Top Ten…Easter Eggs In Gaming

Every now and again, when a game is being developed those involved in the process like to have a bit of fun, and add items and references that one may not necessarily encounter in a standard playthrough. These hidden things have come to be known as Easter Eggs in games, and often times our pervading memories of a game are the strange things that you can encounter that the developers subtly added to the mix – whether they be humorous, informative or a dig at other developers, its always a rewarding process to find such things. There have been a multitude of Easter Eggs popping up in games over the years, and what better time to celebrate the best of them than Easter – the festival of eating chocolate eggs. Below is my personal top ten favourite Easter Eggs that I have encountered in a game.

Note: I have purposefully chosen not to include glitches such as the Missingno trick from the Pokemon Red & Blue – all the Easter Eggs listed here are obtainable without the need to cheat or glitch the game. I also left out the secret room from Arkham Asylum, because I am convinced that it was added via a patch and therefore not accessible to everyone.

10 – Adventure – The Original Easter Egg

In 1979, the gaming world received its first Easter Egg courtesy of an intrepid designer named Warren Robinett. After being told by his boss that he was essentially wasting his time creating Adventure, Robinett decided that he would have his revenge…by giving himself credit for his work (Atari did not credit their designers for their work at this time). By picking up a ‘invisible pixel’ in the Black Castle catacombs and bringing it to another level, it causes a wall to disappear, allowing you to move into a room where the words ‘Created by Warren Robinett’ are displayed. The secret took up a whopping 5% of the storage space on the cartridge, but ensured that Robinett’s name would go down in history.

Its more amusing when you consider this was done purely to annoy the bosses at Atari...

9 – Crash Bandicoot 3 – Eggipus Rex

A common Easter Egg to encounter in a game is one which opens up a new path or level for players to explore. My personal favourite example of this came along in Crash Bandicoot 3 by the way of an accident. First off all, you have to proceed through the 11th level, Dino Might, until you reach the Yellow Gem path. Once you enter, you will be chased down by a dinosaur, and have to avoid some pterodactyls on the way…or at least that’s what I was meant to do before I accidentally jumped into the second one. However, instead of being carried to your doom, you get dropped off in a bonus level where you ride a dinosaur through a side scrolling platform, packed to the gills with Wumpa Fruit and a clear gem at the end required for full completion. Great fun, and once you’re done there is another secret level to find…

8 – Super Mario RPG – Samus And Link

Heroes have got to have a rest sometimes right? That’s the case in Super Mario RPG, where the protagonists of the Metroid and Legend Of Zelda series can be found sleeping at various points of the game. If you approach Samus while she sleeps in the Mushroom Kingdom, she will tell you that she is ‘resting up for Mother Brain’, and talking to Link will cause the famous ‘door unlocked’ jingle to play in Rose Town. Mario never gets to rest though does he?

7 – The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Giant Enemy Crab

Taking their inspiration from Sony’s infamous E3 conference in 2006, Bethesda decided that what the wonderful world of Oblivion needed was an enormous crustacean for the player to take on. At the very end of the Greenmead Cave on the Gold Road, players can stumble upon an enormous mud crab – sadly, it doesn’t require ‘massive damage’ to take down, as it has the same stats as a normal mud crab and offers no special loot. Still it was amusing to find and flip around.

6 – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – The End

The Metal Gear Solid series could have filled this list out on its own to be honest; Kojima’s games have always been filled to the brim with secrets and odd conversations, and the third game was no exception. Some great things could be achieved in this game – calling the Major while inside a cardboard box and listening to Snake’s feelings of Zen, finding the real life gaming magazines inside the Granin research bureau and having a revolver duel with Ocelot amongst them. However, the boss battle with The End takes the biscuit; providing you didn’t snipe him at an earlier point in the game (in itself a pretty cool trick) and enter a battle with him, you can kill him with the deadliest weapon in the world – time. By saving and leaving the game for a week (or putting the internal PS2 clock forward by a week) and coming back to the fight, you will find that The End has died of old age, bypassing the fight completely. Utter genius from the developers.

