Early in the show's first episode, Elliot takes the subway after ruining the life of the owner of Ron's Coffeeshop. Elliot is paranoid, thinking he's being watched. And he's right! One of the passengers on the train is Sam Esmail, the creator of the show, who made a cameo Alfred Hitchcock style. But he wasn't done with that. Esmail made an appearance later in the season, when Elliot was looking in the mirror and saw several different characters in his trademark hoodie. One of those was Esmail.
Mr. Robot spends a lot of time looking at computer screens, and that includes pages and pages of web-based email programs. To fill out the names of senders, Mr. Robot looked towards its crew for inspiration and put in their names as senders of email. Congrats, crew! You're e-famous!
When Elliot went on his long, strange trip in the first season's fourth episode, he passed his childhood home. The address of that home was 404, the number also associated with the "HTTP 404 Page Not Found" error caused when a web site has been removed. That makes a lot of sense, since Elliot's memories frequently can't be found. Remember when he tried to kiss his sister? That's a big-time 404.
Mr. Robot is known for its real depiction of computer hacking, and in this scene, it gave a shoutout to a real hacking group. The arcade cabinet on the far right is called Lizard Squad, which sounds like a cool name for an arcade platformer, but is actually the name of a popular hacking group. However, these black hat hackers aren't trying to better the world by toppling the rich and powerful like fsociety, they spend most of their time blasting gaming services such as Xbox Live and PlayStation Network with DDoS attacks. For the lulz, of course.
In the first episode of Season 2, Elliot thumbed through his journal and this QR code -- one of those images that you can scan with your smart phone to open up a web site or other piece of information -- caught the eye of viewers. It actually works, and those who did scan it were taken to the web site conficturaindustries.com, a '90s-style portal for a fake company. The same company that made Elliot's journal. Many of the web sites and source codes seen on Mr. Robot feature small Easter Eggs for those with the computing prowess. Grab your granny's laptop and give it a shot!
Chess metaphors may be very common in film and television, but Mr. Robot took chess to another level in Season 2. The games between Elliot and Mr. Robot ended in stalemates -- a situation where neither player can win -- as a nod to the never-ending struggle for control over Elliot. But the moves Elliot and Mr. Robot made were ripped off of theoretical games created by 1800s puzzle enthusiast and chess pro Sam Loyd, in which the chessmaster devised the quickest games to a stalemate. What's more, Elliot's chess match with Ray was a reproduction of "The Immortal Game," an epic match between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky in 1851. The game was notable because the winner, Anderssen (sounds like Alderson!), sacrificed many of us high-ranking pieces to pull off the surprising victory. Just like Elliot has?
This one may have a helping of internet folklore along with it, because it's not known if it's actually true or not. In the fifth episode of Season 2, an odd distorted noise was supposedly fed through a spectrum analyzer that translates the audio into a picture. That picture? The infamous "Hang in there" poster with the cat clinging to a tree branch. Many believe it was a message from show creator Sam Esmail to fans, ensuring them that the best was yet to come.
It didn't take fans of Mr. Robot long to dissect the Season 2 trailer that was released before the season's premiere and discover a working phone number on the side of an evidence box. Those who called the phone number were led through an ARG which ended in them getting a free Mr. Robot sweatshirt.
To ensure the bizarre '90s-style sitcom that Elliot thought he was living in was authentic, Sam Esmail went the extra mile to compose the fake theme song for Elliot's sitcom delusion. Bennet Salvay and Jesse Frederick, who wrote the theme songs to Full House and Family Matters, penned the Mr. Robot "Imagine a World Gone Insane" ditty. That's why it sounded so perfectly dated. How's that for attention to detail?