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.


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.


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’

Jill Valen­tine.

103. Lara Croft again.

104. Art3mis wears a Goro suit from

Mor­tal Kom­bat.

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.”


115. Wade dresses as ‘Pur­ple

Rain’ Prince.

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.


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.


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!


Be­low: Chucky, the source of Ready Player One’s pot­ti­est-mouthed mo­ment.

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