In a world where video game characters have a mind of their own after their ‘on-screen playtime,’ Wreck-It Ralph is the reluctant villain of the arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. Things wouldn’t be quite as bad, but the other game characters treat him as if he truly is a ‘bad guy.’ So on the thirtieth anniversary of his game, he confronts the Nicelanders and Fix-It Felix himself when they throw an anniversary party without him. He hopes to feel some compassion, but it all goes south. Ralph swears to win a medal and prove that he has what it takes to be a hero. Of course, the mayor of the Nicelanders was the fuel for the flames of Ralph’s journey, which inevitably unleashes a deadly enemy and threatens the entire arcade.
While most mayors are respectable to community members, Gene is openly hostile to Ralph. He comes off as pretentious in every scene and is outspoken about his disapproval of Ralph when he shows up at the party. Is Gene xenophobic towards ‘villains’ as a whole, does Gene harbor a grudge against Ralph for a specific reason, or is the answer hiding in plain sight? The characters in the game have consciousness during gameplay and are aware of what is happening. If they die within their game, they will regenerate when gameplay begins again; but they know what happens. If the character dies during gameplay, that character experiences that death. So as it shows within the first 1:30 minutes of the movie, Ralph is a wrecker. During the unplayable intro of the game, you see Ralph crawl up the side of the building, break a window, grab one of the townspeople and throw them offscreen. And yes, that person is Gene. Gene hates Ralph; because, for the last thirty years, he has been thrown offscreen and killed every time a customer drops a quarter in Fix-It Felix Jr. Ralph is following protocol and doing what the program tells him to do, but to Gene, it means that he is dying every time he sees Ralph.
Of course, this does not justify Gene’s behavior, but it does show why he is so vindictive against Ralph. He uses his power and influence to bully Ralph after the game ends. Whether Gene is malicious or not, his actions and exclusion of Ralph from any positive activities in the game almost brought about the destruction of the entire arcade. Thankfully Ralph proves in the end that he is a hero and stops the ‘bugs’ from spreading throughout the arcade, the Nicelanders are nice to Ralph, and we find Gene being blown out of his apartment window by one of the unplugged characters that Ralph brought into the game instead of being thrown out by Ralph. Do we know if Gene learns his lesson, or if he now has an entire group of people to dislike? I guess that could be the premise of Wreck-It Ralph 3?
Fix-It Felix Jr arcade game by The Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA – D23 Expo 2011 – Fix-It Felix Jr arcade game (Wreck-It Ralph movie – Disney Animation booth), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33401122
Screenshots of Wreck-It Ralph, accredited to Disney, Fair use.