The AVGN rule is a rule used to identify a specific kind of fictional series, that was created as a series of reviews, and therefore nonfictional. It states:

When a series of reviews evolves into narrative works, telling a story, then it's considered a fictional series, with the reviews as actual parts of it, otherwise it's considered non-fiction.

This means that while series of reviews are generally not considered fictional series (a review tells an opinion on a topic, it doesn't tell a story), if that series features any significantly narrative work, than we can say that the series tells a story, and it starts being considered a fictional series. Despite the series only being considered as such from a certain point on, and due to elements outside the reviews, the reviews themselves start being considered part of the series, also retroactively (reviews released before the series was considered fiction are included once the series is considered fiction).

The name of the rule comes from one of the prime examples of its applications, the Angry Video Game Nerd series, that started as a webseries of reviews, and was later adapted into a videogame and a movie. Originally that wasn't considered a fictional series, because it was just reviews, no matter if conducted by a fictional character, but after they started featuring significant storytelling elements (such as the Nerd fighting characters from the games he reviews) and certainly after the series was adapted into a game and a movie, then it started being considered an actual fictional series, telling the adventures of this Nerd reviewer. At this point even the earlier reviews are considered actual parts of the series, because while they are technically non-fiction, they do tell something about the Nerd's universe and must be cited (for example the first episode of the series is a review of Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest, and while done in-character it could simply be considered James Rolfe assuming a stage persona to talk about a game from his childhood, but after the series is considered to tell a story, it must be noted that Castlevania played a role in the Nerd's childhood).

The inclusion of reviews creates a link to the reviewed works, but this is limited to the main works reviewed: if the reviewer happens to compare the reviewed work to any other work or cites another work for any reason, those are considered incidental references. That's because for the nature itself of reviews, they are generally considered fourth wall breaking: to give an honest (or even dishones) opinion on a work, the reviewer must be talking about the actual work, existing in our universe; it wouldn't make sense for them to review a work that only exists or is different in their universe (in that case that wouldn't even be considered an actual review, it would be a fictional review and therefore plain fiction). So we only want to consider as a link reviewed works that tell something about the fictional universe were the review takes place, minor references are ignored since they are consequence of the reviewer breaking the fourth wall.

Note that for any series to be considered as such to this Wiki all the other requirements are still needed (see What is a fictional series), most notably the series must be copyrighted, so amateur reviews are not included.

Also note that series with only little fictional elements might still be ignored, if they are intended simply as a way of entertaining the audience, and are not meant to tell a story (such as in the case of most reviews from the site That Guy with the Glasses aside the more consistent Nostalgia Critic).

Examples of AVGN rule

  • Angry Video Game Nerd: as stated above, this series is about a fictional Nerd reviewing videogames, and it evolved into a videogame and a movie.
  • Board James: a series of board games reviews with some episodes featuring significant narrative elements, two of them even being actual short movies.
  • Nostalgia Critic: a series of movie reviews with some of the most recent episodes featuring narrative elements, original characters, and the character being enstablished as living in a fictional universe. 
  • Captain S: a series that may not really evolve and similar to Captain N however it has original story and characters so its acceptable.
  • Atop the 4th Wall : The series is with narrative elements, original characters, and knowing that he is in a fictional universe.

Examples of series of reviews conducted by fictional characters that are ignored to this Wiki since they're nothing more than reviews are James Rolfe's You Know What's Bullshit? and Doug Walker's Bum Reviews.