- Common Knowledge: The movie is frequently derided for being nothing more than a 90-minute Nintendo advertisement disguised as a feature film. While this is true on some level, it only really turns into a full on sales pitch at the tournament scene. For the remainder of the movie, video games actually take a back seat for the most part, and a lot of the times the viewer can't see what games are being played, with a large chunk of the seen ones never even being mentioned by name. In fact, the first game doesn't appear until almost twenty minutes into the film's run time. The creators of the movie have even gone on record saying this was not their intention when they originally pitched the idea.
- Critical Research Failure:
- When the tournament announcer says one level, and the game screen says another (earlier) level, something is wrong. Even Roger Ebert, who was no fan of video games and admitted he didn't get past the second level of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, noticed the screwup.
- The game referred to as "F-1 Dream" (a top down racing game by Capcom which uses a joystick and buttons) is actually Taito's Top Speednote , a third person driving game which uses a steering wheel and at least a gas pedal. It continues to be referred to this way in a later appearance in one scene at one of the arcades in Reno.
- Designated Villain: The villain of this movie is literally the finder of lost children. The protagonists think he's sick because he gets paid for it. Putnam is a Jerkass, but he was just doing his job. However, Putnam does actively attempt to stop the father of the boys from finding him first by slashing his tires and later bribing a tow truck driver into towing the dad's truck which results in it getting stripped just so Putnam can get the reward money, so he's not exactly innocent.
- Ensemble Dark Horse:
- Harsher in Hindsight: Corey's response to Lucas's infamous "Power Glove" line: "Yeah, well, uh, just keep your Power Gloves off her, pal, huh?" is now this since Jackey Vinson (the actor who played Lucas) has been convicted of child molestation.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- The Power Glove really was bad, however Lucas is using slang, so he meant "cool".
- The fact that Lucas shares his name with two actual Nintendo characters because of Mother 3 and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Furthermore, there's a redheaded boy with a yellow-and-blue striped shirt, just like the former's twin brother, Claus.
- The film being a blatant advertisement for Nintendo products is this as Universal will market Nintendo products once again in their theme parks very soon. Even more so once it was announced that Illumination Entertainment would be making a feature-length adaptation of — wait for it — Super Mario Bros..
- Just Here for Godzilla: As The Angry Video Game Nerd points out, do you think anyone would care about anything in the film that isn't related to Super Mario Bros. 3?AVGN: So, yeah, that's all great, but do you think any 9-year old gave two fuckin' shits about the plot of this movie? I know I didn't!
- Memetic Badass: Lucas. He can actually use the Power Glove and win. That says it all.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad."
- "You got 50,000 in Double Dragon?!"
- "HE TOUCHED MY BREAST!"
- "JUST SIT DOWN AND HAVE FUN, DAMN IT!"
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Signature Scene:
- "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad."
- "So I give you... SUPER! MARIO BROTHERS! 3!!!"
- Values Dissonance: The scene where Haley screams "He touched my breast!". Though it raised some eyebrows even then, treating a false accusation of sexual assault so lightly would not fly at all today. See Instant Family for proof.
- What an Idiot!: When Putnam finds out he's run across Sam and Nick, he decides to seize the opportunity to slash Sam's tires while they're distracted to make it harder for him to beat him to the kids. Sam catches him in the act, and decides to try and retaliate.
You'd Expect: For Sam to slash Putnam's tires. He's in no shortage of tools to be able to accomplish this, and if nothing else could do it with his car keys. Or at the very least, do literally anything that would immobilize his car.
Instead: He does nothing but bash random parts of Putnam's car with a shovel. While that's going to cause obvious cosmetic damage, it does very little to hinder his car and the worst he manages to do is slice off his side mirror.
The Result: Putnam drives off with Sam and Nick stranded and now at a clear disadvantage in their race to reach Jimmy and Corey.
To Be Fair: This could have been intentional on Sam's part, as it would have put them in close proximity to each other and forced them to constantly be on alert of each other's presence while either one of them waited for their cars to get repaired.
YMMV / The Wizard