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The most well-hidden video game easter eggs

Key Takeaways

  • Developers hide Easter eggs in games for fun and to spark discussion.
  • Arkham Asylum revealed Arkham City blueprint, which took years to find.
  • Halo 3’s hidden birthday Easter egg was discovered after 7 years and was meant for one person only.



Video game developers have been hiding Easter eggs in games ever since the old Atari 2600 days. The first one of note was placed in the game Adventure on Atari by the lone developer Warren Robinett in 1978. Back in those days, games didn’t have credits in the game, and boxes only listed publishers, so Robinett decided to sneak in a secret to make sure he got credit for all his work. By doing some very obscure and difficult tasks, players were able to reach a screen with the text “Created by Warren Robbinett.” And thus, the Easter egg in video games was born.

Thankfully, developers don’t have to resort to sneaking in their names to get credit for working on games and can now use Easter eggs to reward players for thorough exploration and thinking outside the box. Some of these are just for fun, others meant to spark discussion and speculation, but one I have to mention has even gone beyond the bounds of the game itself. I’m not talking about Easter eggs you can find as easily as opening a secret door or going beneath a waterfall here — these are Easter eggs you won’t believe were even found in the first place.


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1 Arkham City map in Arkham Asylum

The sequel’s blueprints

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Release Date
March 26, 2010

Genre
Third person action

Developer
Rocksteady

Arkham Asylum was one of the first truly great superhero games we ever got. In a sea of rushed movie tie-in games, this game came along with a brand-new story and lore within the Batman universe and was free to create a contained experience highlighting all the best aspects of being Batman. The environment of Arkham Asylum itself was a blast to fight through and explore with flowing combat and light Metroidvania elements hiding secrets and gadgets, plus dozens of Riddler trophies to solve. The biggest secret, had it been discovered early enough, would have blown the lid off of what would become the sequel in Arkham City. Unfortunately, players didn’t discover this well-hidden secret until after that game came out, but one completely unassuming wall could be blown open with the right placement of explosive gel to reveal a hidden office showing a blueprint for Arkham City. This was so well hidden that the developers eventually had to reveal it in a podcast since no one had uncovered it yet.


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2 Halo 3 birthday wish

Happy Birthday, Lauren!

Halo 3

Release Date
September 25, 2007

Genre
First person shooter

Developer
Bungie

The Halo titles are packed with Easter eggs and secrets, with Halo 3 having some of the best. Most were discovered within the first year or two of the game’s release, but there was one that took a full seven years to be discovered because of how specific the conditions were to unlock it. This Easter egg wasn’t planted with the intention of being found by everyone, however, but instead made for one specific person. Bungie’s former senior engineer, Adrien Perez, snuck in this little tribute to his wife Lauren to immortalize her birthday in one of the coolest ways possible. While playing normally, starting up a campaign mission will show you a loading screen of a halo ring being formed out of blue lights in a black void. If you play the game on (or set your console’s date to) December 25 and hold down both thumbsticks while the loading screen starts, the ring will form with the words “Happy Birthday, Lauren!” on it.


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3 Uncharted 3 teasing The Last of Us

Deadly fungus spotted

Uncharted 3

Release Date
November 1, 2011

Genre
Third-person shooter, adventure

Developer
Naughty Dog

Uncharted 3 wasn’t the last time Naughty Dog would visit that universe after creating The Last of Us, but is it possible that both franchises actually take place in the same world? Probably not, since Easter eggs are just for fun, but this little nod to the studio’s next project was another hint — like the Arkham City one — that could have spoiled the next game way in advance. This hint wasn’t as hidden as that one, which may end up being why no one stopped to notice it until after The Last of Us was announced. In the very first mission of Uncharted 3, Nate and Sully are in an old bar for a deal that ends up in a brawl, just as you would expect. One small detail no one thought to look at was a newspaper in the corner with an interesting headline that read “Scientists are still struggling to understand deadly fungus.” On its own, that wouldn’t mean anything, but in hindsight, it is a direct reference to the studio’s next prestige title left for anyone to see — years before it would come out.


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4 Play as Master Hand in Smash Bros. Melee

Not an urban legend

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Release Date
December 3, 2001

Genre
Platform fighter

Developer
HAL Laboratory

I know I’ve fallen for the old “Sonic is in Melee” playground rumor back in the day. That kind of came true eventually when he was added to Smash Bros. Brawl, but he was never some secret hidden character in Melee. Another urban legend that wasn’t quite as widespread was in regards to playing as the Master Hand, which is the boss of the adventure mode. Master Hand doesn’t follow the normal rules of Smash, so it wasn’t a very believable rumor, and yet it’s true. This is less of an Easter egg and more of a glitch that I’m guessing HAL never wanted anyone to actually discover.


The basic idea is you need to enter a multiplayer game with at least two controllers connected, one being in the third port. Don’t select any characters, and instead put one cursor over the “Back” option and the other on “Name Entry” and press A on both at the same time. If done correctly, the game will go to the stage select screen. Once you choose a stage, controller port three will be in control of Master Hand. You can do all of its moves, though it is kind of glitchy and breaks the game a bit — but it can be done.

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5 Trials Evolution’s generational mystery

See you in 2113


Trials Evolution

Release Date
March 21, 2013

Genre
Physics racer

Developer
Redlynx

The last Easter egg I have to mention couldn’t be anything other than the insane Trails Evolution scavenger hunt. This game came out in 2013, at which point internet communities were cracking even the most complex puzzles and secrets in days if not hours. The developers at Redlynx figured they would see just how far people would go to solve some video game Easter egg and the answer is very, very far. This is a huge story with dozens of parts and steps to it, but the basic idea is that a coded message in the game gave instructions on how to unlock a song. This song, when looked at through spectral analysis, revealed a message in Morse code. Translating that directed players to a website with new images being uploaded every day, leading to new riddles eventually providing coordinates to real locations around the world people had to go to and physically dig up buried boxes. That is already insane, but it isn’t over yet. Anyone who found a key in those buried boxes needed to show up on the first Saturday of August at noon beneath the Eiffel Tower… in the year 2113. That’s right, this Easter egg won’t be fully revealed until a century after the game’s release.


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