What better way to celebrate than have a riveting conversation about Easter Eggs? Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the chocolate kind or what it is that they actually signify, but the gaming variant.
Mmmm… my favourite!
Easter Eggs are great, they were originally conceived as a way for developers to get credit for the games they worked on. But Easter Eggs are now a way for developers to tip their hat to their fans, a way to joke about the past, surprise alternate endings or a way to interact with their audience in diabolical ways that go beyond the game.
Easter Eggs are now a staple of video game design, so to help celebrate the long weekend I’ve decided to do a list of some of my personal favourite in-game secrets from some of my favourite games.
I smell a top-5 coming, but first let’s have some honourable mentions.
Ratchet And Clank 2: Going Commando – Insomniac Museum
I’ve been playing the trilogy on my PS Vita, of course you already know that as I keep rambling on about it, so I’m sorry about that… Anyway, I had completely forgotten about this little gem of an Easter Egg and rediscovering it prompted this post. It’s basically a museum of various game features that were cut from the final version the game. There are a number of ways to get there: one is by an exploit and clipping through walls, one is by a teleport that only appears in a certain place between 03:00 and 03:59, and the other is by 100%-ing the game. It’s interesting and fun but not good enough to make it onto my top 5.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Jar-Jar in carbonite
This needs a mention as it’s every Star Wars fan’s fantasy. Find the trophy room in the Imperial Kashykk level. 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? Well, Duel Of Fates is that film’s key saving grace. Der-Derr-Derrrrrr!
Grand Theft Auto IV – Beating Heart
Ah, Grand Theft Auto, always pulling fast ones. Of course, this series is ripe with little secrets and quirks. As such, no Easter Egg list worth it’s salt can ignore it. 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. Uhhhhh…
Red Faction: Guerilla – Finding Parker
I love this one, it’s a proper nod to a game’s roots. Northeast of Mohole in the Badlands zone is a cranky old dude sitting in a chair. If you hang around long enough he’ll start mumbling about how difficult his war was, and that yours is far easier in comparison to the battles he had to fight. This man is Parker–the protagonist of the original Red Faction.
Gears Of war 3 – Golden Chicken
Zelda games have taught me to be wary of attacking chickens, but this secret in Gears of War 3 made me 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 (or should I say ‘breast’?). I’d rather face an army of Brumaks then go up against that thing again.
Assassin’s Creed 3 – Gobble, gobble!
In keeping with the bird theme, but a little less Easter-y; there’s the Turkey assassin from Assassin’s Creed 3. Connor might be one of the more stoic assassins in franchise history, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have fun with the Easter Egg at the Davenport homestead. If you hide on a certain corner of the house and whistle, an heretofore 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.
So, let’s get down to business. Here are my all-time favourite video game Easter Eggs:
5. Gears Of War 2 – Cowboy Hats
Love Gears of War, but find yourself wishing that Marcus and co. wore cowboy hats? There’s an easy fix for that. In Gears of War 2, play on Insane difficulty and load up chapter three in the campaign. There are three cowboy hats just hanging out in the environment–shoot all three, and everyone on your rig (as well as many of the Locusts you’ll have to kill) will pull a John Marston and wear an awesome cowboy hat. Yee-haw!
4. Borderlands 2 – Cavern Of The Creeper
Lots of games make cute Minecraft references, but Borderlands 2 does it right. While spelunking through the Caustic Caverns, you may find some unmistakable dirt cubes blocking your way. Bust through them with your melee attack (in classic Minecraft fashion), and you’ll find a cave filled with Creepers on the other side. Killing them may even net you a sweet Minecraft helmet accessory, complete with chunky pixelation!
3. Silent Hill 2 – The ‘Dog’ Ending
The classic and most well documented Easter Egg of modern gaming (I say ‘modern’, it’s still 16 years old). If you managed to get to the joke ending of Silent Hill 2, you got to meet the cuddly Mira the dog, who James finds out has been controlling the events of the game like some adorable Wizard of Oz. He might blame Mira for this, but when she seemingly apologetically licks his face? As dog person, I really can’t see how he can hold a grudge.
2. Grand Theft Auto V – No Country For Old Men
There’s plenty to choose from when it comes to Easter Eggs in GTA games, but this is a clear winner for me. It’s a little less documented than most in-game events but if you haven’t seen it, you should check it out. Like right now, stop reading and go!
Like in the movie, the player stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong. In a clearing, you’ll discover a group of parked cars filled with bullet holes; clearly, a drug deal has ended badly, and there are few survivors. Various bodies of dead drug dealers litter the area, and some are still alive but wounded on the ground, implying that one of the parties involved in the drug deal shot the other one and intended to get away with both the money and the drugs. Down a hill past the cars is one last drug dealer sitting by a silver briefcase who is also dying of his wounds. He warns the player not to take the case as he will be hunted down for it. The case contains $25,000 that you can take from the scene. Once the case is taken away from the area a gang of drug dealers will pursue the player and demand the case back. The player has to kill them to keep the money.
1. Fallout: New Vegas – The Ultimate Easter Egg
There are no words, just watch.
So they are my top Easter Eggs, what are your favourite?