Easter eggs have been hidden in games since the Atari era. Most gamers don't bother with the sometimes strenuous nature of finding a well-hidden Easter egg, after all... they can take as long as 20 years to find. You see, in the land before the World Wide Web, finding these hidden treasures could be nearly impossible. Back in these days you either had a helpful friend with a lot of free time show you the ropes, or you'd be sitting in front of your TV for hours upon hours exploring everything you could.
As you can imagine, some of these Easter eggs were never to be found — until of course the invention of the internet. Even to this day, we're still finding secrets hidden in games that were released years ago. There are many reasons why developers dedicated precious lines of code to their Easter egg. However big or small the reason, there's still a core group of gamers that are interested... even obsessed with finding them.
In this list, we'll go over some of the more intricate Easter eggs. We're talking the really well-hidden secrets, the "how the hell did anyone find this?" ones. Sure, some people dug through the code, but many of these Easter eggs were created before the technology or knowledge to do so was readily available. A few of the entries on our list bled into real life too, as in the case of The Binding of Isaac, where it took hundreds of Reddit users and some shovels to find it ...but we'll get to that.
15 Battlefield 4 - Illuminati Easter Egg
This next Easter egg is one of the most undeniably difficult puzzles to crack, so difficult it was dubbed "The Illiumanti Easter Egg." Even after someone shows you how to do it, you may still fail in completing it for yourself. The reason behind that is the puzzle changes each time a new round starts and everyone who solves it gets a unique key. That's right, it's essentially a randomized puzzle with a changing password at the end. Oh, and I hope you can read Morse code.
If you do manage to complete it, you'll find out you have a new camo in your inventory, one that is reserved for DICE LA developers. Actually not too bad of a prize for the trouble considering it has in-game benefits.
14 Zelda: A Link To The Past - Chris Houlihan Room
In 1990 Nintendo ran a contest through their magazine Nintendo Power. The prize would be to have your name featured in an upcoming Nintendo title, that title being Zelda: A link to the Past. Sometime in early 2000s (following an emulation boom) word of a secret room in the game started surfacing.
When you entered the room you would be greeted by 45 blue rupees and plaque on the wall which read "My name is Chris Houlihan. This is my top secret room. Keep it between us, OK?" There are five known ways of reaching the room, none of which are easily discoverable organically. Considering there was no record of anyone finding out about the room until almost a decade later, you could say it was hidden a little too well.
13 Donkey Kong - LMD Initials
If you thought twenty years was a long time for an Easter egg to go unfound, try adding six. That's how long it took to find a secret screen in Donkey Kong. In 2008, Landon Dyer, the person responsible for porting the game over to Atari wrote a blog post about his experience. Toward the end of the post, he added: "There’s an Easter egg, but it’s totally not worth it, and I don’t remember how to bring it up anyway."
For some, saying the Easter egg wasn't worth it may have been an understatement. Still, this prompted a fan named Don Hodges to search the game. He found out if you got a score between 33,000 through 33,900, then used your last life to die in a certain way — you would see what is known as the "LMD" screen named after the programmer who ported it, Landon Dyer.
12 Serious Sam - A Secret Within A Secret
Serious Sam was an FPS released in '01 on Windows. In Serious Sam there was a hidden level called "Sacred Yards." You'd enter through a panel in the wall and on top of new game mechanics like switch-based puzzles, there were hoards of harrowing enemies in this level.
In order to complete the level, you had to destroy all the enemies — or so we thought (for 14 years). When a designer with the handle "SolaisYosei" started working at Croteam, the developers of Serious Sam, he asked CEO Roman Ribaric if there was more to find.
Indeed there was, Ribaric had secretly added a complicated sequence of actions that could help you bypass the level without fighting any enemies! This knowledge probably would have avoided a lot of rage-quitting had it been found earlier.
