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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
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
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!?!?!?!?!???!?!?
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
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:
Hey look, another Super Mario reference. BET YOU NEVER EXPECTED THAT.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Finally, that brings us to Vol. 3’s last game reference, as rendered by other internet cartoonist David McGuire:
Next page: Volume 4!