Easter eggs have been planted into films, comics, and video games for decades, often very well hidden, and in some instance not uncovered for years. Super-hero comics and movies have long been famed for hidden references, crossovers, or cameos to recognize similar features.
Recently, the trend for Easter eggs and pop culture references in film and television has really exploded. Ready Player One is the pinnacle of “Recognition cinema” with a plethora of references from film, television, music, toys, video games, comics, and anime. Every licensing specialists worst nightmare
‘The phenomenon of trying to please an audience by including brief references to other pieces of fiction.’
Ready Player One is a Steven Spielberg movie based on the Ernest Cline novel of the same name. A virtual treasure hunt within a nostalgic online universe. The OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) is a MMOSG (massively multiplayer online simulation game) created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Simulation Systems (GSS). After Halliday dies it is revealed the OASIS contains an Easter egg which will grant the finder ownership of Halliday’s stock and control of the OASIS.
The story follows protagonist, Wade Watts, and his OASIS avatar, Parcival, alongside his online clan known as High Five, consisting of the avatars known as Art3mis, Aech, Daito, and Shoto.
This article guides you through all the hidden (and not so hidden) Easter eggs and references in Ready Player One.
Movie Poster Easter Egg Maze
Let’s start with the Movie poster as seen above. Alongside tributes to the DeLorean time machine, the Iron Giant, and Big Foot the monster truck, there is a hidden Easter egg in the movie title text.
A maze can be navigated through the title lettering, starting left of the first ‘R’, with the goal of reaching the egg inside the ‘O’ at the bottom left.
A to Z of Ready Player One Movie Easter Eggs
2001: A Space Odyssey:
- The Space Pod can be seen in Aech’s garage.
- A poster for the 1976 Rush album is seen in James Halliday’s childhood bedroom.
A Nightmare on Elm Street:
- Freddy Krueger is seen as an avatar in the PvP (player v player) zone. He is using a bladed glove on each hand, instead of his usual single bladed glove in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
Adventure (video game):
- The 1979 Atari 2600 video game is mentioned in Anoraks Invitation, a video message by James Halliday, inviting players to his easter egg hunt. In the video, Halliday credits Adventure with being the first video game with a hidden Easter egg.
- The game is played by Parzival near the end of the movie and is crucial in solving the final puzzle to retrieve Halliday’s OASIS egg.
- The motorcycle ridden by Art3mis during the first trial is modeled on Shotaro Kaneda’s bike in Akira.
- Art3mis uses a Xenomorph chestburster hand puppet to break out of her Goro disguise (see: Mortal Kombat).
- A fully gown Xenomorph and Ellen Ripley in a yellow power loader suit can be seen in the crowd during the final battle.
- The Space-marine spaceship the U.S.S Sulaco is seen as a virtual toy.
- Art3mis uses Ellen Ripleys M41A Pulse Rifle in the battle against the Mechagodzilla.
- Parzival mentions Faber College from Animal House while trying to bluff Sorrento over John Hughes Films.
- The 1979 Atari 2600 video game, Asteroids, is mentioned by James Halliday’s business partner, Ogden Morrow.
- The console becomes crucial for the final trial when it’s revealed that Halliday has hidden a key to beating OASIS in a virtual version of one of the antiquated system’s games.
- The Atari console is hanging from a wire in Wade’s hideout van.
- An Atari sticker is on the front of Art3mis’s motorcycle.
Back to the Future:
- Parzival drives a virtual DeLorean in the first key trial, which is a street race.
- In a voice-over describing the OASIS, Wade Watts tells the viewer OASIS users can climb Mount Everest with Batman. An animation is shown onscreen of Batman mountain climbing with other people. He has a yellow and black Batman symbol on his chest plate, which was used for the Tim Burton films.
- Wade briefly changes his virtual avatar to look like the Batman villain, the Joker.
- A player can be seen in a virtual nightclub with a Joker avatar.
- A player can be seen in a virtual nightclub with a Harley Quinn avatar.
- Batgirl and the Joker avatars can be seen charging in the final battle.
- The Batmobile from the 1960s Batman TV series is involved in the street race for the first key trial.
- The 1970s version of the Galactica ship is seen as a virtual toy.
- Players can be seen with Battletoads avatars during the final battle charge.
- A player with an avatar of the Beetlejuice main character “Betelgeuse” is seen in the OASIS greeting Parzival after he wins the first trial.
- Aech drives the famous monster truck, Bigfoot, during the race for the first key trial.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure:
- In a video record from the OASIS video library, James Halliday says that he wishes he could go back in time putting the “pedal to the metal” like Bill and Ted.
- A Borderlands stall can be seen in the OASIS mall selling unspecified player upgrades.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century:
- The twin nose cones of a Thunderfighter can be seen in Aech’s garage.
- The Atari 2600 game is mentioned by Sorrento’s staff.
- A Centipede Arcade cabinet can be seen in Aech’s basement.
- A Sixer (an IOI egg hunter) tries playing Centipede on the Atari 2600 but fails.
