Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. Gaming

I saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this weekend, which is of course the film adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s action-comedy graphic novel series. For the uninitiated, it tells the story of the eponymous slacker who must defeat seven evil exes in mortal combat so he can date cool-chick Ramona. Scott inhabits a strange alternate Toronto where delivery-girls take shortcuts through subspace (at least an American one do), demon hipster chicks are summoned, and vegans are gifted with incredible psychic powers by virtue of their diet.

If it sounds a little cutesy, it is, but that’s part of its charm. It’s obviously informed by a love of video games, as references abound, but it strikes me that Scott Pilgrim’s world isn’t too far off from a table-top rpg, particular a post-computer-game one like 4E D&D.

For instance, Ramona, Scott’s inamorata, carries a subspace suitcase--a hipster purse with the properties of a bag of holding--in which she carries a large hammer +2 against girls, and a titanium bat +1 against blondes.

After defeating one of the exes, Scott wins a mithril skateboard with the stats +4 Speed, +3 Kick, and +1 Will. Alas, Scott never took skateboard proficiency--instead opting for longsword--so he’s unable to use it.

See what I mean? With the movie out, its too bad it wasn’t capitalized on with a table-top rpg as well as the inevitable video game.


Jim Shelley said...

This begs the question - what was the last RPG that *did* capitalize on a movies success? I suspect that the way the formula works now is more like [ Movie ] > Video Game > Collectable Card Game > RPG

Unknown said...

@Jim Shelley: Serenity, certainly.

Jay said...

We saw SPVW on Friday and LOVED it! I can't recall a movie I've had so much fun at in recent history.

Stefan Poag said...

The two Dungeons & Dragons movies do not seem to be well regarded by gamer and non-gamer alike(at least not by people I've talked to).

Trey said...

@Jim and Risus - Srenity is correct, though I wonder if they exactly got started in the Firefly Tv show era. TV shows seem more natural rpg fodder.

@Jay - It was really fun, wasn't it? I had some quibbles comparing it to the comic, but people you haven't read the comic seem to unabashedly love it.

@limpey - true enough, though I'm not sure how they particularly relates to this feel which would be a comic/movie licensed to a game, not vica versa. And the D&D movies sucked.