Video games are a wonderful vehicle for keeping ourselves occupied when everything else seems too stressful. I myself find great relief whenever someone discovers a video game secret that was buried for years way after the game’s initial release. It just seems crazy to me that we can see a game launch and have everything uncovered in a matter of hours and others remain secret for decades. It’s strange to me, but also, again, very cool to read about. If you’re like me then these thirty entries are fascinating to wrap our minds around. Perhaps there are some well-known secrets that you know about, but I guarantee there are other entries on here that are new even to you hardcore sleuths.
With this piece, we're going to tap into a wide range of different games and genres — there's something for everyone here. We'll also be pulling entries from as many different consoles as possible, so no one will be left out. Again, these hidden secrets were a huge surprise to fans of the games, but it goes a step further: these are so striking, they'd be fascinating even if you'd never played the games in question — so let's dig in!
30 Mario’s Minus World
Guess what? Yep, Pop Fiction time and this one blew my mind. So, in the original Super Mario Bros., there were legends about a secret set of levels dubbed the Minus World. Turns out it was true. If you have a top loader NES, a copy of Tennis, and Super Mario Bros., you can swap the carts. If fast enough it’ll trigger this glitch world filled with dozens of levels. Yes, they are broken, but they’re very cool. This took almost thirty years to uncover!
29 Pokémon Gold And Silver’s Missing Links
Before Nintendo attended E3 in a big capacity, they had Space World. Now, in 1997, they showed off Pokémon Gold and Silver and those that played remember it being different upon release. However, there was no record until a story broke this year when a ROM of the games released mysteriously online. Another two-decade-later unearthing. In it, we can see cut Pokémon that would have made so much more sense in the evolutionary chain. There’s so much to go through here, so check out the write up on our site.
28 GoldenEye 007’s Multiplayer Haven
I promised more GoldenEye 007 secrets and I will keep that promise. This last one, again from Pop Fiction, delved into rumors surrounding a cut multiplayer level: the Citadel. You know, where that giant satellite is kept. It’s a pretty iconic area in the film. Finding it takes some master-level cart manipulation, but if you’re persistent enough, the area is indeed “playable” in some form. That is to say, yes, it was planned but scrapped at the last minute.
27 Mario Kart Wii’s Cut Modes
Despite what you may think about it, Mario Kart Wii sold a bazillion copies on the system. Personally, I found a lot of the mechanics and changes a bit perplexing. Anyway, nine years after its launch, a YouTube personality, MrBean3500vr, discovered a cute mode in the game’s data. It seems like it was going to be a challenge mode wherein players could complete certain objectives during races, or short hybrid courses for rewards. Based on the code it looked similar to Mario Kart DS’ mission structure.
26 Play Bloodborne With GTA V
This one is very strange. So, in the Remastered version of Dark Souls, some models found a prototype for Bloodborne. One can assume that this was in the original game’s code that seeped over into this port. Now here’s the weird part. They accessed it by playing Grand Theft Auto V. You can watch Trevor run around Yharnam, which is pretty odd. Now Dark Souls came out in 2011 with Bloodborne releasing in 2015. For someone to discover this code seven years after release is extraordinary, especially given the way they did it.
25 Thrilling In Moonwalker
“Thriller” is one of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits. So you’d think it would make it into his game, Moonwalker, wouldn’t you? Well, rumors speculated that the track was indeed in a prototype cartridge by so called developers that worked on the game, but this truth wouldn’t be fully confirmed until September 2017. A Reddit user, Oliade677, bought a prototype cartridge of the game at a rummage sale. When booted up, the track was indeed still intact. This took 28 years to confirm!
24 Taste Donkey Kong 64’s Rainbow
The Rainbow Coins in Donkey Kong 64 are some of the hardest to both find and reach and for good reason. A Speedrunner known as Isotarge discovered one was missing in the code for a certain level. If you go to a tall set of grass in Fungi Forest and pound the ground around there, one will pop up. Since this was covered up by grass no one thought to pound there randomly. I find that hard to believe. No one in twenty odd years pounded there randomly?
23 Bald Bull’s Secret Strategy
Punch-Out!! is indeed a boxing, puzzle hybrid. Every boxer you face has a strategy. If you look for the tells the fight is all but won. Bald Bull, one of the game’s toughest early fights, is pretty tricky.
More like Punch-Races!!, am I right?
In 2016 a Reddit user, midwesternhousewives, found out when a photographer flashes in the crowd you can attack for maximum damage. This was twenty-nine years after the fact. Wow! What a chance encounter. This photographer also pops up in the Piston Honda fight.
22 Play The ZX Spectrum In GoldenEye 007
A game, which I have no love for, leaving me in a vulnerable state compared to a lot of the Internet, is GoldenEye 007. Has it held up? Heck no, but it was a master class console shooter and multiplayer experience at the time. There's bound to be a secret or two still left hidden. One such Easter egg came in the form of a full emulator for the obscure ZX Spectrum console. It’s also pre-loaded with a lot of Rare’s older games. This stayed locked away for about fifteen years.
