Wreck-It Ralph Drabble: ‘Going Turbo’

Idea that came into my head after seeing this movie.
Contains major spoilers, so if you don’t want spoilers… don’t read. :P

…‘Going Turbo’…

What a way to be remembered.

Not as the best of something or for being a cool character or even a long time classic resident of the Arcade.

No, to be remembered as a menace, to have your name used as a pseudonym for ‘rogue’ or ‘runaway’… what a legacy to leave behind you.

Not your fault what you did. After all, you’re Turbo, of the classic game Turbo Time. You’re a competitor, a winner. You thrive on the attention of the crowd, the thrill of taking top podium. Not your fault you didn’t want to give all that up for obscurity and be confined to the history books. It’s in your coding after all, to do whatever it took to win. During your creation you were programmed to star, to win… and there wasn’t enough memory to code you any morals…

Turbo Time. The game wasn’t important; no game could ever mean more to you then lapping up the admiration of the crowd, of being centre stage, being the star… winning. You just feared being forgotten and there weren’t even any avatars in that stupid Road Blasters game. Just those cars with no more sense and wit than a change machine. You did that game a favour by jumping really… at least until one of those stupid players drove a car into you as you tried to zip across the screen and entertain them. As if you were just some target to hit! It totalled your car; your pride and joy… you still remember seeing its broken form disintegrate into a cloud of 1s and 0s. Along with the car that’d been driven into you and pretty much every other car that’d been behind that one, as you ran to the side of the track trying to avoid being squashed. After all, everyone knows that dying outside ‘your’ game meant perma-death. No regens. You ran for the exit to Game Central Station as fast as you could, knowing what you’d done. Since the player-controlled vehicle had struck an element that hadn’t been programmed, the code had become confused, trying to calculate damage to the player-vehicle based on an impact with something that didn’t exist in its data values. The 0 damage the player-vehicle had rolled over and over and over past the 256 value and beyond. The game world of Road Blasters was now tearing itself apart behind you, and you could hear the ungamely shriek of the code crying in pain… if code could cry in pain that is.

Somehow you made it back to Turbo Time but without your presence an Out of Order notice had already been posted on the front of your cabinet. The Twins welcomed you back, not caring where you’d gone or even that you had been gone, just as long as you could all race again. Except you couldn’t now could you? You no longer had your car, as its code was now helping to slowly doom the rival game you’d tried to take over. And how could the racing game that you were a star in continue now your car was gone? The Twins… didn’t take it well. But you only acted in self-defence in what you did to them; after all, they tried to run you over. You, the star of the game! They should have stuck with you, like good little brainless lackeys. Such a shame.

You stuck around for a bit in the game, taking care of things and taking what you could salvage, then left Turbo Time behind for the last time. Just as the cabinet was unplugged actually. The Station was empty as it was daytime and the other characters were ‘on the job’ but you could almost hear the shocked gasps from other games. You imagined them saying “Poor Turbo.” But really? You felt alive, free for the first time. No longer would you be tied to one game, forced to stay around when the crowd grew tired of you. Now you would become the star of any game you chose… and this time you’d do it right you swore. The next time, you’d enter and force the game to accept you. Your first attempt was a disaster, but now… you had exactly what you needed to put yourself into whatever game you chose. You had your very code, ripped from the heart of the ruined and dying Turbo Time game. Now all you had to do was find a target and make that game accept you; insert yourself right into the programming and become the star, moving on when the game became old news to the players who frequented the arcade.

Your next few attempts were experiences both good and bad… you put yourself in, tied your code into your targets but somehow you never belonged. You raced in the games you entered but the other avatars always knew that you were different to them, and you never managed to make it to the top, and be the star. Somehow all your new ‘homes’ ended up the same way too. You’d get tired and frustrated of trying to be the best in another game that obviously didn’t appreciate your talent, and you’d take your code back to move on. You’d also examine other characters’ codes and learned to copy them into your own, to help your transition from game to game as the graphics and code style of games evolved over the years. Of course, to make copies you’d need something to copy and if that bit was attached to an entire character model? Well, you’d just end up copying more than you needed to. If anyone noticed that more racing games than any other type of game seemed to become glitched and corrupted before becoming unplugged, they never commented on it. You became more than your 8-bit origins, a patchwork of copied codes all functioning together to help you jump between games. From 8-bit, to 16, then more and more… if you realised that your frankensteining of your own code had driven what little sense you’d ever had space to be programmed with from your core, you were already too far along the road to go back. How could you go back now anyway? Turbo Time and Road Blasters at that point seemed a lifetime ago. So many races, so many podiums, so many racers, so many games… it all began to blur. It wasn’t until you decided to try a different type of game, an adventure platformer in the early 90s, that you finally got that piece you’d been missing; the thing that would ensure the next racing game you leapt into you could take and hold without problem. You stole the platform-character’s disguise ability from his code and fled with it, leaving yet another broken cabinet in your wake.

