Shout Out / Life is Strange

Because the developers at DONTNOD Entertainment are insistent that we know the residents of Arcadia Bay are hip and with it, here are all the references in Life is Strange.
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  • Like every story about a mysterious small town in America published after 1991, this game has several nods to Twin Peaks, the most blatant one being Rachel Amber, who is an Expy of Laura Palmer.
  • The plot share many similarities to Donnie Darko, particularly the time travel aspect and the general atmosphere. Episode 1 also ends with a montage of all the major characters overlaid with music, similarly to Donnie Darko.
  • Max shares a surname with another angsty teen protagonist.
    • She also has poster in her room of "The Winger and the Cow", which looks almost exactly like the book cover of The Catcher in the Rye.
    • As of episode 3, there is a hat in the school's office Max describes as being something a "phony" would wear. Said hat looks very much like the one Holden Caulfield famously wore.
  • "I aim to misbehave" is a recurring graffiti slogan. As are "Trust No One" and "Everybody Lies". Another piece of graffiti reads "I'd rather lead a life full of oh wells than what ifs." What If? was one of the original proposed titles for the game during development.
  • The general setting (small west coast town) with a loner teenage girl involved in a mystery plot while being bullied by a close-knit group of rich spoiled kids does compare to Veronica Mars.
  • One of the posters in Chloe's room is very clearly a blotchy version of the poster for "The Thing"
  • The reveal in episode 4 of the torture porn room locked under an innocuous property owned by a crooked rich family complete with the trophies of women calls to mind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The idea of showing key photographs of a timeline change whenever Max makes alterations may be lifted from a similar effect in The Butterfly Effect.
  • Kate Marsh's middle name is Beverly; Beverly Marsh is the name of the female lead in IT.
  • Max complains now and then about her rewind ability, claiming "I never asked for this!"
  • There are several Friday Night Lights references in the game as well.
    • Zachary's last name, Riggins, is a reference to the characters Tim and Billy Riggins, two brothers that try to make something worthwhile in their small town while the former is playing football. The actor who played Billy in the show voices Zachary in the game, although he is uncredited in that role. He also voiced Mark Jefferson.
    • Apparently, the Blackwell Bigfoot football team are playing the Dillon Panthers on November 6th, 2013. In FNL, the Dillon Panthers football team is the main team featured on the show.

     Episode 1 
  • At the beginning of the episode, Mr. Jefferson utters "Bueller" when no one volunteers to answer one of his questions.
  • Ms. Grant asks Max to sign a petition to keep David Madsen from installing security cameras, lest he bring the school back to Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • In the girls dorm, Stella Hill in room 217 has written "Redrum" on her noteboard. Max quips that she's never going in there.
  • When examining Victoria's television, Max comments that she would like to use it to watch Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the Final Fantasy series being a Square Enix production.
  • When she picks up the flash drive, Max's inner monologue takes on a Gollum-esque third-person tone and she calls it "precious".
  • The cars in the parking lot and the one at Chloe's house all have license plates referencing TV shows. Going clockwise from the left: the brown car reads PRKSNRC, the red car reads THWR, the orange truck reads CRNVL, the white truck reads BFFVMPRSLR, Warren's car reads THXFLS, the red truck reads TWLGHTZN, the silver car reads THSPRNS, the RV reads BRKBD, the white car reads BRDCHRCH, Chloe's truck reads TWNPKS, the faded red car reads QNTMLP, the blue truck in the center reads THPRCTC, the red truck in the center reads SXFTNDR, and the car in Chloe's garage reads TRDTCTV.
  • When going around the dirty RV in the parking lot (which she later learns is Frank Bowers'), Max can find a sleeping dog. She then quips that the dog looks peaceful now, but if woken up: "Cujo." This becomes extra funny when she keeps nicknaming the dog Cujo in the following episodes, until she learns in Episode 3 that its actual name is Pompidou.
  • When Max sits on the swings in Chloe's backyard, she remembers a conversation she and Chloe had in the past discussing what they wanted to do in the future. Chloe says that she'd like to be like Lara Croft.
  • Chloe says "I'm Price... Chloe Price."
  • A poster in Chloe's room, on the wall by her bed, looks very similar to one for the film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
  • Max can find a graffiti on the hidden side of the shack near the lighthouse, a bunch of strange symbols forming a pyramid, and comments "It makes me think about the wind" when looking at it. The symbols represent the characters in Alain Damasio's La Horde du Contrevent, a critically-acclaimed French novel with very strong themes about the wind.
  • The opening has the main character waking up in a dream sequence, seeing a massive tornado, and fleeing to a lighthouse for safety, not unlike another game.