11 Batman: Arkham City - Calendar Man Secret Dialog
This easter egg was so well hidden that it's speculated to have needed help from the developers to figure it out. If you've played Batman Arkham City, you may be familiar with Calendar man. As his name suggests, he's obsessed with calendars, and some of his unique dialogue can only be triggered on certain dates.
Well, several years after the game was released, an anonymous YouTube account was created and mysterious video uploaded with part of the never-before-heard dialogs. Shortly after the people at Batman Arkham Videos cracked the secret date which was Dec. 4, 2004, the date developers Rocksteady was founded. Many people think that the uploaders of the original video were Rocksteady themselves after players didn't find it on their own.
10 Final Fantasy IX - The Lost Nero Family Quest
Since the days of the internet it's getting more common to find Easter eggs that have been locked away for years, but in the case of Final Fantasy IX, it's an entire side quest along with seven undiscovered NPCs. All of them found 13 years after the game was released! That's a pretty insane feat when you take into consideration the cult following Final Fantasy.
The side quest was found by The_Kusabi_ in 2013, which you can reach after you've completed the game. Shortly after the quest was discovered, YouTuber GarlanTheGreat uploaded a video on how to unlock it. If you still have the game or an emulator and you haven't completed it, you might want to try it for yourself.
9 Mortal Kombat - EJB Menu
This next Easter egg took two decades after the first Mortal Kombat game was released to be found. After a long series of button pressing (26 to be exact,) you'll get the Ed Boon Menu, named after the creator. These menus can be accessed through Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Once in the menu, you can do everything from changing the initials on the leaderboard to seeing all the endgames without having to beat a single enemy. Additionally, in UMK3 you can unlock hidden characters, see all the fatality moves, and a secret Galaga-clone. If you're wondering how this took 20 years to find, apparently it's just really hard to do, on top of its nearly impossible-to-nail the sequence.
8 The Super Smash Bros. Melee - Name Entry Glitch
Okay, to be fair, this is more of a glitch than an intentionally hidden part of Super Smash Bros. Melee, but it is still interesting nonetheless. For seven years after the game was released, playing as the final boss in the game, Master Hand was thought to be impossible, a myth even.
Well, a gamer that goes by Exchord92 said he got bored one day and messed around with the player selection screen until he realized he could advance to stage selection without picking a character. When the match starts and no player is chosen the game automatically selects the first character ID in the code which happens to be Master Hand. Since Master Hand isn't intended to be played all his attacks are mapped to the D-pad, not the joystick.
7 GoldenEye 007 - The Emulation Easter Egg
Golden Eye is arguably one of the greatest N64 games of all time. Most people are unaware that inside the Golden Eye cartridges were 10 different emulated games. Here's where it's about to get meta — you can only access the emulated games through an emulated game.
The story is that Rare, the developers of Golden Eye, wanted to see if the N64 could handle emulation. So they ended up emulating several ZX Spectrum 48x titles onto the game. The intention was to remove this code before the game was shipped, but because of time restrictions, or something else, it ended up just getting disabled but still remaining in the game.
Only until 2004 did users band together release a patch that could unlock these games on N64 emulators. Yes, it's complicated, and you have to be fairly tech-savvy to pull it off but a lot of fans did get to check it out.
6 Mike Tyson's Punch-Out - K.O.
Back in 2009, Makato Wada who was a part of the original development team for Mike Tyson's Punch Out did an interview where he admitted that there were many secrets in the game that haven't been found yet. One of those secrets were clues when to hit certain opponents for instant KOs.
Some hints would entail members of the crowd ducking, while another was to punch right when a camera flashes. A Reddit user found and recorded one of these eggs here. Either way, the fact that Wada held on to that bit of information for over 20 years and more Easter eggs are still being found... makes us wonder if there are any more in this NES game that hasn't been unearthed yet.