21 The Missing Code In Alien: Colonial Marines
Critics, for a myriad of reasons, panned Alien: Colonial Marines. It wasn’t what they were advertised, shooting was clunky, it looked awful, and the A.I. was downright stupid. Now, five years later, a modder going by the name jamesdickinson963 noticed that the code was misspelled. He fixed it by deleting just one letter from the code and now the A.I. is leagues better. Gearbox, the developer, has to look pretty small right now. No one caught this over there? I mean, we’re all human, but come on.
20 Play NES Games In Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing was a breakout hit for the GameCube. It wasn’t for me, but the one thing I did appreciate at the time was the NES games you could play in-game. Eventually, someone discovered some hidden titles via a secret code, but now the mystery has widened even further. Seventeen years after its release, a security researcher, James Chambers, discovered there’s a complete NES emulator built inside the game. That means you can theoretically play any NES rom on it given the right tools. There’s better ways to emulate NES games now, but that’s still a neat find.
19 The Nero Family Side Quest
Final Fantasy IX, in many ways, is my secret favorite entry in the series. It feels like a beautiful send off to its fantasy roots before it went more modern. I've beaten it a lot and I'm sure other fans can say the same.
That Nero family loves to procreate.
Turns out there was a secret side quest involving the Nero family no one discovered until thirteen years after its PS1 debut. The reward for going through this hassle isn’t that great, but knowing there was more to the game was cool.
18 Play As Master Hand In Smash Bros. Melee
When GameTrailers was still around they had a show I was in love with called Pop Fiction, wherein they tackled famous rumors and tried to figure out if they were true, or not. One of the coolest ones went after a claim that boasted you could play as Master Hand in Super Smash Bros. Melee. The method is kind of weird, but after replicating the proposed setup GameTrailers indeed discovered this was true. This was over a decade after the game came out.
17 The Hidden Developer In Resident Evil 4
People have poured over Resident Evil 4 for years trying to uncover secrets and not much has really come out of it. That is, until the YouTuber SR212787 discovered a tiny Easter egg twelve years after release. There’s a helicopter scene toward the middle of the game where the players can equip a sniper rifle. If you look way past the vehicle's crash site, there will be a cutout of someone in the background. No one knows who that is yet, though. It could literally be hundreds of people that worked on it.
16 Save Anywhere In Silent Hill 2
This is one of the most recent discoveries of the bunch. Silent Hill 2 secretly had a planned mini map in the game’s code. A Twitter user, @punk7890, posted his discovery a little while ago on July 13. The steps you need to follow cannot be replicated in any other version except the one on PS2.
Can’t be scared if you can save anywhere.
Along with this he and some other members also found you could exploit a bug and save anywhere. These two things in conjunction probably make the game too easy, which is probably why they were removed.
15 Giftpia’s South Park Songs
Giftpia is a super weird title for the GameCube that only released in Japan. It has RPG and Zelda like elements. Anyway one of the composers for the game, either Hirofumi Taniguchi or Yousuke Obitsumi, slipped in voice samples from South Park into the track, “Icicle.”
Beware the Triangle of Zinthar.
These conversations were from the episode “Mecha-Streisand” in which Barbara Streisand turns into a mech parody of Godzilla. Classic episode. Anyway, user Takahashi2212 shared this on the VGFacts message boards in 2016, thirteen years after the game came out.
14 BioShock Hidden Message
In that same video wherein I discovered the secret about the cutout in Resident Evil 4 I learned about a secret developer message that was in the original BioShock. There was a forum on 4Chan that discussed stories regarding one of the developers “crazy antics” while the game was being made.
Under the sea, there is no work for me.
Eventually, it came to light that a secret message was still hidden in the game. It exists in both the original and remastered versions. This post was in 2018, which is eleven years after the game’s initial release.
13 Mortal Kombat’s Debug Menu
The Mortal Kombat series is rampant with rumors about secrets that are some of the most notorious in the industry. Here’s one that somehow managed to stay secret for twenty years. You can access debug menus in the arcade versions of the first three Mortal Kombat games. It’s not a huge revelation, but you can toy around with some cool options. How many secrets are left in these old games? Ed Boon, who has been with the franchise since the beginning, is pretty cagey about this answer. Maybe there is more to unearth.
12 The Ultimate Metroid Password
This one is a little hard to track down in terms of the discovery and who made it. Searching online seems to point to the earliest discovery being in 2007 via NeoGAF. Simply type in NARPAS SWORD into the password options. That would make that discovery a twenty-year wait. Maybe it was less, but at the very least we can say early to late 2000s, giving it at least over a decade hiding bonus. This password basically turns Samus into an unstoppable tank in the original Metroid aka the only way to play because that game is hard!
11 Final Fantasy VII’s Test 0 Encounter
GameTrailers disbanded in 2016. Since then, the former members have started Easy Allies and rebranded the Pop Fiction show as Game Sleuth. Anyway, in an unofficial tips magazine, there was an entry about an enemy known as Test 0.
