If you think you’re a hardcore completionist capable of finding any and all video game secrets, just wait till you see these! Nintendo’s built a huge fan base over the past several years—yet very few of those fans have discovered these secrets. Some of these secrets weren’t discovered for literally years! If we’re only now finding them, who knows what other secrets Nintendo’s hidden from us?
Don’t worry, these aren’t disturbing secrets that’ll make you question Nintendo’s innocence. No, these are secrets that illustrate why Nintendo is one of the coolest video game companies out there! Nintendo adds incredible, thoughtful detail to its games so that all players leave the room satisfied. Many of these secrets are challenging unlockables designed for diehard completionists. However, some of the secrets don’t require intense skill; instead, they require passion. If you’re a passionate gamer who toys around with game mechanics, you might stumble across some satisfying secrets. Most people wouldn’t think to look for those secrets, but that’s the point: Nintendo’s rewarding the players who think outside the box.
The secrets on this list are so well-hidden that you can only find them if you’re an amazing player, a hacker, or just incredibly lucky. If you discovered any of these secrets on your own, I am thoroughly impressed!
25 Zelda’s Secret Language (The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Breath of the Wild includes a whole lot of mysteries, including advanced technology created thousands of years ago. Mysterious symbols accompany much of this technology: you’ll see the ancient Hylian text in shrines, towers, and your Sheikah Slate.
Nintendo could have easily implemented this language without making it comprehensible. Instead, they added wonderful Easter eggs for anyone dedicated enough to translate the language! Much of the Hylian text references earlier Zelda games, such as “it’s dangerous to go alone” and “master using it and you can have this.” Nintendo also added some great jokes: when you receive one of the Runes, the ancient device says, “Now loading. Do not turn off.”
I’m not really sure how people managed to translate it since there are few samples and no key. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by how hardcore gamers can be.
24 They’re Watching You (Super Mario Galaxy 2)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 has plenty of scares, although they’re not particularly disturbing due to the game’s E rating. Boos, grinning snowmen, and creepy music add a decent level of “horror” to the game. But they’re nothing compared to the creepy, hidden figures watching you in Shiverburn Galaxy.
You’ll only spot these shadowy figures if you look REALLY hard for them.
They stand atop the cliffs in Shiverburn Galaxy (and the section of Grandmaster Galaxy that shares the same aesthetic as Shiverburn Galaxy). You can’t see them in a straightforward playthrough: you have to stop, enter first-person POV, and look up at the clifftop. The first-person POV only makes things worse, since you make direct eye contact with the ghost-like figures. No matter where you’re standing, it always looks like they’re watching you.
Who knows, maybe they’re friendly. Or maybe they’re evil spirits who want to eat your soul.
23 The Secrets Players NEVER Found (Banjo-Kazooie)
Although Nintendo didn’t publish the 2008 remastered version of Banjo-Kazooie, they were involved in the original 1998 N64 game. The original Banjo-Kazooie had plenty of secrets—including the Mystery Eggs and Ice Key. If you collect all 100 Jiggies, you unlock a secret ending in which Mumbo shows you the location of the Ice Key and two Mystery Eggs. When you visit those locations, however, the items are still inaccessible.
Only a team of hackers managed to uncover Banjo-Kazooie’s secrets.
A group of fans known as “the Rare Witch Project” hacked into Banjo-Kazooie and discovered impossibly complicated codes that unlock the Mystery Eggs and Ice Key. Even though Mumbo only revealed two Eggs, there are actually 6 Mystery Eggs hidden throughout the game—each with their own impossible code. Challenging collectibles are usually fun, but this is just cruel.
22 Hidden In Plain Sight (Super Mario Odyssey)
Before Nintendo updated Super Mario Odyssey with purchasable Power Moons, it was incredibly difficult to unlock the 100% ending. You had to gather all 883 Power Moons, which would unlock a new portrait of Bowser in the Wedding Hall. This feels like its own reward—but the portrait actually holds a secret.
If you jump into the portrait, you’ll discover the secret ending!
A lot of players wouldn’t think to hop into the portrait. After all, you can’t jump into the other portraits in the Wedding Hall! However, there are other paintings in the game that you can jump into. Lifelong Mario fans are more likely to figure out the secret; Super Mario 64 is all about hopping into paintings.
If you find this secret, you’re rewarded with a harder version of Bowser’s final boss fight and a lovely picture of the game’s characters.
