Top 10 – Hidden Content in Games
From Easter Eggs, through to incredible whole ARGs, video games are constantly amazing us. From the downright bizarre to the extremely eye-opening, video games are the most interactive form of media out there. So now, let’s take a closer look at some of the following games, in hopes that we can uncover a list. Should we say a Top 10 list? A Top 10 Hidden Content Within Games list, now that sounds like a mystery we have to solve!
10) Flappy Goat – Goat Simulator
Y’know when you’re in a game and you can see computer games on some of the screens, like in Pokemon when you see the most up-to-date Nintendo console in your bedroom, or when your Sims settle into a game of something. How often do you get to play those games?
Well actually it’s a little more common than you might think, we did a list on it, but a great many of these games are ones you’d walk straight past without even knowing that they’re there, as is that case with Flappy Goat, the utterly shameless parody of a certain avian fad that was in total control of everyone’s phones at the time Goat Simulator was released, but to add layers to the parody it was a goat head on a flying pop-tart ala Nyan Cat. The game was playable while standing by a TV in a video game studio in suburbia, and it’s no less infuriating than the original.
9) South Park Episode – Tiger Woods ‘99
So if I were to tell you that that Tiger Woods ‘99, a golfing game from quite some time ago, contained some illicit dealings, would you believe me? Probably, I mean I’m clearly writing about this for some reason after all. Yes, Tiger Woods ‘99 is arguably one of the earlier examples of a video game accidentally giving people content they should not have had access to.
The long and short of it is, there was an at the time unaired episode of South Park on the game files for Tiger Woods ‘99. The episode would turn out to be the pilot episode as well, which features the South Park characters singing Christmas songs, except for Kyle who sings about his dreidel. If you want to see the video in question, this is the file that was on those discs. This was hidden under the file name “ZZDUMMY.DAT”.
There you have it. Stay curious, investigate those video game files!
8) Secret Characters – The Binding of Isaac
This game is legendary for a lot of reasons, the darkly satirical storyline, the difficulty curve, the addictive gameplay, the appeal to a classic kind of player with its roguelike structure, and the glut of hard to find content that make the challenge so much harder. Many characters require bizarrely specific in-game criteria to be met, perhaps the most elaborate of which being The Lost (pre-DLC) which requires a certain sequence of deaths to bosses in particular areas in a particular order, and if any of them are done out of order you have to start again.
Others require taking certain characters through certain game modes, feeding your money into machines that only appear after extensive gaming sessions, or for certain powerups to be acquired. Eden, once played, has to be unlocked again to use. In short, so far as character unlocks go, this may be one of the most infuriatingly complicated games, and the lengths that players have gone to to discover are insane. But of course it wouldn’t be so popular if it was easy.
7) The Hidden Path – Grim Dawn
Covered this one a short while back but it’s worth another nod. You know in games when you walk past an area with suspicious amounts of detail, or maybe look at an inaccessible area and observe how clear the pathing is, and you think maybe, just maybe there’s something down there to explore… but no, there isn’t, you can never get close.
Take a wander back to those first tentative, zombie smashing steps out of Devil’s Crossing, hang a right and pay attention. Carry dynamite, because you’re about to find a bunch of those places, places you’ve casually walked past over the last few dozen hours of gameplay are filled with a quest, one that runs the length and breadth of Cairn, and even seeds a lot of the lore from the DLCs, Ashes of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods. The questline is actually huge for a component so easily missed, and if you take the time to read a few of the notes and pay attention during dialogue, there’s a story well worth investing in… or butchering your way through.
6) Vulthuryol – Skyrim
It’s a pretty well known “secret” at this point, but it’s still pretty ridiculous. I’ll be honest, I was oblivious to the existence of Blackreach for way too long, and it took stumbling across a video about Vulthuryol to discover the hidden world beneath Skyrim in the first place, and I went down there just to see the sun-sphere dangling from the roof of the cavern to see how easy it might be to have stumbled upon the secretive Dragon of the Deep City.
Point your face at the only orange light source in Blackreach and shout at it to summon one of the bigger and nastier dragons in the game. Who… who found this? And how? In the course of the average fight the chances of lining up an Unrelenting Force at the right angle in the right place seems unlikely as hell, and so help me I don’t recall seeing any damn Falmer on my climb up to the vantage points that make the shout easier. I actually remember being surprised not to see any…
5) Finding and Defeating Reptile – Mortal Kombat 1
One of arcades most infamous easter eggs, the finding and defeating of Reptile. If you’re not clued in on the Mortal Kombat franchise, then all you need to know is there’s a lot of blood and spike pits and fatalities. That and it’s a very solid fighting game franchise that’s stood the test of time, with Mortal Kombat 11 recently released. So for this Arcade classic, finding Reptile was… Pretty intense.
You had to get to The Pit stage of Mortal Kombat 1. It’s on here that you’re not allowed to take damage – You need to get a Double Flawless Victory whilst not blocking any damage yourself. You also need to watch out for a shadow passing the moon (Which is basically Santa Claus for some reason). If you do this correctly, the infamous words of “You have found me now prove yourself !!” then appears in green on the screen.
Pretty insane, just to fight a green Scorpion. However when you defeat him, it pops up with “You have defeated Reptile !! 10,000,000”. That’s a lot of points.
