Easter eggs have littered the media for decades. Whether it was a secret menu item on a DVD, a hidden track on a CD or a stealthy photo on an NPC’s desk to find loot, video game Easter eggs might be the most fun to discover.
Players feel joy and accomplishment after finding them, and it gives developers a chance to be creative and communicate with the most dedicated players. Usually, they refer to their own IP or in homage to another piece of media, but they don’t have to. What are some of the most fun and bizarre in video game history? Watch out — there may be spoilers below in these deep dives.
1. The Kirby Franchise — HAL Rooms
HAL Laboratory is responsible for this beloved Nintendo franchise. Kirby is known for its notoriously weird lore and banger soundtracks. But did you know HAL decided to put hidden rooms in many of its installments, including the most recent mainline title, Kirby and the Forgotten Land?
Finding HAL Rooms requires a keen eye, specific copy abilities or perfect timing. Getting to one might be as simple as finding a sneaky target to shoot or interacting strangely with an unsuspecting object. You’ll know when you got into a HAL Room because a series of star blocks will spell out the company’s name, giving the player tons of rewards and bonuses for being an action-adventure platformer master.
2. Silent Hill 2 — The Dog Ending
Silent Hill 2 isn’t a game to joke around with. It covers heavy topics, adding to the players’ stress by giving them the option to obtain multiple endings. So, why did developer Team Silent craft an end where Mira, the Shiba Inu, controlled everything?
Nobody knows except it’s a fine reward after unlocking the prerequisite regular endings. It feels like a fever dream to traverse Silent Hill 2 with its grief to see a dog standing on a stool pulling levers and pushing buttons.
3. Portal 2 — Rat Man
Doug Rattman — adoringly called Rat Man — is a character who does not appear in the video games. He was a scientist at Aperture whom GLaDOS chased tirelessly, hoping to kill him. So, how does a nonexistent character manifest as an Easter egg?
Let’s explore the “Extras” tab of Portal 2. In this menu, you’ll find a graphic called Portal 2: Lab Rat, created by Valve in collaboration with Ted Kosmatka and Michael Avon Oeming. The creators wanted to explore a few events between the first and second games. So, instead of following Chell and GLaDOS, fans got Rat Man, a worker with schizophrenia who was responsible for getting Chell to participate in the tests.
Players never meet or speak to Rat Man in the games, but you know he’s there. His “dens” are discoverable in test areas, showing how he lived while escaping GLaDOS’ wrath. Disheveled bedding and empty tin cans indicate where he was hiding. Some fans think you can even hear his demented humming in the walls in Portal 2. He also did a lot of ominous graffiti, where he warned the player the cake was a lie.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Lord of the Mountain
The Zelda series is chock-full of Easter eggs in every title. Breath of the Wild is no exception. Secret Sheikah messages in beacons tell players, “It’s too dangerous to go alone.” NPCs reference the falling moon in Majora’s Mask. Zelda even references the Twilight Realm during a cutscene — perhaps placing it somewhere in that section of its convoluted timeline.
However, our favorite is the story behind the hauntingly beautiful creature, the Lord of the Mountain that lives atop Satori Mountain as a spiritual guide for the Blupees. The word “satori” in Japanese refers to enlightenment, a fun detail on its own. Even more metaphorically, the word Satori is a variant of President Satoru Iwata’s name.
The glowing being is a tribute to him after his passing in 2015 when Breath of the Wild was still being developed. You learn about the creature from an NPC named Botrick, who bears a striking resemblance to Iwata.
5. Fallout: New Vegas — Indiana Jones
Here is an example of a video game Easter egg that references another piece of media. Exploring players may happen upon a random refrigerator in the Mojave Wasteland. It’s difficult to ignore, which invites characters to take a peek to find Indy dead inside. The fedora-wearing skeleton is creepily lying there referencing “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
Remember at the movie’s end when Indy hides in a fridge to resist a nuclear blast? It shouldn’t have worked in the film, and the developers of Fallout thought it appropriate to show how it should have ended.
Other Fallout games have cheeky Easter eggs. The beginning of Fallout 76 references the iconic opening from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Nobody says “You are finally awake,” but the fading screen is the same.
6. The Konami Code
This is more of a cheat code, but the Konami Code is probably one of the most well-known video game Easter eggs. The Konami Code is a series of button inputs in this specific order:
It is also known as the Contra Code, because it was initially used in Contra to obtain an additional 30 lives. It’s been used in countless games, including Assassin’s Creed, Fortnite, LittleBigPlanet and Anno 1800, to name a few. But what’s so fun about a cheat code? It is one of the few video game Easter eggs that has transcended its format of video games into movies and voice assistants.
Even websites have hidden secrets for visitors behind the Konami code. You can use it on Discord’s Error 404 page to play Snake. ESPN gave people sparkling unicorns for typing in the code in 2009. The U.K. website for WWF spins its panda logo for successful input.
What Video Game Easter Eggs Have You Found?
There are thousands of video games teeming with Easter eggs that we didn’t list here. The Witcher 3 references Cyberpunk 2077, and Uncharted 3 references The Last of Us. The penguins attempt to mimic Mario when he does a belly flop in Super Mario 64. Dead Space 2 rewards hardcore players with a foam finger that goes “pew pew pew” at enemies.
From fun to funky, video game Easter eggs are exhilarating to find and even more rewarding to brag about to your friends.
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