- The titular robot from the movie, Chappie, is character seen as an in the PvP zone.
- Chucky, the doll from the Child’s Play movies, is used as a weapon during the final battle in the OASIS.
- The red 1958 Plymouth from the 1983 Stephen King film, Christine, is seen in the race for the first key trial.
- Wade several references to “Rosebud”. He refers to both Kira and Morrow as being the “Rosebud” at the center of Halliday’s Easter egg hunt
- A replica of Spike Spiegel’s mono-racer, Swordfish, is seen in Aech’s garage.
- The DC Comics villain is seen as an avatar in the PvP zone.
- In the virtual nightclub, the bartender is wearing a Devo energy dome hat.
- A Devo poster for Freedom Of Choice is seen in James Halliday’s bedroom.
- The planet Arrakis is mentioned as a virtual destination in the OASIS.
Dungeons and Dragons:
- A virtual space is named after the role-playing game’s creator, Gary Gygax.
- A 20-sided die is seen inside the Orb of Osuvox
- Aech’s van has an image on the back door from module Tomb of Horrors.
- Parcival dresses as a band member of Duran Duran.
- A Halliday Scholar can be seen examining the goodbye scene on his computer.
- A magic spell from the film is recited by i-R0k to activate the orb, and later by Art3mis to deactivate the orb.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High:
- Wade uses the school from Ridgemont High to try to bluff Nolan Sorrento.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
- Mentioned by Nolan Sorrento when talking with Wade.
- Daito is seen arriving in the Firefly ship in the final battle.
- Toy robot from the film seen in Halliday’s childhood bedroom.
Friday the 13th:
- Jason Voorhees can be seen as an avatar in the PvP zone.
- Poster for the game seen in Halliday and Morrow’s offices.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla:
- Sorrento morphs into Mechagodzilla during the final battle.
- The video game is mentioned as James Halliday’s favorite. He prefers to play the “slappers only” mode (no weapons) using the character Oddjob.
- A Gremlin (Spike) can be seen in the final battle.
- Wade’s ally Daito morphs into a Gundam robot during a battle royale.
- A group of soldiers can be seen as avatars in the OASIS.
- A Hello Kitty sticker is seen on the motorcycle of Art3mis during the race for the first key.
- Hello Kitty can be seen sitting on a table in a James Halliday Journal.
- Hello Kitty, Kerropi, and Badtz-Maru can be seen walking in a group in the OASIS.
He-Man & the Master of the Universe:
- A He-Man avatar is seen in the final battle charge.
Jason and the Argonauts:
- The skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts are seen as avatars in the OASIS PvP zone.
- A Joust poster is seen in Halliday’s childhood bedroom.
- Samantha (Art3mis) wears a Joy Division T-shirt in the real world when she meets Wade for the first time.
- The T-Rex from Jurassic Park is seen as an obstacle in a virtual race for the first trial.
- The giant ape from King Kong is the final obstacle in the virtual race for the first trial.
- Parcival’s DeLorean is fitted with a KITT upgrade similar to the Knight Rider car. This shows the red lights on the front grill and KITT A.I technology.
Last Action Hero:
- Characters race past an advertisement for a movie called Jack Slater III starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Young Halliday is seen near a Marvin the Martian toy in his bedroom.
- Marvin the Martian is seen running out of an entry portal when Wade is introducing the OASIS,
- Marvin the Martian appears again in Halliday’s Journal.
- A Looney Tunes shop is seen in the Oasis Mall with a hologram of Marvin the Martian.
- The Mad Max Interceptor car is seen as one of the vehicles in the race for the first key trial.
- A Mad Max poster can be seen in Aech‘s basement when wade is choosing his party outfit.
- Repville appears as graffiti on the side of one of the Stacks buildings.
- Art3mis throws a bomb in the form of a Dust Brain Madball into Mechagodzilla’s cockpit during the final battle.
- Aech jokingly mentions the game to Parcival during a car chase.
- The male and female versions of Commander Shepard are seen at the virtual nightclub and during the final battle.
- In Wade’s voice-over introducing the OASIS, he mentions a Minecraft planet as a potential destination.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
- Wade uses the Holy Hand Grenade in the PvP zone.
- Goro is used as an avatar disguise by Art3mis when she surprises Parcival after he wins the first trial
- An Atari 2600 game mentioned by Sorrento’s underlings.
- Art3mis finds a copy of “The Complete Nancy Drew.” while searching through Nolan Sorrento’s personal files.
- Tracer is seen entering a portal in the OASIS and during the final battle.
- In the Oasis Mall, an Overwatch stall can be seen selling upgrades.
- James Halliday is said to have earned a perfect score on Pac-Man in the Gregarious Games break room.
- A Pac-Man poster is seen in Halliday’s childhood bedroom.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure:
- Aech has a replica of Pee-wee’s bike.
- The Atari 2600 game is mentioned by Sorrento’s staff.
