video game references in scott pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim vs The World is the best video game movie ever made. It’s completely soaked full of love for the culture of video games and just absolutely stuffed with iconic sound effects and names and little asides that make gamers nod.

In honor of Baby Driver’s release this week, we took a look back at Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, something you should do fairly regularly, and tried to note every single video game reference in the film. There are a lot, but as typical for Edgar Wright, they don’t overpower the story. Every sound is there for a reason, and while it adds more substance if you’re familiar with the references, the film works just as well if you’ve never played a game in your life.

The Universal Logo 

Right from the start, you know you’re in a retro dreamworld, as the pixelated Universal theme stutters into motion, and a chiptune version of the theme song plays. It’s got a bit of a Mega Man feel this way and perfectly sets things up for what’s to come.

The Zelda Music

After the logo, the film itself starts with the opening music to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, that classic tinkling piano sound that appears just before the game’s logo. That kicks off a scene that’s full of Zelda sound clips, such as when Scott’s stats pop up on screen and a whistle from Ocarina of Time plays. It gets in some clever references for those diving a little deeper, such as when Scott is talking about his 17-year-old girlfriend and says “She’s Chinese,” and the Zelda secret music plays. There’s also the Zelda fanfare when he opens the door to let Knives in.

While this first scene has the most Zelda music, it’s interspersed throughout! The dream sequences feature a cover of the Great Fairy Fountain music.

esrb ratings

Stacey’s Rated “T for Teen”

Scott’s sister Stacey is older than his current girlfriend, but her stats show that she’s “Rated T for Teen.” That’s one one of the ratings from the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), the MPAA of the video game world which was formed after the outcry of (now-laughably) violent games such as Mortal Kombat and Night Trap. The ratings run from EC (Early Childhood) to AO (Adults Only). “T” games are the equivelant of PG-13 for games, and “can contain moderate amounts of violence (including small amounts of blood), mild to moderate use of strong language or suggestive themes, sexual content, and crude humor.” It’s appropriate.

Sex Bob-omb

A bit of an obvious one: Scott’s band is called Sex Bob-Omb, a riff on the Bob-ombs from the Super Mario series. You’re likely familiar with the cute little walking bombs with the big wind-up key in their backs. One amusing thing is that the logo looks a lot like the one from the Serious Sam series, albeit a little happier.

Ninja Ninja Revenge

This is another obvious one, but Ninja Ninja Revenge is a riff on Dance Dance Revolution. As far as I know, there aren’t any evil clones of yourself to fight in the game, although some people certainly play it at the skill level that Scott and Knives demonstrate.

Puck Man

Puck Man

That ridiculous story that Scott tells Knives (to show off) and Ramona (to show off, which fails) about the origins of the Pac-Man name? It’s actually true. The name was originally Puck-Man until someone realized how simple it would be to just scratch off a portion of the P and turn it into Fuck-Man. They changed it to Pac-Man and a legend was born,

Crash N The Boys

Crash and the Boys 

What, you thought Sex Bob-Omb was the only band whose name was a video game reference? The first Battle of the Bands sees them going up against Crash and the Boys, which is clearly based on the NES game Crash ‘n’ the Boys: Street Challenge. It’s a sports game that sees you competing in Olympic games on the mean streets, where there are no rules. You can still find it on the Wii/Wii U/3DS Virtual Console.



If Scott had played more Half-Life, he might have realized that the elusive G-Man, the record producer whom Sex Bob-Omb is hoping to impress at their gig, is bad news. In Half-Life, G-Man is a mysterious suit that shows up at critical points in the series, always seeming to know what’s going on and never revealing what that is. Here, he’s just a dickish Jason Schwartzman playing Gideon Graves, the last of Ramona’s evil exes.

Scott Pilgrim Roxy Ramona

Street Fighter: The Movie

The first fight against Matthew Patel kicks us off into Street Fighter territory. We have the first moment where two people face off on a 2D plane with a VS. in-between them, and Scott defeats him with a Shoryuken. There are reversals, combos, and an echoing announcer during the slow-motion finishing blow. When Roxy and Ramona fight, the panes of glass that shatter during their battle slow down mid-air and look like the character selection screen from the game.

Later on, when Scott finally defeats Gideon, the announcer’s “K.O.!” seems ripped right out of Street Fighter Alpha 3, and makes us wonder why it’s not used for every single knockout blow ever landed.

Final Fantasy II Boss Music

After his breakup with Knives Chau, Scott shows how traumatic the experience was for him by excitedly showing his band members that he’s learned the bass line from Final Fantasy II. It’s an excellent riff, but video game purists likely balked at Scott’s line here, since the game is technically Final Fantasy IV. Since it was first released in America as Final Fantasy II, we’ll let him get away with it. (Also, Final Fantasy III was actually VI. It wasn’t until FFVII our worlds finally came together.)

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