Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

The Lunar Archivist’s Sketchbook – Part 17

2014/08/24

A Disney character by a Disney artist! Today’s original art is a portrait of Jessica Rabbit by Joe Yakovetic.

joeyakovetic-jessicarabbit001

Nitpicking 101 – Marvin Acme’s Other Woman

2014/06/29

Pop quiz: In the classic movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a photo of the late Marvin Acme taken by Eddie Valiant appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Chronicle. Which female toon was he pictured with?

I’m guessing most of you said Jessica Rabbit, right?

So, to everyone who answered that, here’s my follow-up question: Are you sure about that?

Because the headline "Man Bites Dog" is so yesterday.

Because the headline “Man Bites Dog” is so yesterday.

Take a closer look.

Man, they were already abusing Photoshop image editing back in 1947.

Man, they were already abusing Photoshop back in 1947.

The female toon with Acme on the newspaper cover bears absolutely no resemblance to Jessica Rabbit. And it’s not just her face, either.

Why does Roger Rabbit look like a toon rabbit version of Scott Disick in that picture?

Why does Roger look like a toon rabbit version of Scott Disick in that picture?

True, both of them sport impressive busts and are wearing shoulderless dresses with evening gloves and stud earrings, but the similarities end there. Faux-Jessica’s dress either has a halter neck or is attached to a choker via a brooch and her gloves are elbow rather than shoulder-length. Perhaps most noticeably, her proportions and facial features are more realistic and human, with the end result being that she looks more like a cartoon version of a sexy woman than a caricature of one.

The real world explanation is, of course, that Jessica Rabbit’s character design apparently underwent a complete overhaul at some point after the live-action sequences were filmed. This does, however, raise the question of why the scenes pictured here weren’t reshot with an updated newspaper prop and a hand double for Bob Hoskins to eliminate the continuity error since they’re all (or at least predominantly) inserts where the actor’s face is never seen.

Subliminally Yours – Part 7: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

2014/02/08

Remember the old urban legend about a female toon experiencing a wardrobe malfunction in the film? Well, guess what, folks? It’s 100% true. But here’s the funny thing: it has absolutely nothing to do with Jessica Rabbit flashing her firecrotch. Oh, no. The incident in question actually involves Betty Boop.

Janet Jackson, eat your heart out.

Janet Jackson, eat your heart out.

Needless to say, when the above nipple slip, which was inserted by some mischievous animators as a joke, was discovered, it was quickly removed by Disney. The only reason the footage survives in uncensored form today is because some early domestic and certain contemporary foreign language versions of the movie, both broadcast and home video releases, inadvertently omitted the omission.

The Secrets of Wreck-It Ralph – Part 1: Easter Eggs

2013/11/08

Before Wreck-It Ralph premiered in theaters a little over one year ago this month, a couple of online articles – including one featured on GamesRadar – stated that the creative team was toying with the idea of including a trivia track pointing out all of the video game references in the movie when it was released on home video…something that was incentive enough for  me to preorder my copy of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition of the movie. So you can imagine how I disappointed I was to discover that the Blu-Ray special features only included a director’s commentary on deleted scenes from an extremely early version of the movie – which bears only a superficial resemblance to the finished product – and The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It Ralph, ten minutes’ worth of short segments narrated by Chris Hardwick that, while entertaining and informative, were the merest shadow of what a genuine trivia track could (and should) have been.

Well, if none exists, then make your own! So, in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the movie’s release, I’ve decided to write a two-part series filled with trivia about Wreck-It Ralph that other fans and I have stumbled upon after watching the movie way more times than can possibly be considered healthy for normal human beings. Please note that at least some of these easter eggs, especially the text-related ones, will require both a Blu-Ray version of the movie as well as a high definition, large screen television to be visible (and even then just barely).

1. Lies the Trailer Told Me

Movie trailers have become rather infamous for including footage that is taken out of context, misleading, or doesn’t even appear in the film itself. And Wreck-It Ralph is no exception. A hefty chuck of the dialogue and sequences in the original trailer seems to have been created just for it, including an external shot of Litwak’s Family Fun Center sign at around dusk…

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…an armorless Wreck-It Ralph hiding behind a rock in Hero’s Duty (“Everything changes now!”)…

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…an unnamed soldier yelling at Ralph (“Get out of this game, buddy!”)…

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…and Ralph awkwardly riding Sgt. Calhoun’s cruiser to Diet Cola Mountain while being chased by Cy-Bugs (stills of which, in the following collage, have been slotted between the existing scenes from the movie to where they would’ve chronologically fit in).

