for hitting characters he disliked, although, in his review, Spoony questioned why she was easily willing to destroy Cocoon or cut off a town's food supply without any contemplation on the impact of innocent lives implying that she seems too cold-hearted and unsympathetic to be the hero of the game. Spoony criticized Vanille and Hope for their annoying personalities, Snow's lack of intelligence due to the many idiotic moves he pulls in the game (such as staying behind to save a crystallized Serah despise the fact that he is being chased by PSICOM), and the rather violent and brutal nature of the main crew, who, considering they were attempting to save Cocoon, wreaked untold destruction and killed numerous generic soldiers for no reason. However, he praised Sazh for using guns as a weapon and being the only character in the game to have a sense of humanity in him. In regards to gameplay, he criticized the implementation of the story logs, the linearity in the game's level design, and the crystarium system. Special criticism is reserved for a plot twist where Galenth Dysley is revealed to be a fal'Cie, which causes Spoony to quit the game in a fit of rage.
During a video of him playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 at E3 2011, Spoony stated he planned to formally review Final Fantasy XIII after his review of Final Fantasy X-2.
In February 2009 Spoony reviewed Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. He began by stating the game is "okay" but disliked the complex and tedious battle system, which required him to keep track of over two dozen characters, their equipment and their job and ability statuses. He also criticized the Judges for unfairly calling violations on him, and mocked the game's overly long title. Spoony concluded by saying he was enjoying the game despite its shortcomings. During the review Spoony said he likes the original Final Fantasy Tactics, but stated he wasn't very good at it and attributes this to him not taking the game seriously at the time he originally played it.
Other opinions on Final FantasyEdit
Spoony reviewed the original Final Fantasy as an April Fool's joke in April 2009. He criticizes the game in virtually every respect, from the combat system to the plot to the prevalence of self-imposed challenges fans have created, such as completing the game with one White Mage. However, the review was in jest, and in a written note accompanying the video after its posting Spoony stated Final Fantasy was a good game in a time when video games often had very simple battle systems and little plot.
As a joke during his Final Fantasy VIII review, Spoony reviewed Final Fantasy VII during a hallucinatory dream sequence. Spoony says he likes the game, but dislikes the fanbase obsessed with it, including cosplayers and the abundance of Final Fantasy hentai on the internet. He also notes the game's infamous Wall Market sequence where Cloud crossdresses is "emotionally-scarring" to children. Despite liking Final Fantasy VII, Spoony has stated he disliked both Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but favorably compared the latter to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within as a faithful Final Fantasy film, stating "Advent Children was loud, dumb, and obnoxious, but at least it was modelled after the games."
In the opening of his Final Fantasy X review, Spoony said he has played Final Fantasy IX sparingly, but dislikes it due to the art style, and calls its protagonist Zidane Tribal (based only on his design) an "androgynous pre-teen furry." He does say his opinion is based on his memory of only playing the first two hours of the game years ago, and that he is being unfair to the game. He also says Final Fantasy IX might've actually been a great game since it is a throwback to the oldschool style of Final Fantasy he has been missing.
In the same review and numerous video logs, Spoony stated he enjoyed Final Fantasy XII to a degree. He felt the game had an identity crisis, where its main protagonist was concerned. He regarded Vaan with almost the same contempt he gave Tidus, and also believed him to have little relevance to the plot, which he felt was about "Ashe and her romance with Balthier the sky pirate." He also said that he disliked the License Board in his review of Final Fantasy XIII.
Spoony has expressed great interest and "enthusiasm" for Final Fantasy XV (then known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII), stating that he was "very impressed", and that the segment of gameplay he saw was "very good," noting its similarity to the battle system in the Kingdom Hearts games. He is relieved that the game does not follow the original Final Fantasy XIII story, characters, and "boring" auto battle system. He acknowledges the necessity for a more action RPG oriented style of play for the Versus XIII universe that gives the player greater input than XIII. He went on to say that he is "not down on every Final Fantasy game because [he is] looking forward to XIII Versus."
External Links Edit
- The Spoony Experiment, Spoony's review site.