- Two cars are seen in the virtual race for the initial trial.
- Aech mentions “being punk’d.”
- Parzival briefly dresses as Prince’s character from Purple Rain.
Raiders of the Lost Ark:
- A poster for the film seen in Halliday’s childhood bedroom.
- A modified Rubik’s Cube called a Zemeckis Cube is named after Back to the Future and Romancing the Stone director Robert Zemeckis. The cube allows the user to turn back time by 60 seconds.
- The cyborg cop is seen as an avatar in the PvP zone.
- An ED-209 unit can be seen in the background at Aech’s garage
- Mentioned by Sorrento.
Saturday Night Fever:
- An OASIS dance sequence is based on the film, complete with Bee Gees soundtrack.
- An avatar is seen holding a boom box above their head in the PvP zone.
- Say Anything Mentioned as a film Halliday once saw.
- The spaceship “Valley Forge” is seen as a virtual toy.
Simon (electronic game):
- The classic electronic memory game is seen as a possession of James Halliday’s.
- A cyclops avatar is seen in the PvP zone during the final battle and walking around the OASIS.
Sonic the Hedgehog:
- A user with a Sonic the Hedgehog avatar can be seen in the OASIS.
- James Halliday is repeatedly seen wearing a Space Invaders t-shirt.
- On Parcival’s visor, there is a sticker of the logo from Space Invaders.
- Aech has a Space Invaders arcade cabinet in his basement.
- A graffiti tag of multiple invaders are on a brick wall in Ohio.
- Aech has an Eagle 5 Winnebago replica in his garage.
- Spawn is seen as an avatar in the final battle.
- Speed Racer’s car, the Mach 5, is seen in the race for the first key trial.
- Parcival mentions that he has an alter ego like Peter Parker.
- OASIS creator James Halliday has a Star Trek–themed funeral. Later, we see a Klingon bat’leth weapon on a windowsill.
- Stormtroopers can be seen as avatars in the final battle.
- R2-D2 toy is seen on a floor of Wade and Samantha’s Apartment.
- James Halliday’s Oasis avatar refers to Wade as “young padawan.” after he completes the copper key race.
- An X-Wing can be seen flying to the virtual nightclub.
- R2-D2 and C-3PO can briefly be seen in the stands of the copper key racetrack when Parcival enters the Location.
- Parzival wears Han Solo’s Belt along with his Holster.
- Sorrento says he owns a Millenium Falcon.
- A Return of the Jedi poster is displayed on the outside of The Overlook movie theater.
- The Streetfighter logo is seen in the OASIS marketplace.
- Characters Ryu and Chun-Li appear as avatars in the PvP zone.
- A character uses Ryu’s “Hadouken” fireball as a weapon in a PvP battle.
- Wade’s avatar is briefly modded to look like Clark Kent.
- The Atari 2600 game is mentioned by Sorrento’s staff.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
- The turtle characters from the 2014 reboot are seen as avatars in the PvP zone.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension:
- Parcival dresses as Buckaroo Banzai during a visit to the virtual nightclub.
- The GMC Vandura van is seen in the race for the first key trial.
The Breakfast Club:
- Mentioned by the villain, Nolan Sorrento and one of his staff when trying to trick Parcival.
- John Bender seen as an avatar in the PVP zone.
- John Bender can be seen walking in the Oasis next to Nightwing.
- In Halliday Journals the tables in the building match the tables in the high school detention room.
The Dark Crystal:
- When James Halliday is telling Morrow about his date with Karen, he comments that her gamer name is “Kira” like the character in The Dark Crystal.
- The movie’s title is also listed among several others films in Wade’s notebook.
- The 1986 remake is mentioned as a film James Halliday once saw.
The Iron Giant
- The Iron Giant can be seen in Aech’s workshop.
- Aech uses the Iron Giant mod in the final battle.
- Clan High Five enter a re-creation of the Overlook Hotel and maze, where they traverse a series of frightening events to eventually acquire the Jade Key. The sequence blends animation with actual footage from The Shining.
- The Iron Giant makes a Thumbs-up gesture when he melts in the lava in reference to the T-800 being lowered into the molten metal.
- Parzival briefly changes his avatar to a Michael Jackson Thriller disguise.
- Parzival wears a belt with the Thundercats logo on the buckle.
- Helen has a Lion-O patch on her jacket.
- Lara Croft seen as an avatar in the PvP zone.
- I-ROK references the candy company’s TV commercials to Salento.
- Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Nitro Zeus are seen in during the final battle.
- Megatron and Sentinel Prime are seen transforming into vehicle mode on the OASIS racetrack.
- Onslaught can be seen entering a PvP Portal in the Oasis.
War of the Worlds:
- A crashed Martian ship is the site of the first meeting between Salento and i-R0k.
- A Tripod is seen during the final battle.
- The Rocket used in Weird Science can be seen sitting on a table in Aech’s Apartment.
- A Weird Science Poster can be seen draped over a Chair in the Halliday Scholar Room.