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Scott Pilgrim's precious little videogame references

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VOL. 2 – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World


1. The title

Sharp-eyed consumers of crap NES games will immediately recognize that the second Scott Pilgrim book shares its title with the second Simpsons game, in which Bart jumped around through profoundly ugly levels based loosely on other countries.


2. The title page

Opening the cover, we’re confronted by another game reference: the logo Scott’s lying inside of is damn-near identical to the title screen of Bonk’s Adventure for the Turbografx-16.


3. A vidyagame!

Early on in his flashback, Scott’s sitting in his basement, playing what looks to be a Genesis. Possibly with a Sonic game playing, although it’s impossible to be sure.

People play games a lot in the Scott Pilgrim books, so in the interest of not spending forever writing this, this is the only time I’ll point it out – unless, of course, there’s some other, more compelling reason to do so.


4. River City Ransom

Scott’s brawly high-school flashback is one of the best parts of the entire series, particularly if you were a NES gamer in the ‘80s. If you were, then you’ll instantly recognize several distinct shoutouts from River City Ransom, beginning with some of the stranger onscreen text…

… and ending with Scott fighting a dude named Simon on the roof of a school.


Above: EERIE 


5. Bomb up!

Another gaming scene, this time with a specific game: Bomberman.

It’s hard to be sure which Bomberman, but it’s definitely Bomberman. Which incidentally is also one of the best games ever to play with friends.


6. Sonic and Knuckles

Continuing O’Malley’s habit of naming bands after old games, Scott’s high-school band (consisting of him, Kim and their friend Lisa) is named after Sonic’s fourth game, when he shared billing with a punch-happy echidna.


7. I am rubber, you are glue!

Squint really hard at that last panel on the left, and you’ll be able to read Scott spouting this classic (and totally ineffectual) schoolyard comeback. This is another one we would never have pegged as a reference if O’Malley hadn’t specifically called it out as “kind of a Monkey Island thing.”


Above: And so it is! 


8. The Clash at Demonhead

A combination of legendary punk band The Clash and the weird old NES game Clash at Demonhead, The Clash at Demonhead is another reference aimed squarely at old-school Nintendo Power readers, circa 1989-1990.

The band itself also packs a couple more references to the game, but we’ll get to those later.


9. The bass line from Final Fantasy 2

This one’s a little confusing. Sure, he’s talking about Final Fantasy, but does he mean Final Fantasy II, or Final Fantasy IV, which was released over here as II on the Super Nintendo? For that matter, which bassline does he mean? There are dozens.

Thankfully, O’Malley makes it a little clearer by saying that “As many of you know, the intro to the bass line from Final Fantasy one through six (and nine) is ludicrously simple.” There’s just one easy bassline that’s (sorta) consistent between those games specifically, and this is it right here:


Above: It may be easy, but it’s still awesome


10. Tony Hawk

In preparation for the upcoming battle against skater-turned-actor Lucas Lee, Scott’s roommate Wallace makes him “train” by playing Tony Hawk.

This is actually kind of appropriate, considering how many people thought they could skate after playing the first Pro Skater 11 years ago.


Above: NO YOU CAN’T 


11. Rammy

Much to everyone’s mild shock, Scott somehow gets it into his head to give Ramona the nickname “Rammy.” While it wasn’t intended as a reference at the time, O’Malley’s notes say he later realized Rammy was the name of Um Jammer Lammy’s black-and-white evil twin (and player-two avatar), and now calls it an “unconscious homage.”


12. ITEM GET!

This doesn’t appear to be a reference to anything specific, unless you consider the countless MMOs, RPGs, shooters, brawlers and other games that include item drops whenever you defeat a special enemy.

It all becomes more narrowly MMO-y, however, when Scott examines the stat-boosting Mithril Skateboard and realizes he can’t use it because he never picked that skateboard proficiency back in grade five. And so it pops out of existence, its potential completely wasted.


Above: Oh well 


13. You fight like a cow

When Knives attacks Ramona at the library, she gloats about how she “grazed” Ramona, to which Ramona replies:

Anyone who’s played The Secret of Monkey Island will instantly recognize this as one of the very first Insult Swordfighting comebacks you learn, where it’s used as a counter against “You fight like a dairy farmer!”


14. The cheat code for Sonic 3

The cheat code for Sonic 3, incidentally, is Up-up-down-down-up-up-up-up, entered just after the Sega logo fades.


15. Saved over your game in Final Fantasy

OK, this one’s a little cheap, since it’s just Wallace offhandedly saying “Final Fantasy.” But everyone’s had this happen to them at one point or another (usually after loaning a cartridge to a friend), and it sucks.


16. Are we an item?

Scott’s kind of a moron. If you’ve read the books, you don’t really need me to tell you that – just like you don’t need me to tell you that when Ramona asks him about their relationship, the “items” he thinks of are straight out of Super Mario Bros.


