Video games have held an important place in pop culture since the 1970s and 80s. Over the years, there have been a lot of amazing video game appearances in TV shows and feature films.
We decided to have some fun and put together a list of the top video games in movies and TV. Read on to see which video game appearances made our list!
Frogger - Seinfeld
Even though it was a show about nothing, Seinfeld had a lot of memorable moments. When you think of Seinfeld, you may remember Elaine’s little kick dancing, Jerry’s puffy pirate shirt, Frank’s Festivus Pole, or George and his Frogger machine.
In its final season, there’s a beloved episode of Seinfeld called “The Frogger” in which George tries to preserve his Fogger high score he set 20-some years ago as a kid.
In an attempt to get the machine across the street before it runs out of power, George grabs the Frogger arcade game and tries to move across the street, dodging traffic.
The audience sees an overhead view of this, so it looks just like the game Frogger. The problem is that George is unable to roll the arcade machine over the sidewalk curb. So, the machine ends up getting run over by a truck, and George loses his high score.
8 Bit Games - Community
The TV show Community had a variety of awesome homages to things like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Law and Order, Star Wars, mafia movies, buddy cop movies, and 8 bit video games.
In “Digital Estate Planning,” an episode from the third season of Community, the study group has to play a retro video game called “Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne” in order for Pierce to get his inheritance from his father. The graphics they use look almost like the original Sonic and Super Mario games.
Big Buck Hunter - Parks and Recreation
In a season six episode of Parks and Rec called “Filibuster” most of the Parks Dept. goes to a roller-skating rink for Ben’s early 90s roller-skating birthday bash. Instead of skating, Ron and Donna play a game similar to Big Buck Hunter.
This is the first hunting video game Ron Swanson has ever played. He loses, is quite sore about it, and demands his money back because the game isn’t like real hunting.
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Dragon’s Lair - Stranger Things
There are all sorts of 1980s nostalgia in the Netflix show Stranger Things. The boys ride their bikes everywhere they go, Eleven loves Eggo Waffles, Suzie forces Dustin to sing the NeverEnding Story song to her, and the boys love the Ghostbusters movie and arcade games.
The first episode of season two of Stranger Things is called “Chapter One: MADMAX.” In this episode, the boys forage their homes for quarters, so they can play Dragon’s Lair at their local arcade. While they’re at the arcade, Dustin finds out that his Dig Dug and Centipede high scores were beaten by someone who goes by MADMAX.
Call of Duty - The Office
Throughout the nine seasons of The Office, a lot of different games were played — Stanley’s crossword puzzle books, Flonkerton, the caption contest, the murder mystery game, Dwight’s Second Life, Kevin fitting as many M&M’s in his mouth as he can, and even the extremely popular Call of Duty.
“The Coup” is the third episode of season three of The Office. At this point in the show, Jim has transferred to the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin after being rejected by Pam.
Everyone at the Stamford branch besides Jim is obsessed with Call of Duty, and they regularly play it during work hours as a team-building exercise. It’s immediately clear that Jim is terrible at Call of Duty after he gets stuck in a corner hopping up and down. Karen is kind enough to help Jim out before shooting him.
Ms. Pac-Man - Friends
In the season eight episode “The One Where Joey Dates Rachel,” Phoebe’s belated wedding gift for Monica and Chandler arrives, and it’s a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game. Phoebe, Monica, and Chandler become obsessed with the game and beating each other’s high scores.
At one point, Chandler plays Ms. Pac-Man for 8 hours straight, gets his hand stuck in a claw-like gesture, and changes all the high score initials into dirty words.
Unfortunately, they’re forced to beat Chandler’s high scores and remove them from the list before Ross’ young son Ben visits and sees them. Phoebe gets close to doing it. But she ends up losing and screaming out a barrage of curse words just as Ben and Ross enter the apartment.
NES Controller - Ghostbusters II
If the Ghostbusters movies were an important part of your childhood, you may remember the scene in Ghostbusters II when the Ghostbusters use good slime to mobilize the Statue of Liberty.
Ray utilizes an NES controller to drive the Statue of Liberty from Liberty Island to the Manhattan Museum of Art, where Vigo the Carpathian has Dana and Oscar held captive.
Dance Dance Revolution Parody - Scott Pilgrim
Based on the graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has too many video game references in it to name all of them. Some of the video game reference highlights include:
- The Universal theme in 8 bit form
- Sound effects and music from the Zelda games
- Scott is awarded thousands of points whenever he defeats one of Ramona’s evil exes
- Scott learns to play the bass line from Final Fantasy II
There’s also a not-so-subtle nod to the wildly popular Dance Dance Revolution rhythm arcade game. Scott and his girlfriend Knives play the arcade game “Ninja Ninja Revolution,” a parody of DDR. In the game, two ninjas use dance moves to dodge lethal obstacles.
Mortal Kombat - Shazam!
Shazam! Is a movie about teenager Billy Badson, who is given power by a wizard to transform into the superhero Captain Marvel when he yells “Shazam!” There’s a scene in the movie where Billy uses Captain Marvel’s super speed and reflexes to crush Freddy in a round of Mortal Kombat X.
Multiple Arcade Game Characters - Wreck-It Ralph
Wreck-It Ralph is an animated movie about Ralph, an arcade game villain who is tired of feeling like a bad guy and an outcast and wants to be a hero. Of course, there are many different arcade games referenced in this movie, including Tapper, Dig Dug, and Pong.
Plus, Ralph attends a BAD-ANON meeting with classic video game characters like Bowser, a Pac-Man ghost, Kano, Doctor Eggman, Bison, and Zangief.
TimeSplitters 2 - Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead is a horror rom-com about Shaun, an electronics store manager who feels trapped in his career and personal life. Fortunately for Shaun, a zombie apocalypse happens, giving him the opportunity to change his life’s trajectory.
Early in the movie, it’s established that Shaun and his slacker best friend, Ed, spend a significant amount of time playing the classic first-person shooter TimeSplitters 2. Later, Ed is bitten by a zombie and turns into one himself. Unwilling to abandon his friend, Shaun locks Ed up in a shed so they can continue to play video games together.
Bring Home Your Own Classic And New Arcade Games
We hope you enjoyed this walk down video game memory lane. If you’d like to stop watching TV and movie characters playing video games and get your own arcade game, check out our selection of new and used arcade games at M&P Amusement. Feel free to call or contact us online with questions about specific games!