Community creator Dan Harmon isn’t a stranger to video games; he’s been public about his love for the medium, so it wasn’t surprising to see the first episode of last night’s season finale hat trick devote itself completely to old-school gaming references. What would have been a throwaway gag in any other sitcom took over most of “Digital Estate Planning’s” 22 minutes, as Jeff, Britta, Pierce, Shirley, Abed, Annie, and Troy found themselves participating in a multiplayer platformer in an attempt to wrest the Hawthorne Wipes fortune from the grasp of a bastard child. This episode overflowed with visual gags devoted to the blocky roots of gaming culture, most of which flew by at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pace; but, thankfully, your friends at 1UP are here to comb over this chunk of comedy gold to dig out the purest pieces of retro gaming nostalgia. Read on, and be sure to let us know if any references slipped past our intricate knowledge of gaming’s past.
“Digital Estate Planning‘s” title sequence doesn’t seem to point to any specific title; it’s more of a pastiche of retro games that gave the player a brief preview of all the playable characters and their awesome abilities. Though Gilbert‘s fake game offers a resolution and color depth the NES could only dream of, the opening credits feel a lot like the intro to the NES version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Jeff and company beam into the Greendale study lounge from an impressive skyline, similar to how Mega Man made a dramatic exit at the beginning of his first sequel.
Again with the beaming. We can only assume that the cast of Community can’t check their inventory and climb ladders at the same time. It’s a terrible side effect of this particular mode of transportation.
Yes, here’s yet another nod to Capcom’s forsaken series. Jeff Winger strikes a very Mega Man-ish pose while jumping, even if he looks very unimpressed by the act in question.
This scene brings us an assortment of references, with a very Super Mario Bros. 2 waterfall, a raccoon leaf from Super Mario Bros. 3, and some Guts Man-style blocks to Abed’s right (which Jeff tries and fails to break through later in the episode).
Gilbert crafts his way to murderous success with a very Minecrafty system. Notch’s masterpiece might not be retro, but it sure looks old — and that’s what really counts, doesn’t it?