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Video game Easter eggs exist to give the devoted a secret thrill. You spend a few minutes jumping on invisible platforms and you find a note from the developers joking about how you're wasting your life. That sort of thing. But some programmers didn't get the memo about how they were hiding "cute little bonuses," and instead mistakenly believed that they alone were the sole protectors of the Ark of the friggin' Covenant. That's the only way to explain these impossibly obscure Easter eggs ...

5
Battlefield 4 Has You Manipulate Sounds With Editing Software For A Uniform

Electronic Arts

The Battlefield series is the Rolls Royce to Call Of Duty's lifted pickup truck (complete with TruckNutz). But still, it's a shooter at heart, and those aren't always known for their cerebral puzzles. Yet Battlefield 4 has what might be the most elaborate Easter egg puzzle in the history of gaming, and the prize for solving it is a snazzy new suit for your character -- even if, by all rights, it should be a key to the goddamn White House.

In the Dragon Valley stage, you find a lantern next to a pillar with a skull printed on it. Stand next to it long enough, and the lantern will start flickering. Eventually, some fan with nothing more important happening in their life realized that the lantern was flickering in Morse code, and they deciphered a message ... in Belarusian. That's already a ridiculous amount of encryption for some video game clothes, but it's not over. After a quick trip to Google Translate, it turned out that the message was just telling players that a puzzle existed.

Electronic Arts
"Y-O-U A-R-E W-A-S-T-I-N-G Y-O-U-R T-I-M-E"

Elsewhere on the map, there's a temple with 20 lanterns in the ceiling, which turn on or off in a random order when you throw any one of seven tiny switches hidden in the level. These switches, by the way, are so small that they're difficult to spot, and very well-hidden -- one of them is inside a tree that can only be accessed by helicopter, after blowing up the tree with explosives.

Electronic Arts
That's not the only thing about this that blows.

The goal is to light up all of the lanterns. So after you've completed this grueling task, the puzzle is solved, right? Ha! We haven't even hit the halfway point yet. Lighting all the lanterns enables a keypad on the back of one of the pillars behind the original lantern, and pressing one of these buttons makes the lantern blink out another Morse code message, which instructs you in more extremely cryptic language to head to a different map and crouch behind a rock, as well as some crazy instructions about multiplying words together.

Find the rock and crouch by it, and you'll hear a low-pitched sound effect. To proceed further, you need to be savvy enough to record the sound and paste it into some goddamn sound editing software, slowing it down and adjusting the pitch until you hear song lyrics. If the Germans encrypted their messages this well, we'd still be fighting World War II.

Electronic Arts
"Sarge, we need cover fire!"
"Be right there. I just gotta open Pro Tools for a second."

Next, you have to figure out that the cryptic clue from earlier was prompting you to assign an alphanumerical value to the letters of these lyrics and do a complex math equation. Working this out will give you a code, which you can punch into the keypad from earlier, and then the lantern will give you another Morse code message that tells you how to visit yet another map and claim your prize.

That prize is a new outfit for your character that is otherwise only available to employees of the developer, DICE LA.

Electronic Arts
Even getting a real one mailed to you wouldn't have made this worth it.

So you can do all that, or you can simply get a job at DICE, which is probably much less difficult and time-consuming.

4
Halo 3 Makes You Literally Jump Through Hoops To Unlock Crazy Dialogue

Microsoft Studios

Collecting human skulls in Halo 3 lets you customize certain elements of the game, like disabling checkpoints, changing the enemies' AI, or really freaking out your neighbors with your weirdo hobby. And the most well-hidden skull unlocks the most important feature: making all the characters spew witty dialogue like you're in a Joss Whedon movie.

It's called the "IWHBYD skull," which stands for "I would have been your daddy (but a dog beat me over the fence)." That's the kind of trash talk you can expect from every other scene in the game after you unlock it. But sick burns do not come easy: The skull is found at the end of Mission 7, which is by far the longest level in the game, and you're not allowed to cheat by starting the mission partway through or on easy difficulty. At the end of the level, you arrive in a corridor with holograms of the game's titular halos. After an action sequence, everyone in the room suddenly tries to kill the shit out of you, and the story compels you to retreat from the corridor.

But you shouldn't do that. Instead, you're supposed to jump through those halos like a trained poodle, but not in just any order. Each halo plays a musical note when you leap through it, and your goal is to memorize the sound that each ring makes so that eventually you can jump through them in the correct order to recreate the Halo theme song.

Should you accomplish this, the IWHBYD Skull appears at the end of the hallway, and your reward is that the game is now packed full of wacky dialogue, like aliens promising to "be the bottom" if you spare their life.

Microsoft Studios
It's like the most desperate Grindr profile bio ever created.

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3
In Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3, You Can Make An Army Of Mannequins Attack You

Activision

Call Of Duty: Black Ops III comes with a number of multiplayer maps in which you can murder friends and strangers while screaming racial epithets into a headset. One of them is called Nuk3town, and it's set in one of those fake American towns that they used to blow up in nuclear bomb tests. Instead of pedestrians, mannequins populate the town. You can shoot their limbs off, if you're into that sort of thing, and since you're playing Call Of Duty, you totally are.

