This weeks Pick of the Week section comes from @SteveHatesU and @HeyItsKamo
Comic Book – The first time I ever heard about Scott Pilgrim was during the movie trailer for Scott Pilgrim VS. The World. My first thoughts were, “oh good, they found another role for Michael Cera to play the exact same role he always does”. Later, Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network Released Scott Pilgrim VS the World: The Game. I fucking love this game and maybe someday I’ll go into greater depth, but for now, I’m talking about the original graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley.
The series was originally released between August 2004 and July 2010. Luckily for me, I didn’t bother with the series until about 2011. There are a total of six volumes and they are VERY quick reads- you can probably get though one volume in about an hour. Each volume does a great job leaving you wanting more at the end, which would be incredibly painful if you had to wait another year or so for the next volume to come out.
The story line is pretty simple: Scott is a 23-year old slacker living in Toronto, Ontario, CA. His daily activities involve mooching off of his homosexual roommate, playing video games, and playing bass in a three-piece band named Sex Bob-omb. The series opens up with the revelation that Scott is dating a 17-year old high schooler named Knives Chau. Already we can tell that Scott isn’t the noblest knight at the round table, but at least he’s believable. This has always been my problem with Superman. Sure, he’s amazing- but where are his character flaws that make him endearing to normal humans like us? Anyway, soon Scott meets Romona Flowers and falls in love.
What I think is great about this series is that everything is evenly paced. We don’t find out the true nature of the storyline until volume two. In this one, we learn that in order to date Ramona, one must be able to defeat her seven evil exes in a Street Fighter-esque showdown to the death. It’s also in this volume that Scott finally breaks off his relationship with 17-year old Knives. Again, this shows how much of an asshole Scott really is, but at the same time, he’s endearing because his situation is believable. Yes – he cheats on and breaks the heart of Knives, but he doesn’t do it with malicious intent.
Over the course of the six total volumes, Scott grows as a character, discovering the error of his ways and learning that love conquers all. This may sound cheesy as fuck, but the fun factor is found in the little minor details of story. As evident of his band’s name, Sex Bob-omb, there are a lot of classic video game references; everything from Final Fantasy to Clash at Demonhead. Anytime Scott defeats one of Ramona’s evil exes, they explode in a pile of Canadian coins just like River City Ransom. In fact, everything written seems to be an “inside joke” of some sort. Whether you get it or not is irrelevant because the main storyline and artwork is just as enjoyable.
Honestly, I think this series has a universal appeal because we’ve all “been there”. What truly sets it apart from some crappy emo kid’s Live Journal entries from 2007 are the twists and turns as well as the unique use of video game references. I got this whole series from Amazon.com, oddly enough (read the first volume and you’ll see why), for something like, 30 bucks. If you’re looking for something different, do yourself a favor and check it out.
Video Game – Sonic Spinball is a perfect example of a game company coming out with some random bullshit just to make some extra scratch… but damn it if this game doesn’t rule.
The short of it is: in 1993, SEGA, still thriving off the popularity of Sonic the Hedgehog and the sequel to their popular first title, decided to create a new game with their blue poster boy. They couldn’t make Sonic 3 just yet, because three games in three years just seems desperate (remember, this is SEGA’s answer to Mario- they couldn’t flood the market with this guy… yet), so they decided to go a different route.
About a month before the extremely popular Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine was released (I refuse to fact check this statement, I also loved this game and hope it was super popular), SEGA released a game where… like, you’re Sonic, but he’s just the ball in a multi-level pinball game. You go level to level, collecting coins like in regular Sonic games, while your main goal is to collect Chaos Emeralds and then beat up your archfoe, Dr. Robotnik.
You can somewhat influence where Sonic goes, but this game is pretty much just dumb, random luck. You use the A and B buttons to control the flippers (hey! this really is a pinball game!) and just kind of shoot your “Sonic ball” around each map until he… does stuff? You break weird robotic shark heads, collect coins, bust barrels, a banner at the top of the screen makes fun of you, you collect Chaos Emeralds, find a weird robot “Loch Ness Monster” guy, fight a few bosses…
The story is pretty ridiculous (so was the original story for Sonic the Hedgehog, but this one…): Dr. Robotnik is once again turning helpless animals into murderous robots. He built a new contraption, the Veg-O-Fortress, on top of Mt. Mobius which powers the machine by way of the lava held within. This fiery lava “fuels the lethal Pinball Defense System that protects the Fortress.” That’s right, this enormous, expensive invention is protected by a fucking pinball game.
And that’s why the 90s were 10 years of Hell.
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