     Episode 2 

     Episode 3 

     Episode 4 
  • In the alternate timeline, Chloe has a conversation in an online chatroom with someone who's about to start watching Quantum Leap.
  • Alternate Chloe's worsening condition might have to do with the fact that her physician is Dr. Anton Phibes.
  • The alternate Price family is apparently indebted to Donald Clamp lenders.
  • Chloe and Max also watch Blade Runner together.
  • A letter in Chloe's drawer from Principal Wells suggests that Chloe consider attending H. West Miskatonic University in Boston.
  • After returning from the alternate timeline, Max writes down "let's never do the time warp again"
  • Max's shirt depicts a death's-head hawkmoth, most famously seen in The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Max references the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "City On the Edge of Forever" in her journal talking about the parallels to her situation of Chloe being tied to the storm, with Captain Kirk having to let a woman die to keep Axis from winning World War II.
  • When Max finds David's file locker in the garage, she remarks "Hey David, whatcha hidin'?" which, unless you don't pay attention to voice actors or genuinely don't know who she is, is an obvious reference to Chloe's voice actor Ashly Burch a.k.a Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?
  • The Blackwell students who signed Kate's card include River S. and Rory W.
    • Max names an owl she finds Dr. Hoo.
  • Frank calls Max and Chloe the Wonder Twins and the Hardy Boys.
  • For yet another reference to Twin Peaks, the doctor the Prescotts hired to help Nathan was named "Dr. Jacoby".
    • The "Dark Room" where Rachel was taken, as well as the red curtains Max crosses when entering the Vortex Club party, are references to the Black Lodge.
    • The implication that the villain is shifting their attention to Victoria, who wins the Everyday Heroes photo contest, is similar to how Windom Earle kidnapped the winner of the Miss Twin Peaks pageant.
  • Easy to miss, but if you look at the paperwork for the construction of the bunker, it says it was done by Howard Roark Construction.
  • On entering the barn, Chloe notes that it felt way too Blair Witch.
  • Max proudly calls herself Max Gyver having managed to pry open the trapdoor to the dungeon under the barn.
  • If you talk to Justin at the vortex club party he'll refer to Max as Maximum Overdrive.
  • After finding the right evidence to try and crack the pin on Nathan's phone, she states that all she has to do is "blow this code up and go home."
  • One of the names on Frank Bowers' client list is Stifler from the American Pie films.
  • If you mention the possibility of time travel causing the weather and other odd happenings around Arcadia Bay while talking to Ms. Grant, she name-drops "A Sound of Thunder".
  • While talking to Warren at the End of the World Party, he'll mention that his fight with Nathan was enough to fill his daily quota for "ultraviolence".
  • After giving Max a boost onto a platform in the barn, Chloe quips "Up, up and away, Supermax."
  • Events at the Vortex Club party make Max muse about "going Carrie" on them.
  • If Max has escalated the conflict with Victoria all the way and pulled no punches, they will start slinging insults at each other as fast as they can. At the end of this, Victoria closes with "Adios" and Max with "Au Revoir."
  • During the visit to Kate's hospital room (if you saved her), you can look at one of her drawings. It depicts, among other random characters, a baby pirate fox.

