- Brütal Legend, oh so hard. Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy Kilmister, Lita Ford, and Rob Halford show up in the game, are IDENTICAL to their real-life appearance, and they're not recognized as such by metal uberfan Eddie Riggs.
- In Burnout Paradise, all car companies are parodied brands of real car manufacturers, such as Carson for Chevolet, and Hunter for Ford. However, the song "Snowhill" by the band Agent Blue is featured in the game's soundtrack, and is under the album name "A Stolen Honda Vision". It's hard to see how this would work, as Honda is replaced by Kitano in the game.
- A bonus cutscene in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, from The Verse's bizarre television, shows the actress Lee Meriwether (rather creepily) interviewing the screenwriter David Hayter — Meriwether and Hayter being the voice actors for Big Mama and Solid Snake respectively. In case we didn't get it, Hayter is dressed in a snakeskin jacket and digital eyepatch, and Meriwether talks to him in the somewhat stilted, poetic, dramatic tones of a Metal Gear character giving an important speech, only addressing him by his full name. Did we mention the Metal Gear Solid series has No Fourth Wall?
- More subtly, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater mentions many movies which served as an inspiration for the game, and the first Metal Gear Solid ends (if you submit to the torture) with Snake openly discussing his Theme Naming with his new friend, Otacon (they're called Dave and Hal).
- Hideo Kojima exists within the Metal Gear universe, as a 'legendary game developer', and Otacon is shown to be a fan of his other games Policenauts, Zone of the Enders, and Boktai. But Otacon, despite knowing Meryl and implicitly being friends with her, doesn't recognise Meryl Silverburgh as being an Expy of a character in Policenauts. He also doesn't notice anything strange about the Solar Gun, or the HIDE-CHAN noodles. The weirdness of this is massively dwarfed by the fact that Emma has a Metal Gear: Ghost Babel poster in her lab in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, with Snake on it. Ghost Babel also had Raiden in it, as well as the Show Within a Show IdeaSpy 2.5, which Snake and Otacon are fans of in Metal Gear Solid 4 and which was turned into a Radio Drama voice acted by Hideo Kojima and Yumi Kikuchi in the real world. If Snake recognises the resemblance between Yumi Kikuchi and Raging Beauty, he doesn't comment on it.
- It's possible Emma's poster isn't an example; after Metal Gear Solid, an account of the Shadow Moses incident is made public and denied by the government. The denial is rather flimsy, because Metal Gear REX's blueprints are sold all over the world, so everyone knows the "walking tank" part of the story is true, at least. As a result, Solid Snake becomes a figure in popular culture with many different ideas of what he's really like, or if maybe the government is telling the truth and "Solid Snake" is just a myth playing up on the exploits of real, but normal, military special forces. Ghost Babel could exist in-universe as a movie or videogame depicting one particular idea of what a Solid Snake adventure would be like if he is, indeed, real.
- During Metal Gear Solid 4, it's never pointed out why Raiden is so protective of Sunny. Maybe it's because he thinks his own child would have been the same. Or maybe its because she sounds like his wife.note
- The Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker features Akio Ohtsuka, Tomokazu Sugita and Yumi Kikuchi (the Japanese voice actors for Snake, Miller and Strangelove respectively) as potential MSF soldiers.note
- Hideo Kojima shows up as himself in a couple of games, though (at least in his later appearences) this may not be an example, as the implication (and credit, in one case) is that he is God. Earlier, though, when he's showing up as the voice of a monster or a generic hostage...
- Super Robot Wars loves to play with its casting like this, with characters mentioning other characters' similar voices, and even making Shout Outs.
- Captain Lou Albano played Mario in both the live-action and animated segments of The Super Mario Bros Super Show!. In a particularly memorable live-action segment, Luigi mentions that Mario idolizes Captain Lou, who goes missing. Albano appears at the end of the episode, shortly after Mario leaves...
- In the Grand Theft Auto universe, California (and possibly part of Nevada) and New York City don't exist, having been replaced by San Andreas and Liberty City respectively, but some of the songs on the radio still reference California and New York City. For example, Grand Theft Auto IV takes place in Liberty City, but the song list still includes "New York Groove" by Hello, and Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights" is featured in Grand Theft Auto V, while the in-universe equivalent of Hollywood is known as Vinewood.
- A radio DJ in Vice City Stories explicitly mentions New York at one point.
- Lampshaded in a Something Awful Forum Let's Play of San Andreas, when the narrator and his friend at one point note Snoop Dogg's rapping about Compton is "obviously" a disguised version of the game's Ganton. And there's a Jack Thompson Expy who thinks that rap music encourages people to violence.
- In San Andreas, the DJ for the Classic Rock station (K-DST) is voiced by Axl Rose, who often takes shots at the heavy metal/grunge station Radio X. Radio X plays the Guns N' Roses song "Welcome to the Jungle."
- Grand Theft Auto III contains a billboard which reads "See you in Miami!"
- In V the song "Convoy" plays on the radio and references Kenworth, Peterbilt and GMC trucks, despite these brands and vehicles being parodied in the game.
- In Vice City, the song "Kids in America" contains the lyrics "New York to East California."
- An NPC in EarthBound says that he is eagerly awaiting the release of EarthBound 2. In another level, a closed building is said to be housing a conference for the developers of EarthBound 2 as well. A bit Hilarious in Hindsight, given what happened to the actual EarthBound 2...
- A couple of characters even mention playing the game Earthbound. After the boss fight against the police chief, he asks you to see him later. All he does is say that he's having trouble getting through Earthbound.