21 Ganondorf: Man Or Fish? (The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
The final boss fight in Twilight Princess is one of my favorites. With multiple stages, Ganon truly tests the skills you’ve acquired throughout your journey. The last stage perfectly concludes the game with a simple, epic, challenging sword duel between Link and Ganondorf.
Well, actually...you don’t HAVE to use your sword.
Normally Ganondorf’s only vulnerable after you clash swords with him. You have to mash the A button in order to push Ganon back, which is actually pretty stressful and challenging. However, Nintendo included a secret weapon that lets you cheese Ganon: the Fishing Rod. If you wield the Fishing Rod in front of Ganon, he stops whatever he’s doing and watches the hook like a cat watching a flashlight. I died laughing when I first saw this—and Ganon died moments later, as he was so distracted by the Fishing Rod that he left himself vulnerable.
20 So Many Meta-Jokes (Splatoon 2)
After beating Splatoon 2’s single-player campaign, there’s no indication that a replay would be any different. In fact, the second playthrough’s exactly the same—until you reach the final boss. The boss mechanics and visual cutscenes are unchanged, but the dialogue is vastly different—and vastly entertaining! Nintendo adds hilarious meta-jokes that make fun of the repeated storyline and the villain’s unoriginal puns.
My favorite moment of this “alternate ending” is when it first starts. In the original ending you find Callie, a hero turned evil by brainwashing glasses. In the new ending, Callie’s in the same situation because she thinks the shades “look good” on her. It’s silly and great! I appreciate that Nintendo included a secret ending for fans who love Splatoon 2 enough to replay the campaign.
19 Watering The Plant To Its End (The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker)
How do I know Nintendo never wanted us to find this secret? Because nobody found it for 14 years!
Players have always fought Kalle Demos, an early boss in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, without question. You normally cut the boss down from the ceiling three separate times, slash at its exposed “heart,” and watch the plant eat you and spit you back out. The battle is difficult, stressful, and time-consuming. Only now—14 years after release—have players discovered an easier, quicker solution. After cutting Kalle Demos from the ceiling once, you can instantly kill it by pouring a bottle of Forest Water on it.
We all thought the Forest Water had one purpose: to water trees and give them life. Who knew it could also be used as a weapon! This brilliant secret adds to Wind Waker’s lore (the water that gives life to the Deku Tree kills his opposite, Kalle Demos) and wonderfully rewards experimental players.
18 Demoralizing Commentator (Wave Race: Blue Storm)
I haven’t played Wave Race: Blue Storm in a long time, but I remember it being a tough game. Racing on jet skis isn’t easy thanks to disorienting waves, sharp turns, and countless obstacles. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and the upbeat commentator helped me maintain a positive, motivated attitude.
But what if the commentator wasn’t so nice?
Nintendo often includes positive commentators in its sports games, but they secretly slipped a cruel, sassy commentator into Blue Storm. He constantly insults you! If you make a mistake he calls you “pathetic,” and if you do well he sarcastically compliments you with phrases like: “Your wins are like diamonds—very rare.”
Unlocking this commentator is so difficult that it wasn’t discovered for 9 years! In the Audio Settings on the main menu, you have to tap Z until the waveform at the bottom of the screen turns purple, then press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right on the D-Pad, and finally press A, X, and Z.
17 A New Season (Super Mario World)
Super Mario World is brimming with secrets—many of which are so hidden that only the best players can find them. For that reason, each secret is its own reward—but Nintendo went the extra mile and included a bonus for anyone who found every secret!
There are 96 exits scattered throughout Super Mario World, many of which are well-hidden from the casual player. If you manage to find them all, the entire world changes! The season changes to Autumn, which alters the overworld’s colors and even affects some of the enemies. Galoombas turn yellow and wear sunglasses, Piranha Plants turn into Pumpkin Plants, and more!
Super Mario World has entertained and challenged players since 1990, including in its recent release on the SNES Classic. Despite the game’s popularity and widespread release over the years, very few players have managed to unlock the Autumn setting.
16 Beyond The Final Frontier (Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz)
Beating Banana Blitz is difficult—and incredibly fun! With excellent motion controls and level design, Banana Blitz has a fantastic campaign that ends in space. Seems fitting to finish your journey in the final frontier, right?
Actually, there’s two hidden worlds beyond the “final” world!
If you beat a world without using a Continue, you’re rewarded with a golden crown. If you do that with all 8 worlds, you unlock World 9—the Sinking Swamp! This world includes 9 extra, fun, challenging stages (previous worlds had 8 stages plus a boss fight).
