Dr Wily (Megaman)
Wreck-It Ralph is shaping up well as a hit for Disney, but the trailer's already generated its fair share of controversy online. If you think a fair share here translates to none, it's a movie about imaginary characters making friends, then you apparently never saw early cuts of the clip, which featured Mega Man's Dr Wily as part of the Villains' Support Group.
Subsequent, officially-released cuts swap out Wily for... a black-clad nobody. Who dat ninja taking Wily's place? Some think it could be Mortal Kombat's Smoke, but more likely he's just some ninja dude. Mega Man fans wasted no time in adding the omission to the litany of perceived slights against which they continue to suffer.
Shuma-Gorath (Marvel vs Capcom)
Disney's said that the green tentacled creature attending Ralph's meeting is an original character like the scene's ninja, dark elf and demon creations. However, it sure looks an awful lot like Shuma-Gorath, the Lovecraftian beastie known to gamers through the Marvel vs Capcom series.
Consider also that Shuma-Gorath, being a Lovecraft pastiche first mentioned in the early 20th Century, is hardly the most defensible in Copyright Court; and that the other examples listed herein suggest Disney must've got some bulk discount on Capcom characters to use in their movie; and that inasmuch as Shuma-Gorath is owned by anyone, it's a property of Marvel Comics, which answers to Marvel Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of... the Walt Disney Company.
Konami's traffic-shy amphibian puts in an appearance during the Game Central Station sequence. If you think about Stuff Frogger Likes (swamps, girl frogs, not being run over) and Stuff Froggers Hate (transportation vehicles, trampling opportunities), a huge transport hub is pretty much the worst place on the planet to be, which is why our kid's a little on edge.
Alright, so it could be just a frog, but if Disney didn't want comparisons, it should have filled this moment with an animal that's never been turned into a videogame mascot. You know, such as... um... oh look here's another entry for you to click.
This one's easy to miss, what with Dig-Dug being almost as old as Donkey Kong itself and with the jackhammer-toting jackanapes' haste to escape Ralph. But then, if your character looks like the guy from an old arcade title and escapes by drilling a hole in the floor, it's probably not a Balloon Fight reference, right?
Bartender (Root Beer Tapper)
Wreck-It Ralph is a comedy, and as anyone who's seen last year's comedy Carnage or this video clip can attest, it's always a treat to see John C Reilly acting the drunken oaf. So even playing a videogame character, odds are a dejected JCR will be the type to rush a barkeep off their busy feet, right?
Possibly, but look closely and you'll note that Wreck-It Ralph's harried barman plies his trade in Root Beer Tapper, the kid-friendly reskin of Bally Midway's 1983 enablement-sim. Thank goodness for that.
If you've been paying attention (which, obviously, because hi there), you'll have noted that the vast bulk of Wreck-It Ralph's cameos come originally from Capcom, Namco and Sega properties. That extends to the beloved early-90s light-gun shooter Virtua Cop, whose cabinet sits alongside SFII in Ralph's arcade and whose cast can be seen heading for work in the Game Central Station scene.
When Wreck-It Ralph's not making outright callbacks to other games, it's still making winking reference: Sarah Silverman's character inhabits a game that looks like Wip3out in a Mario Kart-esque candyland, and the Jane Lynch-headed Hero's Duty takes plenty of cues from the "grim baldies shoot everything in space" genre. Of particular note are the game's Zerg-esque enemies, Lynch's Samus-styled character, and the characters' shamelessly Spartan-inspired body armor.
Leeroy Jenkins (World of Warcraft)
Less a WoW reference than a shout-out to the wider gaming culture, graffiti on the Game Central Station walls can be seen reading JENKINS. This of course is a reference to one of the most famous trolls in the history of WoW, the forever-great Leeroy Jenkins, who rushes in where strategy-focused nerdlingers fear to tread.
Q*Bert's never seen reinvention on the scale of a Super Mario or even Frogger, and the poor weirdo has clearly fallen on hard times. Reduced to begging while his antagonists hash out their attitude problems at support groups, it clearly doesn't help that Gottlieb's faded hero hasn't even taken the 30-odd years' downtime to, say, learn to talk in anything other than swears that only Jack McBrayer can decipher.
In fairness, this also describes Alec Baldwin pretty well, so maybe Q*Bert just has an awful agent.
Blink and you'll miss the hero of Atari's 1984 deliver-'em-up, credited with playing a major factor in pulling the company out from the doldrums of the Great Videogame Crash of 1983. But then, anyone who's ever been any good at Paperboy knows blinking is a loser strategy anyway.