This week we get pretty close to the modern era, with a game that released in 2010. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a modern homage to side scrolling beat ’em ups. Players select to play as Scott, Ramona, Kim, and Stephen Stills and kick butt though the streets of Toronto beating up violent hipsters and taking down Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends.
What made it great then? Much like the Simpsons Arcade, SPVTW is a licensed game that was actually fun to play. SPVTW took the many tropes of the once popular beat ’em up genre and added the humor, setting, and fun vibe of the Scott Pilgrim universe. In addition to being a good game, it has an amazing soundtrack by the chip band Anamanaguchi. Anyone who enjoyed the comics or film would find a retro styled Scott Pilgrim game an apt choice. Considering how often his life takes on the surreal nature of video games, it is not surprising that Scott Pilgrim fits well into an actual video game. All meta information aside, SPVTW is a solidly fun title that fit into an older genre not often recreated.
What makes it great now? While I have not touched this game in a few years, there is little about it that would prevent it from being a good game nowadays. The visuals are heavily stylized and would not be out of place on a PS4, and the game mechanics fit well with a “smaller” game. The only thing that really prevents SPVTW from being as good now as it was then is that the films and comics may not have cultural staying power. I personally love the Scott Pilgrim series, but I do fear that it may not be the most memorable of series to others.
Why should it be remembered? SPVTW is an undeniably fun and well made beat ’em up with an amazing soundtrack. While this is not a perfect recipe for remembrance, I would argue that this game fits well into a list of great beat ’em ups along with a list of great retro homages.