South O’ the Highway

First Look at Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Easter Eggs

On Friday, Entertainment Weekly revealed the first official image from Ready Player One—East Hampton director Steven Spielberg‘s hotly anticipated film adaptation of author Ernest Cline‘s masterful 2011 novel—and it’s full of little visual Easter eggs. Those who have read the book know its entire premise is based on the idea of seeking out Easter eggs, which are little hidden messages, clues, fun insider winks and references found in movies and video games.

A quick synopsis from the Amazon book listing:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

If you examine the photo (see EW‘s hi-res version here)—which depicts Wade, played by Tye Sheridan, using a portable OASIS setup in his secret “Fortress of Solitude” lair inside an old van—you’ll find all sorts of nods to the pop culture maelstrom and celebration of the 1980s that is Ready Player One.

Dungeon & Dragons Beholder
As far as we know, this one hasn’t been identified yet, but if you look at the black paint splat on the side of the cooler at the bottom left corner, you’ll see it’s in the shape of a beholder from the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game. This floating, orb-shaped monster has one large eye and a large mouth full of sharp teeth, as well as numerous eye stalks protruding from its head/body (they’re one and the same). We have no recollection of a beholder in the book, but D&D plays a big role in the story, specifically the 1978 module/adventure Tomb of Horrors authored by the game’s creator Gary Gygax.

Masters of the Universe Lunch Box
On a shelf toward the bottom of the righthand wall, you’ll find a lunchbox featuring the characters from the hit 1980s cartoon and Mattel toy line Masters of the Universe, in which He-Man and his friends battle the evil Skeletor in a world called Eternia. It’s one of those great old metal lunch boxes with the plastic Thermos many of us older folks remember from childhood.

Garbage Pail Kids
Also on the right wall, the photo features three Garbage Pail Kids stickers. Originally released in 1985 as a sort of backlash to the Cabbage Patch Kids craze—where parents were nearly killing each other to get them at their local mall—these stickers showed hideous, mutated version of the dolls with named like Adam Bomb and Oliver Twisted. The sticker closest to the camera is Bony Tony, a Cabbage Patch doll who’s unzipping his face to reveal a skull underneath. We can’t identify the other two, though they’re definitely tapping some long lost light of recognition.

Garfield
Even today, everyone knows that crazy, wisecracking, lazy orange cat who loves lasagna: Garfield. We’ve spotted at least three Garfield stickers depicting the cat on a blue background. Garfield was first published as a comic strip by Jim Davis in 1978, but his popularity grew the character into various lines of plush dolls and plastic toys, a series of books and his own cartoon, Garfield and Friends, from 1988–1994. He also had 12 cartoon specials from 1982-1991.

The Ready Player One novel is all about Wade Watts and his friends using their knowledge of 1980s pop culture—movies, cartoons, video games, music and more—to solve the ultimate Easter egg hunt, and we’re guessing this film’s release will launch the world into a nostalgic love for all things 80s. Start honing your skills now and see what other 80s references you can find in this insanely fun photo.

Spielberg’s Ready Player One is due in theaters on March 30, 2018.

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