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Scott Pilgrim's precious little videogame references

VOL. 5 – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe


1. The title page (again)

The fifth book is kind of light on the videogame references, but at least it starts off with a great one: a parody of the Double Dragon III logo:


Above: The dragons might have varying levels of bad-assedness, but damned if those Gs and Rs aren’t identical 


2. Robot joins the party

The message “[Character] joined the party!” is a fixture in just about every story- and character-driven JRPG ever made. But here it’s kind of funny because, see, the robot’s joining an actual party, with people and drinks and music! Instead of, you know, a gang of brooding murderers who band together over their shared love of freedom/the planet/the idealistic healer/princess with a voice like a yappy dog. And call themselves a “party.” Yes.


3. Rock Band bass

The t-shirt Scott’s wearing on the Chapter 29 splash page should be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever played Rock Band – it’s the game’s bass-guitar logo. Appropriate, since Scott plays bass in Sex Bob-Omb.


4. Randy and Andy Katamari

Among Scott’s many anti-talents is the ability to immediately and completely forget people he’s only just met. So he’s probably actually lucky to remember that Kyle and Ken Katayanagi have a name that sounds kind of like “Katamari.”

Now, if their attack robots could roll giant trashballs around as well as kick Scott’s ass, this book would be perfect.

UPDATE: Turns out this is actually a double reference. Randy and Andy were the names of the "infamous Dragon Twins" from River City Ransom, who showed up near the end of the game to menace heroes Alex and Ryan before the final confrontation with Simon.


5. Double Hurricane Kick!

It might be tempting to think that anything called a “hurricane kick” is from Street Fighter, but that’s a red herring. (And seriously, when have you ever seen a double hurricane kick in Street Fighter?) This one’s actually from Double Dragon, specifically Double Dragon III – no surprise, really, given the title-page splash at the beginning of the book.

Performing a double hurricane kick was a two-player feat that required careful cooperation and timing – especially important with “friendly fire” turned on, since a wrong move could knock one or both of you out of the air. Pull it off, however, and Billy and Jimmy would lock arms and do a ridiculous spinning kick that would nonetheless obliterate everyone standing nearby.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Protospasm for pointing out that this can also be read as a Randy and Andy reference, who were themselves a Double Dragon reference. Leave them unpunched for too long and they'd pull off a double hurricane kick, although closer inspection reveals it's not the arms-linked one the Lee brothers executed.


6. Achievement Unlocked!

Scott gets an Achievement for beating both twins at once? Yeah, that sounds about right. All that’s missing is the logo and the satisfying blip noise. Although we'll probably see those when the Scott Pilgrim vs The World game comes to 360 later this month, seeing as this is already a Trophy in the PS3 version.


7. World of Ruin

The title of Chapter 31, which begins after Ramona’s disappearance, is a direct callout to Final Fantasy VI. More specifically, it references what happens to the game’s world after villain Kefka “wins” halfway through and reduces the world to a twisted, desolate cinder that the heroes are then forced to wander. One of them (potentially) even attempts suicide. It’s that inevitable point in any adventure when the heroes are at their lowest – just like Scott is here.


8. Game Over

Man, the book’s just turning into a bag of smiles at this point, isn’t it? It’s not really that appropriate to flash a “game over” here – there’s still another book to go, after all – but it gets the point across.

Reference-wise, it’s impossible to pin down; the list of games that never say “Game Over” is probably a fraction as long as the list of those that do. So let’s call it a general reference and move on.


9. Continue?

Ditto the “Continue?” panel – it’s a very general reference that applies to a very wide variety of games. Although the aerial camera angle here is a little evocative of Grand Theft Auto’s death scenes. And somehow, I’ve always imagined the announcer from Soul Edge reading this particular line.

Oh well, greener pastures ahead.

Next page: Volume 6! At last! And also some extras!

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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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