With Easter on the horizon, it’s good to remember one of the most beloved traditions in video games. One that has endured decades and opened developers up to incredible amounts of creativity. Naturally, I’m talking about the classic “Easter egg” that can be found in many games.
These hidden references or jokes can be funny or interesting or even thought provoking sometimes. Of course, some Easter eggs have been truly impressive in their execution, humor, or how obscure they are.
Borderlands 2’s Hidden Areas (Borderlands 2)
The section of Borderlands 2 called “Caustic Caverns” is a gold mine for Easter eggs. Players who are intent on exploring the area well will eventually run into a wall made of textures that simply do not fit in the game. Upon punching this wall, they will be greeted by a familiar sound effect and block smash from one of the most beloved games ever – Minecraft.
Behind this breakable wall, the player will find the classic Minecraft monsters known as “Creepers” and even be able to get a special head and skin for their characters.
However, another secret area can be found, as well. Players who attempt to run across the area’s acid lake and actually survive will find something great. An homage to a Dark Souls bonfire, complete with a guy with a creepy laugh, of course.
Nathan Drake enjoys his pool games (Uncharted 2)
In Uncharted 2, series hero Nathan Drake has the option to dive into a really nice pool. Being the goofball he is, Drake will then attempt to start a game of “Marco Polo” with his companion. Of course, this was a funny little moment when it first appeared in Uncharted 2.
The thing that makes it so great, though, is that it has now become a series staple. Every game since then has included this joke hidden in some way. You even get a trophy for it, too.
Portal 2 has a ratman problem (Portal 2)
Portal 2 is a pretty straightforward puzzle game with a fun story and incredible gameplay. Of course, there is an interesting B-plot happening in the background that not all may notice. Throughout the game, the player can see hints that another person beside the main character, Chell, may be skulking around Aperture.
This character is “Ratman,” and he leaves some increasingly worrying and fascinating graffiti throughout the adventure. These little Easter eggs add quite a bit to an already wonderful game.
Saints Row 2 and the cuddly kaiju (Saints Row 2)
Saints Row 2 was a goofy game that wasn’t quite as silly as it’s future sequels. That doesn’t stop it from giving you a giant bunny in the middle of the ocean, though.
By following a frankly absurd trail of hidden secrets, the player will eventually watch as this plush monstrosity rises from the waves in the distance.
Grand Theft Auto IV and the heart of happiness (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Grand Theft Auto IV was a strange turn for the typically silly series. This game was more serious and grounded in a lot of ways. Yet, the famed “Statue of Happiness” held a really weird secret for the curious players who traveled to the statue via helicopter.
Finding a secret door into the statue would eventually reveal a realistic beating heart inside of the statue. Because that’s a normal thing to find in a giant statue.
John Romero’s weird day in Doom II (Doom II)
Doom II is a classic shooter with an Easter egg that is arguably more famous than the game, itself. During the final boss fight, the player can enter a noclip cheat and then pass through the boss. Behind this monster is a secret room with an Easter egg celebrating one of the lead programmers. Players will find John Romero’s head firmly stuck on a stick, as well as notice that the disembodied head is also the boss’s hitbox.
Sergeant Johnson has a moment with an elite (Halo: Combat Evolved)
Halo: Combat Evolved was a revolutionary game when it released for the original Xbox. Of course, it was fairly difficult, as well, especially on the Legendary difficulty. However, completing the game on that difficulty was oh so worth it.
When the player successfully survives the campaign on Legendary, they are treated to a special cutscene featuring series favorite character, Sergeant Johnson. It depicts the hardened soldier embracing an elite Covenant soldier while explosions happen in the background. This is all topped off with the line, “This is it, baby. Hold me.” Quite romantic, indeed.
Just Cause 2 gets Lost (Just Cause 2)
Just Cause 2 was an incredibly fun sandbox game that was fueled by destruction. It also had an outrageously large map. It was actually so big that it could hide an Easter egg that was essentially the entire dreaded island from the television show Lost.
By getting Rico Rodriguez to fly a plane over this mysterious island, the player will quickly learn that the island kills all aircraft. This causes Rico to become stranded on the island, allowing the player to explore more closely. Naturally, the island is absolutely littered with references to the wonderful TV series. The dedication that was put into a secret area is honestly impressive.
The Last of Us and many Naughty Dog references (The Last of Us)
While players fret over the safety of Ellie and Joel, they may have noticed some cute setting clutter around many levels in the game. Namely board games featuring past Naughty Dog games, a few PlayStation 3’s, and some pinatas featuring Jak and Daxter, as well as Nathan Drake.
Rocksteady’s master plan (Batman: Arkham Asylum)
In Batman: Arkham Asylum, finding Easter eggs is a major gameplay mechanic. Every secret room and path is located on Batman’s trusty map. That is, all of them save for one specific room.
In Warden Quincy Sharp’s office, the player can spend a good deal of time spraying an unassuming wall with exploding gel. If they mark the right areas with the gel, the resulting explosion will blow a hole in the wall. This reveals an area that was never hinted at in any way. In fact, the developers had to tell people about this area before it was found.
Inside this secret room, the player will find detailed plans and artwork for Arkham City, the sequel to the hit Batman game.