Sonic, Tails, Zangief, Kano, Pac-man, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde… the roster of video game character cameos in Wreck-It Ralph is not to be sniffed at. But with a bumper box office over in the US late last year – $183 million, and a whopping $377m so far worldwide – the sequel is practically guaranteed, forcing director Rich Moore to consider who he’s going to ‘cast’ in the next film to top Chun-Li and co. To help him with his quest, here are just 10 of suggestions of characters to include next time around. Let us know who’d you like to see in the comment box below, and for some inspiration, why not check out our 50 Greatest Video Game Characters feature?
Despite his humongous coin collection, natty red duds and beautiful (if easily kidnapped) girlfriend, Mario is boring. There, we said it. Wario, however, is the life and soul of the cartridge, screaming and shouting and hell-bent on global domination. Sure, he may resemble a colourblind tramp who’s recently headbutted a passing train, but as anyone who’s played any of the beautifully bonkers WarioWare games will know, he’s a perfectly fit for the manic world of Wreck-It Ralph’s Game Central Station. Plus, as perhaps the most unhinged bad guy in the history of kiddy-friendly gaming, can you imagine his confessions at bad guy therapy group Bad-Anon? He’ll be the one on the constantly revving yellow motorbike, bellowing gibberish.
Not the modern incarnation of the character – or even Jake Gyllenhaal’s quite-unsuccessful-but-just-about-passable film version – but the original 1989 edition, complete with ethnically suspect blonde hair, leap-friendly pajamas and penchant for collapsing into a bloody pile of spikes and death. A quick cameo could see the Middle-eastern royal family member dart behind Ralph, enjoy a sword fight with a palace guard before falling to his doom (or another level) as the wobbly floor tile beneath him gives up on the whole gravity thing. He deserves a brief appearance if only to keep Mac gamers happy. Those definitely still exist, right?
Real-life lemmings are guinea pig-like rodents who live on the Arctic tundra. Computer game lemmings are green-haired, blue-robed maniacs, blessed with the ability to turn into one of eight super lemmings – blockers, builders, climbers, bombers, bashers, miners, diggers and floaters – as they wander around incredibly dangerous environments with a complete disregard for their own safety. As such, they are an underappreciated ‘90s 8-bit gaming comedy goldmine, perfect for some non-consequential background slapstick in Wreck-It Ralph 2. Perhaps a blocker – the Walk Like An Egyptian fellas – could stop Ralph from entering a game while a Floater could use its umbrella to Mary Poppins its way across the screen. The possibilities are endless… and only mildly suicidal.
If there’s one thing that’s lacking from Wreck-It Ralph, it’s a passive-aggressive computer AI that’s obsessed with testing people and making you feel small. Witty, weird and darker than one of Mario’s longest pipes, GLaDOS – short for Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System – is part HAL 9000, part SHODAN from System Shock, part Richard O'Brien from The Crystal Maze, part mother-in-law from hell. Her voice is perhaps her most recognisable attribute – make sure you listen out for her in Guillermo del Toro’s robot-o-thon Pacific Rim – but as she’s so dark, keeping her as a background cameo with her shining red eye visible might be the best bet. That said, she does sing, so perhaps she could do the credits song next time around.
P.S. If the idea of GLaDOS saying lines like “Cake, and grief counseling, will be available at the conclusion of the test.” does appeal, grab your companion cube plushie and prepare to get excited about the prospect of J.J. Abrams' Portal project...
The mightiest pirate ever to sail the seven-bit* seas, the quippy, quirky, impressively-bloused Guybrush is a bit of a hero in the point-and-click puzzle adventure world – though with all his blundering, perhaps the emphasis should be on ‘a bit of’ rather than ‘hero’. That said, as he’s blessed with a nice line in witty repartee, you could easily see him enjoying a bit of piratical banter with one of Sid Meier's Pirates! in a corner of Tapper’s bar before attempting to rub whatever’s in his inventory – a rubber chicken, say – on nearby objects in a pathetic attempt to get out of whatever jam he’s ended up in.
*Of course, the concept of a seven-bit sea makes zero sense, but there you go.
“Come get some!”, “It's time to abort your whole freaking species!”, “Let's rock!”… Though many of them are cribbed from They Live, Die Hard, Rambo, Jaws, Predator, Aliens, The Evil Dead trilogy and other movies, Duke’s one-liners deserve their own cinematic airing and Wreck-It Ralph 2 could be just that opportunity. Sure, as a stone-jawed, potty-mouthed, alien-slaughtering Jean-Claude Van Damme look-a-like Mr. Nukem may not gel all that well with Ralph’s kiddy-friendly aesthetic, but if the sequel takes the opportunity to poke fun at more adult-aimed gaming – and you’ve got to hope they do – a cameo from this particular hyper-masculine macho man would be just the ticket.
One of the precious few gaming icons that could seriously rival the portly plumber, the artist formally known as "Mighty Kid", "Knuckle Kid", "Rainbow Man" and “Rock Man” has been shooting robots with his Mega Buster arm cannon since 1987 – and considering Capcom coughed up the Street Fighter crew for Wreck-It Ralph it’s a wonder why Mr. Man didn’t get his chance to shine too. Even more mysteriously, Mega Man’s nemesis Dr. Wily was originally given a cameo in the Bad-Anon scene before being cut out at the 11th hour, with fans of the franchise left with only a solitary audio gag* instead. It’d be an educated guess, then, after the success of the original that Capcom would allow their mascot into Litwak’s arcade – if only to challenge Nintendo’s pesky Mario.
Like Guybrush Threepwood, Glottis is a character from a point-and-click adventure puzzle game, but unlike Guybrush Threepwood, Glottis is an enormous orange demon from the land of the dead. Acting as the comic relief in the critically-acclaimed commercial failure that was LucasArts’ Aztec-afterlife-meets-film-noir masterpiece Grim Fandango, Glottis’ job was to fix up cars, shout loudly and generally prat about. In this way, he’s similar to Ralph: too big for his own world and just a little bit childish, making him a potentially perfect silly sidekick to the massive mountain man. And if he’s allowed to bring his suped-up old school automobile with him – known as the ‘Bone Wagon’ – the Sugar Rush racing game would never be the same again…
The trouble with Link isn’t his awkwardly short tunic or his infuriating habit of walking into danger every other step, but his lack of vocal cords. No matter how humble, brave or good with a magical sword he is, the fact that he doesn’t really speak hampers his chances of appearing in Wreck-It Ralph 2. Where less iconic characters can get away with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo – is that you, Paperboy? – Link is such a very big deal that if you were to cast him in the sequel, he’d have to at least squeak a bit. That said, if director Rich Moore can overcome that tricksy conundrum, getting the Phrygian-capped cutie in the bottomless bag would be a huge boon for the sequel – though they’d have be careful not to make him too cartoony, of course.
Standing awkwardly above a sea of cutesy platforming heroes, Abe is perhaps the ugliest leading man ever to achieve minor celebrity status in gaming. As well as his somewhat unconventional appearance, what makes him so charming is his generous, happy, peace-loving nature, starting off as an enslaved Mudokon alien under the thumb of the evil Glukkons before jumping, leaping and puzzling his way out of the evil RuptureFarms complex to save the day. Morally complicated and ethically fascinating, the Oddworld games are real gems in their genre, and to have their gangly star crop up in Wreck-It Ralph 2 would be a real pat on the back for an underappreciated icon, though Abe may have to do something about his notoriously dodgy digestive system…