Over the Easter weekend, game designer Jan-Willem Nijman tweeted asking game devs for the best easter egg they had ever hidden in a game. The designer, who himself worked on Disc Room and Minit, and was formerly one-half of Vlambeer studios, received enough responses to fill several books of weird videogame secrets.
For the uninitiated: an easter egg, in the context of videogames, is a secret object, reference, or event, that is concealed unless you know where to look – or in the case of some hidden references, unless you know what you’re looking at. The h gems that developers reported ranged from hidden rooms and alternative endings, to mentions of emotionally significant birthdays, and references to real life friends, pets, hometowns and loved ones. Here after some highlights from the thread.
Level Designer Acke Hallgren hid each of the weapons used by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles throughout Tom Clancy’s The Division:
Hallgren wasn’t the only developer to use easter eggs to express appreciation for another piece of art. Hayden Scott-Baron made a sly reference to the Katamari series while designing the animal toys in RollerCoaster Tycoon 3:
Pac-Man makes his mark
It seems that Pac-Man has made his mark on more games than just his own since his debut on 29 June, 1980. He doesn’t just turn up in Bioshock….
He also makes an equally cheesy appearance in Endon’s house, in Skyrim.
Not-so-spooky voice acting in Hyperlight Drifter
the terrible growls of the hallucination in #HyperLightDrifter are actually just @TeddyDief saying ‘Shack Jack’ pitched way down & granulated to smithereens. No idea why ‘Shack Jack’, but the sound was an easter egg that played occasionally when saving in the level editor.
— Doblenegra (@Disasterpeace) April 4, 2021
Nijman responded to the confession by adding his own, saying that many of the vocaloid-esque sounds in Minit were just chopped and screwed clips of different team members saying ‘McDonalds.’ Big franchises supporting indies: it’s what we love to see.
PUTTING THE CRY IN FAR CRY
Some developers used easter eggs to convey a message. Australian creative director Alex Hutchison doubled down on the prompt, letting the world know that Far Cry 4 offered a very different ending, for players who had a little patience.
Make blob not war
Andrew Trevillain, who worked as lead level designer on De Blob 2, made sure that the game’s anti-fascist and anti-military themes ran throughout, adding this historical reference:
Really bad face mode
…though other entries were a bit more lighthearted:
dunno about best but if you tap the spot above ‘volume’ in Really Bad Chess a bunch you can unlock really bad face mode pic.twitter.com/CNdjlzB8aB
— Zach Gage (@helvetica) April 4, 2021