In the “golden age” of video games (it used to be better, didn’t it), programmers could easily hide almost any inner joke in the code of a game with the certainty that it would never be discovered by anyone for whom it was not intended. But with the advent of the internet and forums, videos, hacks and cracks, all that has changed in a flash: most Easter eggs and secrets in today’s games are discovered by fans on the day they are released, and it’s only a matter of hours or, at worst, days. They also share them with their teammates. But some programmers do their best to hide easter eggs behind the hardest to reach obstacles, the most secret walls.
In our compilation, we’ve collected legendary Easter eggs and secrets for you, ones that took years and even decades to find before the proud hunter unveiled his trophy: the capitalized SECRET he first found time and energy, in fact, more than once using programming knowledge or coordinated teamwork. So here’s the 10 + 1 most hidden secret in video game history!
GoldenEye – ZX Spectrum Games Emulator
The Nintendo 64 has proven with the GoldenEye made by Rare that the FPS genre is also viable on consoles. The developers hid all sorts of fun bugs and extra game modes in the James Bond adventure when the N64 was still in its heyday. However, one of these was not discovered until 2012: it took 15 years to find it.
It turns out that Rare was trying to emulate the 1982 ZX Spectrum on the platform at the time, and the program code used to do so was hidden in the game’s source, so programmers dug a semi-working emulator a decade and a half later.
Marathon Infinity – The 96 hangar
Before Bungie created the Xbox flagship with the Halo series, it had kidnapped gamers ’hearts with the Marathon series. These inside-view shooters held many secrets, but it took many years to unravel the mystery of Hangar 96.
There were also three “dream tracks” in the game: these were teleported by the player when he made a whole series of bad decisions. They were greeted by terminals hiding mysterious codes, all of which referred to a certain 96 Hangar. When users collected hex colour codes on both the first and last levels of the game, a whole group of new multiplayer levels opened up in the ominous hangar with a compressed file converted from them.
Donkey Kong – The programmer’s monogram
Since the Adventure for the Atari 2600, it’s not uncommon for a developer to hide their monogram in the game’s code. These aren’t usually hard to bring to the surface. Still, the developer porting Donkey Congo to the barely prevalent Atari 400 proved to be a tougher nut to crack – so much so that its watermark was only found 26 years later.
Landon M. Dyer’s initials only appear on the home screen if the player loses his last life by falling, just when he reaches a certain score, and then sets the difficulty level to four. We don’t know how to figure that out, but someone did.
Batman: Arkham City – Calendar Man’s Mystery
Arkham Asylum (Rocksteady’s first Batman game) was known from the first moment as having a secret room in it that players then took almost a year to discover, and that’s a big word in the 2010s. There was a map in the room that contained several references to the next part of the series, so it’s no wonder that when the sequel came out, players were desperately looking for a similar Easter egg with valuable information — for a long time in vain.
Arkham City has managed to lock down a similar secret that still exists for no less than three years, which is almost miraculous these days. If we set the date on the console to the date Rocksteady was founded, we received a message from Calendar Man that lifted a veil of several secrets about the then-ongoing sequel to the game, Arkham Knight.
Bubble Bobble – Planned randomness
Taito’s Bubble Bobble was one of the most popular games of the arcade era of the ’80s: a charming, extremely complex platformer with 99 levels and countless secrets. During each walkthrough, the players were so surprised that everyone was convinced that the events were completely random for more than a decade. But when the game’s ROM became available 10 years later, a group of hackers discovered that gears working under the surface showed a much more complex picture.
This is because Bubble Bubble constantly tracks the player’s actions – how many bubbles we have inflated and burst, and so on – and then uses this data to determine what power-ups will appear on the field. We had to wait until the dawn of the third millennium for it to come out. This is called a modest developer attitude!