But there's more to the mannequins than simple target / serial killer practice -- you can turn them into an unstoppable swarm of death bots if you know the correct process. "Correct," in this case, meaning you locate each and every mannequin on the map and systematically shoot both of their arms off, in under two minutes. Your reward?

Activision
A trip to the underwear store?

The fans call it the "Weeping Angels" Easter egg, named after the villains from Doctor Who. That's because, like the Weeping Angels, the mannequins will only attack you when your back is turned. Whenever you're looking at them, they're frozen in place.

You can shoot them dead, but they're infinitely respawning, so you're boned one way or another. But then, if you're creepy enough to wander around shooting the arms off of everything you see, this is probably heaven to you.

Activision
"RED LIGHT! ... GREEN LIGHT! ... RED--"

2
Gears Of War 3 Includes A Beard Mode

Microsoft Studios

The Gears Of War series is manly as hell. All of the characters look like flesh barrels brought to life and given jawlines, plus they have friggin' chainsaws attached to their guns. The only thing missing from this testosterone-fueled mayhem is beards. Only one character in Gears Of War 3 has a beard, and that's your ally Dominic "Dom" Santiago.

Thankfully, the game allows you the chance to rectify this crime against masculinity. All you have to do is set the game to Insane difficulty mode and play the prologue mission without ever allowing Dom to leave your sight. If you manage it, you will have unlocked Beard Mode. For the rest of the game, every character is sporting the appropriate facial hair for a lumberjack orgy.

Microsoft Studios

... even the women.

Microsoft Studios
"They, uh, require us to take testosterone shots."

But that's not where Gears Of War 3's beard obsession ends. There's another beardster egg that you can unlock in the multiplayer map Clocktower. In this level, there are four statues, each one holding a book. If you shoot the books, each statue's face will burst into flames and grow a beard. After you have shot all four statues, you can look up into the sky and discover that the sun itself has sprouted a glorious beard.

Microsoft Studios
"That's not global warming; I just got that much hotter."

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1
Trials Evolution Includes A Secret That Won't Be Solved For Another Hundred Years

Redlynx

Trials Evolution is a game for the Xbox 360 in which you do motorcycle stunts for points. It's not exactly rocket surgery. Which is why it's so odd that it features the only Easter egg here that hasn't yet been solved. In fact, it can't be solved until well into the next century.

Microsoft Studios
It's 42. We're done here.

The game includes a number of wooden planks hidden in hard-to-reach places, each with a series of seemingly random letters inscribed on them. After collecting all of the planks, players discovered that they composed a message that seemed to be either complete gibberish or possibly Welsh.

Microsoft Studios
"Nah, makes too much sense."

The message was written in code, and after figuring out the cipher, players found encrypted instructions to move to a different level in which you're supposed to wait by a certain rock and listen to the soundtrack. If you do that, a song plays in which a woman warbles that "secrets are hidden" and "your ears might not catch them, you might have to transform it into a visible form." Puzzle hunters eventually figured out that what they were supposed to do was load the song into a goddamn spectrograph. You know, because so many dirtbike enthusiasts have access to, and can totally spell, "spectrographs." By doing so, they discovered a hidden Morse code message.

Kotaku
"Y-O-U A-R-E W-A-S-T-I-N-G Y-O-U-R T-I-M-E"

The message directed players to a website, which included another code in pictures, which required yet another cipher to break. All of these codes containing obscure quotes, with the final alluding to the end of the universe. And when that code was broken, it displayed a message that gave real-world coordinates. That's right, the real world -- the secret level you only visit after the power goes out.

Microsoft Studios
Unfortunately, the type of person to find this probably hasn't left their house in six months.

The coordinates were for four locations around the world: San Francisco, Sydney, Helsinki, and Bath in England. Intrepid video game detectives in all four locations, coordinated through Twitter by a journalist from Kotaku, managed to discover four tiny treasure chests buried in obscure plots of dirt.

Kotaku
Achievement Unlocked: Desecrated A Grave (10g)

Each chest contained a tiny key and more unsettling quotes about the fleeting nature of man. The final box in Helsinki included an ancient pocket watch, a diagram of a 10,000-year clock, and a message stating that one of the keys will open another box located beneath the Eiffel Tower ... which will show up in the year 2113.

Kotaku
Some poor 22nd-Century intern is gonna get stuck with this one.

So apparently, the prophecy was true -- the Old Ones are going to rise in the next century, and a weapon was hidden to save mankind by the secret society which exists to protect us. And which also likes dirt bike games. Hey, people can have more than one interest.

What do Chuck Norris, Liam Neeson in Taken, and the Dos Equis guy have in common? They're all losers compared to some of the actual badasses from history whom you know nothing about. Come out to the UCB Sunset for another LIVE podcast, April 9th at 7:00 p.m., where Jack O'Brien, Michael Swaim, and more will get together for an epic competition to find out who was the most hardcore tough guy or tough gal unfairly relegated to the footnotes of history. Get your tickets here!

Psst ... want to give us feedback on the super-secret beta launch of the upcoming Cracked spin-off site, Braindrop? Well, simply follow us behind this curtain. Or, you know, click here: Braindrop.

For more really insane easter eggs lurking in your video games, check out 6 Video Game Easter Eggs Developers Didn't Want You To Find and 7 Creepy Video Game Easter Eggs We Wish We Never Found.

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