5 – Halo Reach – DJ Alexandria

Not only is this a pretty cool Easter Egg, it can also make this section of the game a hell of a lot easier. In the New Alexandria level, when you are told to go stop the second jammer, don’t enter the building – instead, go back to the first jammer at the hospital, and fly around the building outside until you find a ledge with a switch on it. Press the switch, and return to the club. Instead of giant Hunters, you will find the Covenant forces having a disco party, complete with dancing grunts and a Brute as the DJ.

4 – Gears Of War 3 – The Fascination Of Chickens

Epic Games have become the new kings of the Easter Egg with the Gears Of War franchise. Following on from the Locust Toaster in Gears 2, they upped the ante in the final instalment by having a ridiculous set of things for people to find with enough perseverance. And while the Cluckshot of Act 4 and the ability to have ‘Mad World’ play on Gridlock are pretty cool, the Lambent Chicken from the first level is pretty hard to beat. Once you have met Chairman Prescott, you will have to engage with some Lambent on the deck of the boat. Once they are all taken care of, have Marcus shoot the four open pipes at the side. Once you have shot them all, a chicken will jump out of the last one to Marcus’s surprise. Shoot at it, and it will rise again with a vengeance as a lambent, fire breathing giant chicken. Utterly random and utterly fantastic.

3 – Final Fantasy 7 – Lucky 7’s

Another one that I stumbled across by accident. In Final Fantasy 7, if at any point during a battle a character’s health reaches the exact figure of 7777 (which can be done by having someone cast Regen and having the health trickle up to the total), their name will light up in rainbow colours and then enter an uncontrollable state of rage where every attack they land will inflict exactly 7777 damage onto an enemy. In normal battles this is very satisfying, although having a character locked into attacks only during a longer boss fight could lead to problems. Of course, if you know what you are doing, then you could abuse the trick quite nicely…

2 – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – The Easter Egg

It was hard to narrow down a choice for the GTA series – San Andreas and Vice City both have a numerous amount of Easter Eggs, most them hilariously crude, that have kept gamers amused for years. In the end, I plumped for Vice City which has two Easter Eggs of note. First off, there is a building in the south of the first island that Tommy can enter which has a suitcase filled with a certain white powder, and a chainsaw in a bloodstained bathroom that you can use – a clear reference to the movie Scarface which Vice City heavily leans on for style and content (even the mansion that Tommy takes over in the story is based heavily off of Tony Montana’s drug paradise from the film). However, the best Easter Egg can be found by taking a leap of faith from the VCPR building to the building opposite – instead of plummeting to your doom, you will find yourself passing through a fake wall into a room which simply has an Easter Egg on top of a pedestal.

Rockstar decide to take a literal approach to the Easter Egg trend...

1 – Metal Gear Solid – Psycho Mantis

I raved on about the fight with Psycho Mantis in my review of Metal Gear Solid, and with good reason – it remains one of the most innovative boss fights in gaming over a decade since its release. For the sake of this article, the focus has to lay with Mantis’s ability to read your mind…or to put it more accurately, your memory card stuck in the front of your Playstation. If you had data from a Konami game such as Suikoden or Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night on there, Mantis would pick up on it and congratulate you for your efforts. It was such an iconic moment that in the Gamecube remake, The Twin Snakes, extra dialogue was added so that Mantis could compliment you on playing the likes of Super Mario Sunshine. If that wasn’t enough, the incident gets referenced in MGS4 when Mantis tries to read your mind, but is foiled by the presence of a hard drive on the PS3. For breaking the fourth wall and providing an moment of sheer genius that has yet to be topped, Psycho Mantis nabs the top spot in this list.

As ever, I would be interested to hear what you all have to think on the matter. What Easter Eggs have you found that have caught your eye? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below, and check out my other recent posts. Finally, happy Easter everyone

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