Just give me a mega evolution already!
Yes, this is true. In the Pewter City Museum you can see a model of a space shuttle, and an old man near the meteorites says "July 20, 1969! Mankind first set on the moon that day. I bought a color TV just so I could watch that news."
There is also indeed a Mario reference, where in Saffron City in the copycat's house, interact with the console. It will read "A Mario game with a bucket on his head!"
One more thing: In Rock Tunnel, a hiker goes "Hit me with your best shot!" referencing a famous rock song performed by Pat Benatar.