Characters show integrity and learn to embrace the way they're programmed, rather than change themselves for others. Characters also discover the importance of empathy and walking a mile in someone else's shoes before judging them. Themes of inclusivity/exclusivity and selflessness/selfishness are woven throughout the story in many ways. Teamwork, perseverance, and self-control are additional themes.
In one scene, a first-person shooter video game comes to life. Characters from this game (who are more realistic looking than some of the others) fire big guns at aliens, which end up invading other games. In a brief and comic-toned scene, a character impulsively grabs a zombie's heart out of his chest, but no real damage is done. In another flashback, a character is eaten by an alien bug. Calhoun and Ralph are the most aggressive characters; they occasionally punch others and destroy their surroundings. Cautionary tales about characters' deaths (if a character dies in a game outside of their own, they can't regenerate) and homelessness (games that are put out of order) may be upsetting to younger kids. One character does die, but it's in his own game, so he regenerates.
Two game characters fall in love and get married. They exchange a smooch, as well as a more passionate kiss in another scene. One iconic game character, a male wrestler, wears only his underwear. In one scene, Ralph disrobes an unconscious space commander to steal his suit.
Rude humor and frequent name-calling includes insults like "I hate you," "shut your chew hole," "brat," "pussy willows," "doody," and "numbskull." The song "Shut Up and Drive" by Rihanna plays during one scene. Other iffy language includes "frickishly" and "butt load."
Iconic video game characters -- like Pac-Man, Bowser, and Sonic the Hedgehog -- make cameo appearances. There are also many references to candy/cookie/sweets brands (Oreo, Devil Dogs, NesQuick, Laffy Taffy, Mentos, etc.).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In one scene, a game character pours himself a martini. Another scene takes place in a game called Tappers, in which characters drink root beer from beer mugs. Characters are also briefly seen drinking at a dance party.