As if unlocking World 9 wasn’t difficult enough, there’s a tenth world for anyone who beats Sinking Swamp without using a Continue. If you enjoy the Super Monkey Ball games and want a challenge, you need to find Banana Blitz’s hidden worlds!
15 Playing As Anna (Fire Emblem Warriors)
Finding Anna in any mission in Fire Emblem Warriors is challenging. She shows up in missions that are already tough, but only if you complete some difficult prerequisites (such as defeating multiple enemies or bosses within a time limit). Once you’ve unlocked her, she gives you one of “Anna’s Mementos.”
These Mementos are needed to complete an Illustration, which requires 20 Mementos. Once you’ve finished an Illustration, you have access to a new, incredibly challenging mission. After beating your first Illustration mission, you finally unlock Anna as a playable character!
Anna’s a powerful archer with a fun personality—and so many meta-jokes! Because Anna shows up in nearly every Fire Emblem game, a lot of characters recognize her, and she embarrassedly points out that those were actually different Annas who happen to look like her. It’s silly and great, particularly for those diehard Fire Emblem fans who played every game and worked so hard to unlock Anna in this one.
14 The Hidden Superboss (Xenoblade Chronicles)
Xenoblade Chronicles has some weird restrictions based on weather and time of day, like enemies that only spawn at night, or bosses that only show up in a lightning storm. I think this dynamic is a good idea that’s poorly executed. After all, the world’s too massive to explore everything during infrequent weather conditions.
That’s why very few people will ever find the hidden superboss on their own. Avalanche Abaasy is the hardest enemy in the game and is very satisfying to fight. Unfortunately, the epic dragon only shows up at Three Sage Summit at night during a blizzard—and blizzards are incredibly rare! It’s almost impossible to independently discover Avalanche Abaasy, which is a bit frustrating. But that makes the secret that much more satisfying for anyone who does stumble across Avalanche Abaasy and defeats the challenging monster.
13 So Many Secrets! (The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild)
The Hylian language is Breath of the Wild’s biggest secret, but there are so many other insane little secrets hidden within the gameplay. These game mechanics are often unintuitive but beneficial. They reward players who try the craziest experiments, but that’s what Breath of the Wild’s all about: experimentation and exploration.
My favorite secret game mechanic is dropping rusty weapons in front of Octoroks. The Octoroks will actually suck up rusty weapons and spit them out as clean, non-rusty, powerful weapons!
Other gameplay secrets depend on weather and time of day. When it’s raining, some merchants will sell completely different items (which are more rare and valuable than their regular items). If you cook during a Blood Moon, your dishes will actually have better stats!
12 Insane 100% Endings (Metroid Prime 1, 2 And 3)
In all three Metroid Prime games, you can unlock a secret 100% ending by acquiring every item in the game. This isn’t an easy task, though. With little to no instructions, Metroid Prime trusts players to figure out where to go on their own. Throughout the game, you’ll find areas and secrets you can’t access until you have a specific power-up. Even if you remember to backtrack to these areas, it’s nearly impossible to find every nook, cranny, and destructible wall in the game.
Metroid Prime 2 is similarly difficult. Metroid Prime 3, on the other hand, includes far more handholding than its prequels. When you unlock an area’s map, you can see exactly where items are located. So finding items is much easier—yet the 100% ending is still a challenge. Two areas of the game don’t have unlockable maps, so you can’t see the well-hidden items within these areas.
11 The Glitch Room (The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past)
The SNES Classic has brought some amazing, classic Nintendo games back onto the market. That includes A Link to the Past, one of the greatest Zelda games ever made. The game’s been out since 1991—yet very few people have discovered its secret room!
That’s because you can’t find this room in the traditional sense.
The only way into the secret room is by glitching into it. Nintendo set up the room as a default spawning point for whenever the game can’t pinpoint Link’s location.
If you figure out a way to glitch the game (or accidentally run into a glitch), you’ll be teleported to a room filled with Rupees. The sign at the back reads: “My name is Chris Houlihan. This is my top secret room. Keep it between us, ok?” When you exit the room, you spawn outside of Link’s house.
In 1990, Nintendo held a contest in which the winner would have their name placed in an NES game. Chris Houlihan won and instead ended up in this SNES game. Very few people will ever find Chris Houlihan’s name, but his glitchy room has earned him a spot in Legend of Zelda history.
