According to Wikipedia an Easter egg is “an intentional inside joke, hidden message or feature in a work such as a computer program, video game, movie, or book.” The term was coined at Atari by personnel who were alerted to the presence of a secret message which had been hidden by game designer Warren Robinett in his already widely distributed game, Adventure. Some of the best video game Easter eggs are in classic games, but it seems gamers are constantly discovering new cool Easter eggs in modern games as well.
It would be nearly impossible to list every single Easter egg found in video games, and it’s likely that hundreds still have yet to be discovered, but here are some of best we’ve found.
Super Mario Portraits Appear in Courtyard in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Another Mario reference in a Zelda game. While in the courtyard where Zelda is hanging out (as child Link), look into the nearby windows. You’ll see portraits of various Mario characters depending on your angle.
Playable Atari Games on Nuketown 2025 in Call of Duty: Black Ops II
If ever you’ve thought to yourself, “Man, wish I could play some old-school Atari games in this modern first-person shooter,” then you’re in luck. Classic hits such as H.E.R.O., Kaboom!, Pitfall, and River Raid can all be played from within Call of Duty: Black Ops II. To do so, start a private match on the Nuketown 2025 map, and shoot the heads off every mannequin in the level in 90 seconds or less. You’ll find a TV screen near the population sign where the games can be played.
How to Fight in Reptile in Mortal Kombat
Though Reptile wasn’t a playable character in the console port of Mortal Kombat, unlocking the battle with him was the only way to fight in the spike pit arena. To do so, fight an opponent (in single-player mode) on the bridge arena, and be sure to get two flawless victories back to back. Unleashing a fatality on the second round means your next fight will be with Reptile in the spike pit.
Psycho Mantis Knows What You Like in Real-Life in Metal Gear Solid
Psycho Mantis wasn’t Snake’s strongest enemy in Metal Gear Solid, but his mental powers make him one of the wiliest. The psychic operative even says he can read your mind, though he really just means your memory card. He has a description no matter what’s on there, but if you happen to have a Legend of Zelda saved on your PSOne Memory Card, Mantis will thoroughly creep you out by saying, “You seem to like Legend of Zelda, don’t you?”
Hidden Roster of Politicans, Celebs, and Developers in NBA Jam Tournament Edition
Many are the days we’ve wished we could jam with the president of the United States – but back in 1995, we did (in video game form, at least). The console release of Midway’s NBA Jam Tournament Edition had a huge roster of hidden characters, ranging from then-POTUS Bill Clinton to Al Gore, to the Beastie Boys, and many of Midway’s programmers.
Contest Winner Chris Houlihan’s Room in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Back in 1990, the now-defunct Nintendo Power held a contest that selected a random winner to appear in a future NES game. That winner was a dude named Chris Houlihan, who received his own fancy room in 1991’s The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. There were five different ways you could enter the Rupee-filled room, though it had been intended as a crash prevention measure – the game would only send players there when it couldn’t determine Link’s destination when transitioning between maps.
Play as Indiana Jones in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
A Lego Indiana Jones game makes sense from a marketing standpoint, but Indy’s blocky adventure was only on the verge of coming out when this Lego Star Wars collection hit stores. However, you can get early access to your favorite Nazi killer should you bother to watch the trailer for his then-upcoming game that’s in the Star Wars movie room. After watching the commercial for his game, Indy becomes a playable character for the entire Lego Star Wars mythos, something fan fiction writers had been dreaming about for decades.
You Can Fight Jason Voorhees (from Friday the 13th Movies) in Dead Island
Dead Island took inspiration from a number of horror classics, but buried on the jungle infested island was a cameo appearance by Jason Voorhees. If you can even find the machete-wielding maniac, you’ll have a hard time killing him since he’s one of the more sturdy beasts in the game. And yes, it isn’t the Jason officially, but his trademark hockey mask and weapon are proof enough for us.
Fire off a Hadouken Like Ryu in Mega Man X
Street Fighter and Mega Man are two of Capcom’s biggest franchises, but the two series didn’t cross over until this super secret Easter egg in the first Mega Man X. After jumping through an insane number of hoops (including collecting every upgrade and beating a stage without taking any damage), you’ll find a hidden upgrade Dr. Light – who’s dressed like Ryu – left behind. X can now fire off a Hadouken with the same quarter circle attack command. Mega Man X2 continued the tradition by adding a Shoryunken, but it was much easier to unlock. Here’s a guide to unlocking the Hadouken if you want to try it.
Find the Beating Heart of Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto IV
Ah, Grand Theft Auto, always pulling fast ones. In GTA IV, use a helicopter to fly up to a set of doors on the Statue of Happiness. Look for the door sandwiched between two signs that say “no hidden content this way” and just walk through it. Inside the statue you’ll find a giant, beating heart. Uhh…
Bearded Man Gives Crucial Clue in Mike Tyson’s Punchout
Reddit user midwesternhousewives posted this video outlining a never-before discovered easter egg in Mike Tyson’s Punchout for NES. The decades old game apparently still has tons of undiscovered secrets. According to the discoverer, “everybody knows that you can punch Honda once and knock him out once he goes back for a special attack,” but you may not have noticed the “visual cue” that gives you a heads up to oncoming attack. When you see the bearded man in the crowd duck, you know what to do.
Jar Jar Binks Frozen in Carbonite in Imperial Kashyyyk level of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Find the trophy room in the Imperial Kashyyyk level of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Inside, you’ll find a number of creatures from the Star Wars universe, as well as Jar Jar Binks frozen in carbonite. Finally. Maybe Episode 1 was worth it, after all?