17. NO

Does the strange, vaguely skull-shaped “NO” logo on the front of The Clash at Demonhead’s kick drum look like it’s from a videogame? That’s because it is. Appropriately enough, it shows up in Clash at Demonhead, when you “accidentally” shoot a friendly character.

Next page: Volume 3!

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93 comments

  • sophia030394 - December 5, 2011 8:49 p.m.

    The Power Of Love is a famous song by Huey Lewis and the News.
  • ryan-barrett - October 12, 2011 11 a.m.

    Just in case it wasn't overly obvious (I wonder how many people are going to read this) if you take the Triforce/GGG logo on Scott's shirt and rotate it 90 degrees clockwise, there are three 7's inside of the triangles. Gideon's the 7th evil ex, and 777 represents "the threefold perfection of the Trinity." Which is why getting triple-7 on slot machines usually means jackpot.
  • ryan-barrett - October 12, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Furthermore, the relationship and/or "Love Triangle" between Scott, Ramona, and Gideon could be seen as very similar to the one between Link, Zelda, and Ganon. Gideon also shares the same first letter of his name with our well-known Zelda boss.
  • dthktty - March 10, 2011 2:34 a.m.

    oh sorry its not the Jadow free Viewtiful Joe 1, but actually the Gedow from Viewtiful Joe 2, hence the way it looks like 3 letter G's stuck together. sorry about the mistake guys
  • dthktty - March 9, 2011 7:41 a.m.

    on page six, number ten (the bus ride), could also be a possible reference to Viewtiful Joe, where early on you have to ride a bus to get across a bridge. Also this references is further advanced by the fact that Scott's tee-shirt in number thirteen, is the exact symbol for the bad guys in Viewtiful Joe that are called the Jadow. I could be wrong though.
  • Chaoscoolperson - January 2, 2011 8:13 p.m.

    Volume 6 error The logo on scotts shirt was obviously a triforce upside down.
  • RaptorRider - November 10, 2010 11:12 p.m.

    What I love more than anything is that I found a reference nobody else mentioned. In Book 2, before Knives attacks Ramona, while Scott's talking with Steven Stills, you can see him playing Parodius. He's playing as Pentarou, and he's just reached the cat-pirateship miniboss.
  • batmanboy11 - September 20, 2010 1:11 a.m.

    I'll be starting Volume 3 tonight. So far the series has been awesome.
  • zanthox - September 8, 2010 7:37 p.m.

    Such a great article. I just finished SP and loved reading this to see all the things I missed. Thanks for the hard work!
  • lymanzaar - September 4, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    One thing I'd like to add is that in the last page of the free comic book day issue, there is a panel called "Scott Pilgrim Says". this may be a refrence to the old Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons, where the episode would end in a segment called "Sonic Says"
  • batmanboy11 - August 30, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    Actually I'm just going to stop now. So far I've read page 1 and 2. I'll move on when I get 3 and 4.
  • batmanboy11 - August 30, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    Even though I haven't read the books yet (1 and 2 are coming from amazon) I'm going to read the whole article. Its not like its going to spoil anything. I've seen the movie twice and read sypnosie for the books. So far the article is cool.
  • RufusRuthless - August 27, 2010 5:13 p.m.

    @Slaanash The first novel came out in 2004. Maybe No More Heroes got all of its ideas from SP???
  • RufusRuthless - August 27, 2010 5:11 p.m.

    i wasnt an late 80's/early 90's gamer so i obviously missed a few of these. but good article! i have been reading SP since '05 and its always been my fave graphic novel, i hope it doesnt go away for good now that the series concluded, the movie came out and the game came out!
  • Slaanash - August 27, 2010 3:23 a.m.

    The whole series is totally a No More Heroes reference. Come on, a rather dickish yet strangely likeable character murders 7/10 skilled fighters, who explode into money, so he can get into a girl's pants?
  • ezekielzero - August 21, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    i think there may be a reference to sonic 3 with the giant floating chained island that ramona went to university. Its in the third volume.
  • SillyPigeon - August 20, 2010 3:42 p.m.

    Just finished reading through the books. Great article
  • EnragedTortoise1 - August 19, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    Comtinue? Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. GAME OVER.
  • gamewriter - August 19, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    Really wants to read the comic now
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - August 16, 2010 7:42 p.m.

    @ShotgunEric374: I think it's less that no one knew about it, and more that people started posting stuff about it the week the game/movie came out, because that way it'd be relevant to a larger audience. For my part, I've been reading Scott Pilgrim since 2006, so I was only about two years late to the party. I think Amazon kept recommending it after I bought some Blue Monday books. Wish I'd paid attention sooner.

Showing 1-20 of 93 comments

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