Ready Player One: The References

March 31, 2018 | By Paul Mackenzie Ross | Filed in: film & tv.


I hadn’t heard about Steven Spielberg’s new film Ready Player One until this week. It cropped up somewhere as a reference in itself and that was it, as far as I was concerned. No trailer, no previews, no idea.

But then the wife said she was taking the children to see it and did I want a ticket. I said yes, why not.

I’d heard so little about it that I went in without any preconceptions what the film wasn’t about. But that’s not what I’m here to say, so here, with the spoiler alert, are all the references I spotted in the film – to retro computer games, sci-fi films and other geeky cultural icons…

Alien – Look out for the “chestburster” made famous by the late John Hurt in the original 1978 Alien movie Fromm Ridley Scott.

Back to the Future – The DeLorean car from the film makes a couple of appearances and McFly’s name is mentioned.

Batman – there are quite a few references to DC’s Batman. He’s climbing a mountain, the batmobile makes an appearance and the Batman logo is on some of the VR headsets.

Commodore – I spied a Conmodore computer console with 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive.

Dungeons & Dragons – A big logo appears in the film.

Duran Duran – Brit new-romancer band Duran Duran get a mention when the main charcter’s trying out disguises.

Freddie Kruger – he was someone’s avatar in the game.

Gundam – I recognised the Gundam but don’t have it on a high place in the references, mainly because it was quite low-key on my radar.

Halo – I remember standing in the queue for my Xbox way back in the day. Halo was the game I was hankering for so when Master Chief showed up in Ready Player One, no, in fact a whole team of marines, that was Bungie’s amazing game series on  the list.

Jurassic Park – The appearance of a Tyrannosaurus Rex has to be a hat-tip to the dinosaur blockbuster, right?

King Kong – The world’s favourite gorilla is in the movie as an adversary in one particular set of scenes

Minecraft – there was a really clear logo/reference as we were introduced to Oasis. Munich eldest daughter called it “product placement”. Wasn’t everything in th me film product placement of sorts?

Monty Python – The holy hand grenade from the scene with the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail makes an appearance. Considering our contribution she to the movie industry is this the only British reference in the whole film?

Mortal Kombat – The character Aetch as a Mortal Kombat badge on her lapel, right? Also every four-armed character Goro makes an appearance.

Prince – Parsifal tries a prince outfit on at one point.

Quake – I’m saying this because there’s a rail gun in the film and, whilst now common in FPS games, it was first played in the classic Quake.

Robocop – Someone I said using Robocop as an avatar in one of the fight scenes.

Rush – There’s a poster for the Canadian rock band’s 2112 LP on the wall of young Halliday’ bedroom.

Silent Running – The film where Bruce Dern tries to save the last forest spaceship – that ship makes an appearance.

Space Invaders – the game designer, Halliday, wears a Space Invaders tshirt and did I see an original games cabinet in the background somewhere?

Spider Man – The main character, Wade Watts, say she his father named him so that he had a superhero name like Clark Kent or Peter Parker.

Star Trek – At Hallisay’s funeral there’s a big STar Trek logo presence in the form of flowers.

Star Wars – Did I see some imperial walkers during a battle scene?

Street Fighter – Not only does the main character Perzival’s avatar do a “horyuken” move but the four-armed

Superman – not only does the character end up with “Clarke Kent” glasses at somebody stage but there’s a reference to Superman in his own name form husband late father, wishing he had a cool name like Clarke Kent, Peter Parker…

The Shining – What a big reference to this classic horror flick. There’s a good five to ten minutes in Steven King/Stanley Kubrick’s world IIRC.

That was as much as I noticed and was able to remember. I will edit and add if I recall anything else.

Let me know if I missed anything.

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