As most self respecting gamers understand, exploration is key to some of the most fun and memorable experiences. Since the early days of the NES and even further back, a main campaign portion of a game has contained the interest of fans, but only so far. Some gamers strive to find the fun tidbits or silly nods to other media, more commonly known as the ever-classic Easter Egg.

If you aren’t fully sure of the definition of an Easter egg (of which this article will only be referencing Easter eggs within the video game industry) it’s basically a hidden gem. Whether a hidden message or reference to another game, moment in time, a secret mode or mini game within a main game, or even something as small as an image of the games developers, Easter eggs are the hidden beauties both big and small that developers add within the background of their games for one single purpose, fun. (Remember that? Remember when games were all about fun?)

The first recorded Easter egg was found back in the year 1979, within a game called Adventure for the Atari 2600. The Easter egg contained text that congratulated the game’s creator William Robinett. Since then, Easter eggs have flourished into popular culture and are even enjoyed today as one of the most fun aspects of gaming by certain gamers.

Speaking from a personal standpoint, I love Easter eggs, and there will be several of them mentioned that I’ve found and loved, but also some more obscure Easter eggs that not everyone knows about, so don’t expect to see the secret warp whistle from Mario on this list!
We’re going to go back quite a ways in order to showcase several Easter eggs in games that you may or may not have known about.

Tomb Raider in Shadow Warrior
An interesting old school first person shooter for the MS-DOS holds a well known character whose in a bit of a situation. Hidden within a cave entrance in the 4th mission of the game, you are able to shoot a row of 3 explosive barrels. Doing so will open up a hidden room behind the wall. Entering the room, you will find none other than Lara Croft herself, struggling as she is chained to ceiling behind some bars. A small nod to the Tomb Raider series, you’ll also hear the protagonist say “heh, she’s raided her last tomb!” upon finding her.

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Super Mario characters pictures hanging in Hyrule Castle
A more well-known Easter egg within a well-known game, Ocarina of Time holds a few secrets within. If you stand in Zelda’s courtyard and go into first person view (i suggest using your slingshot to get good look) you can look into a window to find pictures hung up on the wall of other well known characters! To the left, a picture of Yoshi and Princess peach can be seen, and if you swing around the right side, you can see Mario and Bowser as well!

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“Fun” with Meryl in Metal Gear Solid
Now fans of Easter eggs will know without a doubt that Metal Gear Solid as a series is FULL of 8876358_origEaster eggs within each game. However, this is one specifically that I had found as a kid and was later recognized by many other Metal Gear fans. Meryl, one of the main soldiers in the series can be interacted with in many ways that players wouldn’t think. If at any time you hit Meryl, she will give Snake a hard slap. Doing so will accidentally chip off a bit of Snake’s health. If this is done while Snake has almost no health, he will die, and the dialogue will be of Meryl yelling “This can’t be!” However, it doesn’t end there. If Snake hits Meryl at any point in the part of the game where the two are in the caves with the dogs in the area, Meryl will instruct the dogs to attack him. If the dogs go to attack Snake and he hides within a cardboard box, the dogs will urinate on the box instead.

GTA IV pokes fun at anti-gaming Lawyer
Grand Theft Auto is no exception to Easter eggs, and while there are several that are very well known to gamers, such as the hidden jetpack or the actual chocolate Easter egg found by 628x471jumping through a wall, this reference was a much more interesting find. Grand Theft Auto 4 had an in-game mission named “Final Interview” in which the protagonist must steal important documents from a lawyer named Tom Goldberg. The lawyer was a character in the game who complained about violent video games, and that they were corrupting the minds of young people. This lawyer is actually a reference to a real lawyer (now disbarred) by the name of Jack Thompson, who was also an advocate for anti-violence and sex in video gaming. Thompson had originally threatened legal action against Take-Two games if they didn’t make changes to the mission. However in the end, no changes were made to the mission and Thompson never went through with his threats.

