A video game is the product of long hours of work. It takes a team of creative people, money and strict deadlines to take an idea and bring it to life on a player's screen.
Imagine all the late nights developers put in when they haven’t gotten much sleep and are far from meeting their goals; they get an idea, to slip in a hidden secret into the game no one else knows about. Designers and artists have been putting Easter eggs into games for years, yet there are secret ones gamers don't find until years after the game's release.
We’re going to uncover secrets in popular video games that took gamers forever to find.
20 GoldenEye 64: Hidden Island On First Level
There’s no shortage of GoldenEye 64 secrets on the list, all of which remained elusive for years. At the end of the first level, instead of jumping off the dam, players will spot an unreachable island to the right. According to Cracked, with the aid of GameShark, players can easily cross the water and reach the inconspicuous island.
19 Super Smash Bros. Melee – Controlling Master Hand
In the Super Smash Bros. games, Master Hand was the tedious final boss players didn’t have access to—that is, until they discovered this secret in Melee. GamesRadar reports that pressing a sequence of buttons unlocks the character, which gamers didn’t find out until 2008—a whole seven years after the game's release.
18 Halo 3 – “Happy Birthday Lauren!”
It took seven years for gamers to pick up on this hidden Easter egg for the Xbox 360’s Halo 3. Granted, there was a brief window of time each year gamers could even spot it. According to GamesRadar, when players push down and hold their controller’s thumbsticks on the title screen on December 25, the message "Happy Birthday Lauren!” scrolls across the iconic ring.
17 Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out – Bald Bull
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out is one of those iconic and nostalgic games that instantly takes players back to the late '80s and early '90s when Iron Mike rocked the heavyweight division. One of the opponents players encounter is Bald Bull, yet IGN reports that for 22 years there was an easier way to beat this big bad right under players' noses. All players have to do is look for a spectator in the background who takes a picture at the exact moment players should time their punch.
16 GoldenEye 64 – “Line Mode”
Unlocking the “line mode” feature in GoldenEye 64 marked the end of a long journey that sought to find one of the last undiscovered cheats of the game. According to GamesRadar, Nintendo told the public all the cheats were accessible by playing the game. That may have been what caused gamers to take forever in discovering the “line mode,” which actually required players to enter a code.
15 Super Mario 3 – Secret Warp Whistle
There are a series of warp whistles in Super Mario Bros. 3, which offer players a quick way to advance to later levels. The makers behind the game hid the first whistle so well, it’s easy to see why it was such a well-kept secret. In the first stage, players come across a white floating block. If they crouch on it for a few seconds, eventually the player drops through and discovers the path to the first warp whistle (YouTube channel GamesRadar).
14 Splinter Cell: Double Agent – Side Mission Saving Seals
It may sound ridiculous, but Splinter Cell: Double Agent has a secret co-op mission where players save baby seals. Serving as a clever play on words with the series’ title, GamesRadar reports that developers ended up spilling the beans on this secret mission four years after the game came out.
13 Batman: Arkham Asylum – Teasing The Next Game’s Release
Leave it to the character Calendar Man—a whole three years after the game's release—to tell players when the sequel to Arkham City was coming out. According to IGN, if players change their console’s date to Rocksteady’s birthdate (which is the developer behind the game) and talk to Calendar Man, he tips players off to Arkham Knight's release.
12 Mortal Kombat – Secret Menu
This next one is for the arcade version of Mortal Kombat. GamesRadar reports that by pressing a sequence of button, an Easter egg menu appears that serves as a shortcut to the game's features. Once players have access to it, they can run diagnostics and even jump to any character’s ending.
11 Wave Race: Blue Storm – Turn The Announcer Into A Bully
Part of the experience playing Wave Race: Blue Storm on the Gamecube is hearing the commentator in the background. Nine years removed from the game’s release, GamesRadar reveals that an Easter egg surfaced that turns the commentator into a jerk. As you race, he’ll say disparaging phrases such as “Is that the best you can do?”
10 Donkey Kong – Developer’s Hidden Initials
The arcade version of Donkey Kong is an example of a developer inserting their own secret Easter egg. After performing a seemingly random sequence of actions, GamesRadar reports that the initials "LMD" will appear at the bottom of the screen. The developer who made it, Landon M. Dyer, revealed it years after the game’s release in a blog post (DadHacker.com).
9 Trials HD – Background References
Even an unassuming Xbox Arcade title from ten years ago had its share of hidden secrets. According to IGN, Trials HD dropped references to several complex subjects from Leonardo Da Vinci to DNA sequences in levels. After years of studying the game, a team of players were able to decipher what all the images were referencing.
8 The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past – Chris Houlihan Room
A secret room exists in A Link To The Past that contains 45 Blue Rupees. Dubbed the Chris Houlihan room, GamesRadar reports that the name belongs to a contest winner via Nintendo Power, a video game magazine. The same source notes that it took years for people to find this secret room in a game that came out in 1992.
7 Deus Ex: Invisible War – Dance Party
While this Easter egg doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, gamers will still get a kick out of it. According to GamesRadar, on the last level of Deus Ex: Invisible War, if players take a flag to the toilet and flush it down, they teleport to another room where a dance party takes place.
6 Metroid – Password To Unlock Invincibility And Unlimited Missiles
The original Metroid game has lots of weapons and items for players to spend hours collecting. For those who want to get it all with ease, there’s a secret password that gives Samus invincibility and unlimited missiles. With Metroid arriving in 1986, GamesRadar suggests that years passed without players even knowing about this useful shortcut.
5 GoldenEye 64 – ZX Spectrum Emulator
It took a whopping fifteen years after GoldenEye 64’s release for players to discover this hidden gem. According to IGN, the developer behind the game, Rare, had tested an emulator for ZX Spectrum software, which is from the United Kingdom. Apparently the emulator code still exists inside the game, giving players a cool surprise years later.
4 Marathon Infinity – Hidden Multiplayer Level
Before there was Halo, there was Marathon. Made by the same developer, Bungie, Marathon Infinity was the third entry in the FPS series. According to GamesRadar, a player came across a bonus multiplayer level that’s dubbed “Hangar 96.” It just goes to show, good things come to those who wait.
3 Final Fantasy IX – Nero Family Sidequest
It’s unfortunate but depending on where players lived determined when they found out about this secret. American gamers didn’t find out about the Nero Family sidequest until years later thanks to BradyGames. According to GamesRadar, while Japan got a more thorough series of guides by Ultimania, the BradyGames version failed to mention this little hidden sidequest.
2 Bubble Bobble – Detailed List of Stats
Ever wondered how many times a player has used power-ups or jumped in an arcade game? Well, Bubble Bobble did and decided to implement a secret stats feature—only it took years for players to find out about it. IGN reports that once it became a ROM, players discovered this fun feature.
1 Resident Evil 2 – Rebecca Chambers Photo
The developers probably had fun with this one. In Resident Evil 2, there’s a part where the player checks the police captain’s desk, only to find there’s nothing useful there. GamesRadar reports that if players check the same spot fifty times, however, a file pops up that contains a photo of one of the franchise’s characters, Rebecca Chambers. Players didn’t find this out until years after the game came out.
Sources: YouTube, GamesRadar, DadHacker.com, IGN, Cracked