Wolf’s Wicked Words: Wreck-It Gaming
Whenever I have to come up with an idea for an opinion piece, I try to draw inspiration from something from the past week or two. Sometimes it is something that I overheard, maybe an object I saw in a shopping mall, perhaps something I’ve thought about when going for a walk or even something I’ve watched.
I’ve used films more than once in the past. Frankenweenie was one.
This week it’s Wreck-It Ralph. It’s much more obvious than the aforementioned example. Since it’s heavily influenced by games, more specifically arcade games, I thought I couldn’t have a more obvious something to talk about.
At first, I was a little sceptic; this was due to the fact that there were a bunch of familiar faces in the trailer. Society and experience have taught me to be cautious if this happens, since it’s usually a cash-in or something of the sort. Boy was I wrong in thinking that.
If you haven’t seen the trailer, I recommend that you go and watch it. You’ll see a few familiar faces, like a Ghost from Pac-Man; even Pac-Man himself gets a few seconds of screen time. Bowser, Doctor Eggman, Q*bert and a bunch more can be seen. A Konami code is used. A sound effect from Metal Gear Solid can be heard and there are still a lot more references to be seen. *
All of these familiar faces are in the minority. The main characters that drive the plot are all original characters.
I think it’s safe to say that the movie will be a joy for any gamer to watch, especially if you’ve been gaming for quite some time now.
The movie takes place in a gaming arcade where a whole smorgasbord of games await everyone looking for their dose of gaming; old-school and new combined.
The game: “Fix-It Felix Jr.” is one of the oldest games and has been a favourite among many that visit the arcade. Our protagonist in the movie is actually the villain in this game. He wrecks the building while you, the player, fix it. You play as the previously mentioned Fix-It Felix Jr.
Every night when the arcade closes, all the gaming characters, both heroes and villains may go to Game Central Station. Basically, it’s the multi-adaptor in the arcade.
This is not a movie review, so I’ll stop there.
What I genuinely loved about this movie is the fact that it feels new AND familiar to me. I’m almost certain that many gamers will feel that way. I like to think of it as a tribute to gaming, more so to old-school arcade games filled with lots of quirky animations and retro sound effects. (The humour also scores a bunch of points in my book.)
At one stage in the movie, we are shown the inside of a different, more modern game where our hero tries to get hold of a certain object. The gamer approaches the game and inserts the coin. Everyone gets ready and awaits the player. It’s a gritty, more modern first person shooter. The in-game characters perceive the player as a monitor on wheels with two robotic arms while wielding a piece of sci-fi weaponry.
I loved that. I loved the idea of all the in-game characters getting ready, eagerly awaiting the gamer. I’m never looking at loading times the same way again.
Another thing I adored was that all the old school games have this joyous and more light-hearted vibe to them, while this new game has more gritty and dark scenery, it’s very serious and the main “NPC” in the game has got a very tragic back-story. The back-story is actually comedic. I do not wish to spoil it for anyone, but you’ll see what I mean when you have watched it yourself.
It made me want to go out and search for my more old-school and arcade-y games. Games that got me into gaming. I know most people say to leave those games in the past, but I have a need for a game like that again. FEZ may be an ideal candidate for that old-school feel. Above all, I really want to play the very first, original Prince of Persia. Super Meat Boy also makes for an ideal choice. I’ll have to undertake this quest, and who knows, perhaps I’ll report back here in two weeks if I’ve played anything of the old-school nature.
Something else this movie made me realise, is that gaming doesn’t feel as “pure” as it did back then. It was about the game and beating it. After you’ve beaten it and you enjoyed the game, you’ll play it again without much hesitation.
There was very little bitching and moaning, if any. Even if we have so much more to work with nowadays.
That brings me to my question for all you good folk. Why do so many gamers complain about games when we have so much more these days? Or is that the case, are we spoilt for choice?
* Even Satan.