Sometimes when you spend months and years programming and designing a game, you get just a little bored. Developers sneaking in little inside jokes and references into their games is nothing new, and dates back to the origin of the medium. Here are our top fifteen Easter Eggs throughout gaming history.
1979 ~ Adventure – The Creator’s Signature
What is believed to be the first Easter Egg to appear in a video game is actually a staple of most nowadays: the credits. People are used to skipping past these, but back in 1979 Atari didn’t credit the developers of their games at all. In order to find it, the player had to go into a specific area of the game and run up against a single portion of the wall and find a single pixel, which happens to be the exact same color as the background of the game, in order to find this tiny little signature. At the time, this was seen as self-promotion. However after it became more well-known, Atari decided to leave it in-game, and dubbed it as an Easter Egg, and saying they would include them in more games! How thoughtful of them.
1991 ~ The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past – Chris Houlihan’s Room
Way back in 1990 when the late and great Nintendo Power was the hottest in gaming news, they held a contest in which a randomly selected winner would get their name programmed into an upcoming game! Unfortunately for Chris, this room was a crash-fixing room; one you could never find your way into in regular gameplay unless you deliberately tried to break the game. But hey Chris, you made it buddy.
1996 ~ Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars – Visitors from Other Worlds
In Mario’s first foray into the RPG genre, you can find some of his most famous Nintendo co-stars throughout the Mushroom Kingdom if you look in the right places at the right times. Just after obtaining the second Star, returning to the Rosa Inn will reveal Link sleeping soundly next to the player’s bed. By returning to Princess Toadstool’s castle after finding the fifth star you will come across Samus Aran, resting up in the guest room to fight Mother Brain. This is the first time these characters would ever share a game, and paved the way for their future tussles in Super Smash Bros.
1998 ~ Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Zelda is a Mario Fan
It seems Link wasn’t the only one to make a trip to the Mushroom Kingdom, as Princess Zelda seems to have some souvenirs of her own here. As you approach the Princess near the start of Ocarina of Time, looking through the window to the right will reveal paintings of Yoshi, Princess Peach, Mario, and Bowser! Shooting the slingshot at it will even give you an extra bit of cash for some reason. Shooting the corresponding window on the left side however, will lead to a Hylian Knight getting real tired of your shit and throwing a bomb at you. An understandable course of action.
2000 ~ Perfect Dark – The Cheese Wedges
In what surely must be some sort of inside joke for the developers, there’s the cheese wedges in Perfect Dark. In every level of Perfect Dark, there is a cheese wedge. That’s it. They don’t do anything, you can’t interact with them, they’re just there. Sometimes they’re in ceiling vents, sometimes sitting in a toilet waiting to be flushed, sometimens they’re so far away you need a sniper rifle to even see them. People have spent hours finding them all down and having fun doing so, and in the end isn’t that the point of an Easter Egg hunt?
2002 & 2004 ~ Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas – Literal Easter Eggs
Fitting with the tongue-in-cheek feel of the Grand Theft Auto are incredibly self-aware Easter Eggs such as this. By jumping into a window near the Vice City News building, you can finding a large, brown Easter Egg sitting on a pedestal, as if congratulating you for finding it. Later on in San Andreas, by taking a jetpack to get on top of the
Golden Gate Giant Bridge, you will come across a sign stating “There are no easter eggs up here. Go away.”
2007 ~ Halo 3 – The Monkey Family
Ok I might need to bleach my eyes out because these things are just terrifying looking. In the second level of Halo 3’s campaign, you can come across these… monstrous monkey cavemen abominations. Only God knows why Bungie decided to put these in the game, and I don’t think I even want to know, if we’re being completely honest.
2008 ~ Super Smash Bros. Brawl – Snake’s Codec Calls
When playing as Snake on his home stage of Shadow Moses Island, hitting down on the D-pad to taunt for just one single frame will result in Snake receiving a codec call from HQ about his opponent. These feature full voice work from the actors of the Metal Gear Solid games, and give loads of interesting trivia on all of the various Nintendo characters he can fight against! It’s something that was completely unnecessary for the development team to include in the game, which makes it even better that they put so much work into it.