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Then there’re some scenes that were altered for aesthetic reasons, such as Sgt. Calhoun being helmetless while speaking to the unnamed female gamer Moppet Girl, presumably so that viewers could get an unobstructed view of her face.

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What’s more surprising, though, is that many of the shots from the trailer which, at first glance, appear to have made it into the final movie unaltered actually aren’t. These differences range  from subtle, such as characters or background elements being added, removed, or positioned slightly differently…

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…to more profound, such as certain scenes having been completely revised or rewritten. Some examples of the latter include the one where Ralph disembarks from the train upon his initial arrivial in Hero’s Duty

thesecretsofwreckitralph-traileronly-herosdutytraindescent001
…his frantic attempts to flee from the attacking Cy-Bugs and subsequent interaction with Moppet Girl through the First Person Shooter Robot (notice how the trailer features an in-game display name identifying Ralph as “Private Markowski: Explosive Specialist, Heavy Weapons Training”)…

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…his reaction to the Cy-Bug-destroying beacon (I think that the trailer’s version of this scene is more impressive than the one in the film, to be honest)…

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Fix-It Felix Jr.‘s interaction with Calhoun and the explanation of why he came to Hero’s Duty (note that the background is also completely different in the trailer, with hexagons being the dominant shapes rather than triangles)…

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…the escape pod launch sequence (to say nothing of the completely redesigned launch bay area)…

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…and Ralph looking over a very different incarnation of Sugar Rush from the top of the cliff the shuttle crashed into (as opposed to surveying it from atop the branch of a nearby candy tree).

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2. High Score Symbolism

If you’ve seen The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It Ralph, you probably know that the high score seen on the Fix-It Felix Jr. game cabinet – 120501 – is a reference to Walt Disney’s birthday:  December 5, 1901. So it should come as no surprise that the high score seen on the home video release’s menu screens – 110212 – is also significant: it’s the date of the movie’s release in theaters: November 2, 2012.

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3. Déjà Vu

If Fix-It Felix Jr. seems strangely familiar to you, there’s a good reason for that: the game is a pastiche of Donkey Kong, with Wreck-It Ralph and Fix-It Felix Jr. being the direct counterparts of the eponymous gorilla and Mario/Jumpman, respectively, the hero being a handyman of some sort – a carpenter/contractor as opposed to a carpenter/plunber – and using a hammer, and the idea of the villain climbing a building being just a few of the common elements shared by both games. These parallels even extend to the game cabinet designs and artwork themselves, as can be clearly seen in the following image:

Virtual Arcade: Level Two by Lunar Archivist

Virtual Arcade: Level Two by Lunar Archivist

4. Reaching Across Worlds

Never underestimate the resilience of Penny Forrester and George! The lipstick-stained contract from Paperman and one of the “Lost Dog” posters from Bolt are seen pinned to the bulletin board at the Bad-Anon meeting.

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5. The Writing on the Wall

While Chris Hardwick pointed out a handful of these in The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It Ralph, here’re explanations for all the non-gamers out there of the remaining video game graffiti in-jokes and pop culture references seen scrawled on the walls of Game Central Station.

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Aerith Lives: A reference to the character Aerith Gainsborough and her heartbreaking death scene in Final Fantasy VII.

All Your Base Are Belong to Us!: The infamously mangled English translation of a line from the opening cutscene of the side-scrolling shooter Zero Wing.

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EZ Living: A reference to Extreme EZ Livin’ 2, a fictional game from an early version of the script that ended up being excised from the final film.

Free Pauline: A nod to Pauline, the damsel-in-distress whom Mario needed to rescue in the original Donkey Kong.

K.C. and Turbo: References to Turbo and his alter ego King Candy, respectively.

l33t and pwned: The leetspeek words for “elite” and “owned”, respectively. Humorously enough, these words appear prominently alongside of “K.C.” and “Turbo” in the above screenshots and could thus be interpreted as “K.C. l33t” and “Turbo Pwned”, hinting at upcoming events and later revelations in the movie.

