Manny's Reviews > Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
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Sep 23, 14

bookshelves: story-review, parody-homage, well-i-think-its-funny, life-is-proust, pooh-dante
Read on September 11, 2010

Our son David dragged us to see the movie on Saturday. Elisabeth slumbered fitfully, waking up occasionally to see if it was getting any better and generally deciding it wasn't. I thought it was interesting at an abstract level, and I found several scenes funny or sexy, but I had to admit that I couldn't really appreciate it. I also felt rather sleepy at times. David looked both superior and a little embarrassed. "Well, it's really a movie for my generation," he admitted.

The startling realisation that struck me about ten minutes in is that video games have now become culture! Since I've never played Mortal Kombat or anything similar, it was like watching a movie in a foreign language. Admittedly a language where I had some passive vocabulary, but none the less. I had to hand it to them - structuring a romcom as a video game was clever, and judging from other people's reactions it worked. Several times, I caught myself thinking that, if only I'd known, I would have done a bit of Tekken first to get the literary background. You know, like reading The Odyssey before attacking Ulysses, or Mrs Dalloway before The Hours.

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 69) (69 new)


notgettingenough Gee. Romance probably is a video game, Manny, don't you think? Push the on and off button when it suits you? It's brilliant how you can do that these days....you really don't have to be young to get the idea of how it works.


Manny The metaphor is taken considerably further than that. You probably need to see the movie...


message 3: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I *loved* the movie, though I'm supposedly not in its target audience. I didn't play those games either, but I guess I watched them being played enough to get it. I also loved just how clever and funny and cute the movie was.

Sheesh, life *is* a video game. I've been using that metaphor for years. We spend our whole lives trying to level up, and the Restored Gospel is like the greatest book of cheats ever! Christ is our friend who leveled up before us and we watched him do it. Oh, and, there are lots and lots of levels. That's my whole religion and life-philosophy in a nutshell. =)

Your review has me wondering what the next step will be in the future. Maybe virtual reality will develop so much that our romcoms come in the form of video games that we each play instead of passively watching.


Manny Sheesh, life *is* a video game. I've been using that metaphor for years. We spend our whole lives trying to level up, and the Restored Gospel is like the greatest book of cheats ever! Christ is our friend who leveled up before us and we watched him do it. Oh, and, there are lots and lots of levels.

Tatiana, you are the most deeply spiritual person I know. In an earlier age, you'd have been burned at the stake and posthumously canonized.

I don't know whether to feel relieved on your behalf or commiserate. What would you prefer?


message 5: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I'm exceedingly happy neither to be roasted nor made canon-fodder, thank you! I'd feel most pleased if you shared in my celebration of the absence of those events. =)

I'm trying to decide whether I should get the SP graphic novels or comic books or whatever they are. Is your review based only on the movie?


Manny Well, my natural impulse was to feel relieved, but I just thought I'd ask :)

I've ordered the first two books in the series... they should be arriving soon. Will post an update when I've read them.


message 7: by Kat Kennedy (last edited Sep 07, 2010 12:40AM) (new)

Kat Kennedy Being from the target audience and having a husband who can fully explain and give me a detailed background/insightful lesson into every, single, little reference made it that movie I must conclude...

It is brilliant and one day the super computers will generate a game so awesome that it defeats life in a glorious battle while simultaneously creating it's own pop-rock, culture specific, audience-targeted theme music...

And then there will be peace on earth and more Hot Topics than you can poke a wii remote at.


Manny Being from the target audience and having a husband who can fully explain and give me a detailed background/insightful lesson into every, single, little reference made it that movie

So which video games are referenced? There doesn't seem to be a Cliff Notes yet.

I was guessing Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Guitar Hero, but even if those are correct (far from certain), I expect I'm just scratching the surface...


message 9: by Kat Kennedy (last edited Sep 07, 2010 01:29AM) (new)

Kat Kennedy There were definitely strong references to Zelda, Dance Dance Revolution, Pacman, Mario Bros, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy IV, Sonic the Hedgehog, Clash at Demonhead, Rock Band, Mortal Kombat, Earthbound (apparently though this is one of the few that dear husband can't personally verify), RPGs in general, Half-Life, the Sims, The Punisher, Tetris. WE think there is a Dragon Ball Z reference in there as well but I suppose it is somewhat debatable - less so if you count in Gideon using hand signs from Naruto - both DBZ and Naruto have been made into games though so I guess they actually do count!

But really, all the t-shirts, logos, sound effects, visual effects - there's too many to count. Just the fact that opponents in a "weakened" state glowed red was a video game reference.


