10 Video Game References That Are In Other Media

Video games have reached outside of the game scene and into other media or facets of life. Here's ten of my favorite ones.

As gamers, we expect to find easter eggs in all sorts of different games. We scour the game world, looking for that hidden item or reference to the developers' favorite movie or game.

Sometimes we overlook the idea that games make appearances or are referenced to in other forms of media. This is a list of 10 video game references of video games that are hidden in other media. Let's take a look at just how influential these games have been.

Recommended Videos

Do A Barrel Roll (Star Fox): Google Does A Barrel Roll

There have been many iconic lines ingrained in our head from some of the older games. Star Fox on the N64 left one lasting impression, not only with the annoying addition of Slippy's voice, but with Peppy's infamous line "Do a Barrel Roll!".

In 2011, Google decided it would be fun to jump aboard the current meme train that was proliferating on the internet at the time. If you simply type "Do a Barrel Roll" into the Google search bar, you can watch the screen roll around.

It's good to see video games have some fans in high places like Google.

All Your Base Are Belong To Us (Zero Wing): 2006 YouTube Site Shut Down

In 2006, YouTube had planned a standard maintenance update and took down the famous video site while the engineers worked hard on bugs and issues. 

The engineers decided to play a joke on those who did not heed the site's offline message the day before. Anyone who visited the site was treated to the screen you see above.

This page only shows the YouTube logo in the middle of the screen, with text below it reading "ALL YOUR VIDEO ARE BELONG TO US." This is a reference to the 1989 Arcade and Sega Mega Drive game Zero Wing and the broken English translation of the dialogue in the intro.

Some YouTubers didn't quite catch the joke and thought the site had been hacked. The engineers at YT went back on the page and updated the visitors, saying, "No we haven't been hacked. Get a sense of humor."

Read more in this 2006 article about the joke. 

Took An Arrow to The Knee (Skyrim): Transformers: Rescue Bots

A more recent reference is hidden in the Transformer series in which inexperienced Autobots help in small-time missions. This particular episode aired back in March 2014 under the title "A Virtual Disaster".

In this episode, Blades (a rescue chopper Autobot), is taken into a virtual reality game in order to overcome boredom and tame his fear. In one of the segments he is bombarded with arrows, one of which pierces his knee joint. In the following scene, shown above, Blades reveals he is a Skyrim fan and feels like ramming the joke into the ground. 

 Read the synopsis of the episode and mention of the quote here.

Pokemon On TV: The Simpsons

The Simpsons have been known to make parodies of plenty of things; other shows, video games, politics, movies. You shouldn't be surprised when you find that at least 3-4 instances of Pokemon have been found throughout the many seasons of the show.

This reference is particularly worth mentioning because of the comments it makes on the longevity of both shows. 

In this scene, Bart is watching Pokemon instead of doing homework. Ash's outfit looks like it's from the Diamond and Pearl era of the anime. As he's watching, Bart stares at the screen and contemplates, "How does this show stay so fresh?" 

It's speculated this is a comment on both shows as well as the game (as the show is a direct tie-in to the games and vice versa).

The question is never really answered, but we can be certain that they have survived for many years and have continually made things more entertaining. It serves not only as a reference, but also as a comment on how timeless the games/show have been.

Nintendo Power Glove (NES): 6th Freddy Krueger Film (Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare)

Don't get scared just yet; I know the idea of the Power Glove returning from beyond the grave is enough to give anyone a heart attack. 

In the 6th Freddy Krueger film, the directors began reaching out for humor over horror, and Freddy is always known for a wicked approach to comedy. In one of the scenes, a gloved villain is messing with a console that is likened to an NES. Freddy has a victim trapped inside the game, and instead of using the controller, he rigs his very own macabre Power Glove.

His lines during the scene even play on the Power Glove's catchphrase "Now You're Playing With Power." Freddy antagonizes his victim by saying "You Forgot about the Power Glove!" and "Now I'm Playing with Power!".

Kind of fitting that the stuff of nightmares is being controlled by the guy who walks in them. 

Street Fighter Dress Up: City Hunter (Jackie Chan)

Jackie Chan has always been a martial artist, and each of his films has him kicking butt in some form or fashion. This time around, in a hallucination, Jackie and his opponent become Street Fighter characters. 

Characters from Street Fight II were used: Ken, E.Honda, Dhalism, Guile, and Chun-Li. The room in which Chan and his rival fight is surrounded by cardboard cutouts of other Street Fighter competitors, and the entire fight has NES music in the background.

This scene has been commented on as one of the best depictions of a video game in a movie. It just shows that some movie companies can do video games justice.

Fun Note: E. Honda's name was changed to E.Honde in the credits because it matched the car company name Honda and Chan had a partnership/sponsorship with rival car company Mitsubishi.

Tons of Video Game References: Scott Pilgrim VS The World

Manga, Video Game, Movie - Scott Pilgrim has many iterations in the media, and within each of them lies a world littered with video game references. From the random gaming consoles hidden on the set of the film (from NES and SNES to the Nintendo DS) to the random game references, this movie is filled to the brim. 

