Video games have exploded in popularity since the time of arcades and the first consoles. Many gamers started early, growing up with a controller in their hands. Games have become a large part of our lives, and are a hobby that any age, gender, and type of person (and yes, even celebrities play!) can enjoy. Some gamers have grown up to develop video games for a living and make a point of inserting characters or people that inspired them into their own games.
Before the internet was used to reveal hidden content, friends shared secrets or sometimes told each other outright lies about things that may or may not exist in a game. Other times, game character cameos were announced to the public as free or paid downloadable content, something which still happens today. Special characters from other popular series will sometimes pop up in other games, like Link from the Legend of Zelda series appearing in Soulcalibur, which brings fans of both franchises together. Character cameos aren't limited to other game characters, either. Many celebrities enjoy video games, too, and they're often thrilled to see their likeness in games or collaborate with developers to make it happen.
Not all game developers want to make cameos of game characters known to the public. They want to make gamers take their time to search for those hidden characters. The role of character cameos varies in each game. While many characters are only hidden in the shadows represented by a single line, some characters can even join you on your adventure.
This list contains spoilers on where to find these hidden character cameos. Keep reading if you're ready to load up your favorite games to see if you can find the characters on our list yourself.
15 Samus (Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars)
Samus Aran, star of the Metroid series, is usually found fighting monsters in space. In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, you can uncover a cameo of the armored warrior doing something unexpected. First, Mario must uncover the fifth Star Piece. Once you've done that, enter the Royal Castle and make your way to the guest room. Within the room, under a blue blanket, you'll find Samus wearing her full Power Suit armor, sleeping in bed. Mario can wake her and Samus will tell you "I'm resting up for Mother Brain." She can't help Mario on his adventure, but at least she found a comfortable place to rest! Samus has another cameo in Super Mario RPG. In the top of the tower owned by Booster and his gang of Snifits, you can find a box filled with Samus toys.
14 Mr. Game And Watch (Donkey Kong Country Returns)
Though he is a popular character in Japan, Mr. Game and Watch became more popular worldwide when he was added to the roster in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Mr. Game and Watch appeared as a humanoid shadow who used his hammer to smash foes. He also makes an appearance in Donkey Kong Country Returns. World 7 will bring you to the Factory level. In the first sub level, 7-1 Foggy Fumes, there are several pipes displayed in the background. Donkey Kong and the level itself appear in black shadows. Towards the end of the level, look at the shadows on one of the pipes, and you'll see Mr. Game and Watch smashing one of the pipes. You can run past him and try to interact with him, but he won't notice you.
13 Spider-Man (The Revenge Of Shinobi)
The Revenge of Shinobi featured many popular character cameos, such as Batman, Terminator, and Godzilla. When first meeting Marvel Comics' Spider-Man in The Revenge of Shinobi, you may believe it's the real Peter Parker. Instead, the developer, trying to avoid copyright infringement, claimed them to be fake representations created by a shape-shifter. In the 1990s version, it was officially announced that Spider-Man and the other famous characters were officially licensed and part of the game. When you first encounter Spider-Man on the train tracks, there is no clear reason why he is helping the enemies, but he is evil and tries to attack you. Spider-Man will launch his familiar webbing at you and dive attack. You just have to make sure the web-slinger is taken down to progress on your mission.
12 Bruce Lee (EA Sports UFC)
EA Sports' Ultimate Fighting Championship games are all about duking it out in the octagon. One of the world's most famous late-martial artists in history makes a playable cameo in both EA Sports UFC I and II. Though Bruce Lee never fought competitively, you can control the martial artist in the Welterweight, Bantamweight, Featherweight, and Lightweight divisions. The easiest way to unlock Bruce Lee is to preorder the game or have the character unlocked in the first EA Sports UFC game. The second, and more difficult way, to unlock Bruce Lee is to complete Career Mode on pro difficulty or higher. It may prove to be a bigger challenge to unlock Bruce, but you can play knowing you earned your right to play as the legendary martial artist.
11 Shrek (Tony Hawk’s Underground 2)
Tony Hawk's Underground rewards you with a character cameo after meeting certain requirements. Shrek's appearance in the game is part of a collaboration with the developer, Activision, and the movie Shrek 2. Unlocking Shrek's cameo is one of the easiest to accomplish. It's so simple to do that most gamers miss out. To add Shrek to the game, complete the story mode on easy difficulty. Shrek will be unlocked as a playable character in Free Skate mode. The green movie character isn't just a reskin of other playable skateboarders. Shrek has a unique set of abilities. His grind special uses ear wax as a lubricant. Instead of spraying graffiti with spray paint, he will belch onto walls to make his signature "S" appear.
10 Anti-Kirby (The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening)
We may know Kirby best as an adorable pink ball of fluff, but in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Kirby takes a more sinister turn as Anti-Kirby. They can be found in the seventh dungeon, Eagle's Tower. They will be wandering around the first floor of the tower. Anti-Kirby is aggressive and will attack you on sight. These enemies will attempt to inhale Link. If successful, they will keep Link in their mouths for a moment before spitting him out, causing damage. These little fluff balls look weak, but they have a high defense. They cannot be defeated by sword attacks alone and must be killed using stronger weapons. Anti-Kirby can be tricked into inhaling bombs or can die after a few hits of the Magic Rod.
9 Space Marine (Duke Nukem 3D)
The Duke Nukem series is known for parodying other action games. Duke shoots up his enemies, similar to the Space Marine that stars in Doom I and II. In the church area within Death Row, Duke can discover his mangled corpse. To find his body, Duke must first press a hidden button on the altar. The church area will turn red and transform into a satanic room with an upside down cross. After defeating a few enemies, you can explore the area. You'll find the corpse of Doom's protagonist in a corner of the room. Upon seeing it, Duke will comment "That's one doomed Space Marine." Finding the corpse will also grant you the "Doomed Marine" achievement in the Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition.
