Ever since it was announced that Steven Spielberg would direct the cinematic adaptation of Ready Player One, fans have been eager to find out which pop culture characters and artifacts would make cameo appearances in the reference-heavy narrative. A large part of the story takes place in the OASIS, a kind of all-encompassing virtual reality universe that gamifies every part of life. In the real world, most working people live in “the stacks,” where trailers sit on top of each other in the slums of Columbus, Ohio as the world crumbles around them, but in the OASIS, they can be whoever they want to be… even if they want to be the Iron Giant.
Even though Spielberg kept references to his own movies out of the film (with the exception of a dinosaur that could be a reference to Jurassic Park), Ready Player One is a loving tribute to geek-friendly pop culture of the 80s, 90s and beyond. It’s a movie that makes nerds feel welcome and appreciated. With this in mind, we’re going to catch you up on 10 Pop Culture References from Ready Player One That You May Have Missed. (And, yes, there will be SPOILERS).
10. Shotaro Kaneda’s Motorcycle from Akira
You can already tell from the promotional materials that Parzival, aka Z, aka Wade Watts, the protagonist of the story (Tye Sheridan), races around the OASIS in the time-travelling Delorean from Back to the Future. But Art3mis, aka Samantha, also drives a familiar vehicle. Her distinctive red motorcycle is the spitting image of Shotaro Kaneda’s bike from the groundbreaking anime Akira. In Akira, Kaneda is the leader of a motorcycle gang in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo who must save his telekinetic friend Tetsuo from a clandestine government project.
In Ready Player One, Parzival drives the Delorean and Art3mis rides the bike during the challenge for the first of three keys distributed through the OASIS by the late James Halliday (Mark Rylance), the late creator of the OASIS who will give his creation away to the first person that completes all of his challenges successfully.[/nextpage]