Leerooooy and Jenkins: References to Leeroy Jenkins, a player character whose recklessness ends up ruining the carefully laid-out attack plans of his fellow World of Warcraft team members and getting them all killed.

No Campers: A reference to the video game tactic of “camping”, where a player remains in a stationary spot on the map that offers some kind of inherent strategic or tactical advantage.

Sheng Long Was Here: A reference to one of Ryu’s victory quotes from Street Fighter II – “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance!” – where “Sheng Long” is a (partial) translation of the Japanese term for “Dragon Punch” (“Shouryuken”) into Chinese. The ambiguous nature of this translation led to the widespread misconception that Sheng Long was the name of a person rather than a special move, a fact that video game magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly took advantage of in order to stage an elaborate (and infamous) April Fool’s Joke in 1992.

6. Shameless Plugging

In Game Central Station, the plug sockets all bear the stamp “MOORE U.S.A.” , a reference to Rich Moore, the director and one of the three writers of the film.

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And while we’re at it, Private Markowski is named in honor of Steven Markowski, one of the story artists who was credited as the “story watchdog” for the movie.

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7. The Portraits at Tapper’s

Like the Great Wall of Hollywood at the Brown Derby or the famed New York restaurant Sardi’s, one of the walls at Tapper’s has framed caricatures of many of its most famous customers lining it. There are 38 in all, of which 35 can be positively identified based on screenshots and additional information provided by artist Bobby Pontillas, who drew them together with John Musker. Here’s a quick rundown:

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Left side of door (top to bottom):
1. Neff from Altered Beast
2. The unnamed frog from Frogger

Right side of door (top to bottom):
3. Fix-It Felix Jr. from Fix-It Felix Jr.
4. Zangief from Street Fighter II

Hallway (top row):
5. The unnamed Roman centurion protagonist from Altered Beast
6. Mr. Egg from Burger Time
7. Unknown; not clearly visible
8. Sagat from Street Fighter II
9. Unknown; not clearly visible
10. Mr. Hot Dog from Burger Time
11. Sorceress (blue-skinned woman from the Bad-Anon meeting)
12. Miles “Tails” Prower from Sonic Championship
13. Ryu from Street Fighter II
14. Ken Masters from Street Fighter II
15. Slick and Sam from Q*bert
16. Chun Li from Street Fighter II
17. Sonic the Hedgehog from Sonic Championship
18. Peter Pepper from Burger Time
19. Saitine (devil-like character from the Bad-Anon meeting)
20. Coily from Q*bert
21. E. Honda from Street Fighter II

Hallway (bottom row):
22. Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe
23. Unknown; not clearly visible
24. Mr. Pickle from Burger Time
25. Blanka from Street Fighter II
26. Balrog from Street Fighter II
27. Gene from Fix-It Felix Jr.
28. Guile from Street Fighter II
29. Ugg from Q*bert
30. Thomas Rogan from The House of the Dead
31. M. Bison from Street Fighter II
32. Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik from Sonic Championship
33. A space invader from Space Invaders
34. Rich Moore, the director of Wreck-It Ralph
35. Q*bert from Q*bert
36. Cyril (the zombie) from The House of the Dead
37. Joe Musashi from Shinobi
38. Dhalsim from Street Fighter II

As a special bonus, here’s a collage of all 27 caricatures that have been released to the public.

thesecretsofwreckitralph-caricaturecollage001
The observant will notice that one not mentioned previously – specifically that of 1011001, the yellow robot with the buzzsaw for hand seen at the Bad-Anon meeting – is among them. While it’s supposedly among the ones present at Tapper’s, I’ve yet to find a clear enough shot from the film that I can use to verify this, so it stays off the official list…for now.

8. Now at Litwak’s Arcade on Route 83

While the exact locatiion of Litwak’s Family Fun Center is never explicitly mentioned in the movie, the fake commercials advertising the arrivals of Wreck-It Ralph, Sugar Rush Speedway, and Hero’s Duty at the arcade all mention that it is located on U.S. Route 83. (For those who’re wondering, the verisimilitude of all this ends here, as the maps do not appear to correspond with any real world location along that extremely lengthy stretch of road).

