Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Rick and Morty #50
If fans of Rick and Morty have ever wondered what video game series could get both of the show's stars downright addicted, they now have their answer. Just don't ask Morty about their mutual love of Kingdom Hearts... because technically, he can't remember it.
While it may be science fiction and pop culture movies and TV shows that make up most of Rick and Morty's pool of references and homages, casual viewers might be surprised to learn just how little overlap with gaming there really is. But with Rick and Morty #50, the milestone release of the show's tie-in comic, that issue is finally addressed. Rick may not actually recognize every pop culture plot he's forced to live through, but he's the only one to blame for diving head first into Kingdom Hearts cosplay. Sorry, Imagine Balls cosplay.
That's the name given to the property in the fiction of Rick and Morty, revealed as a favorite of Morty's in Issue #50. The comic calls upon a wide array of writers and artists, with Josh Trujillo, Rii Obrego, and Sarah Stern bringing this particular dose of "Morty's Mindblowers" to life. The premise has been seen in the show more than once, when the younger star stumbles upon Rick's collection of erased memories. Morty's memories, removed to keep him sane. Or in this case, from realizing his grandfather's darkest secret.
In this particular memory, Morty relives the time that Rick found him playing the video game Imagine Balls--a franchise of handheld games starring a yellow-strapped, keyword-wielding hero on a mission accompanied by "Great Depression Era cartoon characters" like Heff Hippo. From the first glance, the reference is impossible to miss for anyone who knows a Sora knockoff when they see one. Right down to the Keyblade replacing the game's iconic range of magic symbols for... well, balls. Without missing a beat, Rick confirms he knows all about Morty's creatively bankrupt pastime:
I review your search history, Morty. I'm very familiar with Imagine Balls. Your beloved "cartoon crossover" is nothing but a desperate byproduct of late stage capitalism! It lazily strings together a bunch of dead but still very copyrighted intellectual properties to goose nostalgia and distract you from society's inevitable collapse. I've seen it on a thousand planets. First, Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, next thing you know you're riding dune buggies to scour the continent for its last source of fresh water.
Once Morty leaves in a huff, Rick decides to find out why his grandson could find such a trashy cash-in entertaining... and soon becomes hooked for more than 200 hours (like so many Kingdom Hearts tourists before him). When Rick ascends to the game's final stage, however, he learns the "Wisdom of Elders" from Ebenezer Scrooge: "Friendship. Family. Cosplay. These are what truly matter! To hurt those close to us is the greatest crime against balls!" And with that, Rick knows he must make it up to Morty... by searching for "totally sick Imagine Balls cosplay" online, and assembling physical, Sora-brand proof of his devotion to the game series. Which goes about as well as one would expect (this memory has to get erased, remember).
Fans awaiting season 4 of Rick and Morty can make the time more tolerable by enjoying this story and many others in Rick and Morty #50. Check out the full synopsis and details for the milestone Rick and Morty #50 below:
- Rick and Morty #50 (2019)
- Writers: Kyle Starks, Tini Howard, Marc Ellerby, Sarah Graley, Josh Trujillo
- Artists: Marc Ellerby, Andrew MacLean, Jarrett Williams, Sarah Graley, Benjamin Dewey
- It's just Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty and their adventures, Morty... Rick and Morty, forever and forever, FIFTY ISSUES Rick and Morty! Join us as we celebrate this milestone with a special, super oversized MORTY'S MINDBLOWER issue! Featuring creators from the previous 49 issues!
Rick and Morty #50 is available now from your local comic book shop, and direct from Oni Press.