No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
Scott Pilgrim vs Earthbound

Firefilm | 6 Feb 2012 16:00
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Last week, Chris and Kyle discussed which fanbase missed out the most with Scott Pilgrim vs. Earthbound. Since the debates you see are only a small slice of the discussions and decisions that make up an entire episode. With that in mind, we're allowing Chris and Kyle and Dan the chance to bring a bit more context in a new(ish) follow-up feature, No Right Explanation. Enjoy!

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Chris: Man, Scott Pilgrim vs Earthbound. I'll freely admit, this was one I was excited to debate and really stir the pot with. I'm a fan of Earthbound about as much as one can casually be, so I wanted to find some debate that made logical sense, but in developing the core debate here I failed to make something very clear: When we say "fans who failed to show up," we aren't talking about the fans that did. If you bought Earthbound/Scott Pilgrim when it came out, you weren't part of the problem. If you couldn't afford to play/see them when they came out, you were not the problem. Raise your carts/Blu-Rays high and proudly exclaim, "I am a true fan and I did my job right!"

Everyone else, myself included for Earthbound (and eventually Xenoblade Chronicles), this was about you.

With that said, I know I put Kyle in a bit of a bind here seeing as how I know plenty about Scott Pilgrim but most everything he knows about Earthbound probably came from this debate. That means that I can't really fault him for keeping a lot of his arguments exclusive to the Hipster Supreme, but I can still ding him for failing to mention what a handful of other commenters were quick to remind us: Del Toro's Mountains of Madness. Because Scott Pilgrim vs The World flopped in the theaters, Del Toro and all of us missed out on something far greater. Nintendo will always be protective of their right to deny niche games in the US; Hollywood gave geeks a chance and we didn't turn up in the numbers we were supposed to.

If Kyle had known more about Earthbound (and I wasn't about to give him added ammunition), I'd also harangue him for letting me give out my damning lecture about us not buying Earthbound, even though the game itself was priced at $70 (more in other countries), a price well above the standard game at the time. This played a huge part in its failure, again something commenters explained, and Kyle would have had quite the argument if he had known this.

Withholding facts is just a part of debating sometimes. Also, picking a topic can give you such an advantage. Can't say you didn't learn something today! Some may say that's sneaky and unfair, but I'd like to think it's perfectly valid. Besides, I very much wanted a win and an excuse to weird my Ness shirt and hat. Can you really blame me?

Don't answer that.

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Kyle: First things first, Chris should have pointed out that "Scott Pilgrim" does not have any more story to tell or fun to be had. It was great in my book, and I can watch it as many times as I want. But there will be no more of them because the story is over. So, we don't have to suffer the disappointment of missing out on any future films.

Earthbound, on the other hand, could always come back. But will it come back in America? Probably not. So there's a possibility that we could relive the frustration all over again. And that possibility alone would have Chris shaking in his Ness get-up.
And a big added flaw to my arguments for "Scott Pilgrim": One could argue that the niche audience that failed to show up was not so niche. The movie was marketed to general audiences as a romantic comedy with cheeky gamer-hipster shenanigans. No wonder it did poorly, the vast majority of people who saw the ads wouldn't have gone in the first place. It's a very polarizing concept for a film and anyone not interested in it will pass. Plus, anyone rendered nauseous by "indie" stuff will be the first to naysay.

Meanwhile, "Earthbound" is just wonderful. Even if you haven't played it, you hear about a game's reputation as a modern classic. You wouldn't know what it was if you weren't interested in RPGs and the only polarizing element might be how damned odd the game is. But despite the fact that the aim was truer for an audience, that audience still didn't show up.

Chris also failed to really highlight the difference in consequences, as well. For "Scott Pilgrim," by not showing up we all might have banished ourselves to unoriginal rehashes of other films, but we still have the film "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" to watch. If you didn't show up then, you still can now.

On the other hand, do you know how hard it is to find a cartridge of "Earthbound"? And even if you could find one, you have to have a console in working order. And we won't get the other games in the series, so in this case if you missed the boat, then your boat is just plain gone.

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