The Pop Culture Reference wiki last edited by SaturdayNightSpecials on 03/10/14 02:56PM View full history

Overview

Pop culture references are a common form of humor in games.

Note that references to other video games have their own page.

Grand Theft Auto IV

The Statue of Liberty holding a cup of coffee.
  • America's Next Top Model: During 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV, a radio commercial can be heard in-game, advertising a program. This program is called 'America's Next Top Hooker'. The name alone easily brings reference to the hit US show.
  • McDonalds / Burger King: In the Grand Theft Auto world exists a chain of fast-food restaurants, known as 'Burger Shot'. Ads for the chain in-game frequently suggest that they use unethical business practices, and these ads frequently display some violent humor. The name and content suggests that the content could be direct ed at either McDonalds, or Burger King, though it is possibly a reference to both.
  • Statue of Liberty: The Statue of Liberty is an instantly recognizable symbol of New York, in the United States. Rockstar make a subtle parody of the statue, and it is entitled 'The Statue of Happiness'. It can be seen south of Algonquin. Rather than holding a torch, the statue appears to be holding a cup of coffee. It is almost certainly a reference to modern American culture.
  • Toyota Prius / Environmentalism: One of the cars available in Grand Theft Auto IV is the Karin Dilettante. The design is extremely similar to that of Toyota's well-known hybrid car, the 'Prius'. A unique 'advertisement' for it, made by Rockstar, suggest that owners of the car are superficial at best, and are more concerned with appearance than actually helping the environment.
  • Twitter: Contained inside The Ballad of Gay Tony is an additional website, which is an obvious parody of Twitter. The site is known as 'Bleeter', and users are able to 'bleet' from their mobile device or computer about what they are currently doing. The site logo is a sheep, which is a reference to how people who sign up to Twitter are occasionally described as 'sheep'. Using an in-game web browser, players can access the site at http://www.bleeter.biz.

Red Dead Redemption

  • Heinz: In the Undead Nightmare expansion for the game, you will have to secure the area of Twin Rocks from the undead. Occasionally, one of the survivors will say 'I smell death... and about 57 other varieties of shit'. This is a reference to the Heinz company's infamous '57 varieties', and quite possibly a dig at their quality.

Sid Meier's Civilization V

  • Bluetooth: The achievement for winning a game as Harald Bluetooth, leader of Denmark, is entitled "Hands free for the win" - a direct reference to the Bluetooth communication protocol, famous for use in mobile hands-free kits.
  • Brave New World: An achievement added in the Brave New World expansion is named "Soma Tablets for Everybody", and is achieved by reaching a Happiness level of 100+. In Aldous Huxley's book, the tablets are able to maintain a user's state of happiness. The name of the expansion is also not a coincidence.#
  • Polandball. Poland was added as a civilization in the Brave New World expansion. Completing a Science victory as Poland results in the achievement 'Poland Can into Space'; a reference to the Polandball comic series.
  • Blitzkrieg: One of the second-tier Autocracy policies is named 'Lightning War' - an English translation for the German tactics at the beginning of the Second World War, "Blitzkrieg".
  • Tear Down this Wall!: An achievement within the game references Ronald Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" statement, made about the Berlin Wall. The achievement is unlocked by converting a civilization from Order (i.e. Communism) to Freedom. The same line is uttered when players reach the Modern Era.
    The ever-recognizable pin of the Young Pioneer group that Civilization V draws some inspiration from.
  • Great Patriotic War: One of the tenets of Order in the Brave New World expansion is called 'Patriotic War'. This is a probable reference to the name used in the Soviet Union for the Second World War, as well as a number of other wars during Russia's history.
  • Young Pioneers: Another tenet along the Order tree is entitled 'Young Pioneers', sharing its name with the Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union. The Young Pioneers were intended to promote communist thought among Soviet youth.
  • Five-Year Plan: The final second-tier tenet in the Order category takes its name from Stalin's method of industrializing Russia during the 1930s. Goals were set up for workers to achieve, and though historians contest their effectiveness the idea was novel upon its introduction. The term 'Five-Year Plan' is also used in other national economic plans, though corresponds most with the USSR due to the nature of the Order tree.
  • Cultural Revolution: Also appearing in the second tier of the Order tree is an option; its name is derived entirely from the events in the People's Republic of China during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Iron Curtain: A third-tier tenet in the Order tree takes its name and inspiration from the term famously coined to describe the divide between communism and capitalism. All communist countries were said to be behind the Iron Curtain.
  • My Little Pony: If the player unlocks Horseback Riding before any other civilization while playing as Russia, an achievement of this name is unlocked. Not only is it a reference to the media franchise, but it is a reference to an apocryphal story of Catherine the Great, the game's Russian leader. According to (entirely spurious) legend, she died while engaged in sexual intercourse with a horse.
  • The Last of the Mohicans: One of the game's achievements is called 'The First of the Mohicans'. Really, they didn't try to hide this reference at all.
  • Tony Montana: One of the achievements is entitled "Say Hello to My Little Friend"; one of the most memorable lines from the 1983 film, delivered just before Montana fires a grenade launcher into a crowd of attackers.
  • Exterminate! Exterminate!: The achievement name is a reference to one of the enduring catchphrases of the The Daleks in British television programme Doctor Who.

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