Manny OMG. I feel so, so, illiterate. No, wait, that's the wrong word. Maybe they haven't yet made up the right one. But anyway, thank you. That was extremely educational!


message 11: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy This feels like the perfect opportunity to coin a new phrase...


Manny Kat wrote: "This feels like the perfect opportunity to coin a new phrase..."

You're right!

Well... "literate" is derived from the Latin for "letter". The Latin for "game" is "ludus". So, I would say that you are luderate, and your husband appears to be one of the luderati. I, alas, am virtually illuderate.

What do you think?


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert I think you are Latinate...no, hang on...


message 14: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy Hmmm... I think you're onto something. Though maybe we need something more indicative of the nature of video games.

What's Latin for 'soul stealer'?


Manny What's Latin for 'soul stealer'?

"Soul" is anima and "thief" is raptor, but I'm having trouble combining these. Also, video games are far from being the only things that steal souls. "Luderate" is still my choice!


message 16: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy I was being facetious. I think luderate is far better for referring to someone ignorant of gamer ways. However, when you consider the whole culture - it's not just video games that define the movement. As I mentioned - there were references to anime in that movie as well as comic book stuff. These three mainstays of the movement almost always crossover as well. Mangas become Anime becomes videogame. Comicbooks become movies and video games.

I'd be tempted to call it nerdpunk and allow it to join its less mainstream steampunk and cyberpunk brethren.


message 17: by Manny (last edited Sep 07, 2010 05:06AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny I think we should be inclusive here. I want to be able to say "I'm so illuderate, I don't even know what nerdpunk is!"


message 18: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy Well, since I just made it up I can help you to finally become luderate AND help you shed your ignorance about nerdpunk. After all, if we're going to work on our modern-day, blogging/internet version of The Unexpurgated Code, then we'll need to bring you up to speed on your target audience!


message 19: by Manny (last edited Sep 07, 2010 05:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny You're such a positive person. I've already made a start by ordering the first two volumes of this series. And maybe we should create a Wiki document and get moving on The New Unexpurgated Code? At least put in headings for the entries?


message 20: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy Sounds fantabulous! (Okay, I didn't make the word up but I really wished I had)

We shall have to decide how to order the book so we can organize focused research. Perhaps a brainstorm session on the perils of when modern manners meet the internet.

The major concerns I can think of off the top of my head are Blogging, social networking, forums, chat, email and messenger usaged. There should be plenty there to get us started!


message 21: by AH (new)

AH I like luderite - is that the same as Luddite?

What I've noticed is that no one is ever outside in the fresh air anymore. Everyone is pale and you don't hear the sounds of children playing...too much blogging, gaming, etc.


message 22: by Kat Kennedy (new)

Kat Kennedy Wait... do they sparkle? Do they brood intensely? Are they inexplicably abstinate? Maybe they're all vampires!


message 23: by AH (new)

AH I think they just might be sparkly, broody, frustrated, vampires! Maybe Stephenie Meyer was on to something afterall.


Manny Kat wrote: "Sounds fantabulous! (Okay, I didn't make the word up but I really wished I had)

We shall have to decide how to order the book so we can organize focused research. Perhaps a brainstorm session on..."


Those all sound like good ideas. And have you read the original Unexpurgated Code? I would be in favour of imitating the style, if that meets with your approval. It's one of my all-time favourite books!


message 25: by Kat Kennedy (last edited Sep 07, 2010 05:50AM) (new)

Kat Kennedy Alas, Manny, I am as illiterate as you are illuderate and therefor haven't yet read it though I shall find myself a copy and become aquainted! I'm sure I'll have no qualms about the style.


message 26: by Tatiana (last edited Sep 07, 2010 10:15AM) (new)

Tatiana I feel hopelessly illuderate, as well. The new word is a winner, though! Soon wikipedia will surely have a screen by screen description of all the references in the movie, and I'll be interested to read them.

Manny, do let me know what you think about the books when they arrive. I started watching the original Airbender anime series after seeing the movie recently, and I'm completely captivated and charmed by it. I think the whole anime/manga/gaming arena holds a lot of golden stuff to be mined.


message 27: by Paul (last edited Sep 07, 2010 03:37PM) (new)

Paul This is all wrong

" I also felt rather sleepy at times. David looked both superior and a little embarrassed. "Well, it's really a movie for my generation," he admitted. "

Wrong wrong. I am definately not of that generation, went to see it with daughter Georgia, nearly 14, who is, and note I have never played a computer game in my life, and I loved it. It was fast & had a witty script, the jokes went whizzing by, it tweaked the audience's sensibilities in a most exhilarating manner, I thought. Okay, minor moan, the cartoon fighting went on a bit and was samey. Otherwise - great stuff. I surely didn't get more than 25% of the cultural references, but you don't need to. Fun for all the family.