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This narrows it down to one of six possible states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas. The only outdoor shot we ever see of the building…

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…strongly suggests that it’s located in central or southern Texas, as those’re the only area with climates warm enough to support the growth of the giant palm trees seen on the left. The section of elevated highway on the right that runs perpendicular to Route 83 is apparently an interstate highway, which would make it I-10, I-20, I-35, or I-40.

9. The Tough Love Approach

After Ralph steals and dons Markowski’s suit of armor, aside from the binary version of tic-tac-toe being played in the upper right corner, the most noteworthy thing on the helmet’s HUD is a text exchange between one Private Marco and Sergeant Calhoun. These instant messages – which are visible on the center left hand side – hammer home the point that she’s a major hardass (as if that wasn’t abundantly clear already).

YOU HAVE 390,499 UNREAD MESSAGES
SGT. CALHOUN: Report in, Squad! Any of you ladybugs seen Markowski?
PVT. MARCO: Golly, I haven’t seen him since 03:00 hours, Sarge.
SGT. CALHOUN: What was he doing? Practicing the ballet?
PVT. MARCO: He was freaking out, Sarge. Kept going on about the bugs…
PVT. MARCO:  I don’t know if he’s Corps material, Ma’am.
SGT. CALHOUN: Corps material or not, if he doesn’t get his bright, shiny boots
SGT. CALHOUN: back to start pose by quarter drop, I’ll have him transferred to
SGT. CALHOUN: Undead Apocalypse slathered in meat tenderizer.

thesecretsofwreckitralph-marcocalhounexchange001
10. Processing Code

While it’s extremely difficult to make out, what follows is a rough approximation of all the text displayed on the screen of the First-Person Shooter robot from Hero’s Duty:

thesecretsofwreckitralph-fpsrobotdisplay001
*****
_loadingParameters{}

_difficulty=[easy]
_availableRounds{}=[15]
_totalHP=[30]
_bugArmor=[75%]

_maddox=loaded
_marco=loaded
_calhoun=loaded
_ship=loaded
_tower=…

_tower=loaded
****Quarter Alert****
_quarters_inserted=[5]
_quarters_inserted=[6]
_quarters_inserted=[7]
_quarters_inserted=[8]
_initiatePlaySequence{}

_connecting
video feed…

_connected.

_game_start
5 4 3 2 1 0
_offline…

Player Linkup 01 v.12.11.02
Distributed by TobiKomi Co 2012

Hero’s Duty

11. Common Origins

Several of the fictional arcade games in the movie – most notably Fix-It Felix Jr., Sugar Rush Speedway, and Hero’s Duty but also Target Bravo: One Shot, One Kill and Finish Line – were all created by the equally fictional TobiKomi Corporation.

12. Not Just Rose-Colored Glasses

While Felix’s love-at-first-sight reaction towards Calhoun is played for laughs, what makes it doubly amusing is that, upon closer inspection, everything that he says is technically accurate. Her skin texture, which has minor blemishes and even some faint freckles, really is higher definition than his. She even has detailed eyelashes and veins around the edges of her eyeballs!

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13. User-Unfriendly

When the escape pod from Hero’s Duty experiences engine trouble after entering Suger Rush Speedway, one utterly pointless status message and one completely inappropriate suggestion appear on the shuttle’s navigation screen.

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! ENGINE FAILURE !
something has gone terribly wrong

The rest of the message appears to be a random jumble of lower case letters.

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COLLISION IMMINENT
[] Do a barrel roll!

The remaining items on the list are completely illegible, though what little is visible of the third one on the list – no more than the first three or four words – suggests that it may read, “Please return the tray table to its upright position.” This is far from certain, though.

14. The Good Samaritan and the Ladies’ Man

During the panning shot of Game Central Station which takes place while Calhoun is making her speech about the nature of Cy-Bugs, Peter Pepper is seen offering a pie to Q*bert and his homeless compatriots Ugg, Coily, and Slick. Surge Protector, on the other hand, is seen flirting with – and checking out! – Chun Li and the two unnamed princesses in the very same scene.

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15. Candy Car Flavors

According the Kart Bakery’s oven settings, there are five classes of race cars in Sugar Rush Speedway: roadster, coupe, dragster, muscle, and stock.