Access the Secret Cow Level in Diablo II
Chances are you’ve slain dozens of bipedal cows for loot in Diablo II‘s Secret Cow Level. Funny thing is, this was included as homage to a false rumor about the original Diablo that stated you could access a hidden level if you continuously clicked on the cows just outside of town. To access the wondrous land of Hell Bovines, simply combine Wirt’s Leg and a Tome of Town Portal within the Horadric Cube while standing in the Rogue Encampment.
You Can Unlock All of the Bonds in Goldeneye
Rumor has it that when they first conceived Goldeneye, you could unlock all of the different James Bonds and could even play as alternate Bonds in the game’s bonus levels. It’s not clear why the mode was cut, though there was most likely a gamut of legal issues or a cranky Sean Connery.
Luckily, the other Bonds weren’t taken out of the game, just made inaccessible. In 2004, fans made an awesome mod that finally allowed the lost Bonds to be used.
Level Specific CODECs in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Smash Bros. is built upon a mountain of clever secrets for fans to find, but none had as high production values as these Easter eggs. If you played as Solid Snake in the Shadow Moses stage and continually hit down on the d-pad, you’ll hear Snake have a lengthy radio conversation about his current opponent, all with new dialogue recorded by the voice cast. The same happens for the Star Fox crew on their stage.
Majora’s Sells Mario’s Mask in the Legend of Zelda
Majora’s Mask might be the weirdest game Nintendo has ever put out (that’s a compliment), and the creepy mask salesman at the start of the game helps set that tone. If you take a look at the many masks he has to sell, you’ll see a little Mario mask as a wink to the fellow Nintendo franchise. The existence of that mask makes some fans wonder if you’d transform into Mario if you wore it, but that’s one Easter Egg that we’ll sadly never get to see.
Fight Hidden Boss Culex in Mario RPG
In the little area known as Monstro Town, there is a sealed door that cannot be immediately opened. If you go to the room next door to the sealed door, a Piranha Plant will hint that he hears someone inside the room talking about a crystal. This is your hint to head to Moleville, where you can buy Fireworks for 500 coins and trade them to a girl in the village for a Shiny Rock. This is the key to entering the sealed door, where you can fight the insanely hard Culex, who looks nothing like the other bosses in the game and is an obvious nod to Final Fantasy. Upon defeating Culex he will reward you with a Quartz Charm, which when equipped ups your attack and defense by 50%, and prevents you from instant deaths in battle.
A Golden Fire Breathing Chicken Pops Out of Pipes in Gears of War 3
Zelda games have taught us to be wary of attacking chickens, but this secret in Gears of War 3 made us especially nervous. In one section of the campaign, if you shoot into several different pipes, a seemingly normal chicken pops out. But if you shoot at it enough, it’ll transform into a ten-foot tall, golden, fire-breathing chicken beast. We’d rather face an army of Brumacks then go up against that thing again.
A Turkey As Assassin at the Davenport Homestead in Creed 3
Connor might be one of the more stoic assassins in franchise history, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have fun like in this Easter egg you’ll find at the Davenport homestead. If you hide in a certain corner of the house and whistle, a previously unseen turkey will appear. That might seem lame on the surface, but if you enter the classic Contra/Konami code, Connor will then feed the turkey and a hood will appear on its head, making that turkey an official assassin. Apparently, they’ll let anybody in these days.
Hidden Name Initials/Credits in Adventure
Back in the old days, Atari didn’t allow video game programmers to credit their full names. As a result, many resorted to hiding their initials within a game, often in secret areas that required a specific step-by-step process to reach. Such was the case with Adventure, whose creator Warren Robinett hid his name as an Easter egg.
Find the Last of Us Newspaper in Uncharted 3
This fungus-related Easter egg was almost one of the biggest leaks in gaming history. There’s a long story behind it, but the short version is that Naughty Dog put this reference in the game thinking that The Last of Us would be announced before Uncharted 3 was released. It wasn’t – but no one remembered to remove the foreshadowing hint from Uncharted to account for the scheduling change.
Photo of Rebecca Chambers in Albert Wesker’s Desk in Resident Evil 2
Some Easter eggs are a lesson in tedium. Take, for instance, the hidden roll of film in Resident Evil 2. Find Albert Wesker’s desk in the S.T.A.R.S. office and check it 50 times to get the film. Then develop it in the save room with a darkroom to unveil a photo of Rebecca Chambers with the word “Recruit” on it. You should consider apologizing to the “X” button of your PlayStation controller afterwards.
How to Make Robbie the Rabbit Scare the Sh*t Out of You in Silent Hill 4
This one’s liable to give you nightmares. Robbie is a disturbing, bloody-mouthed, pink rabbit mascot from Silent Hill 3. For whatever reason, your neighbor Eileen owns a plushie version of him. You can spot it sitting on her bed if you peek through a tiny peephole in the wall. Usually, the Robbie doll just sits there creepily, but if you take a look after Eileen’s gone missing, you’ll get a terrifying surprise – Robbie staring and pointing directly at you. Oh, dear GOD.
Dead Space Spells Nicole’s Fate
This secret involves spoilers for the original Dead Space, so consider yourself warned. Dead Space’s big plot twist is that Nicole, the female protagonist Isaac Clarke has been chasing the whole game, died before he even arrived at the derelict space station. But that reveal wouldn’t have surprised him if he was paying attention to the chapter titles, because the first letter of each one comes together to spell “Nicole is dead.”
A Sarcastic Announcer Mocks You in Wave Race Blue Storm
Surprisingly, this one managed to stay buried for quite a while. By pressing a specific sequence of buttons in the audio options menu, you can change the generally cheerful announcer into a sarcastic d-bag who mocks your every move.