What better to celebreate Easter than looking back at some of our favorite hidden secrets peppered throughout our games libraries?
Easter eggs are old time immemorial, and serve an important purpose that makes gamers everywhere grin in delight. Most of the time the Easter eggs are little bits that devs leave in their game, small nods to pop-culture references that bring a truly enchanting sense of achievement when found by players.
Without further adieu, let’s just in and check out some of my personal favorite Easter eggs in gaming.
Diablo 2 – The Secret Cow Level
Diablo 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, and features one of the most hilarious Easter eggs in video games history: the infamous Cow Level.
That’s right. There’s a secret area in Blizzard’s iconic demon-slaying ARPG where you fight cows…and take on the dreaded Cow King.
The Secret Cow Level can be accessed by combining Wirt’s Leg–which is found on Wirt’s body via a portal to Tristram in the Stony Field–with a Town of Town Portal book.
The cows are called “Hell Bovines”, and to make things even more hilarious, they actually moo. They moo a lot.
This level isn’t just for fun, though; it serves as a very valuable spot to find goods and level up for new players–I myself have helped hundreds of other players level up and snag loot from cow runs over the years.
But stay clear of the Cow King: once you slay him you can’t ever open the Cow portal ever again.
Halo – Half-Naked Guy & Dancing Marty
The Half-Naked Guy is one of Halo 3‘s most popular campaign Easter eggs, and was one of the more truly weird and…uncomfortable finds in the game.
And that guy in his boxers? That’s none other than Jason Jones, co-founder of Bungie Studios. What a way to be immortalized, right?
The cardboard cutout can also be found in a Halo 2 cutscene, although you have to zoom quite a way’s in to see him. The image shows up on the Gravemind mission and the Legendary difficulty must be active.
In the same vein, you can also find an incredibly goofy cutout ex-Bungie composer Marty O’ Donnell in the Halo 3: ODST campaign.
The egg shows Marty dancing hilariously in a .gif style repeating fashion with bubbles and little cartoon hearts emanating around him. The dancing is accompanied by some groovy tunes, too.
Diablo 3 – Whimsyshire
Blizzard made it clear from the start that the infamous Cow Level wouldn’t return for Diablo 3. But that doesn’t mean the fun is over. They’ve just become more happy, with sunshine, rainbows, cupcakes and unicorns replacing the raging Hell Bovines.
Whimsyshire is much more difficult to access, and to get in, you have to collect a ton of random objects strewn and dropped throughout the game. But it’s all worth it to show a new player the majesty of whimsy.
The place is strewn with killer unicorns who are hellbent on feasting on your bones, all the while presented in one of the happiest places on earth.
Bright colors, joyous clouds and even power-up cupcakes fill the area, making one of the most hilarious Easter eggs of all time.
The level can actually be pretty big, too, but it’s a finite zone just like the Cow Level so the fun won’t last forever.
Fallout: New Vegas – Indiana Jones’ Skeleton
Remember when Indy jumped inside of the refrigerator to survive the atomic blast in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? The intrepid adventurer went unscathed during the explosion thanks to the fridge’s lead lining.
But the devs of Fallout: New Vegas disagree, and you can find poor Indy’s bones and trademark within the famed refrigerator, an obvious nod to the outrageous impossible scene. The completely ridiculous premise was just another one of the reasons why this little find is so special, and represents a good bit of humor from the dev team.
You can find this easter egg by going just a bit north from Goods Spring Source, and northwest from Jean Sky Diving.
Star Wars Rebel Assault II – Mystery Science Theater 3K Mode
This mid-90’s rail shooter saw a release on PC and the early PlayStation console, and features one of the most amazing Easter eggs of all time.
If you put in the code “OVRES” (that’s SERVO spelled backwards, as in Tom Servo) during the Theater mode to activate a secret Mystery Science Theater 3000 overlay mode.
The egg features R2D2, Darth Vader and C3PO taking the places of the iconic mover-goers to dish out some hilarious commentary over Rebel Assault II‘s cutscenes.
Halo 4 – Andy Richter and Conan O’Brian Bicker
Andy Richter and Conan O’Brian are actually in Halo 4. Who knew?
They two comedians lend their voices to a duo of soldiers onboard the UNSC Infinity, and deliver about 10 seconds of bickering commentary. They can be found during the sixth campaign mission entitled Shutdown, and are pretty easy to find.
It’s a nice little nod that surprised me when I first played the game, and added a nice touch of hilarity to an otherwise serious and somber game.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II – Playing Atari Games in Nuketown
In Nuketown 2025, Call of Duty: Black Ops II‘s retro 50’s style “home of the future” map, you can actually play old-school Activision games from the Atari days.
What you need to do is headshot all of the mannequins in the map in less than 1 minute 30 seconds, and walk over to the terminal and voila–you can fire up some old games like Pitfall, Hero, River Raid and Kaboom!
