Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
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All of the video game characters seen in Wreck-It Ralph live inside arcade machines. Each character is sentient and has their own thoughts and personalities. Though each character is given a back story by their human developer, they really act how they want when they're not being played by humans. Inside the game there is either a large window or a camera which shows human players the inside of each game world. When game characters are standing in front of the window or camera they must pretend they do not have free will. There are also places in each game world where there is no window or camera, and the characters are free to act however they want (like the backstage of a theater). If game characters do act of their own free will in front of humans then it is only assumed that the game is broken. When humans are not watching them, like when the arcade closes, characters can leave their own games by traveling out of the arcade machine's electrical plug and into other games. When they are in other games, what they are doing can be seen on the screens in the arcade. There is a "Game Central Station" where characters can switch between games, which is actually an electrical strip which connects all the games to one plug. If a character dies outside its own game, they will not re-spawn and will actually die. Edit
No. The movie takes places in a video arcade and only contains the characters from the arcade machines in the one arcade. An original Nintendo Entertainment System controller is used in one scene as a brief joke, but the characters can only travel among their local arcade machines. Director Rich Moore has said in various promotional interviews that if a sequel is made it may have the main characters traveling into the wide world of online gaming where, because of Virtual Console and Xbox Arcade, all known famous games and characters can appear. Edit
The story takes place entirely within an arcade and only shows the community that the characters in that arcade have with each other. These characters are not shown to have any connection to video games outside their arcade. This is true even though some characters (like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario's Bowser) are famous as home console characters. However, many home game characters have arcade spin-offs of their games, like Sonic Fighters and Mario Kart Arcade, and these game could be in the arcade. An explanation for appearances of characters from Diablo and Dungeon Keepers, which are home PC games and do not have arcade versions, could be because they are in Game Central Station after the surge protector was connected to a computer and are now stranded, like Q*Bert and his villains. Take into account also that games like the original Super Mario Bros. was also in the arcade, which would explain Bowser being there. Edit
Game characters are afraid of being unplugged and when Q*Bert is unplugged he is shown as "homeless," having to live in the power strip (a.k.a Game Central Station) that his game was plugged into. In one dream scene a game is shown being unplugged and the world inside the game and one character seems to disappear like its all being sucked in by a black hole. Because of this it seems like being trapped in your game when unplugged is like dying. However, the opening of the movie shows many games coming and going from the arcade over thirty years but none of those game's characters are shown as living homeless inside the power strip. Since game characters are afraid of being trapped when unplugged one possibility is that characters don't actually die but may just lose all their unique memories and personality (like what almost happened in WALL·E (2008) (2008) when the titular character lost power). Game characters probably just fear this as much as death, even though they'd still be alive when plugged in again. Edit
Because doing that would cause the entire game to glitch out and become unstable. This is not said in the movie but is common sense if you understand how modern video games are developed. Often game developers will create characters, vehicles, or stages that will later be decided against. These are called beta elements. Developers find it is more work to delete these elements from game code because it would cause other things to glitch out. Instead these beta elements are just locked away and made unplayable. Edit
Fix-It Felix, Jr.: The game is largely based on the original Donkey Kong (1981). Both villains, Ralph and Donkey Kong, are large and angry characters who stand atop a building structure and toss objects down at the hero. Both heroes, Fix-It Felix and Jump Man (aka Mario), are handyman characters who climb up and around the building to eventually reach the top and watch the villain fall off the tower. The game's name is also a reference to Donkey Kong Jr. (1982) There is a slight reference to Rampage (1986), a game in which the player controls kaiju-style monsters (including one representing King Kong and another one named Ralph). In this game, the monsters climb the side of the building, punch open the windows, and grab the residents inside. Ralph is seen doing this at the beginning of the movie when the game is first seen. The game's building, opening/shutting windows, and the fact that Fix-It Felix scales the front of it also all somewhat resemble Crazy Climber (1980) from the early 1980s.
Hero's Duty: Inspired by various futuristic armored soldier games such as Doom, Quake, Halo, Mass Effect (2007), etc. The Cy-Bugs are inspired by the Metoroido (1986) and Aliens franchises and could be seen as an homage to movies like Starship Troopers, which also had games made based on the property. The name is a reference to popular first-person shooter franchise Call of Duty (2003).
Sugar Rush: Inspired by cartoonish kart racing games like the Mario Kart series, Diddy Kong Racing (1997), and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (2010) with cute characters, power-ups for offense and defense, boosts, obstacles, and various weather conditions. The game's design is based on the board game Candy Land.
Turbotime: The game is inspired by Namco's Rally-X; the colors and designs match almost perfectly. Turbo himself greatly resembles Rally-X's unnamed protagonist. Edit
A number of established video game characters make cameo appearances in Wreck-It Ralph:
• Clyde and Pac-Man from Namco's Pac-Man games.
• Dr. Eggman / Dr. Robotnik and Sonic from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog games.
• Zangief, Chun-Li, Cammy, Ken, Ryu, and M. Bison from Capcom's Street Fighter games.
• Bowser from Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. games. Mario is mentioned but not seen. A Super Mushroom item also appears.
• Kano and Noob Saibot from Midway Games and Warner Brother Interactive's Mortal Kombat (1992) games.
• Q*bert from Gottlieb's Q*bert (1982) games.
• The Paperboy from Atari's Paperboy (1984) games.
• Horned Reaper from Bullfrog Productions and Electronic Arts' Dungeon Keeper (1997) game.
• Cyril from Sega's The House of the Dead (1996) games.
• The Beholder from the Dungeons and Dragons media franchise.
• Neff from Sega's Jûôki (1988) game.
• Frogger from Konami's Frogger (1981).
• Taizo and Hori from Namco's Dig Dug (1982) games.
• Tapper from Bally Midway's Tapper (1983) game.
• Explanation mark + tune from Konami's Metal Gear Solid series.
• Peter Pepper from Data East's Hamburger (1982) game.
• The Qix from Taito America's Qix.
• The paddles and ball from Atari's Pong. Edit