4) Geometry Wars – Project Gotham Racing 2
Another whole game was added into Project Gotham Racing 2. The main game itself was pretty good, people enjoyed Project Gotham Racing 2, but I don’t think a lot of people would mind if I said that it didn’t really blow people’s minds. It was a generally good game, but what was interesting about it was the inclusion of Geometry Wars, which was basically a minigame within the racing title.
Interestingly, it turns out people really enjoyed Geometry Wars. So they ended up releasing the game on the Xbox Live Arcade, where it actually enjoyed the record for the most downloaded game on the platform. Not bad for what was effectively just a minigame to pass the time.
3) Arcade Games – Warframe
In Warframe, you play as a Tenno in a Frame. You can collect many different pieces to create more frames, which are built over time. When you go out and about into missions, you can find fragments that you scan and that helps your character with their sort of knowledge of the worlds they visit. Your spaceship can be decorated however you want, but all I know is that I’d fill my ship with Floofs, Domestik Drones (Basically Roombas) and Ludoplexes.
A Ludoplex is basically the games version of a video games console. You buy a Ludoplex, but then you have to go out into the universe to find the fragments that make up the games. There are three games in total, one of them being Frame Fighter. So basically, in this game, which already has a vast wealth of things to do, you can collect the data necessary to make games to put into your ship. You can play these games too. So you can play some arcade-style games in Warframe, after you grind for it.
2) Romero’s Head – Doom 2
One of the most famous examples of deeply hidden secrets buried within games, the infamous head of John Romero hidden inside the Icon of Sin in Doom 2. Noclip your way through the walls of the demonic pillar and find a hidden corridor, within which is a spike bearing the severed and still screaming head of John Romero, a nugget of hit points that needs to be destroyed to kill the game’s final boss. It can only be hit with a rocket-launcher’s explosive radius, and under normal circumstances would never be seen.
It’s a little self-indulgent, nothing unexpected from Romero, and it’s so well hidden, the only way to discover it is the abuse of cheat codes, but as well as being the centre of health for the endgame boss, the head also vomits monsters (which is not animated, it’s just a spawn point) making Romero the defacto endgame of Doom 2, but please, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
1) Alternate Reality Game Hidden in the Games Files – Doki Doki Literature Club
I don’t know how much I can write about this before it just turns into spoiler territory, so I’m going to try and keep it as light as possible, but there are spoilers about Doki Doki Literature Club now. The games old enough now, so I think it’s safe to drop these spoilers and I’m fairly sure the internet has it well documented already.
In Doki Doki Literature Club, you play as an unnamed male protagonist who joins the Literature Club. This is made up of four girls, Yuri, Sayori, Natsuki and Monika. The game starts as what seems to be a simple dating sim and after you complete the game the first time, you are suddenly made aware the game is actually a different genre. It’s a horror visual novel.
One of the horror elements sees the primary antagonist tell you that they deleted the others. You have to then go and delete that character as well. But amongst the characters files, there are hidden messages. A whole ARG was hidden underneath and in the belly of the beast that is Doki Doki Literature Club… And it’s damn exciting.
From the humble easter egg to the downright terrifying ARG, these games have kept us entertained with their core gameplay and their ingeniously content. However we’re now about to point out two more examples of games with hidden content that we can’t help but shake our heads at.
Ascend – Kanye Quest
Trust me, trust the video. Yes, that’s a clickbaity image, but it’s a really well documented video which I think perfectly shows why this game belongs on this list to some capacity.
As a quick breakdown then, Kanye Quest is a satirical game about Kanye West (woah). You go around and get “Kanye Dressed” and perhaps even Kanye Blessed, etc. Basically, the game is just a fun poke at the expense of Kanye West. It’s a very clear, simply made RPG Maker game, which just sort of adds to the silliness of the title. But there’s a whole potentially seedy ARG behind it.
There’s a particular NPC who asks you what you would like to do. Six Letters and typing in anything, the NPC says it back to you. Nothing special. If you type in the word Ascend however, you get taken to what’s basically an entirely different game, which takes you into a massive ARG… And trust me, it just gets super strange.
Make what you will of it! Make up your own mind on this one.
Forgotten Crypt and the Upside-Down Sinners – World of Warcraft
The crypt at Karazhan was originally cut content, and the reason for excluding it from the main game has been lost to staff changes and poor memories. The suspicion of fans was that one particular room would have lead to a jump in the game’s age rating and a massive limitation put on the audience for the MMO titan. A flooded hall is hung with heavy chains, from which the bodies of sinners float, hung by the neck to now dangle upside-down in the water. It’s a haunting sight, and a chilling room to behold… and worse, it used to be accessible only by dying.
Parts of the crypt are now available to explore following a patch, although there appears to be no solid reason, and while neither of us play WoW, we’d still love to know if doors are still listed with titles like Doodad. The halls and corridors are staggeringly well decorated, enormous, and well planned out, and yet it stands completely unused and unpopulated. A burial place for the poor, the criminal, and ignoble, a place where sinners are left to rot… and now I guess we’ll never know why.
Another week, another Top 10 where we’ve uncovered the best of the hidden content. But that’s enough super sleuthing from us, I wonder if there’s any more content you’d like us to uncover? As such, you will all need to work together to help us choose what you’d like next week’s Top 10 list to be.
With that, we’re done for another week. We’ve found some strange content within video games, but hey, I like to think of it as another adventure. Chalk this one up to experience, but I have a feeling that we’re going to see more weird examples like this in the future. But what do you think? Did we get the right hidden content in? Should we have just stuck to easter eggs? As ever, share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.