Easter Eggs, we all know them. No, I’m not talking about the tasty chocolate eggs you’re finding in stores around this time of the year (or at least you find them where I live). I’m talking about Easter Eggs in games, surprises you didn’t see coming. An Easter Egg can refer to popular pop-culture or developers that worked on the game, heck, an Easter Egg can be anything. For years, gamers worldwide have been looking for those hidden messages in their games and it’s a tradition that still stands today. If you love the product you’re making, you’re also including some Easter Eggs for gamers to discover. In this top ten, I’ll give you 10 of my absolute favorite Easter Eggs during my years of gaming.
#10: There are no Easter Eggs up here (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
Let’s start with one of the most iconic Easter Eggs found in gaming history. This one is found in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and is considered as one of the biggest trolls in the GTA universe. San Andreas still is, without any doubts, one of the most popular GTA games of the franchise. It’s no surprise that gamers were looking for Easter Eggs anywhere they could find them. There just had to be one on the Gant Bridge, right? This bridge connected San Fierro to the Bayside and is clearly inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge. If you managed to reach the top of the bridge, this actually was rather troublesome, you could find a simple note telling you ‘There are no Easter Eggs up here, go away.’ Funny because that’s exactly what an Easter Egg looks like!
Don’t you just love it when developers add Easter Eggs to their games, inspired by other games they didn’t create? Gamers were surprised to see a fallen assassin while playing a section of the prologue in The Witcher II. If you looked carefully, you noticed a dead body next to an iron gate. The body is all dressed in white and the cause of death seems to be a drop from a great height into a cart full of hay. If you’ve played Assassin’s Creed, you know this looks familiar. To take away the doubt, Geralt continues to comment the dead body and gains +1 in the Assassination Attribute. Clearly a reference to Ubisoft’s franchise. Fans are naming the dead assassin Altaïr, the protagonist of the very first Assassin’s Creed game.
Another crossover is found in Borderlands 2. After completing chapter 9, you could travel to the Caustic Caverns where you’ll find two tracks with minecarts on them. If you followed the right one and smashed some dirt blocks, you’ll eventually end up in a bigger cave. This is the home of Creeper and badass Creeper enemies, similar to the feared enemies found in the Minecraft universe. The best thing about this Easter Egg is that it actually could result in some great loot. By breaking the blocks in the cave you could actually gain gold or even better, Minecraft skins for you and your weapons. Talking about a useful little secret!
Blizzard’s Overwatch is incredibly popular since launch and is gaining new fans daily. A game like this is destined to have Easter Eggs and fans already discovered a lot of those. One of the better ones is found on the Eichenwalde map, one of the first post-release maps that appeared online. With the map being set in a castle, it’s no surprise you can find a Dark Souls Easter Egg here. In a room opposite to the entrance, you’ll find a sword stuck in a little mount of ash, similar to the bonfires found in Bandai Namco’s Dark Souls franchise. These bonfires serve as saving points in the Souls franchise so what do they offer in Overwatch? Well, nothing special besides of the health pack that can be found in the same room. A great example of two popular franchises coming together.
Talking about iconic characters. Did you know that Pac-Man made an appearance in the popular Skyrim? Well, not really playable but as one of the best cameos ever. In Endon’s house in Markarth, there is a shelf where garlic, glow dust, sliced goat cheese, and a slaughter fish egg are arranged to resemble Pac-Man eating several Pac-dots. How cool is that? Nothing more to say about this fun Easter Egg.
Super Mario likes to make an appearance in as many Nintendo games as possible, even when it’s not a Super Mario title. Super Mario has a rich history with The Legend of Zelda franchise, making several cameos over the years. In A Link to the Past, you can see a painting of Mario on the wall and in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, you can even spot paintings of Mario, Princess Peach and Bowser inside Hyrule’s Castle. My personal favorite Mario Easter Egg is the one found in Majora’s Mask. Remember the mask salesman? He’s selling a lot of popular masks, including one of Super Mario on his back. A fun little Easter Egg combining two of the greatest 3D games of that era.
This one is a very special Easter Egg found in the Xbox version of Splinter Cell: Double Agent. This Easter Egg was never discovered by the players but was revealed as a secret mission by the developers themselves later on. In Splinter Cell: Double Agent, you were able to save Seals named Cookie, Buddy, Pepperoni, Vanilla and Muffin. These ‘Splinter Seals’ were located in an office and you needed to sneak them out to safety together with your partner. It’s without a doubt the most obscure Easter Egg on the list and is worth mentioning since it remained a secret for so many years.
So imagine an Easter Egg revealing the sequel to a game you’re currently playing, how cool would that be? Well, that’s exactly what happened in Batman: Arkham Asylum. If you detonated three bombs on the right wall in the Warden office, you would reveal a hidden room inside the office. In here, you’ll find a map showing you the surroundings of Arkham City as well as some artwork of the upcoming game. Too bad nobody discovered this room before Batman: Arkham City was officially revealed. Keep a close eye out for rooms like this in future Batman games!
This one actually has a touching history to it. Dan Johnson was an Insomniac Games employee and level designer that worked with the company for many years. As an inside joke, Insomniac Games hid a cameo of Dan Johnson in almost every game starting with Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage. Eventually, Dan left the company to work for High Impact Games, together with some other co-workers from Insomniac Games. While he was working on Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, he sadly passed away. The game has a memorial to him, found after the credits. The tradition was kept in place in a Dan Johnson’s cameo can still be found in almost every Ratchet & Clank game, ranging from action figurines to playable skins. He has so far appeared in every Ratchet & Clank game, except in Ratchet: Deadlocked and Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile.
Here we are, my personal favorite Easter Egg in gaming, John Romero’s head in DOOM II. The original DOOM was one of the first games I’ve played in my life so needless to say, I enjoyed playing the sequel. It even got better when I learned about the Easter Egg that was hidden in the last level of the game. It appears during the final boss fight where you had to kill the boss by shooting rockets in its face. The Easter Egg couldn’t be accessed without entering a cheat code that enabled you to move through objects. If you entered the cheat and walked through the hole in the head of the boss, you find the head of John Romero impaled on a stick. While reaching this Easter Egg you hear a reversed soundtrack playing, telling you must kill the head in order to win the game. To this very moment, this head of the programmer is still my favorite Easter Egg.
And this concludes my list of personal favorite Easter Eggs in games. There are a lot of Easter Eggs in a lot of games and I’m sure you’re thinking about some that aren’t on the list. Be sure to let us know what we missed and what’s your favorite Easter Egg. Thank you for reading this list and we’ll see you next month for another top ten, stay tuned!