READY PLAYER ONE
Writers Zak Penn and Ernest Cline list all the references in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One
Objective: list all the references from Spielberg’s pop culture opus.
THERE ARE MORE Easter eggs in Ready Player One than on your average supermarket shelf in the week after Christmas. Hardly surprising, given Ernest Cline’s source novel was drenched in pop culture references, but watching Steven Spielberg layer scenes with nods to both obscure and obvious was quite the treat. So we tried to list every single reference in the movie, with a little help from Cline and his co-screenwriter, Zak Penn.
1. Wade’s van boasts Q*bert stickers.
2. And Gremlins stickers.
3. And a Garfield sticker.
4. And Garbage Pail Kids stickers.
5. And a Watchmen smiley face.
6. Plus A Nightmare On Elm Street poster.
7. And a Labyrinth one-sheet.
8. Not to mention a He-man lunchbox.
9. And a Transformers lunch box. How much lunch can one kid have?
10. Wade’s visor has a Joust sticker.
11. And a Space Invaders logo.
WELCOME TO THE OASIS
12. Welcome to Planet Minecraft.
13. It’s Dorothy’s spinning house from The Wizard Of Oz.
14. 1989 Batman climbs Mount Everest.
15. Robocop’s in the OASIS.
16. So is Marvin The Martian.
17. And Battleborn’s Attikus.
18. Great Scott! It’s Doc Brown.
19. It’s war on Voltron’s Planet Doom.
20. Ultrabots’ Scorpion rides into battle.
21. Freddy Krueger, fingers and all.
22. Bow before Duke Nukem.
23. That’s a MA5B assault rifle from Halo.
24. Aech uses the EM-1 Railgun from Eraser.
25. Keep ’em peeled for Friday The 13th’s Jason Voorhees.
26. Street Fighter’s E. Honda climbs a hill.
27. Finchy from The Office chooses Starcraft’s Jim Raynor as his avatar.
28. James Halliday (Mark Rylance) has a Star Trek funeral.
29. James Halliday sports a Simon pin.
30. Contender avatars include El Dragon from Battleborn.
31. And Ryu from Street Fighter.
32. R2-D2 and C-3PO in the race crowd.
33. That’s the cup from the end of Highlander.
34. The Back To The Future Delorean has a Knight Rider grill and Ghostbusters logo. Ernest Cline: “When I sold Ready Player One, one of the first things I did was buy a Delorean so I could use it in my author photo. I drove it on my book tour.”
35. Art3mis rides Shotaro Kaneda’s motorcycle from Akira.
36. With a Wonder Woman sticker.
37. And a Ms. Pac-man sticker.
38. And a Sega sticker.
39. And a logo for The Greatest American Hero.
40. The star of John Carpenter’s Christine — a 1957 Plymouth Fury.
41. It’s the original Lara Croft!
42. And the Mad Max Interceptor.
43. The Simpsons’ family car.
44. Transformers’ Megatron and Sentinel Prime on the race track.
45. Aech drives a Bigfoot Monster Truck.
46. Pity the fool! It’s the A-team’s van.
47. Speed Racer Mach V.
48. There’s a Tron light cycle.
49. Jack Slater III, from Last Action Hero, which Penn co-wrote, is glimpsed on a marquee. Zak Penn: “I didn’t know there was a Last Action Hero reference in the movie. Ernie had gone to the ILM guys and convinced them to do it. I was really choked up.” 50. Spielberg ahoy! Jurassic Park’s T-rex.
Cline: “Steven didn’t want any references to his work. The only thing he signed off on was Back To The Future and the T-rex, because he was like, ‘Okay, I don’t have a monopoly on dinosaurs.’”
51. Daito drives The Bandit’s 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. As in, Smokey And The Bandit.
52. Pole Position cars take up position.
53. The jack-knifing truck is from Big Trouble In Little China.
54. Na na na na na na, Batman! The ’60s Batmobile goes over the edge. Cline: “Before it gets knocked off a cliff by Aech’s monster truck, it screeches out the old Batman theme song. You don’t pick it up unless you are listening for it. It cuts off right before you would recognise it.”
