The challenge "YA RLY" for racking up certain amounts of kills for zombies with an image of an owl next to it is a reference to an internet meme with an owl and his signature catchphrase being "O RLY".
The challenge "It's WAY over 9000" for getting amounts of kills with fury is a reference to the wildly popular meme "It's over 9000!" from the anime Dragon Ball Z.
Throughout the game, a large majority of the vehicles in the game have "D34D-I574ND" on the license plates. This is obviously a reference to the title of the game, Dead Island.
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