The term ‘Easter Egg’ to refer to secrets hidden by developers in games was supposedly coined by Atari after it was brought to their attention that Warren Robinett left a secret message in the game Adventure. Referring to the idea of the “Easter egg hunt”, the phrase came to stand for any secret items, levels or messages left by developers. Nowadays, the term has been used to also cover hidden elements of gameplay such as audio files, as well as glitches and seemingly irrelevant story information.
Since it’s Halloween, I thought it would interesting to delve into the top 5 of the creepiest easter eggs the internet has pulled up.
5. Super Mario Galaxy 2: Shadows
When playing the Shiverburn Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy 2, the player can look up and see three strange figures atop the mountain. On closer inspection it seems that these figures are watching you, and with no reference to them in the game, it seems they are something to slowly back away from, before putting down the controller and running out of the house. What’s even worse is the fact that hackers have tried to put an end to everyone’s fears by searching within the game, but the mysterious figures seem to disappear if you are getting too close.
4. Halo 3: Monkey Family
On Level Sierra 117, after seeing Sgt Johnson’s pelican go down, enter the woods and kill all the snipers. Once you are at the end, go back down to where you started and jump up to the elevated part on the right. Turn around again, and walk along the wall to your left until it ends. Have a look around. You are not going mad if you see a family of monkeys with human faces occupying your wall with you. They do not move, but they are not part of the scenery as shooting them will cause them to bleed. So these weird monkey people inhabit the world of Halo more often than you might think. They are dotted around levels, some of which are practically impossible to access. Perhaps the worst though is at the end of Halo 3 ODST. Settle in for the credits and watch the cut scene after them, but be ready to move the camera to the left during the last few cut scenes. Look around the spaceship and find an old friend sitting next to you the whole time… yep… monkey man.
3. Red Dead Redemption: Tumbleweed
Not so much an easter egg, more of a creepy level not necessitated by gameplay, the ghost town of Tumbleweed is advertised in newspaper articles throughout the game. If you actually take the time to go there, the creepy atmosphere, only intensified by the disembodied whisperings and mutterings, is likely to put you off delving too deep. One player has however, and got to the bottom of these voices – by going through a previously locked door to find a few random characters hiding out in a small room. It’s obviously pretty boring in Tumbleweed if they spend their days waiting for someone to walk past so they can whisper to them… The real fear, however, comes when you notice the dog that’s been constantly barking throughout your exploits in Tumbleweed. You follow the sound of his barking until you reach a cemetery with an adjoining churchyard. Inside this church is a pulpit with the words “The Devil has got into that beast” carved into it, suggesting a creepy little ghost dog following you around, possibly inhabited by the devil. That’s always fun.
2. Bit.Trip Runner: Slender
The problem with fast-paced side scrolling platform games is the fact that you don’t really have the time to stop and look around at the backdrop to your dashing, jumping, falling, and flying. That’s probably a good thing in Bit.Trip Runner 2. If you happen to need to pause, and you are looking for an adrenaline rush, take a look at the background and you may see the horrifically recognisable image of the internet’s favourite demon guy in a suit – Slenderman. The thing with this one is the fact that you could be playing the level over and over and not realise that Slender has been following you the whole time. The fact that the kids game is so colourful and light-hearted only serves to make Slender’s appearance just a little more terrifying.
1. Gameboy Camera: Run
In the old days of the Gameboy Camera, if a user pressed the ‘run’ button while on one of the menu screens, the game would sometimes freeze. An image of a face vandalised with marker would then appear with equally creepy text – the worst of which, “who are you running from”, would have sent me straight to the Yellow Pages, looking up any good demon-exorcizing priests in the area. And this was in the days when googling why your Gameboy had suddenly turned against you was out of the question.