Avengers: Infinity War gave fans a lot to take in, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's heroes were taken to new heights. But in the process, the film dropped a pretty nerdy video game reference in the process.
Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War below!
As those who have seen Infinity War know, the film serves as a continuation of the Guardians of the Galaxy's story, providing a bit of a narrative time jump since we last saw the heroes. By the time Infinity War rolls around, Groot (Vin Diesel) has grown to be tween/teenager age, spending much of the movie with his head buried in a handheld video game.
Although the game's title does make a brief appearance onscreen, some fans might be wondering exactly what the title was. And as it turns out, the answer is Arcade Defender.
As the name suggests, the game is a portable version of Defender, an arcade game that was first released in February of 1981. The game was incredibly popular upon its release, and was regarded as one of the best arcade games of that era. In 1982, the Arcade Defender handheld was released by Entex, and modeled itself after the original.
While the game doesn't play too big of a role in Infinity War - namely serving as a source for jokes and Groot's emotional journey throughout the film - it's significant for a few reasons. For one thing, the premise of the game is for fans to defend a planet of astronauts from alien spaceships, something that sounds a lot like the Guardians' role in Infinity War.
And beyond that, there's also the nature of how Groot got the game to begin with. If anything, it almost seems like Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) was the original owner of the console, considering the timeline that he was originally on Earth. Peter was born in 1980, shortly before Defender made it into arcades across the country, and was abducted by Yondu and the Ravagers in 1988. With that in mind, the handheld could very well be part of Peter's various Earth possessions.
This amount of effort that went into the Guardians' Infinity War appearance - from Groot's game to the inclusion of a new delightfully retro song - surely surprised some Marvel fans. And as it turns out, even the ensemble's cast were surprised by how well it came together.
“[Co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo] kind of just let us do our thing." Dave Bautista, who reprised his role as Drax, revealed last year. "They gave us free reign to be the Guardians that we know and love and also gave us the luxury of having James Gunn write for us a little bit. But I was just amazed at how supportive they were at letting us just be our characters. They were like, ‘Just go for it.’ We’re really big on improving stuff, the Guardians are, and we started doing it business as usual and they just really go behind it….That’s something I honestly just wasn’t expecting, for someone to be so giving and just let us be ourselves.”
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Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.