2009 ~ Batman: Arkham Asylum – Plans for Arkham City
Bombing his way into Warden Sharp’s office in Rocksteady’s hit 2009 Batman game will reveal these enigmatic plans for an Arkham City. This ended up being a tease for the eponymous sequel; the catch being that this went undiscovered for over six months after the game’s release. For an Easter Egg like this, six months is a tremendous amount of time. Eventually the marketing team just caved in and phoned a gaming news site and told them how to do it, because how else can you possibly announce that you’re going to make a sequel to your game?
2010 ~ Super Mario Galaxy 2 – The Watchers of Hell Valley
In our latest installment of “things that have no goddamn right to exist,” comes these things in Super Mario Galaxy 2. In Shiverburn Galaxy, if you ever decide to enter First Person View mode and look all the way up and to the left, you will find some bizarre silhouettes staring down at you. Watching. Waiting. Naturally, people wanted to get to the bottom of this. These figures are actually separate from the galaxy’s background textures, and the graphic that depicts them is titled “Hell Valley Sky Tree.” Considering that the stage’s filename is “Beyond Hell Valley” a name I might add is used NOWHERE in-game, it would seem that these are supposed to be ‘trees.’ Which is not even kind of believable.
2011 ~ The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Tributing Notch whilst suing him
With the Minecraft craze beginning to kick off around the release of Skyrim in 2011, it made sense for a reference to the beloved indie game to appear. Especially so considering the similar fantasy worlds, and that you can mine and craft material in both games. What makes it less likely and more notable is the fact that Bethesda was in the midst of a lawsuit with Mojang over another title of theirs, titled Scrolls, when this game was released. It’s like poetry.
2012 ~ Borderlands 2 ` Minecraft Cavern
A little over halfway through Borderlands 2’s story, you can venture into a side area of the game, and through some interesting platforming, find an entire hidden area full of voxel blocks and creepers. This blurs the lines between “Easter Egg” and “crossover” to be frank, but it’s impressive nonetheless. Not only can you get your revenge on the dreaded creepers by filling their stupid faces with buckshot, but you can also use your melee attacks to break the blocks of ore to get ammo and money.
2012 ~ Animal Crossing: New Leaf – A Message from Beyond
Perhaps in a bid to tell kids to stop playing their woodland critter simulator so late at night, at 3:33 AM in Animal Crossing the televisions will switch from full-blown static to a message from the stars. The aliens want you to know that just as you sit there watching your TV, they sit up there too, watching you. They try to speak to you in words you do not comprehend. They are saying: “Go to bed.”
2013 ~ Grand Theft Auto V – The Ghost of Mount Gordo
Like other games in the franchise, Grand Theft Auto V is chock full of Easter Eggs and it’s not even worth going over the majority of them. The most haunting of them all however, is the ghost of Jolene Cranley-Evans. Climbing Mount Gordo, her spirit will appear between 11pm and midnight in-game time. In blood below her apparition, the word “Jock” can be seen spelled out. By finding a copy of the Senora Beach newspaper, the player can read an excerpt of the incident, where a Jock Cranley claims to be heartbroken over his wife Jolene’s “accidental” passing one night while they were climbing the mountain. With how many mysterious myths and legendary legends are associated with the GTA franchise, this is one of the few which is certifiable.
2015 ~ Just Cause 3 – Oh, so many
Alright: rapid fire mode. In the mountains you can find Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer. You can find the Buster Sword, Cloud’s weapon from Final Fantasy VII. In Citate Di Ravellos you can find a pogo stick and start riding on it. You can ride a bull. There’s a reference to the frozen banana stand from Arrested Development. The Smoke monster from LOST. There’s a gun that when you shoot people their heads inflate. And last but not least: walking a dog across the street will activate the oh-so-secretive Doge Mode. It makes Doge memes appear whenever you shoot people. Such meme, indeed.
These are what we feel were some of the neatest Easter Eggs to find their way into the annals of gaming history. Did we miss your favorite Easter Egg? Be sure and let us know in the comments!