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16. Product Placement

The Kart Bakery’s security guard, Beard Papa, is actually the mascot of a Japanese-owned international confectionary chain store of the same name specializing in cream puffs (a fact that his mumbling “Mmm…cream puffs!” in his sleep is alluding to).

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Note that one of the posters on the booth wall is actually an oversized nutrition label. I suspect that the other posters are something in a similar vein – such as food color or pH charts, baking instructions, etc. – but the writing and images are too small to positively identify anything else.

17. Police Officer’s Motto

Doughnut cops Wynchell and Duncan have badges which read, “To Heat and Serve“.

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18. The Turbo Seal of Approval

While I’ve pointed this fact out on this blog once before, it bears repeating that, following the big reveal about King Candy’s true identity of Turbo, for one single frame while he’s glitching back and forth betwen his two identities, he breaks the fourth wall by looking directly at the viewer and giving them a “two thumbs up” sign.

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19. Switching Rides

I’m not sure how many people noticed this (or how obvious this even is), but, when Vanellope Von Schweetz rescues Ralph during the movie’s climax, she’s seen driving Crumbelina Di Caramello’s race car rather than her own.

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For those who’ve only just now become aware of this and are wondering why this is, well it’s due to the fact that her own car was rendered undrivable when,  after being thrown in the air by a Cy-Bug geyser erupting beneath her, it crashed and lost its front right wheel on impact.

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This, of courses, raises the question of just how she managed to locate Crumbelina’s car amidst all the chaos and destruction. Turns out that she didnt have to glitch all that far to reach it: Crumbelina was seen driving right up to the rainbow bridge leading to the game’s exit while she and the rest of Sugar Rush Speedway’s inhabitants were fleeing from the Cy-Bugs and probably passed Ralph and Vanellope, whose was riding on his shoulder, on the way there.

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20. Colleagues to Brothers

This is something that I can’t claim credit for noticing, but it’s pretty neat in its subtlety, so props to whoever it was that originally picked up on it.

While they spend most of the movie apart from each other, it’s interesting to note that Felix seems to sense a growing kinship with Ralph at a subconscious level, something which becomes clear when you take a closer look at the way the former refers to the latter and how it evolves over the course of the movie to suggest an increasing level of affection and intimacy.

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21. The 30-Year Grudge

If you ever wondered what the source of Gene’s animosity towards Ralph was, it probably has something to with the fact that he’s the guy who not only has his apartment broken into and trashed at the beginning of each level, but also ends up being manhandled and hurled across the screen to god-knows-where all the time.

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The fact that the new status quo established at the end of the movie adds being blown up by living dynamite during the Bonus Level to his list of responsibilities probably won’t do much to improve his sunny disposition.

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22. The Bonus Stage is Acceptance

And, to top it off, here’s another subtle but cute little detail: while Ralph’s job may not have changed, his different outlook on life is clearly reflected in his sprite’s design: he’s gone from sporting a toothy scowl to an equally toothy grin.

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And that’s it for Part 1 of this series! Check back soon for Part 2, where we’ll be going over some of the continuity errors and inconsistencies that pop up throughout the movie!

Strange Moments in Cartoons – Part 12

2013/08/20

There’s nothing like a Victorian era burlesque show. Featuring anthropomorphic mice. In a G-rated Disney movie.

DAMMIT DISNEY, NOW YOU'VE TURNED ME INTO A FURRY! >_<

DAMMIT DISNEY, NOW YOU’VE TURNED ME INTO A FURRY! >_<

This…thought-provoking sequence has been brought to you by The Great Mouse Detective (1986).

Strange Moments in Cartoons – Part 4

2013/04/02

When it comes to getting answers out of people, Don Karnage doesn’t mess around.

At least he didn't ask for the grenade and the funnel.

At least he didn’t ask for the grenade and the funnel.

This enhanced interrogation technique has been brought to you by TaleSpin – Episode 1: Plunder and Lighting – Part 1 (September 7, 1990).

Subliminally Yours – Part 2: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

2013/03/17

In some of the action sequences where Eddie Valiant is seen moving insanely quickly while interacting with toons – most notably during the Benny the Cab chase sequence and after going from floor to ceiling pancake while riding the elevator with Droopy – what the audience is seeing isn’t (an image of) Bob Hoskins composited into the shot, but an animated version of him.