Oh and don’t worry about getting shot up while you enjoy some classic gaming–you’re actually invincible while you play.
Dead Island – Jason Vorhees
Everyone knows Jason Vorhees: he’s the brutal hockey-mask wearing maniac who practically built the campy 80’s style slasher genre.
We’ve seen the Friday the 13th murderer re-created in iconic game form on the NES, but Techland resurrected the machete-slicing baddy for their zombie game Dead Island.
Vorhees is a higher-level boss within a secret area, and he’s complete with his trademark hockey mask and machete. It’s great to see a horror movie nod from Techland, and given Dead Island perfectly fits the woodsy theme of Camp Crystal Lake, this cross-over is a no-brainer!
Dying Light – Easter Eggs Galore
Techland’s zombie survival sim Dying Light has a ton of Easter eggs.
Rather than showcasing and chronicling every single hidden secret, I’ve picked a few of my personal favorites that can be found below:
Super Mario Parkour
There’s a hidden pipe within the game that actually transports you to World 1-1 straight out of a Mario Bros. platformer, but rather than going 2-D, you’re left to traverse the colorful environment in first-person.
The level is complete with Goombas, coinboxes and a flagpole at the end, and you can even find a blueprint schematic for an item that lets you glide around the map like Mario in his Tanooki suit!
Excalibur, The Sword in the…Zombie?
King Arthur’s mystical blade is one of the many secret items peppered throughout the game, and was one of the first Easter eggs to be unearthed.
The EXPcalibur is stuck in a zombie’s corpse rather than a stone, and you’ll have to press the activate button repeatedly for a good minute or so to pull it free. Once you snag it be sure to wait around for the Blueprint, as the sword actually breaks pretty fast since it’s so powerful.
Silence of the Lambs
Remember Buffalo Bill? Of course you do. No one will ever forget that creepy bastard, or the iconic well prison he kept his victims in.
Dying Light pays homage to the iconic Silence of the Lambs film by recreating that very dry stone well. The Easter egg is actually revealed during the “Where’s My Mother?” side mission, and once you find the key to the basement, you discover a woman trapped in the macabre prison and free her.
Battlefield Hardline – Couch Kills and Secret Reloads
Haven’t you always wanted to drive a couch in a game and run people over?
Thanks to Battlefield: Hardline‘s excessively awesome Easter eggs, you can do just that. The couch is called the “American Dream” and can be found in the Dust Bowl multiplayer map.
You’ll have to be playing the Hotwire Mode in order to jump on the couch and start running down enemies. Plus every time you score a kill onboard the couch, it registers as a ‘Murica kill.
If a drive-able couch wasn’t enough, Hardline also has a host of rare reload animations that are pretty damn hilarious.
These range from reloading your gun with a third arm, a stylish rocket launcher flip reload, a comically huge clip reload, and more. Check below to see them all!
Half-Life – Room of Gaben
Just about every PC player has a special spot in their hearts for Valve creator Gabe Newell.
Affectionately known as “Gaben” by Steam aficionados (that is to say most of everyone who owns a PC) and the games industry, Newell was immortalized in a vary peculiar Easter egg featured in the first Half-Life game.
The “Gaben Room” is a square room that’s painted rather creepily in small pictures of Newell’s face, making a rather bizarre nod to the “cult of Gaben”…or maybe it was a joke about the Valve’s bosses’ supposed narcissism?
We don’t know why it was made, but we do know that it’s awesome…in a very uncomfortable way.
Chrono Trigger – Secret Developer Room
Chrono Trigger is known as one of the best games of all time, and harks back to the golden-age of JRPG mastery. It also houses one of the most creative Easter eggs in gaming.
The secret is actually one of the many endings of the game, and can be accessed by unlocking the “Dream Project” ending.
After you beat the game and unlock the ending, you actually get to interact with in-game NPC’s of all of Chrono Trigger‘s developers. This remains one of the most memorable Easter eggs I’ve ever experienced, and I had no idea how I unlocked it back in the day.
According to the Chronopendium website, there are two ways of obtaining this ending:
“Firstly, on a New Game +, go straight to the Telepod before even going to 600 A.D. Use the sparkle on the right Telepod to fight Lavos. Otherwise, this ending can be found by defeating Lavos during the Ocean Palace Incident.”
Chatting to each of the developers in their SNES pixellated forms was enchanting. It was a kind of metaphysical experience, something I hadn’t experienced before, and it was a kind of magical bridge between creator and player.
And I’ll never forget Eiji Nakamura’s character telling me to “get a life!”…ahh nostalgia.
With so many games released over the last few decades, there are probably millions and millions of Easter eggs out there, with many more that have yet to be discovered.
Secrets and glitches are and will continue to be an integral part of the gaming world, with a distinct cult following that’s determined to shed light on every little mystery that video games have to offer.
We know we’ve missed a ton of secrets, and we’d love to hear some of your favorite video game Easter eggs that you’ve found over the years!