55. King Kong! Cline: “There is also a bit of Max Steiner’s King Kong theme in the race.”
56. Back To The Future Part II’S hoverboard enters the fray.
57. ACE Chemicals is a reference to the Joker from Tim Burton’s Batman.
58. ED-209 from Robocop.
59. Yes, it’s The Iron Giant. Cline: “I will always be sad Ultraman didn’t make it into the movie from the novel, but happy that led to Iron Giant getting a bigger role. At the premiere, Tim Mccanlies (who co-wrote The Iron Giant) told me it was the first time people were asking for
The Iron Giant stuff to be signed.”
60. Old school Battlestar Galactica laser blaster.
61. Aliens’ USS Sulaco.
62. Dune’s Harkonen Drop-ship.
Zak Penn: “I happen to be one of those rare people who really likes the David Lynch version of Dune.
I was glad to see that in there.”
63. Aech keeps her miniatures in a Fraggle Rock tin.
64. The Eagle 5 space RV from Spaceballs.
65. Battlestar Galactica’s
Colonial Viper spaceship.
66. ED-209 from Robocop.
67. Cameron’s dad’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
68. The EVA Pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
69. The Valley Forge from Silent Running:
Cline: “That was Steven’s idea because it’s made by his old friend, [effects legend] Douglas Trumbull.”
70. Exosquad’s exo-skeleton robot.
71. A Thunderfighter from Buck Rogers In The 25th Century.
72. Cowboy Beebop’s Swordfish II spaceship.
73. The Peltzer Peeler Juicer from Gremlins.
74. The missile that comes out of the floor from Weird Science.
75. The “Cocktails & Dreams” sign from Cocktail. When he reigns…
76. There’s a Mad Max poster.
77. And a cabinet Pac-man game.
PARZIVAL VS ART3MIS
78. Parzival reveals Halliday’s favourite racing game. Cline: “Steven used to have a little arcade at Amblin of his favourite video games. His favourite racing game was Turbo, so we made it Halliday’s favourite racing game.”
79. A Goldeneye game discussion.
Zak Penn: “Anyone who is a serious gamer of my age or a little bit younger, if you don’t bring up Goldeneye when talking about a death match type game, then you are a noob.”
80. Halliday’s favourite song is The Buggles’ ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’.
81. Halliday’s favourite music vid: A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’.
82. “Some people can read War And Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story; others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.” That’s dialogue from
Superman The Movie.
83. Art3mis says, “Later, Mcfly,” from
Back To The Future.
84. Wade Watts’ moniker is a nod to Peter Parker/bruce Banner.
85. He also wears
a Thundercats belt.
86. Hello, Hello Kitty as Wade enters the OASIS.
87. Anorak refers to Wade as “Padawan”, from Star Wars.
88. Composer Alan Silvestri nods to John William’s 1941 score.
89. Daito looks like actor Toshiro Mifune: Cline: “Steven directed Mifune in 1941, was friends with him, and asked his family if we could use his likeness. He is the only person in the world who could do that.”
90. A Halo add-on lets you become Master Chief (not Masterchef).
91. Look, there’s a Borderlands stall.
92. And an Overwatch stall.
93. And a Rubik’s Cube stall.
94. Not to mention a Looney Tunes shop.
95. And a Street Fighter store.
96. All hail The Zemeckis Cube, complete with Alan Silvestri’s Back To The Future theme! Cline: “In the novel, there’s a Planet Zemeckis where you can go and re-enact various Bob Zemeckis films. Steven liked the idea of paying tribute to his friend by being able to go back in time relating to the big shoot-out we have in the nightclub.”
97. The Holy Hand Grenade from Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Cline: “Die-hard Python fans have made it very clear to me they are pissed off he doesn’t say ‘1, 2, 5!’ in honour of the Holy
Hand Grenade. I suggested he should and then Shoto should correct him and say. ‘Three, sir.’ Too nerdy.”