Manny I may have been influenced by Elisabeth's tangible lack of enthusiasm. She just hates this kind of movie :)


message 29: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow I am only moderately luderate, and I absolutely love this movie! Honestly, I think it's tapped into something about the way I see life. It's my current favorite. I think it's spectacular. But I do think I was raised on games enough to at least know all of the sound effects and have a basis for the other references, even if they didn't all mean something important to me.


message 30: by Paul (new)

Paul Oh, also, this movie is actually about something, which is : the inevitability of baggage. Even for teenagers.


Manny Meredith: absolutely! When you're surrounded by a culture, you almost always find yourself absorbing it without even realising you're doing that. You say you're only moderately luderate, but (honest now) how many hours have you spent during the last ten years either playing video games yourself or being around people playing video games? In my case, I would say, seriously, less than three hours a year over that whole period. The fact that I got any of the references at all shows the extent to which games have now permeated mainstream culture.

Paul: well, duh! Thinking back to my teenage years, I believe I had baggage a month after I'd started dating. And no, I don't propose to go into details concerning that claim :)


message 32: by notgettingenough (last edited Sep 08, 2010 01:07AM) (new)

notgettingenough Manny wrote: "but (honest now) how many hours have you spent during the last ten years either playing video games yourself or being around people playing video games? In my case, I would say, seriously, less than three hours a year over that whole period."


Good morning, Manny.

I think it is hard for chess players to do 'video' games, any more than other games in general. It seems like such a backwards step. The obvious exceptions are go and bridge. Oh, and chess variants, I guess. Nothing else comes to mind for me.


message 33: by Paul (new)

Paul This is exactly how I think too - I play chess about once a week. Apart from that, other games seem trivial. With one exception - Hearts with three players can be very good.


message 34: by Kat Kennedy (last edited Sep 08, 2010 01:39AM) (new)

Kat Kennedy It would be a backwards step in regards to skills revolved around strategy, logic, patterns and memory.

However, other than picking up chess pieces and moving them, I can't imagine you'd have the chance to make use of hand-eye co-ordination and...erm... all the other skills involved in videogames.


message 35: by Alan (new)

Alan I'm illuderate, having only ever played Simpsons Road Rage and Football Manager which are not proper video games. My daughters play the Sims and watch anime so I have absorbed some of the culture. Now they're 18 and 20 I don't go to the cinema any more with them. I miss that.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: "This is exactly how I think too - I play chess about once a week. Apart from that, other games seem trivial. With one exception - Hearts with three players can be very good."

How interesting. You know, 3 handed card games that work are very difficult to find. I've played hearts a lot, but can't recall having noticed that it is particularly good with three...maybe my threesomes just don't think of it.

And before you think that is starting to sound interesting....

I mean....

A really great three-handed card game is pinochle. Mostly played by Americans and taught to us by one. Much better played by three than four.


Manny Kat wrote: "However, other than picking up chess pieces and moving them, I can't imagine you'd have the chance to make use of hand-eye co-ordination and...erm... all the other skills involved in videogames."

Kat, you should check out speed chess at ICC (the Internet Chess Club). This is the one area where I feel truly luderate. I usually play 3 minutes per game, but many people play 2, or even 1.

I can assure you that hand-eye coordination isn't just relevant - it's essential!


message 38: by Paul (new)

Paul Hi Not - three is the best number for Hearts. I have found that there are some rule variations but these are, in my experience the best rules

For 3 players


- all the pack is dealt out except the 2 of clubs
- each player passes three cards to the player on their right (after they've had a look at their hand) BUT the Queen of Spades can't be passed on
- if a player at any time wins all hearts AND the queen of spades, they can elect to either reduce their score to zero or double up everyone else's. This means that say the agreed number of points being played up to is 1000 and say you have 700 points and your opponents have 300 each, no point in doubling them up, you would go down to zero. Likewise if you have 700 points, person A has 501 points and person B has 200 points, no point in doubling them up as person A would bust and person B would win, so you go back to zero again. But if you have 700 points, person A has 501 points and person B has 351 points, then double them up and then you'll win.

So in this variation if you're brave enough to go for all the penalty cards in one round, you can immediately win - or crash and burn. Makes it fun, and there's a lot of calculation involved.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: "Hi Not - three is the best number for Hearts. I have found that there are some rule variations but these are, in my experience the best rules

For 3 players


- all the pack is dealt out excep..."