When Sugar Rush was installed you jumped straight in, and quickly gained access to the code after entering the Princess’ castle. A sickly sweet game, disgustingly pink but… those toffee headed children would be so easy to control once you locked their memories away. You entered your character code into the game, and tore the connections from the princess, connecting them to your character instead. Poor Vanellope Von Schweetz would just have to die or be locked away within your new realm; too bad kid. As King Candy, you finally had your deserved throne and star platform and it’d been so easy with all your past experiences. Now, all you had to do was sit back and enjoy the racing and the glory. You did, for so many years. The only blip on the radar was the fact that the former Princess of Sugar Rush remained at large in the game, as a rogue glitch. Fortunately the games of the late 90s had finally evolved to the point where one small glitched character couldn’t tear apart the entire game, but you still feared that one day she would get the chance to do what she’d been coded to do, race. The game had been coded with a new failsafe that reset all the base code of the game once all programmed original racers had crossed the line at the end of a race. That she belonged here was something you’d never been able to remove for fear of actually destroying this game like all the others, but at the very least you could do all in your power to prevent her from ever crossing the line and setting everything back to the game’s factory settings. You kept on at the only two police characters in the game Wynnchel and Duncan to find and contain the glitch as soon as possible. Fortunately the other racers believed your words that she was dangerous and kept her at arm’s length and away from the races. She would never have a gold coin to enter a race and it was only a matter of time before she was caught…

That was before that idiotic Ralph came crashing into the game. Not only did he provide Vanellope with a coin-like object to let her enter the race, but he helped her get a proper kart, and even after feeding the idiot a story about why she couldn’t race, he still helped her enter. He ruined everything… and his code was warped even more when that Cy-Bug got to him. King Candy-Bug they called him. It’d been the last straw for his damaged and warped mind, and he fell prey to the Cy-Bug’s killer instincts which at that time of unbridled rage and venom merged so perfectly with his own emotions… he’d lost himself and lost purpose. All he’d wanted then was to eat and ravage the games he entered, instead of becoming their star attraction and lapping up the fame it brought. He’d only realised that as the fiery hot diet cola eruption engulfed his new insectoid body like those of the candy Cy-Bug swarm. It freed him from the wild beast’s instincts and he returned to his normal Turbo persona, the bits of stolen code for a moment lifting from him. And for a second before he pulled them back into himself so his 8-bit self wouldn’t be absorbed into the game’s code and he be reduced to nothingness, he felt an emotion he hadn’t for years…


The legend had always been that he’d put both his game and Road Busters out of order, along with himself. That’s the cautionary tale told to all new Arcade game characters, that was how ‘Going Turbo’ was explained. Now that legend had another chapter, the chapter of King Candy and of ‘Going Turbo’ under the radar. Young avatars knew that they should never leave their game, because they would always end up like Turbo, and get their comeuppance.

To die outside your game meant perma-death. No regens.

… Unless you coded yourself into another game and had something to hold onto. And that’s what those idiots who’d fought him hadn’t known. Vanellope hadn’t crossed the line before he was vaporised. That alone wouldn’t have helped him respawn into Sugar Rush though; he’d never figured out how to attach to himself a code that would let him respawn into another game he’d inserted his code into. He had however bought other elements of his original game with him, two of them in fact… and both of them had been implanted into characters that already existed within the Sugar Rush game. That was enough to fool the game into letting him respawn, and respawn he did, just by the exit. He slipped out in the rush of returning candy citizen and racers as Vanellope finally crossed the line after more than 10 years of being forbidden to race.

What a shame. He still had his own code tucked away safely inside him, but now Sugar Rush had reset… Wynnchel and Duncan would be back to factory settings too. The remaints of the Twins’ code had come in useful over the long years to help him anchor himself to life; being that enough of it existed to be significant to the coding of whatever game he happened to be in, but not enough that either Twin’s personality or character would ever overtake whatever hapless avatar he stuck their code into.

Oh well. Now he was on his own. Just him, Turbo, the greatest racer ever coded.

Just how he liked it.