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18 Video Games With Hidden Movie References

Updated October 16, 2020 4.2k views18 items

Among the many joys of playing a new video game is the experience of stumbling upon a delightfully nerdy Easter egg hidden away by the developers. Video game movie references offer an entertaining look at the pop culture that shaped the creators of your favorite games. While some are easy to spot, such as a nod to a famous Star Wars scene in Skyrim, others are more obscure, like the easy-to-miss shout-out to Office Space in F.E.A.R.

The pleasure of these little cinematic nods is often directly proportional to how out of the way they are. Plenty of games rub our noses in their pop-culture pedigrees, but the selections below demonstrate that a little subtlety can go a long way.

  • The fantasy RPG series Dragon Age paid homage to one of the most influential fantasy stories of all time, The Lord of the Rings, in its first game. Among the random encounters in Dragon Age: Origins, Treacherous Path takes the player's party to a small abandoned campsite featuring a Shade ambush and two bodies.

    On top of one of the bodies is a note that reads: "Why, oh why didn't we just take the flying eagles?" This is a reference to the age-old debate of whether or not the eagles could have flown Frodo and Sam all the way to Mordor to destroy the One Ring.

  • Photo: Capcom / Lionsgate

    Ever wondered what was inside that mysterious briefcase in the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction? While hardly definitive, Dead Rising 4 has a pretty funny suggestion.

    To find the elusive suitcase in the game, you'll have to go inside the Willamette Memorial Megaplex. Then you have to go straight to the Stillhouse Diner in the Miami Boardwalk District. There you'll find the prized suitcase lying on a table. What's inside? A glowing light bulb, of course. 

  • There are plenty of overt movie references in Blizzard's MMO World of Warcraft, but this one is really tucked away.

    In John Carpenter's classic Big Trouble in Little China, the venerable tour bus driver Egg Shen provides Kurt Russell and his compatriots with some magical concoctions to help them battle Lo Pan - including the Six Demon Bag, which contains "wind, fire, all that kind of thing." In WoW, you too can wield this power, though, given the item's rarity, the auction house might be the best place to locate one.

  • A running joke in the Halo series is based on a beloved feline from the Alien movie franchise. In the original Halo game for Xbox, posters for a missing calico cat named Jonesy are scattered across the bulletin boards of the UNSC Pillar of Autumn warship.

    The poster is a reference to Jones, the pet cat aboard the space ship Nostromo in the 1979 movie Alien. The Nostromo's crew are willing to risk a lot for Jones, as both engineer Brett and warrant officer Ripley have run-ins with the Xenomorph while looking for the stray kitty, whom they affectionately call Jonesy. Halo 3 continues the Easter egg by having a poster stating that Jonesy is still missing, while Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary includes a "Cat Found" poster that clearly shows an opossum.