GTA: San Andreas has many blink-and-you-will-miss-it pop culture references. Some require you to go out of your way to find them. A few references are in your face, but if you don’t know what to look for, you won’t see them. San Andreas’s charm is that it still has so much to offer, even after all these years.
Although San Andreas is set in 1992, there are dozens of anachronistic references lurking around, so don’t feel like you’re limited to the era. You should clear out some time in your schedule if you’re down to find all of these references yourself!
7/7 Zombotech Looks A Lot Like Umbrella
Resident Evil fans will enjoy this nod to the series. You’ve all probably driven past it while roaming in San Andreas, and never even noticed it. In fact, Jizzy-B has you drop off one of his girls at this building during the Jizzy mission.
In San Fierro’s Downtown District, Zombotech Corporation operates in an inconspicuous little building. Some scattered signs outright mention an underground zombie lab and their “sinister zombie virus research.” Whether you watched the films or played the games, an underground zombie lab sounds familiar — too bad there aren’t any zombie easter eggs or actual zombies to run from.
6/7 Is This The Well From The Ring?
If you love horror, you’ll enjoy this reference hidden in Montgomery, Red County. Near the hospital, there is a fence surrounding a well. The Biowell, in the game, serves as a dumping ground for radioactive waste and biological material. It’s also a dead-ringer for the well from the 2001 and 2002 Ring films.
Aside from those similarities, there’s nothing else remarkable nor sinister about the well. No ghosts pop up at midnight and try to harm you, and you won’t get chased across the map either. Blame modders for stirring up those rumors, because the truth is tamer than fiction.
5/7 Did You Notice Any Celebrity Pedestrians?
We walk past NPCs all the time and never give them much attention. It’s a shame because there’s a wealth of references right in front of our faces. Famous actors and musicians like Kurt Cobain, LL Cool J, and Tupac have NPCs modeled after their likenesses . You can find them roaming throughout Los Santos.
One of them is an homage to LL Cool J’s outfit in his I’m Bad music video. Another is a direct reference to Kurt Cobain’s outfit in his 1993 MTV Unplugged in NYC performance. The last is based on Tupac’s role as Bishop in Juice.
4/7 Reservoir Dregs (Dogs) Is In Theaters
Fortunately, this reference isn’t a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. The movie listings at Legal Cinema, found in Commerce, are static. You’ll see ‘Final Night’ and ‘The Last of the Mullets’ , the latter of which references The Last of The Mohicans. One of the references is ‘Reservoir Dregs’, which parodies the Quentin Tarantino classic Reservoir Dogs.
Besides sharing the same year, San Andreas and Reservoir Dogs also share an actor. Chris Penn plays Officer Eddie Pulaski in San Andreas and Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs. Aside from that, it’s another piece of 90s nostalgia that helps reinforce Rockstar’s attention to detail .
3/7 Area 69 Has Gordon Freeman’s Crowbar
The Black Project mission gives you access to Area 69’s underground military base, which looks very similar to Black Mesa. If you look carefully, there’s an even smaller reference — while searching for the jetpack, you might easily overlook a lone crowbar resting in a lab .
Although the game doesn’t outright say it’s Gordon Freeman’s crowbar, it’s a blatant enough homage. If you want to see it for yourself, you’ll need to have a save file from before finishing Black Project, or play through the game to that point again. Once you give Truth the jetpack, you can’t ever access Area 69’s interior levels.
2/7 Zero’s Shop Sells GTA Action Figures
Out in San Fierro, everyone’s favorite mission vendor sells RC vehicles, model kits, and action figures. Those figures happen to be GTA: Vice City and Manhunt characters. You can spot Lance Vance, Tommy Vercetti, James Earl Cash, and Pigsy figures hanging on racks near the front of the store.
It’s not explained how Zero got hold of these figures, nor if anyone buys them. Nevertheless, it gives players a reason to be slightly less annoyed by Zero and his antics. Quirky little references will often do that for players, but it still doesn’t t come close to making you forgive him for his tedious mission line.
1/7 How Did Pokemon End Up Here?
Now, this reference took players several years to find. Juguetes Regalos, a small store in East Beach Los Santos, has a sign with Ash Ketchum and Pikachu displayed. For some reason or another, you can still see this sign in all copies of the game.
It’s possible that location scouts and photographers took photos of buildings in East Los Angeles, and forgot to take them out. Corner stores are infamous for flagrant displays of copyright infringement. Even though the anime didn’t release in the US until 1998, it wouldn’t ‘t feel like the 90s without acknowledging Pokemon in some small way.
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