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1. Take That, Romero!
One of the best Easter eggs in gaming comes from one of the best games. What are we talking about? The end of Doom II, of course!
The boss of Doom II is the fearsome Icon of Sin, and you can only defeat it by firing rockets into a narrow opening in its head (like a really horrific Death Star exhaust port). But if you activate the “no clipping” cheat code, you can go inside the Icon and see your real target: the head of Doom guru John Romero.
2. Fallout: New Indy
In retrospect, Fallout: New Vegas is probably the best game in the franchise. There are plenty of reasons for this, including the amazing Easter eggs.
At one point, you may come across a refrigerator in the middle of the desert. If you pop that bad boy open, you’ll find a skeleton wearing a fedora. This is obviously a reference to the infamous “nuke the fridge” scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
In the Fallout universe, this stunt didn’t work and the elderly Indy died from impact after the fridge was flung many miles. But as the younger adventurer once said, “It’s not the years. It’s the mileage.”
3. Rockstar Messes With You
When is an awesome Easter egg also not an Easter egg? When Rockstar Games decides to mess with you, of course!
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, persistent players can get on top of the bridge connecting San Fierro and Las Venturas. You might expect to see something really cool up there. But once you make it, all you get is a special message from the developer: “There are no Easter eggs up here. Go away.”
4. Bill Clinton Plays Ball
NBA Jam: Tournament Edition boasted a number of improvements over the original game. And if you had the SNES version, the cheat codes alone were worth the price of admission.
By putting in codes, you could play as people like Bill Clinton and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Basically, these codes took the inherent silliness of this game and cranked everything up to “11.”
5. Carbonite Jar Jar
The Star Wars prequels have experienced something of a renaissance in recent years. And with the sequel trilogy being so bad, that’s no surprise. But prequel character Jar Jar Binks is still the poster child for the dumbest character in the franchise.
And the developers of The Force Unleashed agree. Explore enough in that game and you’ll encounter Jar Jar frozen in a block of carbonite! If he ever gets out, he may need to focus on cardio: I’ve heard that carbonite freeze packs on about 20 extra pounds when you get out!
6. Nicole’s Grim Fate
In Dead Space, there is a kind of ongoing mystery regarding the character Nicole. She is your character’s girlfriend and you get radio messages from her, but many players finish the game still asking “what the hell happened to Nicole?”
That answer is actually spelled out in an Easter egg. If you look at the first letter of each mission title, you get a simple, bleak message: “Nicole is dead.”
7. Hidden Headcrab Message
In Half-Life 2, the Headcrab zombies are already pretty damn creepy. But there is a weird little Easter Egg that makes them even freakier!
The noise they make initially sounds like nothing more than weird moans and groans. But if you play the audio backward, you will hear they are screaming “God help! Help me!” over and over again.
If you hear this in real life, it’s not a Headcrab. It’s just a Valve fan wondering if we’ll ever get Half-Life 3!
8. Portal 2 Prisoner
The Portal games are like a master class in world-building. Despite having very few characters and simple gameplay mechanics, both Portal and its sequel do an amazing job of building a robust and fictional world.
And there is a pretty weird Easter egg that makes up part of that world. In Portal 2, you can find a hidden room filled with graffiti. Get close enough to the walls and you’ll hear some creepy chanting. While the identity was not 100% confirmed, most players assume this is the noise of an obscure and schizophrenic character named Doug Rattmann who is living in the walls.
9. Multiple “Endings”
The Metal Gear series is famous for elaborate fights against colorful villains. And one of the most memorable villains is an elderly sniper named The End from Metal Gear Solid 3.
Most players end up fighting against The End in a prolonged sniper battle. But it’s possible to sneak up on him while he’s sleeping and kill him with a knife. If you’re fast enough, you can also snipe the character early in the game and avoid the later fight.
But our favorite option is to save the game mid-fight and then come back much later (or just mess with your system’s internal clock). When you come back, you’ll find that the elderly villain has died of old age!
10. Arkham City Preview
Batman: Arkham Asylum blew everyone’s minds and showed us what a superhero game could be like. The developers knew they had a hit on their hands, and that explains the hidden Easter egg tucked into the asylum.
When players couldn’t find this Easter egg on their own, the devs showed us how to blow up a wall next to the fireplace in the warden’s office. There, you can see the blueprints for Arkham City, which serves as a nice (if a bit blatant) preview of their sequel game.
11. Mystery Star Wars Theater 3000
Younger gamers may not remember the Rebel Assault series. The actual gameplay for these titles was mostly some straightforward, on-rails shooter action. But what made these games stand out is that we got new live-action footage from the Star Wars universe, and that was special in a time before the prequels and Special Editions.
As special as the FMV was, though, the developers weren’t afraid to have a little fun at their own expense. By pressing ALT+V and typing out “OVRES,” you could make the silhouettes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 show pop up and start offering commentary!
12. Return of the Jill Sandwich
The original Resident Evil was an iconic game in many ways. But the awful dialogue has not aged well. And in one memorable bit, Barry expresses his worry that Jill Valentine (who just escaped from being crushed to death) was nearly “a Jill sandwich.”
In Dead Rising, there are some great references hidden throughout the game. Our favorite is this mall restaurant named “Jill’s Sandwiches.” This is one Easter Egg that you don’t have to be a “master of unlocking” to find for yourself!
13. The Turkey Assassin
There are actually many fun Easter eggs in the Assassin’s Creed series. But our favorite has to involve an adorable turkey assassin.
In Assassin’s Creed 3, you can find a turkey, feed it, and then input the Konami Code. If done right, the turkey will suddenly start dressing like you! Watch out, Thanksgiving lovers: it looks like meat’s no longer on the menu.
14. Silent Doge
Silent Hill 2 is designed to be a pretty terrifying game. But one particular Easter egg really takes away the “scare” factor!
After your first playthrough, you can snag a key at the park and visit the observation room of the Dark Side hotel. There, you’ll find a cute Shibu Inu as the true mastermind behind everything that happens to you.
Obviously, this particular dog may make you think of Doge. But this game came out about nine years before Doge became a meme icon.
15. Planet of the Cows
Some of the best Easter eggs are when games get very “meta.” And one of our favorite examples of this comes from Diablo 2.
After the first Diablo game came out, gamers relentlessly spread a rumor that you could click a special cow enough times and be transported to a secret level. This rumor was false, but for Diablo 2, the developers made it come true.
What was the secret level, though? It was a world filled with armed, dangerous, and upright cows waiting to kill you!
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