10 Knuckles & Knuckles (Sonic Mania)
Ever since Sega published Sonic & Knuckles in 1994, fans have had way too much fun creating ridiculous “& Knuckles” memes. Sega wonderfully acknowledged that meme in Sonic Mania: if you beat enough Blue Sphere bonus stages, you unlock the “& Knuckles” mode. This causes Knuckles to tag along throughout the game—even if you’re playing as Knuckles! So you can play as Knuckles & Knuckles. Congrats Sega, you’ve turned your fans’ meme into your own meme.
That mode’s really fun—but did you know it contains a secret ending?
Normally, you can only battle the hidden final boss as Sonic. However, you can also fight the boss as Knuckles—but only if you play through the “& Knuckles” mode as Knuckles. This gives Knuckles the rare opportunity to turn into Super Knuckles (he sadly doesn’t turn gold like Sonic). It also unlocks a hilarious alternate ending in which Knuckles is reading a book called “Sonic Mania & Knuckles” while Sonic and Tails look confused in the background.
9 Vigoro The Air Pirate! (Skies Of Arcadia Legends)
Skies of Arcadia Legends has so many collectibles, it’s not even funny. From hidden Moonfish to challenging Bounty fights to invisible Discoveries, you’ll have to work really hard to complete everything in the game.
If you’re willing to do the extensive backtracking and exploring needed to find every collectible, you’re rewarded with a hidden super boss: Vigoro! Vigoro’s the only Valuan Admiral to survive the main storyline, but he completely disappears from the game. After you’ve completed everything in the game (except the final boss), Vigoro reappears at Crescent Isle. Inspired by Vyse, Vigoro’s become an Air Pirate like you. Having defeated the strongest sailors in the world, Vigoro challenges you to one final duel.
Even when Vigoro loses, he says he’ll keep training, for Vyse taught him that “no matter what happens, never gives up.” Perhaps that’s Nintendo’s way of acknowledging our commitment to unlocking this 100% ending.
8 Poor Jovani (The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess)
Finding Poes in Twilight Princess is fun—but also very difficult. Like the Gold Skulltulas in Ocarina of Time, you have to thoroughly explore the world to find every Poe. Poes only show up at night, making the quest even more difficult and time-consuming than it should be.
If you’re a dedicated completionist who finds all 60 Poes, you’re rewarded with an infinite supply of Rupees! Jovani gives you 200 Rupees and sprints away to find his girlfriend, who he hasn’t seen since the Poes cursed him. If you return to Jovani’s house, Gengle awaits and will give you 200 Rupees anytime you visit.
Few players discover every Poe (although it’s easier in the Wii U version of Twilight Princess), and even fewer find the hidden ending to Jovani’s story. If you visit Telma’s Bar, you’ll find Jovani endlessly crying over his ex-girlfriend, who started dating another man when Jovani disappeared. As if turning into gold wasn’t punishment enough!
7 Totaka’s Song
Kazumi Totaka has been composing music for Nintendo games for almost 30 years. He’s contributed to dozens of games, and he’s been the Sound Director for nearly all the Animal Crossing and Yoshi games. If you’re a big Nintendo fan, you might be able to recognize his musical style at this point—but can you recognize his song?
Totaka includes a specific song in most of his games.
This short ditty (known in pop culture as “Totaka’s Song”) is always difficult to find. In the Animal Crossing games, you usually have to find K.K. Slider jamming on Saturday night and specifically request the song.
Other games only play Totaka’s Song in the middle of other songs. These songs only play in a specific area of the game, where you have to wait several minutes to hear the ditty.
6 The Hidden Grand Prix (F-Zero GX)
If you’ve played any games in the F-Zero series, you know just how brutal the racing franchise is. You race against difficult AI at ridiculous speeds (higher than the speed of sound!) through harrowing stages (usually without safety rails) with very little health. F-Zero X raised the stakes even further by giving you boost power—which in turn lowers your health bar. Surviving any race is a challenge in itself, so earning gold in a grand prix is an incredible feat!
If you want to unlock F-Zero GX’s hidden cup...I wish you luck.
I’ve owned F-Zero GX for 15 years. I only just discovered its hidden grand prix: the AX Cup. This fun cup uses all six stages from the arcade game, F-Zero AX. To unlock the cup, you need to beat the other four cups on Master mode. With only two lives per grand prix, tough racetracks, and incredibly challenging AI, Master mode will test your skills and patience. Nintendo clearly didn’t want anyone except persistent, diehard gamers to find this cup.