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Subliminally Yours – Part 1: Wreck-It Ralph

2013/03/09

Yet another new series of posts dedicated to things that creators sneak into their works and which generally go unnoticed because they’re either presented in an unusual fashion or literally pass in the blink of an eye.

To start things off, here’s one from the climactic confrontation between Vanellope Von Schweetz and King Candy in the movie Wreck-It Ralph. When the former asks who the latter is after his true identity is revealed, for one single frame, while he’s glitching between his two very different appearances, he breaks the fourth wall and does this:

The Turbo Seal of Approval!

The Turbo Seal of Approval!

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Turbo: video game attention whore extraordinaire.

The Litwak’s Family Fun Center Gang

2012/09/18

NOTE: This blog post was originally published on September 18, 2012, but has been revised twice since its original publication and will be stickied from October 28 to November 4, 2012 in anticipation of the movie’s release.

With the release of Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph – which is shaping up to become the video game equivalent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit – a little over seven weeks away, I thought it might be fun to add to the already rampant online speculation by not only summarizing what my fellow nostalgia gamers have managed to piece together thus far but also trying to figure out what other games are present in Litwak’s Family Fun Center myself (and thus also which other characters could potentially make cameo appearances) from existing publicity stills and footage from all of the trailers that’ve been released.

Before we start, I’d like to clarify that I’m only sticking to 100% verifiable information and purposely omitting lawyer-friendly cameos such as the ones made by the Kano and Smoke lookalikes. I’m also going to be working under the assumption that all the cabinets present house exactly one game each (as opposed to multi-game arcade machines such as Nintendo’s PlayChoice-10, for example).

So, let’s get down to business! Based on the following external shot of Game Central Station – the “transportation hub for travelling from game to game within the arcade”…

I’m surprised this arcade hasn’t burned to the ground yet.

…there are twenty-three arcade cabinets present in the establishment. Of those twenty-three, three are the fictional games exclusive to this movie and homes to the four main characters: Fix-It Felix Jr. (Fix-It Felix Jr. and Wreck-it Ralph), Sugar Rush Speedway (Vanellope Von Schweetz), and Hero’s Duty (Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun). So what are the other twenty games? Well, if you do the math, all of them have been accounted for either directly or indirectly, believe it or not…

1. Confirmed Titles

The following video games have either been explicitly named or enough of their distinctive screens and logos are visible to identify them beyond a reasonable doubt:


Pac-Man
[1] and Space Invaders [2]…


Frogger [3] and Virtua Cop [4]…


Dig Dug [5]…


Tapper [6]…


Finish Line [7] (a fictional game) and Tron [8]…


Burger Time [9]


Dance Dance Revolution X2 [10] and Street Fighter II [11]…


Time Hunter 4 [12] (another fictional title)…


The House of the Dead [13]…


…and Sonic Championship (a.k.a. Sonic the Fighters) [14].

2. Educated Guesses

While the following titles aren’t confirmed to be present, there’s a reasonable amount of circumstantial evidence to support the idea in each case (mostly in the form of cameos by their characters).


Talk about blink and you’ll miss it! Even though we’ve already firmly established the presence of Pac-Man – the orange ghost Clyde even has a supporting role in the movie! – this shot of Game Central Station not only features appearances by his compatriots Pinky, Inky, and Blinky, but also by one of the flying ostrich-riding knights from Joust [15], the nameless paperboy from Paperboy [16] (who is seen crashing his bicycle behind Ralph at one point), and the paddles and ball from Pong [17].


While the plight of the down-on-their-luck refugees from Q*bert – specifically Ugg, Slick, Coily, Wrong-Way, and the eponymous character himself – is certainly heartbreaking, the fact that their machine is unplugged means that it doesn’t count towards our total (unfortunately). On the other hand, we can add another fictional game to our list, as we see a yellow Tyrannosaurus Rex standing in the entrance to a game called Dino Havoc [18]. Also note that, to the far right, we see Chun Li walking alongside of Zangief.

And finally, at Ralph’s Bad-Anon meeting, we see, of all people, Neff, the main antagonist of Altered Beast [19] in his anthropomorphic purple rhinoceros form. And, of course, the generic, dual hatchet-wielding zombie Cyril from The House of the Dead on the far right.

