If you weren't paying close attention, you may have missed some of these more obscure references in Wreck-It Ralph.

Call me late to the party, but after 3 attempts, I finally got a chance to view Disney’s “Wreck-it Ralph” in its last week in theaters. I personally enjoyed the visuals of the movie, I thought it had a really nice plot, and its definitely going to be one of my favorites. One thing that I was doing that I’m sure many other gamer fans were too was keeping an eye out for the many allusions and references to other video games that made their way into the movie. Here are some maybe not so obvious references that made their way into “Wreck-it Ralph”.

Warning: Contains some movie spoilers

Sonic Says

"If you leave your game, you'll need to remember this: If you die outside your own game, you won't regenerate, ever!"
“If you leave your game, you’ll need to remember this: If you die outside your own game, you won’t regenerate, ever!”

Sonic makes numerous cameos in the movie, mainly appearing with other characters in the background of Game Central Station. He has one spoken line of dialogue when appearing on a display monitor, issuing a friendly reminder that if a person dies outside his or her own game they will be gone forever. This lesson seems reminiscent of the morals and life lessons given in the ending segments of the cartoon Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. 

The Konami Code

Konami Code

In the latter half of the movie, Ralph learns the truth behind why Vanellope von Schweetz, AKA “The Glitch”, really is a glitch. In a flashback confession from Sour Bill (King Candy’s henchman) Ralph learns that King Candy gained access to the game’s programming and turned Vanellope into a glitch by disrupting her code, thereby locking up everyone’s former memory of her. While opening up the realm into the game’s code, King Candy is shown using a large NES controller to enter the button combination shown above. This sequence of button pressing is the well known cheat code known as the Konami Code which is useable in games like Contra and Castlevania.

The Kill Screen

Wreck-It Ralph Kill Screen

Pac-Man - split-screen kill screenNow here is a reference that you would have only seen if you had waited in the theater after the ending, the epilogue, and the entire roll of credits (and risked getting dirty looks from the clean up crew). One thing about classic arcade machines is that they had no end to them; they just keep going. Or did they? Many games, due to hardware limitations, would have a bug that would keep the game from progressing any further after ridiculously high levels. In particular Pac-man has a kill screen that appears when level 256 is reached that corrupts part of the screen. 

If you had waited after the credits were done, the Disney castle logo appears but the screen suddenly gets corrupted and half of it becomes a Pac-Man kill screen, but with the sprites of Wreck-it Ralph thrown in.

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Damien is a die-hard video game fan with an appreciation for all things retro. As an avid gamer, reader, and writer, he loves to read between the lines and make deep connections between plots, characters, and even companies themselves. Plus, he's got a pretty sweet afro.

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  • These references aren’t exactly videogame-related, but they’re things I didn’t notice the first time I saw “Wreck-It Ralph.” It wasn’t until later viewings that I discovered them:

    When Ralph is in the king’s chambers, he says, “You sure like pink.” King Candy replies in a huff, “It’s salmon!” (The first time I saw the movie that dialogue didn’t seem to contribute anything, but once you know the end of the movie you realize why the room is all pink.)

    The game portals in Game Central Station are actual wall sockets. The entrance to a game is the hole where the ground prong fits in. No ground prongs are ever shown (since their holes are the game entrances), but the other two prongs are visible in the slots, and can be seen retracting when a game’s plug is pulled.

    When Ralph stuffs the unconscious soldier from Hero’s Duty in the closet, you can see that the soldier is wearing Zangief’s wrestling briefs (the ones Ralph found in the Lost & Found box). Presumably Ralph put them on the soldier so that the soldier wouldn’t be completely bare.

    When Ralph gets mad at Gene at the party and smashes the cake, the cake splatter more or less forms square patterns (as if it were pixelated).

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