Homer headbutts a linesman just as Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. Then he rips off his shirt like Brandi Chastain did in the 1999 Women's World Cup Final.
Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" plays during the football brawl Lisa watches on DVD. Other music in the episode includes the Beach Boys' "Surfin' Safari" (as Marge uses the Web (in reference to the Safari web browser), Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Kicks" (as Homer officiates the game) and "Phoenix Rises" from the X-Men: The Last Stand soundtrack (when Bart revives Marge in the game).
"Earthland Realms" is a parody of MMORPGs. Most of the references are to the Everquest game franchise but a few are also made to the more popular World of Warcraft. The Simpsons Game also references Everquest with its "Neverquest" subgame, with some character models being used in both this episode and game. This game is also a parody of "The Lord of the Rings Online". Also when Bart says he will go to "Laggrimar", this is a reference to both Ironforge and Orgrimar from World of Warcraft as Ironforge was once the only Alliance capital with an Auction House and was nicknamed "Lagforge" due to all the number of players in the city at one time.
This episode aired six months after the South Park episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft" which had similar themes, including a reference to Hello Kitty online.
American Dad aired a similar episode, in which Steve Smith develops an unstoppable character, who is killed by his sister Haley, and who goes to great lengths to resurrect his character.
The Big Bang Theory aired a similar episode "The Barbarian Sublimation" a year after this one where the usually non-geeky Penny gets addicted to a similar MMORPG where she meets another major character's avatar.
Bart's character in the game looks like the knight from Monty Pythons' Holy Grail and when all of the characters dance around the shadow knight he is missing his arms and legs like the scene from the film. He behaves like a Ringwraith/Sauron from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
When creating her avatar Marge says "Whoa, look at those bazooms". This is a reference to Star Ocean Second Evolution, where in one of the Private Actions the main male protagonist - Claude C. Kenny - says the same thing.
Marge's appearence in the game looks very similar to her appearence in NeverQuest.
Ronaldo wears a Brazil kit (yellow, green and blue) and the all-white Real Madrid kit in this episode. However, by the time the episode aired, Ronaldo had left Real Madrid to join AC Milan, who wear red and black stripes.
When Ronaldo is watching Homer, Lisa and Bart playing football, he has his Brazil kit on. However, when he walks towards Homer, it changes to the Real Madrid kit.