8 Creepers (Borderlands)
Within the tunnels of the Caustic Caverns of Borderlands, you'll find more than mountains of trash and corrosive pools of liquid. In a small cave area in the northwest section of the map, you can uncover several Creepers. These blocky green enemies originate from Minecraft. Creepers infest this section of tunnels, which connect to a larger cave containing a Creeper nest. Within the last cave are Badass Creepers. They're harder to kill, but also drop a Minecraft-themed block head or skin. They will also drop Minecraft-inspired weapons, such as the Blockhead Tediore shotgun or the Hyperion Sniper Longbow. After defeating the Creepers, you can find breakable blocks, similar to the dirt blocks found in Minecraft. They can be broken with normal melee attacks to reach deeper inside the cave.
7 Max (Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2)
In the 1990s, game developers Lucasarts were working on a variety of games. They placed cameos of their other characters in most games that they were working on. In Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2, the white rabbit Max from the series Sam and Max can be unlocked to help you on your galactic adventures. In the fifth level "Baron's Hed - The Fallen City," you witness a woman entering and leaving a building. Make it inside the building before she re-enters, and you'll find Max sitting in a chair, holding a blaster. You can just look at him and leave, or interact with him and recruit him. He'll accompany you as a companion, blasting enemies. Max has a high defense and is difficult to kill, making him a worthy companion. You can accidentally shoot Max a few times before he turns aggressive and attacks you.
6 Chun-Li (Breath Of Fire)
Breath of Fire has a large, explorable world. Every cave and village home can be explored to uncover valuable items or characters. When you're tired of fighting enemies, you will take refuge in smaller villages around the map. In Bleak, the Kingdom of Thieves, you can explore a house northwest of the shops. Head down the stairs, and a magician will make you an offer. He promises to make 100g disappear in front of your eyes. Though this is an obvious scam, but by agreeing you will find an interesting cameo. Answer "yes" twice, "no" twice, and "yes" once again and Chun-Li from Street Fighter will appear. Though she will not speak or interact with the player, you can watch as she practices her special signature attack, Lightning Kick.
5 Michael Myers (Call Of Duty: Ghosts)
The Call of Duty series features many supernatural scenarios in their multiplayer maps. Hordes of undead monsters can be mowed down in zombie mode. The downloadable content pack "Onslaught" contains the Fog map, which is inspired by horror movies. There are several references found on the map which will bring up memories of Evil Dead, The Ring, or Friday the 13th. Michael Myers from the Halloween series can be found lurking around. You may spot other players as the killer, or you can become the killer yourself. When you play as Myers, you will hear Halloween's famous movie theme song play in the background. The only difference from Myers' butcher knife wielding movie version is that he uses an axe to take down his victims in the game.
4 Lara Croft (Shadow Warrior)
In the original Shadow Warrior game, you control Lo Wang, a master swordsman and former bodyguard. You can discover Tomb Raider's Lara Croft hidden in one of the caves. In the "Dark Woods of the Snake" level, head down towards the edit. Ride the magic carpet down to a cavern covered in crystals. By the first cave entrance near a gong, jump in. Keep walking further in until you find a barrel marked "TNT". Shoot the explosive barrel that's located on to your left. The cave wall will explode, and you will find classic PlayStation One era Lara Croft. Unfortunately, she is chained to the wall. Lara cannot be saved. If Lo Wang moves closer to her, he will only laugh and comment, "She's raided her last tomb."
3 Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad (The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings)
The Witcher and Assassin's Creed series both feature incredibly athletic characters who explore open worlds and have dance-like fighting moves. Assassin's Creed features killers who glide through the streets or the air to reach their targets. Assassins will make almost impossible leaps of faith off of the roofs of buildings into carts of hay. Unfortunately, one of these assassins failed miserably in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. At the beginning of the game, Geralt of Rivia explores one of the hay piles to uncover a familiar character. You'll find a white-robed man who bears a striking resemblance to Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, but this assassin is dead, face down in the hay. This pile of hay is where Altaïr failed to make the jump.
2 Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid V)
Hideo Kojima is known as the father of the Metal Gear series. He's made previous cameos in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. His largest role is in both Metal Gear Solid V games with a detailed background. Kazuhira Miller even comments about Hideo, stating "to say he's a critical VIP would be a massive understatement." To recruit him, you must first rescue him in Ground Zeroes during the mission "Intel Operative Rescue" and successfully send him back to the base. Hideo appears again in The Phantom Pain and can be found on Mother Base. Once he is brought to the base, he cannot be spoken to or dismissed from his position. You can just be at peace knowing that the creator of Metal Gear is working in the background assisting you on missions.
1 Mario And Luigi (World Of Warcraft)
When World of Warcraft was first released, you could uncover a quest for two familiar looking characters. In Un'Goro Crater, Larion and Muigin, or Mario and Luigi, are lost in the Eastern section of the map. One of them attempted to find a shortcut but ended up losing their way. These level 50 characters are both angry at each other and refuse to sort their issues out. Instead of resolving things, Muigin is sending their plant monsters, a reference to the piranha plants, to attack Larion. Speak to Larion more, and he'll tell you he wishes to escape Un'Goro Crater by jumping into a pipe. To complete the quest, you must gather various items for Larion. This is one quest where you can assist the famous plumber brothers instead of them helping out everyone else.