Ratchet and Clank breast expansion trick
Extremely strange in every manner, yet somehow isn’t considered a controversy despite the easily offended nature of the games industry at times, this Ratchet and Clank Easter egg had me scratching my head. In the original Ratchet and Clank, if you go to Blackwater City, there’s an alien woman whom you must speak to in order to take part in hover-board races. By performing flips around her body, you will start to see her breasts growing larger in size. It’s unknown as to why this happens but it’s most likely chalked up to a developer joke or something of that nature, but still very funny.
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Now as we all know, gaming has taken a very prominent turn as of recent years, and with that, Easter eggs are not excluded. Some of our favorite moments in recent games have Easter eggs that are very entertaining, even downright famous. Here are several:

The ghost girl of Pokemon X and Y
Easter eggs in gaming can be extremely fun as we’ve seen, but there are also many that are eerie and almost unnerving. Speaking personally, this one got to me when first discovered. In Pokemon X or Y, when going into a building in Lumoise city, your 3DS screen will suddenly flash, and the happy go lucky music will suddenly stop. After this happens, a girl (with the character model similar to the “Hex Maniac”) can be seen floating beside you. She has no walking animation, and she then says “no, you’re not the one” and disappears as if nothing happened. Pokemon fans had their theories about the girl, as no further information had been given. One theory popular among fans was the ghost girl was actually searching for a specific Pokemon trainer’s ID number. Another theory poked at her being connected to other characters of previous games in the Pokemon franchise. Unfortunately, none of these theories stuck and even years later, haven’t been. One interesting thing however that was discovered is a page on the Japanese Pokemon website that actually talks about the ghostly female, meaning she wasn’t just some strange programming flaw. Eerie as hell…
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The Meeseeks box in Halo 5
Halo has been a franchise known for its alien-like creatures, but as it would seem, another popular television show with interesting other-worldly characters makes a small cameo appearance within one of its maps. If you go to a certain area in Riptide near a few tanks that are housing some plant life, you will find the Mr. Meeseeks box from the popular TV show Rick and Morty. Rick and Morty follows the misadventures of an insane scientist and his grandson, and in one well-known episode among fans Scientist Rick Sanchez gives his family a Meeseeks box, a box that can summon creatures known as Mr. Meeseeks that aid people in doing menial tasks before disappearing.

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Undertale‘s connections to Earthbound
Being that one game is based on the other, it’s no surprise that the popular game Undertale has several references and secrets within it that connect it to Earthbound. For instance, if you look closely at the markings on Papyrus’ chest piece, you’ll find they are similar to the markings on the chest of the Starman character from Earthbound. The “Temmie” race that inhabits the world of Undertale are similar to the Mr. Saturns of Earthbound, as both are small cute creatures living in their own villages with their own language and mannerisms. Additionally, there are a few music samples in Undertale that are taken and changed from the Earthbound soundtrack.

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Back to the Future license plate found in Lego Jurassic World
Easter eggs containing movie references are very abundant within the games industry. For example, a fun little nod to the Back to the Future movies is the famous OUTATIME license plate being dug up by one of the archaeologists in the prologue level for Lego Jurassic World. You can’t see it fully, but you can make out enough letters on the plate to read that it is in fact the same license plate from the famous time-traveling Delorean.
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Interesting trophies found in Call of Duty: Ghosts
In Call Of Duty: Ghosts, within the mission “Struck Down” there are a number of trophies in a smashed-open trophy case. These trophies are actually in reference to other media. One of the trophies is in the shape of a rupee, the currency in The Legend of Zelda series. Upon further inspection, the rupee trophy is awarded as “Most bushes cut and pots smashed” in reference of the protagonist Link cutting down bushes and smashing pots in most Zelda games. Another smaller trophy is in the shape of a police box, and is awarded as “largest interior with the smallest exterior” in reference to the TV Series Doctor Who which features the T.A.R.D.I.S., a police box that helps the doctor travel through time, and is much bigger on the inside than the outside.

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With time, Easter eggs became more complex and precise to find, sometimes pushing a players limit to find. However, this doesn’t take the fun away from these small nods in gaming, and definitely having many more to come in the future. Do you have a favorite Easter egg or reference in a popular or obscure game? Comment below and tell us all about it!