‘Ready Player One’ has more Easter eggs than the White House lawn. Did you find them all?

Christopher Borrelli
Chicago Tribune

Wait! Wait!

There’s an Easter egg still out there – actually, there are a lot of Easter eggs still out there, floating about. Not oval colored ones. Square colored ones, made of pixels.

The new Steven Spielberg film “Ready Player One” – adapted from a lovingly nerdy novel by Ernest Cline – is a kind of homage to the digital Easter egg, the inside jokes, quirks and cultural references tucked away quietly, at times annoyingly, inside movies and video games, waiting for only the most obsessive-compulsive to discover.

In the film, if the hero jumps through enough hoops (literally) and finds impossibly buried Easter eggs inside a vast virtual reality, the game’s creator (with a nod to Willy Wonka – Easter egg!) will grant him the deed to the digital ranch and a Zuckerbergian mountain of wealth.

In the real world, you only get bragging rights.

Which was basically what Warren Robinett was looking for when he buried a single humble credit — “Created by Warren Robinett” — inside the Atari 2600 console classic “Adventure.” Game designers in 1979 did not generally receive marquee credit at all for their creations, regardless of how many millions of copies sold. As Robinett told Wired in 2015: “I got a $22K a year salary, no royalties and (Atari) never even forwarded any fan mail to me.”

To stick it to his boss, he created a digital Easter egg. (Ironically, though he is credited with the practice, developers were hiding stuff in video games years before he did it.) To find his name, you had to locate a single pixel and deposit it. In Spielberg’s meta-referential movie, that Easter egg in “Adventure” becomes an Easter egg itself.

There are so many winks and nods in “Ready Player One” — to film, video games, bands, junk food, overtly and covertly referenced — the movie itself is an Easter egg hunt, begging for a cultural head count. Thus, a checklist.

Among three moviegoers at the Tribune, here is what we noted. But there’s more there. Way more. Spielberg himself said he hasn’t found all the Easter eggs slipped into his own film.

Happy hunting. (And let us know what we missed.)


“The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”


“Back to the Future”

“The Beastmaster”


“Big Trouble in Little China”

“The Breakfast Club”

“Child’s Play”

“Citizen Kane”

“Clash of the Titans”

“The Dark Crystal”

“Death Race”

“E.T.” (in the Amblin Entertainment logo)


“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

“The Fly” (remake)

“Friday the 13th”

“Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”

“The Iron Giant”

“Jurassic Park”

“King Kong”


“Mad Max”

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

“Raiders of the Lost Ark”


“Real Genius”


“Rocky Horror Picture Show”

“Saturday Night Fever”

“Say Anything”

“The 7th Voyage of Sinbad”

“The Shining”

“Silent Running”

“Smokey and the Bandit”

“There’s Something About Mary”

“Star Trek: The Motion Picture”

“Star Wars”


“Tomb Raider”


“War of the Worlds”

“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”

“Wizard of Oz”



Billy Idol


Bruce Springsteen

The Buggles

Duran Duran

Earth, Wind & Fire

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Joy Division

New Order


Twisted Sister

Van Halen


Carl’s Jr



Froot Loops

Milk Duds

Pizza Hut

Tootsie Pop


“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

“The Lord of the Rings”




Nancy Drew

Fin Fang Foom (Marvel monster)

Harley Quinn

Hello Kitty

The Joker


Wonder Woman








“Grand Theft Auto”




“Missile Command”

“Mortal Kombat”

“Pole Position”



“Space Invaders”

“Street Fighter”




“Battlestar Galactica”

“Masters of the Universe”

“Mobile Suit Gundam”

“Star Trek”



Atari 2600

Big Trak


Commodore 64

Etch A Sketch


Nintendo Wii