In the graveyard in San Andreas, there is a crypt the player can enter. Inside, there's a chair, a television set and some old pizza boxes. This is possibly a reference to series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).
Thousands of gamers are looking for a "Big Foot", and attempting to take pictures of it from the in-game camera. No one has yet confirmed its existence, but many photos that gamers have taken resemble a rather big creature in the woods. Trees uprooted, and weird noises can be heard in the section of the map called "Back O' Beyond". Also many alien and ghost sightings have been reported. Many gamers have since looked through the entire code and have found no reference to Big Foot or aliens.
The mission "Saint Mark's Bistro" has CJ travel to Liberty City to deal with the Forellis at the restaurant of the same name. The restaurant exterior is faithfully remodeled from Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001).
This game features numerous characters from the previous two games Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001) and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), including (but not limited to): Claude, Don Salvatore Leone, Maria La Torra Leone, Ken Rosenberg, Kent Paul, Catalina, Jethro, Dwaine, and more.
The ratings in this game were changed in mid-late 2005 because a cheat was discovered (either using a download or a game-hacking device) code-named "hot coffee". This is in reference to CJ's first girlfriend inviting him inside for "some coffee". Inside, using the hack, a user could get full view of a sex scene inside the game.
The original Grand Theft Auto (1997) included three cities: Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas. Since the first two cities were remade for the PS2 (Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)), it made sense that the third city, San Andreas, would be the third game in the PS2 series. This, of course, held a huge role in the ongoing debate on whether the game would be titled "San Andreas" or "Sin City".
Various billboards around Los Santos are advertising "True Grime: Street Cleanup". This is a mockery of the makers of True Crime: Streets of LA (2003) who made fun of Rockstar games with signs advertising a company known as 'jockstrap'.
While DJ Pooh was meeting with the game's creators to discuss the music, he received a call from Young Maylay, an artist he was working with. Pooh put the call on speakerphone and the creators felt that Maylay had the right voice for the character. They hired Maylay even though he had no previous acting experience.
In the repartee between Reflection's Driver series and Rockstar Game's Grand Theft Auto series, GTA once again pokes fun of Tanner. In the mission where you must steal Madd Dogg's rhyme book, one of the guards plays a video game and swears at the game company "Refractions," stating "Tanner, you suck."
Originally, the Grove Street Families were going to be called Grove Street Alliance (GSA) or the Orange Grove Families (OGF), and the originally gang color was going to be orange instead of green. Proof in the game pertaining too both of these assumptions are easily findable because Rockstar did not delete the references to the GSA or OGF all. For example, you can get tattoos saying Orange Grove. Furthermore, graffiti in the game will read Orange Grove Families, rather than Grove Street Families.
In the Horse Racing mini-game, there is a horse with the name 'Henriks Jaw' in reference presumably to the former Celtic FC striker Henrik Larsson, whose jaw breakage saw him sidelined from football for a period in 2003, during the time San Andreas was in development. Considering Rockstar North is based in Scotland, it would seem likely that some of their employees working on the game could be Celtic fans.
Wil Wheaton got his role as Richard Burns after being interviewed by Lazlow Jones, the writer of the radio station dialogue for the Grand Theft Auto video game series. Wheaton admitted his abundant admiration for Jones' work on the games, and Jones eventually worked out the Richard Burns character specifically for Wheaton. He recorded the voice work in a Rockstar Games studio in about two hours.
Ken Rosenberg, the coke-addled lawyer introduced in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) and returns in this game, is based on David Kleinfeld, Sean Penn's character in Carlito's Way (1993). Penn's brother Chris Penn appears in this game as a C.R.A.S.H. officer, Eddie Pulaski. Sean Penn played a C.R.A.S.H. officer in Colors (1988).
The "Cluckin' Bell" franchise in game, may be a reference to the popular British Historical comedy 'Black Adder Goes Fourth'. During the episode "Goodbyeee", the titular character 'Black Adder' (Rowan Atkinson) attempts to call in a favour to avoid 'The Big Push'. After his idea falls through, he claims "I think the phrase rhymes with 'Clucking Bell'".
The protagonist of Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001) formerly known as "Fido" (among various other aliases) is actually named Claude. This is discovered during one of the phone calls from Catalina, who becomes Claude's girlfriend when they leave San Andreas. It is assumed that Claude is Claude Speed, the main character from Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999).
The music you hear when doing the "Car Bounce Challenge" with Caesar is actually from an episode of the television show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979). The episode, 'Space Rockers', first aired on February 21, 1980 and featured a futuristic band called Andromeda playing this song with outlandish instruments. The song is actually called "Odyssey" and was written by Johnny Harris. It appears on the San Andreas soundtrack.
Many of the vehicles in this game were also featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), and a few in Grand Theft Auto 3 (2001). Because this game takes place in 1992 (between the events of Vice City, which took place in 1986, and GTA III, which took place in 2001), many of these cars are rendered to look as if they were combined-models. For example, the Landstalker (an SUV) is modeled to have the body of the Landstalkers from 1986, but it has the headlights/front grill of a Landstalker from 2001. The Banshee (a sports car) is modeled to look exactly like its 2001 counterpart. The Comet (another sports car) looks exactly like it did in the beta versions of Vice City. That version of the Comet had been redesigned, yet its original version was brought back into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004).
Many of the songs found on the station called "Master Sounds 98.3" are featured as samples in songs on the many hip hop and rap stations featured in the game. Most notably would be Bobby Byrd funk track "I Know You Got Soul" and Eric B.'s rap song of the same name.
The in-game state is named after the fault line that runs through most of the Southwestern/Western states including California and Nevada. The fault line makes an appearance in the game and can be seen running underwater near San Fierro's bay area.
The rail bridge from San Fierro is modeled on the Forth Rail Bridge, which runs North from Edinburgh, Scotland, where Rockstar games are based. The road bridge next to it, presumably modeled on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, also bears more than a passing resemblance to the Forth Road Bridge, which lies right next to the Forth Rail Bridge.
In the game, there is a military base called KACC Military Fuels. This is a reference to the computer club where soon-to-be members of DMA Design used to go to. It was called KACC, which stood for 'Kingsway Amateur Computer Club.' At that time, Rockstar North were called DMA Design.
The three cities of Los Santos, San Fierro & Las Venturas and the state, San Andreas, were all takeoffs from the three real-life West Coast major cities in California and Nevada: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Big Smoke's license plate is "A2TMFK". This abbreviation is seen as a reference to several things, including the Cypress Hill songs which contains words "A to the motherfucking K". It could also mean "A two-ton motherfucker", referencing Big Smoke's weight, or "a two-timing motherfucker", referencing Big Smoke's betrayal to CJ and the Grove Street Families.