98. George Pal’s War Of The Worlds spaceship (plus sound effects).
99. Beetlejuice hounding Parzival.
100. Battleborn’s Ambra hounding Parzival.
101. Arkham Knight Batman is seen in Halliday’s journals.
102. As is Resident Evil 3: Nemesis’
103. Lara Croft again.
104. Art3mis wears a Goro suit from
105. And that’s the chestburster from Alien.
106. Here, Wade looks like Clark Kent. 107. Halliday mentions Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
108. Halliday has a Space Invaders T-shirt. 109. Galaga poster in Halliday’s offices. 110. And a Beastmaster poster.
111. Another Spielberg reference:
a Raiders Of The Lost Ark poster.
112. Young Halliday’s computer is IMSAI 8080 from War Games.
113. Halliday’s wife is nicknamed Kira Dark, à la The Dark Crystal.
114. There’s a “Re-elect Mayor ‘Goldie’ Wilson” poster from Back To The Future.
Cline: “One Easter egg I asked for was a re-election poster for Wil Wheaton. He’s a friend of mine and reads the Ready Player One audio book. So there is a poster hanging on the wall that looks like a Mayor Goldie Wilson poster, but it’s actually an aged
Will Wheaton to make him look like he is in his sixties.”
THE DISTRACTED GLOBE
115. Wade dresses as ‘Purple
116. Then as ‘Thriller’-era Michael Jackson.
117. Then as a Duran Duran type.
118. Wade’s punk outfit boasts a Donkey Kong logo.
119. Wade lands on Buckaroo Banzai. As in, Peter Weller’s character from The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.
120. A drop ship from Aliens is waiting to get into The Distracted Globe.
121. As is an X-wing.
122. Harley Quinn and Deathstroke, two major DC characters, are in the club.
123. It’s Gandalf in zero-g!
124. Street Fighter’s Blanka and Chun-li.
125. Lara Croft shows up again.
126. Bartenders wear Devo’s ‘Whip It’ video hats.
127. Battleborn’s Miko appears.
128. As does Hagar The Horrible.
129. Plus the Joker.
130. The tune they dance to is, of course, ‘Saturday Night Fever’. Penn: “That was amazing, that’s from the book. The Travolta playlist software.”
131. Overwatch’s Reaper.
132. Is that a M41A pulse rifle from Aliens? Yes. Yes, it is. Penn: “The references that were most meaningful to me were actually the things that I as a gamer would want to use in the OASIS at that age. I would want to use the Pulse rifle from Aliens, I would want to use the weapon from Eraser, even though nobody notices it.”
133. Sorrento teases the Millennium Falcon.
134. Wade tries to catch Sorrento out during a trivia test with a question about Faber High School, the school from both Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club.
135. Wade also mentions Fast Times At Ridgemont High.
136. Sorrento likes Robotron.
137. Sorrento likes Duran Duran. Wild boy.
THE SHINING SEQUENCE
138. We see posters from The Fly and Say Anything.
139. Floating VHS covers include Batman
and Full Metal Jacket.
140. A red Return Of The Jedi poster. 141. The gang find themselves in a re-enactment of The Shining. Spielberg chose the film as a nod to his great friend, Stanley Kubrick. Penn: “In the first draft, that was Blade Runner. It had a similar form. There was a chase across the rooftops like the one with Roy Batty, things got shot, cars crashed then they realised they ultimately had to get to the Voight-kampff test.”
Cline: “Being superfans of The Shining
we had to narrow down the most familiar elements of the story, like Room 237 and the ballroom. We went very deep then pulled it back so it would still work for people who had never seen
The Shining.the strange side-effect of that is, I have all these parents telling me over social media their kids leave Ready Player One desperate to see The Shining. I have to tell them, ‘No!’”
142. “Am I being Punk’d?’
says Aech. How Noughties.
THE FINAL BATTLE
143. I-R0K brings the Orb of Osuvox in a Mogwai box.
144. The chant from Orb of Osuvox is from Excalibur.
145. Reference to “The Gold Mines Of Gygax” — Gary Gygax is the creator of Dungeons & Dragons.
146. Battletoads! (Zitz, Rash and Pimple.) 147. Swordquest is an Atari 2600 game. 148. Spielberg ahoy! Stripe from Gremlins is seen running with Freddy Krueger.