5 Hidden Powers (The Last Story)
On your first playthrough of The Last Story, you can’t use the Power of the Outsider until Zael acquires it within the narrative. So I was pleasantly surprised when you could use it earlier in the New Game Plus—with both Zael and Dagran! Whereas Zael’s hand glows blue from his Power of the Outsider, Dagran’s glows a creepy red.
Although this is technically a plot hole, it’s symbolically brilliant!
In your first playthrough, Dagran seems like your best friend until the finale, when he reveals himself to be the true antagonist. Driven by hate and revenge, Dagran manipulated both friends and enemies in order to conquer the world and steal the Power of the Outsider. By giving him the Power of the Outsider in the New Game Plus, Nintendo foreshadows his betrayal and conveys his hidden evil.
4 The Good Ending (Cave Story)
A lot of games include secret alternate endings, but none are as difficult to unlock as Cave Story’s. In order to unlock the happy, “true” ending, you first have to be a terrible person. When Professor Booster falls several stories in the middle of the game, you have to ignore him instead of making sure he’s ok. Ironically, this ensures his survival: if you talk to him he gives you a jetpack and dies, but if you ignore him he somehow survives.
This unlocks a few sidequests and overall just makes the game more difficult—after all, you don’t have a jetpack! Professor Booster later gives you an upgraded jetpack, but this new jetpack is incredibly difficult to control.
Once you complete the sidequests and save Curly (who dies in the normal ending), a door unlocks after you defeat the “final” boss. The true final boss waits inside, who you fight alongside Curly. It’s an incredibly satisfying ending! Too bad most players miss it because of its insane, unintuitive prerequisites.
3 The Third Dragon (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door)
You battle two dragons in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door’s main storyline: Hooktail and Gloomtail. Hooktail appears early on while Gloomtail awaits in the game’s final dungeon. Gloomtail’s difficult but not nearly as challenging as the final boss, the Shadow Queen—but even the Shadow Queen looks weak when compared to the third, hidden dragon: Bonetail.
Bonetail waits at the bottom of the Pit of 100 Trials, which is already a significant challenge. While you fight the Shadow Queen at maximum health, you might encounter Bonetail with very little health thanks to the 100 Trials beforehand. So if you’re still able to beat Bonetail, congratulations—that’s a tough super boss!
If you defeat Bonetail, you’re awarded with the “Return Postage” badge, an incredible badge that makes enemies take half the damage they inflict on Mario!
2 The Secret Only Demo Players Will Find (Yooka-Laylee)
In the Toybox demo for Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic Games included a little secret—a secret only completionists would find. After collecting everything in the demo, the INEPT robot tells you: “When real-world game releases, look to a pirate ship for surprise. Ground smash lone rock under a nearby tree to reveal the way.”
So the creators only wanted a very specific audience to know about this secret, and they only wanted the most dedicated players to actually find said secret. The secret’s hidden in Galleon Galaxy, the final world of Yooka-Laylee. If you find the pirate ship and Buddy Slam the nearby rock, a UFO pops out of nowhere and drops the INEPT robot onto the ship!
In the end, this discovery is its own reward. The robot doesn’t give you anything: it just says, “Still loading exposition...50.1%. Demonstrate patience, user.” What does that even mean? Will there be more exposition in a sequel or DLC expansion? Hopefully we’ll find out soon.
1 I Hope You Like Photography… (The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker)
The Picto Box in Wind Waker seems like a fun feature—until you learn that it can only store 3 photos at a time. Did you want to capture wonderful moments of your journey? Too bad! Even if you find 3 perfect moments, you’ll have to discard those pictures for sidequests that require the Picto Box. Particularly the Nintendo Gallery sidequest, in which you have to take pictures of every character and enemy in the game.
As you can imagine, the Nintendo Gallery is insanely time-consuming.
Taking pictures of every character and enemy (especially bosses) would be a lengthy challenge no matter what. Since you can only carry 3 pictures, the sidequest almost feels impossible. You’ll have to backtrack to the Nintendo Gallery, drop off your photos, take 3 photos, backtrack, and so on. Fortunately, the recent, remastered version of Wind Waker lets you store 12 photos on the Picto Box.
If you’re dedicated enough to photograph everyone in the game, you’re rewarded with all their figurines—as well as a special figurine of Link and the King of Red Lions.