It’s that time of the year, the time where bunnies run free and chocolate is the local currency to your heart … whilst draining your wallet.
In video games, however, easter eggs mean something entirely different. It’s those hidden gems, the secrets we spend hours on to try and dig up. Some of them are more memorable than others and in this Top 10 list, we’ll look back at the ten best easter eggs in gaming.
10. Game Saves (in Metal Gear Solid)
The original Metal Gear Solid on Playstation had a nifty character by the name Psycho Mantis who says he can read your mind. Surprisingly he can, especially because he can read your memory card game saves, referencing some of the games you’ve played in the past. Better still, he says a few extra lines if you’ve also played Castlevania. But not the N64 ones … no one talks about those.
Was the gas mask to hide something? Or was it a trendy accessory? Kids these days…
9. Super Mario Bros. (in Dying Light)
As the most recent game on the list, Dying Light sits along side the rest on this list rather nicely thanks to a well developed easter egg featuring everyone’s favourite plumbers … kind of. Developer Techland did a rather bang up job recreating World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros., from zombies dressed as goombas to the all important flag pole at the end. It’s all wrapped up rather neatly by the games well designed parkour system, allowing you to easily explore the level top to tail.
Check out the Dying Light Mario walkthrough by xGarbett
8. Lost’s Island (in Just Cause 2)
Much like Dying Light, Just Cause had an explorable easter egg that recreated a pop culture phenomena. In this case, it’s the TV show Lost and it’s haunting and unusual island. You can run around it here and find a host of references to the show just for fun, though fortunately you won’t be there for more seasons than you should have been.
Watch the Rooster Teeth lads go on a tour of the island
7. The Last of Us (in Uncharted 3)
This one’s interesting. Naughty Dog were all set to announce The Last of Us before the release of Uncharted 3, setting up this little easter egg as a reference to the virus that wipes out mankind. But when that game announcement was delayed until after Drake’s adventure was released, the easter egg essentially became a spoiler to something no-one knew existed yet. Better still, it was never patched out, so either someone forgot to do anything about it, or they just let it slide hoping no-one would notice.
A deadly fungus ravaging the world and they still have time to write about pets…
6. The Heart (in Grand Theft Auto IV)
Grand Theft Auto has had a number of easter eggs in its illustrious career, many of which took the piss out of the concept. The ‘no easter egg here’ sign in San Andreas, the literal easter egg in Vice City, even GTA V has its fair share of strange UFO sightings, the list is just about endless. But the giant heart in GTA IV takes the cake, largely because it’s so … weird. Having Rockstar’s own version of the great statue is one thing, but a living one? Haven’t seen anything that weird since Ghostbusters 2…
Rockstar sure know how to easter egg. Also, that heart is just weird.
5. Maniac Mansion (in Day of the Tentacle)
Hidden games aren’t new, take Geometry Wars in Project Gotham Racing or the many hidden Activision gems in the Call of Duty franchise (namely Black Ops). But way back when, you could play the entire Maniac Mansion adventure by LucasArts in its very sequel, Day of the Tentacle. That’s the kind of thing that not only sells more copies, but increases replay value.
If you haven’t played either of them … STOP READING THIS ARTICLE AND GO PLAY THEM!
4. Red vs Blue (in Halo 3)
Halo has had its fair share of easter eggs, and many deserve to be on this list. But there are very few easter eggs that change depending on the difficulty level. In Halo 3, you’ll find one soldier pounding on a door to get in, whilst another calls out from the other side. Depending on your chosen difficulty, you’ll hear various actors from the hit series Red vs Blue playing out different scenarios to this animation. Not only is this a cool easter egg, but it’s a neat little nod to fandom and the importance and impact of independent studios on the industry.
Check out the walkthrough above to find all three interactions.
3. Arkham City (in Batman: Arkham Asylum)
Some easter eggs are obvious, others take a little to find. It took six months after Batman: Arkham Asylum before this hidden room was found. Inside, players discovered a blueprint for what seemed like a brand new city, one designed to replace the now destroyed Asylum with a larger area built within the streets of Arkham itself. We didn’t know it at first, but this was Rocksteady’s nudge nudge, wink wink to its sequel plan, Batman: Arkham City. Other Batman titles have had similarly creative easter eggs (see the Calendar Man from said Arkham City game, for example) but this one set the trend.
The worst kept secret … unless you read the comics, of course.
2. Killer Cow Level (in Diablo 2)
Diablo III’s Whimsyshire may have fantastical unicorns and cuddly bears, but none of that would have been possible without a rumour that existed around the original Diablo itself. Though it was never proved, some players thought there was a secret level hidden within Diablo that took you to an area filled with deadly cows. Of course it was never found, but it did lead to a secret cow level in Diablo 2, meaning someone at Blizzard was listening.
The vid above will fill you in on finding it.
1. Warren Robinett (in Adventure)
It would be criminal not to include the very first video game easter egg. Published in Christmas of 1979 (you know, that other holiday), Adventure had you playing as a small square and travelling an open world to recover a magical chalice … that was also a small square. Those were the days where realism was left to the imagination, kids.
Warren Robinett, the games developer, spent a year coding the game and added a secret invisible dot within the black castle catacombs that, if brought back to a particular place, would allow you access to a hidden room which revealed the words ‘Created by Warren Robinett’. Warren had left publisher Atari by the time the hidden room was discovered, but Atari left it in as a promise to add further secrets into its other games. And so, the video game easter egg was born.
Everything starts somewhere. Thanks Warren!
There’s a literal butt ton of other easter eggs out there (and plenty more of the edible kind in my pantry). What’s your favourite video game easter egg?