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Beyond Zebes

Metroid References Outside the Games

by TJ, MDb Webmonster
02.02.03
Updated 05.25.09 on by Infinity's End

Since the first golden age of videogames in the early '80s, certain games and characters have become etched into the pantheon of pop-culture icons. It's difficult to find anybody who doesn't know who Mario is. Even if an individual is not into videogames at all, he or she is most likely familiar with Pac-Man. Such entities have become as deeply entrenched in the modern consciousness as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have those obscure characters who are recognized only by gamers who pride themselves on being the oldest of the old-school, the hardest of the hardcore. Your Stanley the Bugmans, your Evil Ottos, your Winkys.

Somewhere in the middle, then, lie the rest. The characters who are considered iconic by folks who dig videogames, but are virtually unknown outside the hobby. Your Links and Zeldas, your Ryus and Chun Lis, your...well, your Samus Arans.

Yes, Samus. Beloved though she may be by anyone who is visiting this website, the character I have affectionately come to refer to here on the MDb as simply "Our Girl" is, admittedly, not exactly a worldwide phenomenon.

Therefore, when the rare reference to the Metroid series is made, and it's not on a videogame website or TV show, it's rather satisfying. It's a way for those "in the know" to send a wee shout-out to any fans who may be paying attention. Here, I have collected a small number of Metroid references -- some even unintentional -- from the realm outside the games.

Metroid Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the greatest television show in history. (Yes, it is. Don't even start arguing with me, Trekkie.) Anyways, MST3K was the show that featured Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson, and later Mike Nelson) and his robot pals Crow and Tom Servo marooned in space and forced to watch cheesy movies (the worst we can find) (la-la-la!). The guys were known for pulling obscure references out of their wazoos while making fun of the turkey du jour, and although Mario, Pac-Man and Pong jokes abounded, it was quite surprising to hear Crow T. Robot make a wisecrack involving Metroid in episode #405, "Being From Another Planet." A troubled teen is alone in his room playing a little electronic game when two guys come in to bother him, at which point Crow says, "Could I go back to my game? I was up to the third level of Metroid." (Yes, we know Metroid doesn't have levels. Shut up.)


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Iwerks Entertainment "Kid Coaster" Animation

Iwerks Entertainment is a company that produces "ride simulations" and other innovative theatrical products. One of their products is called Kid Coaster, which is a CG-rendered film ride through a wonderland of toys and fantasy. If you watch very closely, at one point the rider passes by a big Samus action figure! Check out the Kid Coaster promo from Iwerks' website.

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Varia - On Sale Now!

This was sent to me around September 2002 by MDb visitor Norm Geeraert (thanks Norm!). He said, "It's an interesting store I found while exploring Ottawa, Canada. unfortunately they were closed that day, so I was unable to procure one of the suits for myself." Norm didn't say what the shop actually sold, so we can only assume they are purveyors of some sort of damage-reducing armor. Who knew the Varia was so easy to obtain?

Varia Store

"Must...Destroy...the Elderly..."

On the January 14, 2003 episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Conan ran a segment called "Actual Items," where he usually shows items or advertisements with some sort of goofy message inserted in their wording. On this episode, he showed a Circuit City newspaper ad for Nintendo videogames which prominently featured Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion, with a sizeable picture of Samus on the page. Coming from Samus' helmeted cranium was a thought balloon that read "Must...destroy...the elderly..."

Samus on Conan O'Brien

Metroid on House M.D.

On the television show House M.D., when not healing sick patients, Gregory House is sometimes a gamer. In Season One's third episode, "Occam's Razor," House can be seen playing his trusty GBA SP, with none other than Metroid Zero Mission shown on screen. Though the sound effects are different (probably due to copyright), there's a mention of "Level 4" and "space bunnies," and the footage makes it seem like rolling into a Morph Ball on a Chozo statue causes you to lose, it's a cool cameo nonetheless.
In the 15th episode of the first season, "Mob Rules," House whips out his Nintendo DS and holds it up to a comatose's patient's ear. The footage on screen is Metroid Prime Hunters, again with different sound effects.
Watch the whole clip here!

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Jarhead

In the 2005 movie Jarhead, staring Jake Gyllenhaal (aka, the Prince in the upoming Prince of Persia movie), when the marines are on their flight to their destination, Jake's character, Anthony, questions another marine about rather being a worthless civilian, playing Metroid, "trying to get to that 9th level." Another marine mentions how at the end, nothing happens, it just starts over. Yes, we know Metroid doesn't have 9 levels and yes, it's a poorly-written metaphor. But eh, it's there, nevertheless.

