Just over six years after receiving a flood of texts and calls from friends around the world, swearing that Walter Day must be the inspiration for Mr. Litwak, the video arcade-owning character in the 2012 Disney release Wreck-it Ralph, Day has not only been able to confirm that the character is in fact a “tribute” to his life and career, but he will also see an expanded role in the sequel that will be released on the 21st of this month.
Day is currently in Orlando talking E-sports, but found some time to talk about his role.
“It’s pretty amazing actually,” said Day about being introduced to children by their parents as Mr. Litwak. “I sign autographs for them and I’m just honored to have inspired the character,” added Day.
Day is looking forward to the sequel because “The original was a great movie and I’m told Mr. Litwak has a bigger role,” explained Day who is working with Disney to be more formally introduced as Mr. Litwak and possibly make appearances at parks in the future.
“It just takes you by surprise because it’s kind of unique to be immortalized as a Disney character.”
Q) What is evolving more, the games or the players?
A) It’s probably everything together because you have to release that there is a tremendous carrot in front of the video game industry to become better and better and better because there is a big payday for them. The technology is beginning to leap forward with all the different players joining the gaming community, similar to how we see space travel expanding with hundreds of space exploration companies getting involved instead of just NASA.
All of these video game companies are doing research and development and are coming up with these amazing ideas and technologies and have turned video game play into something out of a science-fiction movie. There are still older players still playing Centipede and Donkey Kong, but younger players are experimenting with these new game modalities and we see many different worlds existing side-by-side and this Disney movie has done a great job of bringing together all of these different worlds into one great universe of gaming that becomes an adventure for anyone that watches the movie. I’m so tickled pink that I am one of the characters that gets to join in the adventure and bring a sense of humanity to the whole experience of a gamer in a fictional world like Wreck-it Ralph.
Q) We are seeing more females not only playing, but designing games. Do you see that huge opportunity to expand gaming so that everyone is included and not just 17-year old boys?
A) The video game industry is very, very wide and may be like a bell curve. In the middle, maybe the bulge of the curve is 17 year-old males because there are so many of them playing games. But, also tucked closely in there is a huge group of women. In fact, technically in terms of just basic game play, women make up 51 or 52-percent of gamers because many play games you may see on Facebook or on their phones like Farmville or Candy Crush. The heavy money-driven testosterone leagues like League of Legends and that kind of stuff is more male, even though it’s very accommodating to female contributors and competitors and teams. It’s being blown wide open and it’s becoming more and more gender-rich and gender-inclusive.
Q) As a gaming legend, what was your take on Wreck-it Ralph?
A) I’m very pleased that I got this appearance as opposed to Alien versus Predator or Halloween 29 or whatever, because I’m kind of a softy and I love that this story is inspirational to young people. The bottom line I want to see come out of being a Disney character, I’d like to think that my role is based on the fact that in the past my legacy has tried to inspire people to be better people and excel at life while helping lift other people and I think those are some of the dynamic energies in the characterizations that are portrayed in Wreck-it Ralph and I’m so honored and surprised to be Mr. Litwak.