As with many Llamasoft games, Gridrunner Revolution is notable for containing large numbers of references and in-jokes.
The recurring themes for references in Gridrunner Revolution are:
- Retrogames / retrocomputing;
- The Church of Scientology;
- Misuse of the apostrophe, and the "Apostrophe Police".
- Ship Type 1 is the ship from Super Gridrunner, a previous Llamasoft game for the Commodore Amiga.
- Ship Type 2 is the "Gilby" (player-controlled ship) from Iridis Alpha, a previous Llamasoft game for the Commodore 64.
- Ship Type 3 was inspired by the "busy bee" cursor used on the Atari ST as the equivalent of the Windows hourglass.
- Ship Type 4 was inspired by the "Claw" (player-controlled ship) from Tempest (and Tempest 2000, a previous Llamasoft game).
- Ship Type 5 shares its origin with the Syreen Penetrator from Star Control 2.
- Ship Type 6 was inspired by the Starship Enterprise.
- Ship Type 7 was inspired by the Liberator from Blake's 7.
- Ship Type 8 was inspired by Battlestar Galactica.
- Ship Type 9 was inspired by the player controlled ship from the arcade game Asteroids.
- Ship Type 10 is a greatly enlarged version of the ship from the Vic 20 mode (and in turn, the VIC-20 version of Gridrunner).
- Super New Ship Type 1 is an apostrophe.
- Super New Ship Type 2 was inspired by the "flea" ship from Yar's Revenge, a shooter game for the Atari 2600.
- Super New Ship Type 3 is a giraffe, a reference to the previous Llamasoft game Space Giraffe, and a nod to the Nintendo DS puzzler "Zoo Keeper"
- Super New Ship Type 4 was inspired by the fully upgraded ship from the arcade game Moon Cresta.
- K1, "Introducing Sheepintology", is a pun on Scientology.
- All names for Level 6 refer to the Llamasoft dog, Vindy, also known as "the nose".
- V15, "Ox Box", refers to the Microsoft XBox.
- K36, "East Grinstead", is an important centre of Scientology.
- K37, "Elron Cupboard", is a pun on L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
- All names for Level 46 refer to Jeff Minter's love of tea, and to a message posted on Twitter during the game's development: oxThe lines of code flow out upon a river of tea; this marvellous substance lubricates and stimulates the synapses."
- K48 and M48 both refer to misuse of the apostrophe.
- V48, "Buffalo Buffalo", refers to the observation that the statement "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a grammatic and meaningful sentence (meaning "American bison from the state of Buffalo, who are bullied by other american bison from the state of Buffalo, in turn bully other american bison from the state of Buffalo".)
- P48, "Ghoti", refers to the satirical claim that "Ghoti" could be a valid English spelling of "fish" (gh as in tough, o is in women, ti as in operation).