How interesting. I haven't tried anything like this before. I will try it. How much do you value the various penalty cards in this version? 1000 sounds like a lot to get to.


message 40: by Paul (new)

Paul The points you play up to depends on how long you want the game to last - 500 points is probably more sensible. For ease of counting, I have all picture cards = 10 points, ace = 15, Q of Spades = 40 (ouch!) and others at face value.


message 41: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow Manny wrote: "Meredith: absolutely! When you're surrounded by a culture, you almost always find yourself absorbing it without even realising you're doing that. You say you're only moderately luderate, but (hones..."

Weellll, when each Mario first came out, I played them like there was no tomorrow, but that's more than ten years ago. Otherwise, I'd really say that I probably have actually been in a room with someone playing video games, like you're saying, less than three hours a year. More if you count being in the same house with someone playing them because I had a roommate in college who played Halo 24 hours a day. I avoided the house, though, because that guy was a douchebag. It turned me off of being around people playing video games, so I haven't done that much in the past ten years. Weird, I know.


message 42: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana I have one friend who's a game programmer, and he's introduced me to a few games by showing me some of his saved games, and linking me to youtube vids and so on. Those would be Street Fighter, Halo, StarCraft (original), and a few more.

I played through Donkey Kong Country with him but mostly it was me watching him level up then dying immediately when it was my turn. For him it was a walk down memory lane and for me it was a wow super awesome inventive game.

Other than that, I used to babysit some kids with a console long ago, and watched them play Super Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, and stuff like that. Later, my niece got Zelda Ocarina of Time and I played that with her for about a day. She also loved Doom when she was very small, and we played that together a few hours, too.

On my own I've only played dumb games like Freecell, Tetris, MahJongg, Minesweeper, and Solitaire. I was in high school when Pong came out, and we played it a few times at the arcade. In college some of my friends were into Space Invaders, then Asteroids and a few others.

I'm sure it will diminish me in the eyes of the chess players here, but I tried playing Battle Chess in the late 80s and could not beat it on the easiest setting. ;_; I'm usually really good at logic games, though. I pwned at Mastermind and Othello, back in the day.

That's the complete extent of my knowledge of games, though. I'd like to become more luderate. Maybe we could find someone who could recommend a good path to luderacy, a curriculum, for those of us who're interested.


message 43: by AH (new)

AH Great idea, Tatiana. A curriculum for Luderites is definitely needed. I remember Pong and how exciting it was (NOT!). I remember playing a game (I think it was called Rogue - not sure) where you fought creatures that were letters of the alphabet. Watch out for those K's they're nasty!

My kids are on their games all the time. They will have carpal tunnel before they finish their teens.


Manny *** STARTING NOW: MAGNUS CARLSEN VS THE WORLD ***

http://rwcc.g-star.com/


Manny Tatiana wrote: "Manny, do let me know what you think about the books when they arrive."

I've now read #1 and #2... have updated the review to reflect that. They're fun!


message 46: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Awesome! I'll have to check them out.


notgettingenough I was discussing electronic timing in sport with a friend who said that it turned sport into a video game. If you can't see who won with the human eye, then it should be declared a draw. To have somebody win a race by two hundredths of a second is meaningless.

He said real life isn't like that and that sport should be like real life. Go play a video game otherwise.

I quite liked the observation and the logic.


Manny To have somebody win a race by two hundredths of a second is meaningless.

Well let's do the math. The 100 m is typically run in a time a little under 10 seconds, so a speed of about 10 m/s. Hence, in one hundredth of a second, a sprinter will travel about 10 cm, and if you win by two hundredths of a second you're about 20 cm ahead.

I've never participated in competitive sprinting. But if I had, and I'd been 20 cm ahead of my nearest competitor, I think I'd have felt aggrieved to have it declared a draw. Do you think chess games should be automatically declared draws if both players are down to less than, say, one minute for ten moves? Even FIDE hasn't dared suggest that :)


message 49: by notgettingenough (last edited Sep 14, 2010 07:07AM) (new)

notgettingenough Manny wrote: "To have somebody win a race by two hundredths of a second is meaningless.

Well let's do the math. The 100 m is typically run in a time a little under 10 seconds, so a speed of about 10 m/s. Hence,..."


I'm sorry. I was assuming, as was obvious from my comment that 200th of a second was something a human can't see. I find it surprising but take your word that it is 20 centimetres which is obviously a visible difference.

So make it one billionth of a second.

The argument is the same.

Make it whatever amount you, Manny, can't humanly see.

That was the point.

Your suggestion about chess is too bizarre for words. I guess you really didn't follow the point which was about things that we can't see.


Manny But it's all about the actual numbers! People win races by a hundredth of a second, which we both now agree is a real win. I have never heard of anyone winning a race by a billionth of a second, for the very reasons you say.

I'm not sure what the smallest recorded margin of victory is. I'm guessing around a millisecond or two, so 1-2 cm. Does anyone know?


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