The beginning of the new year came with a pleasant surprise to fans of old-school YouTube game reviews due to the announcement of the return of Classic Game Room, one of the greatest gaming YouTube shows of all time. Produced by Mark Bussler, Classic Game Room is the longest-running video game review show of all time, starting back in 1999. The first iteration of the show was simply called The Game Room and lasted for about a year before being discontinued. Then in 2008, with the rise of Youtube, the show returned as Classic Game Room HD.
The period between 2008 and 2015 can be regarded as the show’s golden age; it saw a massive amount of high-quality content released as well as several spinoff shows such as CGR Undertow. CGR quickly built a name for itself as the most reliable source for high-quality old-school game reviews. Even today, the show remains an invaluable resource for those wanting to research a wide range of retro games (I myself have sometimes used it to aid in the creation of articles for this site). Unfortunately, after 2015 things slowed significantly due to YouTube demonetizing many of the show’s videos and emphasizing longer form content over the shorter 10-15 minute videos that had been the show’s bread and butter. Nonetheless, the show continued as Classic Game Room Mark 3, though it had to increasingly rely on outside revenue sources like Patreon.
In 2018 the show experimented with releases on Amazon Prime as CGR 2085, but by this point, the show was on its last legs. Due to CGR becoming increasingly unprofitable, the show was officially canceled with Mark Bussler shifting his focus to publishing and music production and for about 5 years there was no new CGR content. However, late in 2023, Mark began uploading several short videos to the channel, as well as several compilations of some of the best of Classic Game Room. Fans could only hope that this was a sign of greater things to come.
Those prayers were answered when, in early 2024, Mark announced and began releasing Classic Game Room 2085 season 2 on YouTube, just in time for the show’s 25th anniversary. So far two episodes have aired.
The show’s appeal lies in its informative nature combined with the goofy and likable attitude of its host. Speaking personally, Classic Game Room had a huge impact on me; it helped teach me about and got me enthusiastic about retro gaming as well as introduced me to many great games and systems that I would not have otherwise tried. I love this show and I am glad that it is back. Hopefully, it will stick around for many years to come. May the year 2085 last forever, now if you will excuse me I am off to go run over Jar Jar Binks in an El Camino while playing Truxton on the Vectrex.