WaveRace – Blue Storm – Sarcastic commentator
Most of the secrets on the list are not to be discovered with common sense, only with senseless trial and brute force. This is also the case with the 2001 game WaveRace: Blue Storm for GameCube. Nowhere in the game’s menus does it indicate that another narrator would be available, but a determined player realized in 2009 that if he pressed the Z button in the sound settings until the sound waves became horizontal, then on the D-Pad, the 11 inputs combination (the famous Konami code) is entered, exited. Then the first pilot is selected, the program replaces the basic informative, helpful narrator/navigator with a new one who insults step-by-step, speaks to the player.
Why the otherwise extremely entertaining, humiliating commentator was not available by default, or why there were no signs of it in the game, is a mystery to this day.
Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past – Chris Houlihan szobája
SNES ’legendary Zelda game is a cuckoo’s egg on the Easter egg list, as players could have found out about its existence before it was released. Nintendo Power magazine announced a contest in 1990, the winner of which was to be named in an unannounced NES game. As it turned out later, this particular game was the first 1992 Zelda to appear on Super Nintendo. However, until the early 2000s, no one came across the winner’s name, Chris Houlihan – it was on a board in a hidden room that was specifically impossible to approach by following the rules. Only by exploiting the bugs in the game, Link’s whereabouts could be moored in the room pictured above. It’s a question of how happy Chris will be ten years later with his prize.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent – Save the talking seals
Sometimes players need outside help to discover the secrets hidden by the developers: Splinter Cell: Double Agent was released in 2006, and when no one found the well-crafted hidden goodness by 2010, one of the game’s developers was so upset. that he disclosed the nature of the secret.
We can’t find out that no player came across it: to find it in cooperative mode, we had to perform a series of bizarre tasks, including activating vending machines in a specific order. Once we had it all, we got the bonus crazy quest to escape five cute white talking seals. We even had to form a romantic relationship with one of them to succeed—Whom the priest, whom the priestess.
Trials HD – The mystery
Motorcycle tricks don’t have a lot of secrets. Still, RedLynx’s 2009 Xbox Arcade title, Trials HD, proved to be an exception to this rule: it hid an incredibly complex puzzle that only a coordinated network of dedicated players had. I was able to decipher with a good few years of work.
In the background of many of the game’s tracks, we can find references to many famous series of numbers, including the work of Leonardo Da Vinci, binary codes, DNA sequences, and we could continue the line. Of course, we don’t have a chance to spot all this while racing at a breakneck speed. The community eventually turned to RedLynx for help, who gave away the missing pieces of the puzzle in 2012, and so a solution could be found. We don’t know if Dan Brown later approached the developers for inspiration.
Halo 3 – Birthday message
The title of the most romantic secret on our list clearly belongs to Bungie, who says they don’t really keep track of their programmers ’code changes, as they’ve come up to our list twice. Halo 3, released in 2007, won both the profession and the players, but it was not until 2014 that one of the makers, Adrian Perez, mentioned in an interview that he had hidden a message for his wife on the game’s loading screen, which he had until then. No one found it.
This, of course, marked the beginning of a crazy race of treasure hunters looking to find a solution, until a YouTube realized that if you set the Xbox clock to December 25 and press both thumbsticks while charging, you would get a new screen with a ring on the rotating jewel. And as it approaches, the engraved inscription “Happy Birthday, Lauren” becomes legible. We hope Adrian’s wife was grateful enough for the attention that no one has come across for seven years (hopefully outside of her).
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out – Bald Bull
The classic boxing game made for the NES has hidden one of the most famous secrets of all time – for no less than 22 years. The essence of the gameplay was getting to know our opponents ’sequence of moves, learning its rhythm, and bringing in the right moves in time, but the easiest way to beat one of Punch-Out’s toughest opponents, Bald Bull, remained hidden until 2009.
Traditionally, we were defeated with a strategy: we had to line up after the third jump to succeed by stopping the Bull Charge attack immediately in time. However, Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo who passed away in 2015, revealed in a 2009 interview that there is a much easier way that no one has covered: observing the background. There was a guy in the audience’s pixel sea who flashed one from time to time, and if we hit the bald bull right then, we can immediately win with a rash. Strangely, in 22 years, it didn’t show up for anyone.
What are your favourite Easter eggs and secrets?