Video game Easter eggs are fun extras for the fans and are usually even easier to find than the real thing--they might demand 10,000 coins, but you never need to stand up. But some of these little secrets, cheats or glitches are so well-hidden they stay out of sight for years, even with millions of gamers exploring every nook and cranny of the game world. For instance...
Right off the bat here's one that took nine years to find.
The jet ski racing game Wave Race: Blue Storm for the Nintendo Gamecube already had a secret password entry screen (accessed by pressing START+Z+X on the options menu) unlocking everything from dolphin riding to secret time attack competitions. The secret that no one managed to unlock, however, is the alternate voice track where the race announcer is replaced by a droll, bored dude who sarcastically derides your every move. Yes, this is real:
The cheat was based on messing around in the audio options and, sadly, the only three people who play with the audio options screen are the guy who programmed it, the guy testing it, and the guy who doesn't exist.
By entering a higher Scrabble score version of the Konami Code (L R L R UU DD AZX) after holding Z to change the sound displays waveform into a vertical rising fog, which isn't technobabble crossed with bad poetry but an actual description, you unlock the sarcastic announcer taking the piss out of you. This was presumably a placeholder track laid down before they could get the final one, but compared to the normal Captain Obvious Wave Race announcer ("YOU'RE IN FIRST PLACE") it's actually a huge improvement.
In 1991, a guy named Chris Houlihan won a Nintendo Power competition to have his name included in an official Nintendo game, the absolute closest Nintendo Power could get to bringing someone to orgasm. That might sound like good fun if you were born in the 90s, if you didn't know that Nintendo of America's localization team hates fun. That's why we've got 40 different DS games ending in "Z" but it takes two years to convert one Professor Layton.
NoA thinks you prefer the right side. Unfortunately, the police know better.
But the NoA Grinch-based debugging team removed the entrance to Chris' room in the North American version. Fun fact: Chris' room only appears in the North American version.
So one team put it in, and their neighbors took it right back out. The two teams continued to put it in and out like it was a video game programming orgy, except passive-aggressive and aimed at making a child cry. So basically, exactly like what a video game programmer orgy would be like. Most entrance methods require insane combinations of explosions, superspeed and sudden falls. But it was all worth it, to find ... this.
It doesn't look like much, but in the 90s that blue text meant more to us than puberty
Well it at least would have been worth it to Houlihan if anyone had been able to find the damn thing. The room was basically unknown until the invention of the Internet, and it only became widely known around the year 2002--thereby turning the most awesome kid's present ever into a level of psychological horror unknown outside of an asylum for Japanese special effects. Instead of being the coolest kid ever in 1991, when people were playing the game, Chris Houlihan now knows that his child self is being pondered by the dark soul of the Internet.
Metroid used a password system, an amazing step forward from other NES games which expected you to restart from Level 1--a video game satanic ritual in which you sacrificed your own life until you learned how to prevent your character from losing theirs, by which point it was far too late. One secret password unlocked all of Samus' weapons and powers, and one also unlocked her armor. Guess which was discovered first.
These passwords weren't just secret: They were impossible. The password system was crackable but had a parity check to reject faked entries, a check that these special passwords fail. They were an honest-to-God, hell-yes-we-get-to-use-this-phrase-at-last, security override built into the system. Even if you reverse-engineered the entire password system (and people have, because 8-bit exploration games are apparently much more important than curing cancer), you'd never know they were there.
That's why the NARPAS SWORD easter egg (unlocked by entering NARPAS SWORD0:000000 000000) which would unlock infinite health, the Ice Beam, and more, wasn't discovered until recently. The game makers never announced the code. They weren't intended for leaks or viral promotion, coming from a crazy ancient time where
a) people got excited about half-naked 8-bit characters, and
b) games contained things that weren't determined by marketing.
Only the wrong one of those is still true. Programmers just enjoyed the idea of children wasting their youth playing the same game over and over again in hopes of seeing less skin than the average postage stamp displays, knowing they'd get the exact same amount of nudity if they just entered this secret password. Or drew nipples on their own thumbs.
It definitely left an impression
The trick to getting this Super Smash Bros Melee glitch is so ridiculously precise that our generation was basically allowed to either discover it or to create free renewable energy, and our guys chose wrong. Thanks, gamers.
This took seven years to find because it's not actually an Easter egg--it's the result of a genuine glitch in the program that allows the user to get through to the game without ever selecting a character. Nintendo's normal strategy when they can't think of a character is "use Mario," but this time they chose to make the universe itself mock any player sad enough to find the glitch.
The glitch arises only if you erase all your friends' names from your game, and also unlocks a single-person melee mode. That is exactly as depressing as it sounds: You're stuck alone in an empty Nintendo-themed pit of loneliness.
We might believe Nintendo's claim that it was accidental if it weren't for the secret boss that this same glitch unlocks. The game rewards anyone willing to delete all his friends with an impossible boss modeled on the one thing that will have sex with him.
Not just a hand, but "Master Hand."
So it's either locking the player in a "this is no longer accidental, we're trying to make you think about your life" wasteland of meta loneliness, or a masturbation joke that spits electricity at you after you've admitted you don't have any friends.
We can't pinpoint how long it took gamers to find this one, and we're kind of hoping it took a really, really long time.
Every item you can pick up in Resident Evil 2, or any RE game for that matter, has only three possible outcomes: If you're lucky it's useful, if you're unlucky it wastes your time telling you it isn't, and if you're really unlucky it's a file. Anyone who'd examine a desk even twice only did it by accident.
So imagine how somebody discovered this bit of insanity: You can find the secret of Wesker's desk only by searching said desk 50 times. The first 49 times you get a message telling you nothing is there. But if you persist, and persist, long past the point any reasonable person would, you find the Easter egg. It's a small reward considering at that point of dedication, the game counts as your occupation, a chunk of your personality and a fairly serious mental problem. Your reward (well after you take it over to the Dark Room and develop it) is "Film D." Which is... a photoshop of Rebecca in a basketball outfit.
It's also a horrifyingly bad photoshop--you can tell because of the pixels,
and because of how your neck and skin hurt just from looking at it.
As cool as Easter eggs are, that had to have been a disappointment, particularly to the person who discovered it by, what, checking every desk 50 times? It's like finding El Dorado, only to realize the City of Gold is just a landfill of Ferrero Rocher wrappers.