Cline: “Steven realised that someone had sneaked in a Gremlin in one of the shots without asking him. By the time he spotted it, it was too late to take it out.” 149. Wade holds Lloyd Dobler’s Say Anything ghetto blaster.
150. Batman from Arkham Knight is listening to Wade.
151. There’s a Joust knight on an ostrich. 152. Street Fighter Chun-li, Sagat, Ryu. 153. “It’s fucking Chucky!” The Child’s Play doll prompts the film’s only F-bomb.
Penn: “This was a velociraptor for a long time. It was too big to fit theoretically in the car. Then the Chucky idea came along.” Cline: “I never in my life imagined Steven Spielberg was a Chucky fan. It was also his idea to drop the F-bomb.” 154. Sorrento’s battle bot is Mechagodzilla. Cline: “When Mechagodzilla appears, which made it all the way from the book, listen out for the old Toho Godzilla theme.”
155. Firefly’s Serenity shows up.
156. Daito chooses the form of Gundam. 157. It’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! (Michael Bay era).
158. Ripley’s Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader from Aliens.
159. Robocop’s ED-209.
160. All hail Ray Harryhausen’s Cyclops from The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad.
161. Madballs are used as a bomb. 162. We see Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard.
163. Bloody hell, it’s Lara Croft again. 164. Jason And The Argonauts’ skeletons fighting Superman II’S General Zod.
165. And Conan the Barbarian. 166. Evil Dead Deadites. Groovy!
167. Chappie! From that film! 168. Bioshock’s Big Daddy. 169. Street Fighter II’S Chun-li. Again. 170. Overwatch’s Tracer.
171. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Nitro Zeus all transform the battle.
172. Halo butt kickers.
173. I-R0K says to Sorrento, “No man is a failure who has friends.” Which is from It’s A Wonderful Life.
174. Chocobo from Final Fantasy II.
175. Starcraft Marines.
176. Artemis lancer from Gears Of War. 177. Street Fighter’s Sagat and Ryu.
178. The rail gun from Quake.
179. It’s It’s Pennywise.
180. And a Lord Of The Rings cave troll.
181. Spawn rocks up.
182. And some Star Wars stormtroopers. 183. IOI research material includes DC Comics Presents and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
184. Atari 2600 games referenced here are Defenders.
185. And Centipede.
186. And Pitfall.
187. And Swordquest.
188. And Motocross.
189. The glaive from Krull shows up.
190. Thumbs up! It’s a nod to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
191. Adventure: An Atari 2600 game
— the final challenge. Cline: “Adventure is the one challenge that remained the same all the way from the book to the movie. The creator of that game, Warren Robinett, who didn’t get any credit for the game, is now mentioned three times in a Steven Spielberg film.”
192. Aech’s truck has a Batman poster. 193. Aech name-drops Mario Kart in the final chase.
194. Young Halliday’s bedroom is a treasure trove. He’s playing Gorf.
195. There’s a Simon game.
196. A Joust poster.
197. And Big Trak.
198. Plus a Dungeons & Dragons poster.
199. A toy Godzilla.
200. Devo’s Freedom Of Choice album.
201. A Robbie The Robot toy from Forbidden Planet. The film, not the store. 202. A Lost In Space robot toy.
203. And a Pac-man poster.
204. Ladyhawke one-sheet.
205. A poster for 2112, the Rush album. 206. And a poster for War Games, which played a major part in the book.
207. Halliday’s, “Thank you for playing my game,” is a valued tradition among game-makers.
208. In Wade and Samantha’s flat we see Robby The Robot and R2-D2.
209. A Klingon Bat’leth.
Below: Back To The Future’s Doc Brown.
Below: The Iron Giant.
Below: Bill and Ted have an Excellent Adventure.
Below: Heere’s Johnny!
READY PLAYER ONE IS OUT ON 23 JULY ON DOWNLOAD, AND ON 6 AUGUST ON DVD AND BLU-RAY
Below: Chucky, the source of Ready Player One’s pottiest-mouthed moment.