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Super Missile Fireworks

MDb reader Alex Donner uncovered a secret item while on vacation, browsing around for fireworks at a local stand: the Super Missile! These are clearly not as powerful as real Super Missiles, but possibly just as fun to set off. Thanks for the pics, Alex!

Super Missile Fireworks Super Missile Fireworks

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

In 2004, Bryan Lee O'Malley's manga-style, boy-meets-girl comic, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life came out. Six years and six volumes later, it took the gaming community by storm, and a full-fledged video game and motion picture was released this year(2010). The comic's charm comes from being chock-full of video game references, and of course, a Metroid reference is made in the first volume. Check it.

Scott Pilgrim

The Wizard

In the 1989 film, The Wizard starring Fred Savage, Jenny Lewis, and Luke Edwards, there is a point where the trio go to an arcade in Reno to "train" Jimmy (Edwards) in hopes to win the big video game tournament in California. This part features very brief footage of the original Metroid (at 1:42), along with other great games from the 80's. Let's not forget this montage is all done to a rockin' 80's song, I Live By The Groove by Paul Carrack! Watch the entire clip here.

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Spaceballs: The Animated Series

Episode 2 of Spaceballs: The Animated Series (2008) has Lone Starr and Princess Vespa getting transported into the video game world of "Grand Theft Starship." When President Scroob and Dark Helmet join them, they convince its denizens (all parodies of video game characters) to help them capture the good guys and empower them by giving them the Konami Code, which grants them invincibility. While Princess Vespa drives a tank down the street, a parody of Samus (complete with enormous boobs) fires what is clearly a super missile which explodes and freezes the tank in its tracks. Without further ado, here's the clip!

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Spy Kids 3D: Game Over

A very quick mention of Metroid was made in the 2003 children's film, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. In it, a kid says "Why is it that every video game has lava in it?" And someone responds with, "Technically that's not true. There's no lava in Halo. In Metroid, it's molten magma." Wait. Lava is magma; it's just magma that has been erupted by a volcano...

Moving on...

So you don't have to gruel through the rest of the atrociously bad writing and acting throughout the whole movie, we've conveniently made the clip available.

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Mad

The Cartoon Network show Mad, which is essentially an animated version of the long-running Mad Magazine, featured a skit called Gaming's Next Top Princess which parodies America's Next Top Model, but with video game girls. Among the last three contenders are Princess Peach, Princess Zelda, and of course Samus (Princess of the Chozo?), who they strongly hint at winning. Funny moments include a drooling Mega Man, Mecha Ridley and Samus's shoulderpads being basketballs. Watch this great clip right here!
Special thanks to SpareChange for the tip!

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Crystal Flash Energy

MDb visitor Dekutulla sent in this picture of an aptly-named gas station near his home: Crystal Flash Energy. Maybe if your car has 10 Missiles, 10 Super Missiles, and 11 Power Bombs you can load up your tank for free? Thanks, Dekutulla!

Crystal Flash

Supernatural

The CW's Supernatural is a show about two brothers who try to investigate the mystery surrounding their mother's death at the hands of a demon. In episode 2 of the first season, you can see characters playing a Nintendo DS and Metroid Prime Hunters. This clip occurs at the very beginning of the episode.

In episode 11 of the fourth season, you can spot a boy very briefly playing Hunters on his DS.
Special thanks to Outlaw for the tip!

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is a high school drama/soap opera that's mostly geared towards women. If you're here, it's likely One Tree Hill is a show you probably don't watch (or want to, for that matter). Regardless, in Season 8, Episode 14, a young boy is seen playing Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for an extremely brief moment. They even have the sound effects during his play session.

Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de (Into the Heart of the Blue World)

Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de (Into the Heart of the Blue World) is a manga and anime series in Japan that parodies the console wars of the 1990s. The medieval fantasy series chronicles the war between the Segua Kingdom and Ninterudo Empire and features characters named after videogame heroes (for instance, Marcus = Mario; Greege = Luigi). There is a "masked woman" known as Saroid - an obvious combination of Samus and Metroid. She is "good at infiltration" and is a silent character who's identity remains a mystery. Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de began its life in 2007 as a manga written by Anastasia Shestakova and illustrated by Crimson. I was recently announced to have an anime series beginning in October 2012. It will probably not enjoy a US release, but you can expect to see fansubbed versions floating around the Internet soon after they air.

Saroid from Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de Cast

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