3. Complications, Curiosities, and Uncertainties

Be warned: major spoilers ahead.

In the previous two sections, I purposely avoided using information from the opening sequence of the international trailer to support any of my guesswork unless there was additional evidence to corroborate it. And this was done for a very good reason: though not explicitly called attention to, the difference in appearance of establishment owner Mr. Litwak at the beginning and end of it…


…coupled with the rapidly moving people and shifting arcade cabinets indicate that this is supposed to be a time lapse sequence covering the last thirty years of the Litwak Family Fun Center’s existence since Fix-It Felix Jr. premiered there in 1982. While we see several games, both real and fictional, as the camera pans out, there’s no direct evidence either supporting or disproving the idea that they’re still around in 2012 with the sole exceptions of The House of the Dead and Sonic Championship – as Cyril, Sonic, and Dr. Robotnik’s cameos in the movie’s present will attest to – plus one other title that I’ll be naming at the very end of this section.

What makes this montage particularly interesting is that, even though many of them only appear on screen for one or two frames, the names of some of the titles have been blurred out by censor bars, even though their distinctive logos make it blatantly obvious which ones they’re supposed to be. In some cases, the reasons are likely due to copyrights or trademarks issues, where permission had either never been acquired or not yet been granted at the time this montage was assembled. In other cases, legally acceptable parodies were created as placeholders. And then there’re some head-scratchingly baffling examples, such as Space Invaders being one of the games whose names was censored out in the international trailer even though it appeared uncensored in trailers released several months earlier and even in other trailers which have (parts of) the same time-lapse sequence incorporated into it. Go figure.

One extremely plot-relevant detail worth mentioning at this point comes in the form of a fictional overhead arcade racing game, which we catch a brief glimpse of at the very beginning of the sequence, sitting right next to the Fix-It Felix Jr. cabinet.


In two of the trailers and previews that’ve been released so far, M. Bison, Fix-It Felix Jr., and Q*bert all refer to Ralph’s actions of  breaking typecasting and game hopping as “going turbo”. Given the onetime existence of a game called Turbotime in this particular arcade, we can draw a pretty reasonable conclusion about what this otherwise puzzling statement means: at some point in the past, the main character from this game, whose name was presumably Turbo, decided to do the exact same thing and ended up getting his machine unplugged and both it and himself removed from the establishment…which explains why all of Ralph’s associates are getting so jittery and nervous when he begins displaying subversive behavior.

And while we’re on the subject, two more brief plot points that aren’t immediately apparent: not only is the unassuming-looking King Candy likely a secondary villain – or at least a misguided antagonist – based on his biography on Disney’s official site for the movie, but the primary menace in the movie come in the form of the Cy-Bugs from Hero’s Duty, something that Entertainment Weekly hinted at way back in February. In the international trailer, Ralph is seen accidentally stepping on a cute baby Cy-Bug…


…who proceeds to viciously attack him…


…and, after he accidentally triggers an escape pod…


… both he and it are accidentally ejected into Game Central Station. The rest you can probably guess: the Cy-Bug escapes, and, without Sergeant Calhoun and her soldiers to contain it, is now free to multiply, infiltrate, and infect the other games in the arcade. Well, at least until the end of the movie, where I’m betting that we’re going to see a mind-blowingly awesome, multi-world, crossover battle sequence where video game heroes and villains alike are forced to team up in order to contain the infestation and Ralph ends up learning the true meaning of being a hero by (seemingly) sacrificing his life to destroy them. And, lest you think that death is meaningless in this movie given Fix-It Felix Jr.’s played-for-laughs resurrection in one trailer, I’d like to emphasize the fact that, as Sonic the Hedgehog points out in his public service message announcement, the rule is that characters are only able to respawn indefinitely within their own game worlds. If they’re killed outside of it, their deaths will be permanent. Yeah, this is a Disney movie and I’m pretty sure nothing too terrible’s going to happen, but still…

But we’ve wandered way too far off-topic already. Let’s get this train back on track by taking a closer look at the remaining titles (which you’ll need judicious use of frame-by-frame replaying in order to independently verify):


Asteroids and Battlezone


Food Fight, the original Street Fighter (although it mistakenly displays graphics from Street Fighter II, specifically of Ryu fighting Dhalsim in his stage in India), and Centipede


Agent X and Dragon’s Lair


the Atari version of Star Wars from 1983 and Fatal Assault (a fictional game)…


District 51 (which appears to be a pastiche of Atari’s Area 51 and the movie District 9), a Star Wars game with no known real-world equivalent, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


…and Hoop Jamz: All-Star Edition by Halfway (an obvious reference to Midway’s NBA Jam: Tournament Edition).

