November 01, 2012
Since this movie tells the story of a video game character and takes place in an arcade, it features many video game references, including some Mario ones, even though Mario himself doesn't appear. Note that while the character Felix is based on Mario, that's considered a reference to Mario's first appearance in Donkey Kong. Also it should be noted that while the Mario series originated with the arcade game Mario Bros., all the elements in the movie are actually from Super Mario console games. The original Super Mario Bros. was made available to the arcade through Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 cabinet, and Bowser and the Super Mushroom are also featured in Mario Kart Arcade GP and Arcade GP2, but none of these are ever seen in the movie's arcade.
Mario references in detail are:
Bowser is one of the villains in the "Bad-Anon", sitting between a generic ninja and Zangief from the Street Fighter series. Specifically, he's seen nodding at Zangief's speech while holding a little cup of coffee and later cheering at him. As Ralph tells the others he doesn't want to be a bad guy anymore, since Bowser was drinking his coffe, he starts coughing for the shock, and accidentally shoots fireballs, referencing his fire-breathing abilities from the games. As the villains leave the room, they're briefly shown in 8-bit graphics, walking through Pac-Man's maze, including Bowser, who however is redesigned, likely due to different proportions of the enviroment, considering that even Ralph himself is redesignedin this scene. He's also seen in the following scenes among the other video game characters in Game Central Station.
In crowd scenes appear many turtles in red shells walking on two legs, that some people feel to be based on Koopa Troopas from the Mario series. They've been confirmed to actually be original, generic videogame creatures, as the original feature of wearing glasses indicates. What is true is that turtles being considered common in videogames is likely due to the Mario series, making this an undirect reference. These turtles might also represent the turtles from Frogger.
Later, Mario is directly referenced during the 30th anniversary party of Fix-It Felix Jr. While Felix is dancing, Ralph rings the doorbell and Felix says "I bet that's Mario! Fashionably late, per the norm." This reference was likely done as a play on people expecting Mario to be in the movie, while he's not.
At the party there also is a turtle in a green shell, that unlike the red-shelled ones walks on four legs and has a very long neck. Ralph then calls it "Glen", identifying it as an original character, but its look corresponds to the Shellcreepers and the NES appearance of Koopa Troopas, possibly meaning that he's based on them, also considering that no concept art was provided for Glen. Since it seems unlikely for the Nicelanders to invite a game enemy at their party, Glen is probably a good guy in his original game.
In a later scene Ralph is digging trough the "Lost & Founds" at Tapper's bar, searching for a medal, and he comes across a Super Mushroom, but immediatly discharges it. It's notable that despite him touching it, Ralph doesn't grow bigger, but this is likely due to the Super Mushrooms supposedly having to be eaten to work, and working simply by touch in games due to gameplay mechanics. In concept art for the room in which this scene takes place, a Piranha Plant is shown in the box instead, possibly meaning that it was replaced at one point, due to the Super Mushroom being more recogniseable and being an actual item, rather than an enemy.
The fictional videogame Sugar Rush Speedway features some possible references to the Mario Kart series. See below for details.
Additionally in a later crowd scene in Game Central Station, two ladies in a yellow and a blue dress can be seen, having respectively brown and blonde hair, therefore looking like Princess Daisy and Rosalina from the Mario series. However the design on their dresses is very different and the blonde one has different hair, so they're more likely just generic game damsels, also considering that in a previous scene there was an unidentifiable lady in a blue dress, but with brown hair. Anyway note that Daisy and Rosalina never appeared in any arcade game.
Finally, the movie credits show various scenes in 8-bit graphics, and one of them features Ralph and Vanellope in the world of Sugar Rush, with the girl passing a Nesquik-sand pit by jumping many times on its surface, and then Ralph trying to jump it too, but sinking. The way the pit is designed and the way Vanellope jumps, correspond to the quicksand pits from Super Mario Bros. 3.
Yet in another scene in the credits, Ralph, Vanellope, Felix and Sergeant Calhoun are shown in the world of Hero's Duty, represented as an 8-bit platform game, and once they reach the top of the area, they're teleported to a room full of floating medals, and after collecting some of them, leave by entering a Warp Pipe-like structure. This very likely references the coin-filled rooms from Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World.
Sugar Rush Speedway
The whole idea of Sugar Rush Speedway being a battle kart game is confirmed to be a reference to the Mario Kart series, but there also are some possible specific references; note that some or all of these may actually be just coincidences:
- In promotional materials, such as the fake commercial for the game, Sugar Rush is stated to be from 1997, the same year that Mario Kart 64 was released in North America.
- Its candy-themed enviroments mirror the candy-based ones in the Mario Kart series, specifically Choco Island and Vanilla Lake from Super Mario Kart (in turn based on areas from Super Mario World), and Frappe Snowland and Choco Mountain from Mario Kart 64.
- At the start of the race, most racers have a boost, but one of them, Adorabeezle Winterpop, instead stalls out, referencing how at the start of a race in Mario Kart games, the player can get a boost by accelerating at the right time, but stalls out if timing it wrong.
- Items in Sugar Rush are found in glowing sugar cubes, reminescent of item boxes from Mario Kart 64 and its sequels.
- The entrance to Sugar Rush is a floating rainbow-colored road, possibly a reference to the Rainbow Road, the recurring last track in the Mario Kart series.
- The coins used by the racers to partake in the race are golden and have a crown-shaped hole in them, looking somewhat like coins from the Mario series, that too are golden and have a rectangular or oval engraving on them (star-shaped in Super Mario 64).
Disney obtained the license from Nintendo to use elements from the Mario series in Wreck-It Ralph (as well as the NES controller shown in one scene). Mario himself wasn't included because the writers couldn't find a good way to incorporate him into the story, but they're planning to include him in the sequel.
For unknown reasons, unlike other companies whose characters are listed, the license credits for Nintendo collectively state "Nintendo properties used with permission of Nintendo Co., Ltd."