     Episode 5 
  • Episode 5 was released the day before "Back to the Future Day" (October 21, 2015), the date Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future Part II.
  • There are several references to Remember Me throughout Episode 5:
    • Max's "focus within a focus" on the selfie she took in class is a direct reference to the "remixing the remix" segment of Remember Me.
    • The inclusion of 6 or 7 moments in the "focus" style echoes the wish by some players of "Remember Me" that there had been more of remix moments in the game (or that the game had been composed of mostly memory remixes).
    • The edges of walkways in the labyrinthine segments of Max's nightmare echo the edges of walkways in the Ego Rooms.
  • The Serial Killer being a Mad Artist who's into photographing pictures of their victims while allowing them to suffer a slow death is eerily similar to the hitman from Road to Perdition.
  • A series of sculptures in the San Francisco art gallery seem to depict John Cleese's signature Ministry of Silly Walks walk.
  • One of the art exibits at the Zeitgeist Gallery is a picture of a person's cybernetic arm similar to Adam Jensen's.
  • Max sees a pamphlet for a lecture about dystopias, with examples like Metropolis, Planet of the Apes, Blade Runner, and The Hunger Games.
  • Many of the "Everyday Hero Contest" winners share surnames with famous scifi writers, such as: Atwood, Ballard, Chabon, Cline, Eggers, Levin, McCarthy, Pynchon, and Vonnegut
  • The guestbook at the Zeitgeist Gallery has an entry written by someone named Lisa Simpsons.
  • As usual, there are multiple Twin Peaks References:
    • Mark Jefferson states that his orchestration of the Dark Room crimes stems from an obsession to capture the loss of innocence and youth. BOB and the other spirits of the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks feed on 'garmonbozia', a physical representation of pain and suffering, which they must torment people to create.
    • If Max tells David about Chloe's murder, he shoots and kills Jefferson. Twin Peaks had a similar situation with Leland Palmer smothering Jacques Renault, whom he thought responsible of his daughter's murder.
    • In the nightmare sequence before the final decision, there are two very Black Lodge-esque moments: The presence of Doppelgangers of Max's friends and acquaintances which torture her psychologically, and a throwback to the academy hallway at the start of Episode 1 where all the dialogue and hovertext is backwards.
  • When talking at the Two Whales diner, Warren tells Max "I'm not a real scientist, even though I play one at school", referencing a phrase that originated from an 80s cough syrup commercial featuring an actor from General Hospital.
  • When Max once again awakes in Mr Jefferson's class, he is quoting Alfred Hitchcock. If you move the camera to the right towards the window we see birds crashing into the windows.
  • One of the lines scribbled in Max's journal during the nightmare sequence reads "the doe is a lie", a reference to Portal.
  • Max's Hell is either a reference to Silent Hill, or the last two episodes/human instrumentality scenes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or perhaps just the works of Hideo Kojima, as they include elements of his surreal Mind Screw moments with a Stealth-Based Mission that resembles Metal Gear Solid.
  • A sequence in the finale involves walking down the same seemingly identical hallway time after time, making small interactions along the way.
  • The potential endings are all major homages.
    • The Chloe Ending contains a reference to Fight Club with the two holding hands as they witness wanton destruction the protagonist was (inadvertently) the catalyst of as music plays. Even the name of the game could be a reference to the final line of the movie ("You met me in a strange time in my life")
    • The Arcadia Bay ending is a reference to Donnie Darko, with Chloe sacrificing herself via time travel to save the city.
  • Halfway through the Episode, Max wakes up in a timeline where she's back in the Dark Room, and cannot escape using her powers because Jefferson burned her diary and photos. This could be a reference to the climax of The Butterfly Effect, where the protagonist wakes up in a timeline where he's in a mental institution, and cannot escape because in this timeline his diaries (his medium for time travel) don't exist.
    • In a general sense with regards to the final episode, Max discovers that by preventing Chloe's death, she has created an alternate timeline and caused the tornado that is going to destroy the town. This is very similar to the later part of Steins;Gate, in which the main character realises that by preventing one friend's death, he created an alternate world line in which it is impossible to stop his other friend from being killed - leaving him with the choice of either returning to the original world line and allowing his friend to die, or remaining in the current world line and accepting that he cannot save his other friend. The funny thing? In the English dub of the anime, the second friend is played by Ashly Burch, Chloe's voice actress.