5 Resident Evil 2 - Sporty Rebecca
It's hard to tell exactly how long it took people to find this Easter egg in Resident Evil 2, but we do know it's somewhat of a bizarre one. In order to find this Easter egg, you have to first find Wesker's desk. Once you do, you must look inside of it no less than 50 times.
After the 49th time of seeing a message telling you that there's nothing there, you'll find something. It's a fairly pixelated photo of Rebecca in a basketball outfit. Pretty weird, but Capcom even gave a nod to it in Resident Evil 0 HD Remastered where one of the costumes you could wear is, you guessed it, Rebecca's basketball uniform.
4 Silent Hill II - A Bonified Ending
Silent Hill games are known for being creepy and a little bit off, but this Easter egg was weird even by Silent Hill standards. As some of you may or may not know Silent Hill II had multiple endings, each more peculiar than the next.
The ending that takes the cake is "The Dog Ending." Sure, it's probably the easiest to achieve out of this list, but it's also probably the strangest. You have to first unlock all other endings, have multiple save files and through some digging you'll find a room with a dog in it who was controlling the horrible things that we're happing to you the whole time..
3 The Discworld Games - "Eric Idle Says F**k"
Kids of all ages enjoyed Discworld I and Discworld II. Picture you or you kid setting up your new Discworld game, but then all of a sudden it crashes, prompting your computer to play every sound byte in the game. Now picture one of those sound bytes saying "I want to be the first person in a game to say f**k." This is exactly what happened to a customer one year while trying to boot Discworld I.
If you're wondering why this was there in the first place, Dave Johnston a programmer on the game was bored one night and put some Eric Idle (who voiced parts of the game) bloopers to good use. Funny enough, Johnston didn't get fired after that stunt and even added it to Discworld II with a slightly different dialog. You have to click very specific parts of the game to get the dialog, which is why it was only discovered through a bug.
2 The Binding Of Isaac: Afterbirth - Digging Deeper
After hit steam-game The Binding of Isaac designer Edmund McMillen got disgruntled with data miners for exploiting an easter egg, he decided to step it up. The near-conspiracy level secret goes like this: Following McMillen dropping some odd tidbits on Twitter and a blog post that hid the message "Ur so close" a massive hunt ensued.
Eventually, Reddit user MetalAlex discovered that if you counted the pixels on an achievement icon in the game the numbers could be translated from ASCII code to the phrase "IERBeIL" which was an Imgur link. The link and several other clues lead fans to a Santa Cruz pier, yes, an IRL location. After this, hundreds of Reddit users (and a lot of riddle-solving) brought them to Santa Ana — shovels in hand. That's right, fans dug their way to the next clue.
They used the small TBOI toy they found in the ground to unlock a Twitter account which was the final key to solving the mystery. Minutes after fans accessed the Twitter account a message that said "The community unlocked something hidden!" and an update to the game came through with a new character. This is, of course, is a very watered down version of the events. To get the full picture check out this wrap-up.
1 Trials Evolution - The 100-Year-Old Egg
If you think an insane easter egg that bleeds into real life and takes 100 years to solve wouldn't come out of a motorcycle game, you'd be wrong. Strap in for this one. In 2013 fans found a secret song in Trials Evolution. By using Spectral Analysis, a Morse code was revealed which lead fans to a website. This website hosted images that represented different scientists.
The creepy code to unlock the next clue was "big freeze with no complete end," which refers to the end of the world, of course. After entering the password, the website gave real-world coordinates that spanned across Australia, UK, Finland, and more. At these locations, clue-hunters found little boxes with notes and keys. On the reverse side of several clues, it read "Midday in Year 2113. 1st Sat in Aug One of Five keys will open the box Underneath the Eiffel Tower."
To this day no one but the creator of the puzzle Anttil Ilvessuo, knows what will be waiting there. Ilvessuo said that he's made arrangments to ensure that there will be a box to open there after he's gone. It's likely that on that day children or friends of long lost Trials Evolution fans will be there with five keys ready to unlock the secrets.