Loot the well!
In the original print run of the Japanese version, you have a chance to fight an enemy known as Test 0 in Corel Prison. There’s more to it so watch their wrap up of the investigation. This was twenty years after the game and that magazine came out.
10 The Hidden Horrors Of Silent Hill
We’re not done with Silent Hill yet. This time we’re going to look at the first game. Recently, as in last September, a modder by the name of rocker666 uncovered cut monsters that were planned for the game. They were fully modeled and everything and he even put them back in the game. The animations aren’t quite all there, but it’s cool regardless. This took someone eighteen years to find! I wonder if there is an obscure Japanese interview with someone from Konami during this era that talked about this.
9 Zelda’s Chris Houlihan Room
This episode of Pop Fiction revolving around A Link to the Past’s Chris Houlihan room was actually their first, which aired in 2013. This room was made possible because of a contest Chris entered to get his name into the game prior to release. Even though he won, the ways in which you were to find this secret remained a mystery for almost two decades. Sure rumors spread around how to do it, but GameTrailers can be credited once again for proving this discovery was completely true.
8 Wave Race: Blue Storm’s Jerk Announcer
What if you could play a video game that chastised you for playing poorly? I know some have done this in small ways, but the secret found within Wave Race: Blue Storm is a bit different. Just about nine years post release, a NeoGAF member, RaoulDuke, found that you could change the announcer to sound like a real jerk.
Good job, or whatever.
He’ll feign interest in your accomplishments and be harsh if you screw up. The way in which you can activate it is a bit complicated, but it doesn’t require any external devices, or disc switching methods.
7 Mario’s Long Lost GBA Comic
For a long time, China has had a ban on video game consoles and in turn, video games. There was a point where Nintendo tried to slyly get one in via the iQue Game Boy Advance SP. This came with a CD, which until recently, was never data mined. There is a PDF file reader in the data that contains an exclusive Mario comic that was written in Mandarin. This was shared via the official Chinese Nintendo twitter account in November 2017, seemingly thirteen years after this iQue bundle was released. You can download the comic too if interested.
6 Splinter Cell’s Space Seals
Splinter Cell: Double Agent isn’t the most fondly remembered game in the series. It’s not the worst, but it does seem like one that was lost in the shadows as it were. Anyway, this revelation came out just after four years via two developers that worked on the game. After so long they gave up on anyone finding it and posted about this mission involving space seals themselves. I guess that’s one way to expose your secrets, but also less fun. Way to spoil it guys.
5 Calendar Man’s Secret Riddle
In Batman: Arkham City you could visit Calendar Man in prison. On certain dates like Halloween, Christmas, and so on he’d tell you a little factoid. It was a neat little set of Easter eggs if you remembered to check. Well here’s something crazy.
Something wicked this way comes.
If you set your system’s date to 12/13/04 he’ll give a hint about Batman: Arkham Knight. This date is when the studio behind this series, Rocksteady, was formed. It took fans only three years to uncover this clue...with a nudge from Rocksteady via Twitter. Just like Ubisoft, they spoiled it.
4 Accessing Sandover Village In Jak II
Jak II is a crazy departure for the series that is darker and more like a Grand Theft Auto code. Fans longed for the happier past so a bunch of rumors started igniting about a way to visit Sandover Village, the home of Jak and Daxter in the first game. You can do this similarly to the cart swap for Super Mario Bros. If you glitch your disc just right you can load into Sandover village. Basically, you’re flashing into a cut-scene’s area and one not meant to play. This one took about eleven years thanks again to Pop Fiction.
3 Wesker’s Photo
Sometimes secrets are extremely easy to uncover if you’re persistent enough. This one in Resident Evil 2 is just plain creepy, but simple to find. So if you go overt to Wesker’s desk and examine it fifty times you’ll get a film roll.
Does Wesker love Rebecca?
Develop it and you’ll get a picture of Rebecca Chambers in a basketball outfit. This seems to have been first uncovered via the GameFAQs forums around 2009, pitting it about two decades later.
2 Duck Hunt’s Multiplayer
Duck Hunt was released in 1985 for the West. It’s a basic light gun game where you use the NES Zapper to shoot ducks. If someone plugs in a regular controller into the second port and there is one duck on screen, they can control that duck for a weird spat of multiplayer. This was in the manual, but I had the game back then and never knew that. Looking online the closest revelation I found to this was in a 2010 Reddit post. Is this really a long lost fact, or did 80s kids just not read manuals?
1 Shadow Of The Colossus’ Secret Garden
Our last Pop Fiction tackles Shadow of the Colossus. Their main goal is to uncover if there is a seventeenth colossus, which then leads to a place known as the Secret Garden, and then to a dam, and then to so many other unknown areas.
What lies hidden in the PS4 remake?
A game like this is swallowed in mystery in exploration, development, and the story. I love that it’s still taking players years to uncover new truths about what made it into the game and what could have been. It’s such a fascinating deep dive into the fandom.