- Rainbow Six: Vegas had a few Splinter Cell arcade machines in it. However, Third Echelon is mentioned as having gathered intelligence for one mission, so Splinter Cell is probably canon within the R6 universe.
- Maybe Third Echelon or someone else had the games commissioned in that universe so that any reports of the real Third Echelon would be dismissed as made by game obsessed nuts?
- In Saints Row 2, it is mentioned that the character Benjamin King from the first game has written an autobiography, which will be made into a movie where King will be played by Michael Clarke Duncan, his real-life voice actor. In Saints Row IV, King is voiced by Terry Crews due to Duncan having passed away, and characters note that the actor who played him in the movie doesn't sound like him.
- Saints Row IV also has Keith David, who previously voiced Julius in the first two games, appear as himself, and a Running Gag is that he constantly gets compared to Julius which extremely annoys him. You can also unlock an AI recreation of Julius as a companion and have him in your party alongside Keith, prompting this conversation between the two:Julius: Keith David, huh? You know, people tell me that I remind them of you.
Keith: People tell me the same thing about you.
Julius: ...I don't see it.
Keith: Me neither!
- Saints Row IV also has Keith David, who previously voiced Julius in the first two games, appear as himself, and a Running Gag is that he constantly gets compared to Julius which extremely annoys him. You can also unlock an AI recreation of Julius as a companion and have him in your party alongside Keith, prompting this conversation between the two:
- Averted in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, where if you use DFM to do a certain stunt, another character will chastise you by directly saying that "this isn't Ace Combat". Makes a little bit of sense, in that it's one of the few games in the series to take place in the "real world".
- A curious and perhaps unintentional one exists in the continuities of the first Tomb Raider games in relation to both film adaptations. According to Core's biography, Deliverance was Lara's favorite movie. In case you don't know, it stars John Voight. Now John Voight plays Lara's father in the first Tomb Raider movie, and his real-life daughter, of course, plays Lara. This means that John Voight and Angelina Jolie also have to exist within the universe of Core's games, and perhaps even the TR movies themselves. So the movie probably exists within its own continuity. In Lara's promotional interviews for Angel of Darkness, she compliments Angelina Jolie on looking so much like her.
- Played with in Deadpool, where Deadpool can call his voice actor Nolan North in his apartment.
- In Day of the Tentacle, Weird Ed has a copy of the original game on his computer.
- An early scene in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has Nate and Elena playing the original Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation. Which means Naughty Dog, the company behind both the original Crash Bandicoot games and the Uncharted series, must exist in the Uncharted universe.
- In Overwatch (made by Blizzard), playable character D.Va was selected to be a mech suit pilot because she was one of the best StarCraft II (also made by Blizzard) players in South Korea. Hearthstone is also shown being played by other characters.
- Complicated even further by the winding up of the real-world StarCraft II leagues in Korea in 2016, in part because of the popularity of Overwatch!
- And taken Up to Eleven with D.Va's appearance in Heroes of the Storm, crossover between all of Blizzard's franchises - including StarCraft. D.Va even starts fangirling once she gets to meet Kerrigan.
- Taken even further with the introduction of the "Blizzard World" map, which features elements from Heroes of the Storm... a game that includes playable Overwatch characters.
- The developers of Pokémon, Game Freak, exist in their own games - there is always a Game Freak office somewhere in the game. In one game your character can even examine a computer and remark "It's the story. Better not look at the ending." So basically, your character is meeting the creators of their own universe.
- La-Mulana features all the developer's previous games as ROMs that can be used on the Mobile Super X laptop. Including La-Mulana itself.
- Lone Survivor features several games referencing game developer Superflat's other previous titles, including one labeled "L.S." that is clearly the game itself.
- Nippon Safes, Inc. has one of the playable characters find a floppy with a copy of Nippon Safes Inc. on it, lamenting that Digital Piracy Is Evil. In the sequel, The Big Red Adventure, the event of the previous game apparently both happened and were a video game of the same name. Also, both games have the designer and graphic artist appear as Those Two Guys NPCs.
- The stadium stage in Project Justice features posters for Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000, both of which feature Sakura, a character who appeared in Project Justice's predecessor, as a playable character. Millennium Fight 2000 would eventually spawn its own sequel in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium, which featured Kyosuke from Project Justice as a playable character, and his friends Hinata and Batsu as Assist Characters in one of his Super Combos.
- Final Fantasy XV:
- The boys all play a lot of King's Knight (a Square Enix) RPG. Prompto even comments a few times on how much of what's going on is like King's Knight. They also listen to soundtracks of other Final Fantasy games in the car (including the soundtracks to other XV spinoff media), and Prompto is familiar with the perennial Chocobo Leitmotif enough that it's associated with him in one specific scene.
- Vivienne Westwood is the designer of Luna's wedding dress. Since her design work was a heavy influence on Tetsuya Nomura's character design, this is appropriate, if geographically troubling in a world without Britain in it.
- Assassin's Creed apparently exists as an intellectual property in the Final Fantasy XV universe and the boys are all fans. It's difficult to see how this would work, seeing as the games heavily revolve around real-life historical figures, like Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, and so on.
- Kleptocats has characters from Epic Beard's other games as inventory items in the first room. The game even states things along the lines of "From one of our other games".
- A Sega Mark-III console with a copy of its Hokuto no Ken game can be found in Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, leading to the truly surreal sight of Kenshiro playing a game based on his own adventures.
- The fan-made game adaptation of The Room reveals that Johnny's bank's new client is "the acclaimed film writer, director, producer and star, Tommy Wiseau". He also made the movie that Johnny and Denny see.
Celebrity Paradox / Video Games