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Scott Pilgrim's precious little videogame references

VOL. 3 – Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness


1. Save point

The mysterious, glowing save point is a fixture in nearly all Japanese RPGs, and usually it’s a sure sign that something big and nasty is just around the corner – which in this case it is, as Scott and his friends are about to come face-to-face with the emotionally toxic members of The Clash at Demonhead.

It’s worth noting that this particular save point – the little glowy patch on the floor – seems to be a more or less direct reference to the ones in Final Fantasy VII.


Above: Just, you know, without that weird question-mark thing 


2. Lynette Guycott

Rounding out The Clash at Demonhead’s references to Clash at Demonhead is Lynette Guycott, the band’s mostly silent drummer.

She’s named after Tom Guycot, the weird skeleton boss – sorry, “governor” – who shows up in the game’s first level just to knock you around a little before spouting some nonsense about where to find him.


Above: Tom Guycot only kills by appointment 


3. Bionic arm

How many robot arms do you know of that can smack enemies from across long distances and yet are still inexplicably called “bionic” (which by the way literally means “lifelike”)?

That’s right: just one, and it’s from Bionic Commando.


Above: IS THE ARM HER WIFE!?!?!?!?!???!?!? 


4. Good morning, Scott!

See the way Wallace wakes up Scott (who’s fallen asleep standing up in heavy rain), with the three panels of word-filled darkness? And then calls him “sleepyhead?”

That’s a direct shout-out to the opening of Chrono Trigger, in which Crono’s mom wakes him up the exact same way.


Above: It wasn’t laid out like this in the game, obviously, but you get the idea 


5. The fairy bomberman

Envy’s huffy comment here can be read one of two ways: either she’s aiming some especially bitchy trash-talk at Wallace (who is gay) by calling him a fairy, or she’s genuinely confused about who’s who onscreen. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened in a Bomberman game.

But which Bomberman game? If we’re going to be extra-geeky here (and we might as well, because goddamn are we in deep already), the presence of Fairy and Ninja bombermen, coupled with what appear to be Saturn controllers, lead us to believe they’re playing Bomberman Wars. Which means the Ninja and Fairy would look like this:


6. Scott’s mushroom shirt

Hey look, another Super Mario reference. BET YOU NEVER EXPECTED THAT.


7. Kid Chameleon

Kid Chameleon was the name of the band Scott and Stephen Stills formed with Envy on vocals. Before that, though, it was a Mario-ish platformer for the Genesis, which starred a kid who could change into completely different forms by finding hidden masks.


Above: It was kind of awesome, but not as awesome as it thought it was 


8. The Chaos Theatre

The Chaos Theatre, as we learn in Volume 6, is Gideon’s New York-based nightclub. It’s also a callback to Earthbound, which featured a club called Chaos Theater that regularly hosted shows by the Runaway Five. It was also, as we’ll see later, considerably less swank (but arguably more exclusive) than Gideon’s place.


9. I gotta believe!

The phrase Scott uses to conquer his own doubt and indecision at a crucial moment is more than just a weird, spur-of-the-moment affirmation – it’s also the favorite catchphrase of Parappa the Rapper, which comes up whenever he needs to overcome adversity.


Above: Sadly, Scott uses violence to solve problems instead of rap


10. Destroy all vegans

Chapter 18 may or may not be a game reference, but it’s difficult not to notice that it has an awfully similar title to Destroy All Humans!, THQ’s gleefully destructive alien-conquest adventure.

Granted, Futurama’s Bender says it a lot, too, but still. It could also be read as a reference to the classic 1968 Godzilla movie Destroy All Monsters, but “humans” sounds a lot closer to “vegans” than “monsters” does. Besides, even if that were the case, it still kind of works as a videogame reference.


Above: SEE? 


11. Scott and Todd throw down

It’s possible we’re missing a reference here, but the “versus screen” structure of the above panel reminds us of nothing so much as the pre-fight screens from Mortal Kombat 3.


Above: No basses here, although that’d be pretty badass 


12. It’s an extra life

Probably Scott Pilgrim’s most memorable videogame reference is the one-up he grabs after Todd’s defeat. It sticks out partly because he’s creeped out by it, and partly because you just know that’s going to come into play before the series ends.

As for why it’s shaped like Scott’s face, well, that’s probably a reference to Mega Man – although Mega Man’s far from the only character to have extra lives shaped like his own mug.


13. King Hippo

The non-canon guest strip in the back of Vol. 3 (by prolific internet cartoonist Josh Lesnick) is a cornucopia of weird NES references, mostly centered around Punch-Out!!’s King Hippo and the Nintendo Fun Club.

Weirdest of all (especially to gamers not weaned on late-‘80s/early ‘90s Nintendo Power) is the appearance by Howard Phillips. Once Nintendo’s spokesman (and NP’s first-ever editor), Phillips is perhaps best known for his appearances in the Howard & Nester comic strip, where he kind of came off as a smug douche despite always showing up at the right time with helpful advice.


Above: Oh, f**k off, Howard 


14. Donkey Kong!

Finally, that brings us to Vol. 3’s last game reference, as rendered by other internet cartoonist David McGuire:

Above: Pretty self-explanatory, this

Next page: Volume 4!

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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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