Friday, May 13, 2016

Scott Pilgrim vs parcels and Canadian coins

This article full of spoilers is translated from an article of SébPhilatélie, published 1st August 2015.

Scott Pilgrim is a graphic novel in six volumes, published between 2004 and 2010. Written and drawn by Canadian Brian Lee O'Malley, this author studied the black and white manga style just to do it (a color edition is available since 2012). In 2010, it was the object of a well done movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, starring the eternal adulescent Michael Cera.
Cover of the first tome (
The intrigue and the decorum aimed readers whose youth happened in the 1990s. In the suburbs of Toronto, Scott, 23, is unable to live by the imperative of society: no really working, not a student, invasive unpaying roommate, boyfriending a high school student by chance, while playing in an amateur rock band whose members work, pay their rent, hope music can be a livelihood one day.

All this routine is disrupted when Scott glimpse colored hair Ramona Flowers, who rollerskates to deliver parcels for Amazon. To find her again, the hero must discover internet and e-commerce, just two years after the opening of

The internet episode at Scott's rommmate is as funny as it's absurd, but reminds readers of how we domesticate internet in the 2000s: what's the address for Why are you waiting the delivery, you just order something on a Friday evening!

Read the comics to discover what happened to the parcel as soon as Ramona delivers it: a sort of critic of our consumer society from a hero who doesn't seem to understand it... or even to have noticed it exists. For example, when he enters in a franchised café who works his sister... to find that, despite the identical look, this is not THE café she works in.
Screen capture of the video game inspired by both the books and the movie (walkthrough by DPADAttacks!-SpongeFreakDX, posted on youTube 4 March 2011). 
Despite this unsensitivity of the world around him, Scott knows how to defend himself from enemies and take all the coins he can get from their pockets, just like on this screen capture of the beat'em all video game. Yes because having a girlfriend, a potential love story on the side, no car and a patient roommate who wish to have some privacy mean you need at least enough to dine out and take a bus home.

Problem is Ramona has seven evil exes united to destroy any hope in the 8th potential boyfriend... who must behave as a video game hero facing seven bosses to free the princess. Yes, that's it: Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda are sitting right there.
The Legend of Zelda's hero Link and his horse Epona on one of France's Hreroes of the video game issued 2005 when youth was a philatelic target (
Collecting coins (or ruppees or rings for those who prefered Sega's hedgehog Sonic) like a video game hero, Scott is in fact behaving like a video game hero piloted by a video game player: that's a level of meaning that make me read and reread the graphic novel. And notice when secondary character are astonished that Scott battles with the exes without knowing what they want or tells what seems the most appropriate answer to get things into motion...

Like a player who pounds on the main button of the gamepad in order to get rid of the lenghy dialogues and finally get to the beat' em up travelling. But to reach and win against the seven ex, Scott will need to become less predictable.

Introductive headbanner to the Canadian Mint's page about the circulating coins (Canadian Mint website).
A fantasy fiction even if only Scott, Ramona and the seven evil exes diverged from reality: demon invocation, vegan telekinesy (??!), draconic music, and of course: magic sword.

The specificity of the video game, issued alongside the movie, is that the player needs to see the value of the coins he gets from defeating enemies. Despite designed for high definition game consoles - PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Ubiosft Montreal studio created a 16 bit graphism, imitating the 1990s consoles such as the Super NES and the Sega's Megadrive.

But, all coins are immediately identifiable as Canadian coins. Let's have a look again:
A second screen capture (same walkthrough by DPADAttacks!-SpongeFreakDX). 
The exaggerated tail of the beaver for the 5 cent coin (nickel) ; the triangles for the sails of the Bluenose on the little ten cents (dime), a ship well known to philatelists ; the caribou of the quarter of dollar.

Then the studio designer skipped the half dollar bearing the arms of Canada, just like they didn't depict the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II: no politics in a video game.

Directly up to the yellow dollar coin with a childish bird: the loonie who gave the nickname of the coin. Finally, found only after defeating bosses: the bicolor two dollar coin with a large animal. A bison? No, a polar bear, toonie, with strangely exaggerated ears.

What's left to say: since 2012, the one and two dollar coins have been modified to fight falsification while the one cent have been progressively taken out of circulation.

No maple leaf in the game.

Note : the video game presented here was sold on the on-line stores of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 until December 2014.

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