Computing Technologies

  • Hyperlink

    Hyperlinks are portrayed in the movie as tiny vehicles that instantly appear around the avatar of a user who clicks a link.

    The concept of the Hyperlink can be traced to Tim Berners-Lee. In 1989, he writes “Imagine, [...] the references in this document, all being associated with the network address of the thing to which they referred, so that while reading this document you could skip to them with a click of the mouse.” [1]

    In the movie, the vehicles appear to cause fear, discomfort, or excitement to the riders. We also see them travelling along pathways. In real life, hyperlinks work instantaneously and have no effect other than to go to a website. The movie portrayal is somewhat inaccurate.

  • Website

    Websites are portrayed in the movie as buildings. Some are tiny, and some like Amazon (pictured) are massive and strangely shaped.

    "On 1991, Paul Kunz from SLAC National Accelera-tor Laboratory implemented the first website in US to en-able researchers to access two major databases SPIRES and BINLIST." [2]

    Portrayal of websites as buildings is an essential part of the mechanics of the movie, but is unrealistic. Other website users can be seen, and it takes time and energy to get to different parts of the website.

  • Dark net/Dark web

    The dark net is portrayed as a dark, underground area that requires an elevator to access.

    The term “Dark Net” is loosely defined, but most frequently refers to an area of the Internet only accessible by using an encryption tool called The Onion Router (Tor) [3]

    Portrayal is somewhat realistic because the dark net is often a dangerous place that criminals use to exchange their wares. Movie glosses over process of entering the dark net, also in real life it is not a physical place.

  • Virus

    The virus is portrayed as a snakelike robot with the capability to fire a beam that infects objects.

    According to Avast, “A virus lays dormant in your system until you execute it or take some other required action[...]” “worms do not rely on you to trigger them.” [4] The “virus” in the movie appears self-sufficient. It would be more accurate to describe it as a worm.

    Viruses can exploit people’s insecurities, but usually it requires the victim to take some action. In the movie, the virus is shown “copying” insecurities off Vanellope and Ralph without them doing anything, which is unrealistic.

  • Arcade game

    Before venturing into the internet, Ralph and Vanellope live their lives inside arcade games at Litwak’s Arcade.

    The first commercially successful arcade video game was Pong in 1972. [5]

    The movie portrays Litwak’s arcade as a home for video game characters who live inside their games. The portrayal of arcades is unrealistic in terms of how an arcade really works, but is presented this way on purpose to provide a context for the main plot. From the outside, the portrayal of the games is very realistic.

  • Social Media Algorithm

    The Social Media Algorithm is first portrayed in the movie when Ralph and Vanellope meet Yesss, the head algorithm of Buzzztube.

    “On January 11th, 2018, Facebook co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would change its newsfeed algorithm to feature more posts from close friends and family and fewer posts from public brands and media.” [6]

    Social Media Algorithms are set by a social media app to regulate the flow of popular content. These algorithms are often tuned to follow trends and influencers, which is portrayed in the movie as the algorithm boosts Ralph’s videos that follow trending topics, thus turning him into an influencer.

  • Since eBay is a website, it’s portrayed in the movie as a large building.

    eBay was created in 1995. “After spending Labor Day weekend at home writing code on his personal computer, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launches AuctionWeb, a site ‘dedicated to bringing together buyers and sellers in an honest and open marketplace.’” [7]

    The auctioning process appeared very realistic. Just like in the movie, there is a countdown for every auction, and anyone can place a bid.


[1] Tim J. Berners-Lee. Information Management: A Proposal, in-house technical document,CERN, 1989 (revised 1990 with Robert Cailliau), Accessed May 4, 2021

[2] AlSum, Ahmed. Reconstruction of the US First Website. Association for Computing Machinery (2015), Accessed May 4, 2021

[3] Owen, Gareth. Savage, Nick. The Tor Dark Net. Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series (2015), Accessed May 4, 2021

[4] Latto, Nica. Worm vs. Virus: What's the Difference and Does It Matter? Avast (2020), Accessed May 4, 2021

[5] M&P Amusement. The Evolution of Arcade Gaming, Accessed May 4, 2021

[6] Peterson-Salahuddin, Chelsea. Diakopoulos, Nicholas. Negotiated Autonomy: The Role of Social Media Algorithms in Editorial Decision Making, Cogitatio (2020), Accessed May 4, 2021

[7] eBay. Our History, Accessed May 4, 2021