The Band name in which Scott plays in is called "Sex Bob-Omb, which is a play on the walking bomb enemy from Super Mario, the Bob-Ombs. The band also has a bomb logo with an angry face, which is said to be a reference to the logo for a game called Serious Sam, which has a similar humanized appearance.

The film includes too many references to count, though some have certainly tried. The main game-related moments are the ones in which Scott finds himself earning points as the story progresses. At one point he gets a level up (towards the end) and even collects a 1-UP.

Scott Pilgrim is a spectacular nerdgasm for those gamers who have watched the film or read the manga. This is one of my favorite movies and the references that are brought to life make me love games even more.

Tons Of Video Game References: Wreck-It-Ralph 

One of the biggest game-related movies ever created, Wreck-It-Ralph holds the prize for most game references. At least it does in my book.

The game characters come to life when the arcade they are in closes. All the characters reside within the central hub, and multiple game characters can be seen meeting there. Street Fighter characters Chun-Li and Cammy are seen walking in deep conversation. (Too many long hours in the Street Fighter cabinet maybe?) Sonic the Hedgehog serves as a talking ad within the hub, still finding a way to be the responsible hero. Even Frogger had a quick cameo in the feature film, though he's not running across any crowded highways.

The central hub isn't the only thing that holds game references. A local tavern, Tappers, is a hit on the classic game of the same name. Tappers is the place for characters to relax and unwind after stressful days, while the bartender recreates his game's glory days by serving drinks. Tappers has a lost-and-found box that is filled with gaming items. Ralph rummages through this in the film, only to find Mario's Red Super Mushrooms along with the exclamation mark and warning sound from Metal Gear Solid's Solid Snake.

I could spend hours and paragraphs talking about all the references in the movie, because it's drawing from a gigantic amount of video game lore.

Fun Fact: Tons of references and name drops are seen/heard (Aerith Lives, Shenlong was here written on the walls in random spots, dropping names like Mario and GLaDOS). What is more interesting are the deleted (but confirmed) cameos. Dr. Wily, of Mega Man fame, was originally supposed to be in the villains' meeting with Ralph, but was replaced by a generic ninja.

Another fun tidbit; The Master Sword from Legend of Zelda and Piranaha plant from Super Mario were supposed to be within the lost and found as well, but were scrapped for unknown reasons.

Final Fantasy Burger Chain (Robot Chicken): Final Fantasy VII

This one was never a surprise for me. The Robot Chicken producers have never shied away from making pop culture references mixed in with video game and 80's cartoons. This one, however, just happened to stick close to the source material.

In this skit (Season 2, Episode 28), dubbed "Final Fantasy Burger Chain", Cloud and the other heroes of Final Fantasy VII are holding jobs at a local burger shop. In the skit, there are no voice overs, just the standard Text based conversations and video game sound effects, watching as our heroes of Midgar face the daily challenges of being a minimum-wage employee. 

Cloud even has a turn-based battle with a giant potato in order to peel it for french fries. In the end, it is revealed that Sephiroth is the villain, er, manager and requests Cloud work overtime. Another lengthy and epic battle ensues just because Cloud had Lakers tickets. 

Leeroy Jenkins ParaRescue Alarm: World of Warcraft

Many of the references on this list have all been humorous, which isn't a bad thing. This one, however, just happens to be inspiring as well as worrisome. 

Leeroy Jenkins was a player in a now infamous raid in World of Warcraft. The story goes that within in this giant raid, the entire team had planned out just how they would approach the bosses. Everyone except one member, Leeroy Jenkins. 

Leeroy came back into the raid gathering just as final plans were being prepped. As soon as he entered the scene, he adjusts his mic and starts in with "Alright, let's do this. LEEEEEEEEEEEEEOROOOOOOY JEEEEEEEEEEEEENKIIINNNNNNNNNS!" Jenkins rushed into the fight sure of himself, and his raid members ran in behind him, unprepared. They were defeated, but the idea was noble and fairly inspiring.

On the show Inside Combat Rescue on National Geographic, the lives of the 38th Squadron of ParaRescue soldiers in the Air Force are shown to us as they rush out to bring back wounded soldiers on the battlefields. 

This squadron has an alarm that alerts them to fallen soldiers and tells them to mobilize. Their alarm is particularly interesting, as they use ol' Leeroy's inspiring battle cry as a rallying scream. It motivates the troops to risk their all to return their fellow comrades back to the barracks. 

This is an awesome video game reference that exists outside of media altogether, though it does qualify for this list because it's shown on the National Geographic channel. More than that, it's a proud statement about all that is involved with gaming - they're entertainment, but they can also be motivation.

I wished I had a reference article or video, but for some reason I can only find comments mentioning that it is the Leeroy scream.

While I tried to begin and end on powerful notes, this list was just a drop in the bucket of references throughout media. It's hard to say just how many years gaming nuggets like these have been circulating. It goes to show, gaming truly has a life outside the controller.

Did I miss any you know of? Some of these you didn't know about before? Let us know in the comments below!

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Jay Prodigious
Jay Prodigious
Have been writing since I can remember, have always loved reviews (gaming mostly), and have a knack for the written word.