In the closing shot of the montage from the present day, you’ll see that one machine from the opening is still present, having only swapped positions with Street Fighter II in the intervening years:


Yes, that’s right, Dragon’s Lair [20] has apparently been a mainstay in this particular arcade for three decades, which may just be the most ridiculous premise that this movie is asking us to accept considering that the laserdiscs players which shipped with this game were notoriously prone to failure and the earliest cabinets had a life expectancy of between as little as 650 hours (less than one month) and as much as 50000 hours (a little over five and a half years).

4. Cameos

And finally, here’s a list of established characters from the movie whom I haven’t previously mentioned or posted pictures of yet:


Dr. Ivo Robotnik, M. Bison, and Clyde


Bowser and Zangief


…the unnamed bartender from Tapper


Dig Dug and the nameless frog from Frogger

Ryu and Ken


Cammy…

Yuni Verse


…a Fygar and a Pooka


Peter Pepper


…and the one and only Sonic the Hedgehog.

5. Summary

So, in conclusion, here’s an alphabetical list of the twenty-three arcade game cabinets known to be present at Litwak’s Family Fun Center:

  1. Altered Beast (real)
  2. Burger Time (real)
  3. Dance Dance Revolution X2 (real)
  4. Dig Dug (real)
  5. Dino Havoc (fictional)
  6. Dragon’s Lair (real)
  7. Finish Line (fictional)
  8. Fix-It Felix Jr. (fictional)
  9. Frogger (real)
  10. Hero’s Duty (fictional)
  11. The House of the Dead (real)
  12. Joust (real)
  13. Pac-Man (real)
  14. Paperboy (real)
  15. Pong (real)
  16. Sonic Championship (alias Sonic the Fighters) (real)
  17. Space Invaders (real)
  18. Sugar Rush Speedway (fictional)
  19. Street Fighter II (real)
  20. Tapper (real)
  21. Time Hunter 4 (fictional)
  22. Tron (real)
  23. Virtua Cop (real)

How many did you spot? 🙂

Oh, and this goes without saying, but if anyone reading this happens to find anything that I missed, let me know. 😀

UPDATE (2012.09.25.): New information from the release of the “Game Changer” television spot yesterday was added.

In the original version of the article, I stated that the fact that we see Chun Li in her classic outfit combined with the presence of Cammy (also in her original costume) suggested that Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, or Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition was one of the games at Litwak’s Family Fun Center. The new commercial has since proven me “wrong”, as the pictures of the establishment floor, the arcade cabinet, and the screen itself – specifically the sunset version of Ryu‘s dojo rooftop stage – all point it being a regular Street Fighter II machine.

Just to be clear, my placement of the word “wrong” in quotation marks isn’t due to sour grapes but because the movie’s creators have apparently made a continuity error. The three games that I mentioned are the only instances where Cammy and Chun Li appear in the same game together wearing those particular clothes. Cammy wasn’t even in the original Street Fighter II. She first appeared in 1993 – two years after the release of the original game – in Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers.

Still, as someone on a message board thread pointed out, considering that the entire movie requires us to buy into the premise that there’s still a profitable video game arcade being operated in North America in 2012, I think that I can live with this mistake. 🙂

UPDATE (2012.10.28.): The original article has been heavily revised with new information from the various trailers and previews released during the past month as well as plot speculation and spoilers.

It Came From The Toy Chest – Part 4

2012/02/15

It’s easier to pimp your ride if you are the ride.

"I turn into a sportscar. Robo-bitches love sportscars."

Today’s models are Transformers (Generation 1) Sunstreaker by Hasbro/Takara and the Drossel von Flügel (Normal and Flight Unit Obruchev) capsule toys by Yujin/TakaraTomy A.R.T.S.


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