Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph

I bought the movie via Xbox Live last weekend (the weekend before this one). Most gamers I know have seen it though if you are among those who haven’t, lrt me put it this way: It oozes with both Arcade and Retro Gaming Nostalgia.

The interesting thing about this movie is the game’s main protagonist is actually the bad guy in his Arcade game, Fix-It Felix Jr. As Zangief (the same one from Street Fighter) says at the beginning of the movie, “Just because you’re a bad guy doesn’t mean you’re a ‘bad guy’.” That is the theme of the movie, which is interesting given Disney traditionally waits until halfway through or near the end to give viewers the moral lesson. It certainly does its job of entertaining a popular gamer’s fantasy: What do the characters do when the game’s not being played?

I’ll give Pixar credit: Not only did they do the movie in both their tradenark CGI and 8-bit format but they got Capcom, Sega, Namco and several other companies to allow them to cameo characters from gaming history: Sonic The Hedgehog, Q*bert (poor guy), Kano from Mortal Kombat and Pac Man to name a few. They even give a nod to FPS games in the form of the Heroes’ Duty game. Speaking of which, Jane Lynch from Glee plays the main heroine in that game.

Interestingly, Ralph and Felix don’t exactly role switch during the course of the movie. While yes Ralph’s split-second decision saves Sugar Rush from crashing into oblivion–a mess he created in the first place, mind you–Felix’s quest to bring Ralph back to their own game is just one of the two side stories. The other side story is King Candy’s connection to Vanellope’s amnesia but I won’t get into that due to the major spoilers involved. You’re given clues starting about halfway through the game–whoops, movie!–but you’re kept guessing up to the lbig reveal.

The sad thing is all of the kids who’ve seen this movie have likely never been to an arcade outside an amusement park or similar venue like Chuck E Cheese. I have fond memories of spending two hours a week at the arcade machines in the Boys & Girls club during the early 1990s. Online gaming? Why bother when there was an arcade in the middle of Boston’s Theater District? Sadly, said arcade closed its doors about 10 years ago. Mind you this is just nostalgia talkin’.

Overall I give the movie a 10/10. If you call yourself a retro gamer or just plain play video games you owe it to yourself to see this movie if you haven’t already. If you abandoned old-school gaming this is a good place to rediscover what you liked about it. If you only know about gaming in the 21st century this is a good start in my book.

Over the course of the next few days I will talk about a couple personal faves from each generation and game system I’ve played.  It’s not just about the game itself but the memories. On that note, I will go ahead and reveal to you what my next blog will be about:

…Click any of the boxes to go to only site that matters for all things Pokemon. Red and Blue have one area and Yellow has a separate one. You have your homework, now go.

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