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10 Video Game Secrets That Took Years to Find



Whether it's an easter egg or an undisclosed addition to the game, developers are well-known for including secrets in their video games. Sometimes, they are so good at hiding these secrets deep within the game that it takes players an extremely long time before they're discovered. And that's exactly what we're looking at today: the top video game secrets that took players years to find. So, if you're curious about what they are, read on to find out.

10. Donkey Kong – Programmer's Initials

video game secrets

Why not begin this list of video game secrets with one of the most iconic games of all time, Donkey Kong. However, for the sake of this argument, we're specifically referring to the Donkey Kong port built for the Atari 800. Landon M. Dyers, the creator, actually hid his initials in the title screen to attribute his work. In fact, they were so well hidden, they remained a secret until he revealed it himself 26 years later.

To get the initials to appear, players must die with a specific combination of digits for their score, lose their last life by falling, and then set the game difficulty to 4. After that, the developer's initials will appear on the home screen. Considering that's the steps needed to unlock the secret, we're not surprised no one was able to find it.

9. Adventure – First Easter Egg

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Although hiding your initials may seem like one of the more lackluster video game secrets, there's actually a good reason behind why Landon M. Dyer's and other developers did it. That's because the original creators of the Atari didn't want their developers to be recognized in the credits. Fearing that bigger game studios would buy them out.

The developers, on the other hand, found this far from fair. That's why the original designer of the game Adventure, for the Atari system, buried his initials as a secret in the game. They were later uncovered, but he remains the first known developer to be credited with including a secret in a game. It's actually what gave rise to the name “Easter Eggs” in video games as we know it today.

8. Splinter Cell: Double Agent – Seal Secret

One of the original developers of Splinter Cell: Double Agent actually included a secret mission in the game that had you freeing five talking seals from captivity. However, to unlock the secret mission, players had to do an absurd number of random things like using specific vending machines in order. The secret mission may have been too well disguised, considering the game was released in 2006 and four years later it was still to be found. So, in 2010, he eventually unveiled it to the world himself.

7. Mortal Kombat – Secret Menu

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One of the biggest video game secrets that took gamer years to find can be found in the original Mortal Kombat games, 1 through 3. In 2015, hackers disassembled the code for each game and discovered that by pressing precise buttons in a specific pattern, they could unlock the game's secret EJB menu, named after Mortal Kombat creator Edward J Boon.

The secret EJB menu included a list of goodies, from secret characters, character endings, and even a Galaga-style mini-game. Nonetheless, it took 20 years for this video game secret to come out. Even better, the developer didn't have to spill the beans for it to happen this time.

6. Halo 3 – Birthday Message

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The Halo franchise is well known for its developers including their fair share of secrets throughout the series. However, one secret in Halo 3 from developer Adrian Perez remained under wraps for seven years until he finally confessed he put it in the game. This set Halo aficionados on the hunt. Eventually, they found out that by setting your Xbox clock to December 25, and holding down both thumbsticks while the game is loading up, a new menu screen with a ring will pop up. Engraved on the inside of the ring says, “Happy Birthday Lauren”, for Perez's wife, awe…

5. Doom 2 – 100%

One of the biggest facets that made Doom II so enjoyable was trying to 100% every run. This led to gamers attempting to 100% the entire game. However, no one was able to 100% Level 15: Industrial Zone, because there was a secret door no one could access. For over 24 years it was believed that you needed cheats to access it and 100% the entire game.

However, one day a gamer by the name of Zero Master found out that if you get knocked into the teleporter by an enemy, rather than walk into it, it will trigger the secret. So, after 24 years, it appears you can 100% Doom II without cheats.

4. Silent Hill 2 – Minimap and Save Anywhere

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One of the best video game secrets that remained hidden for many years comes from Silent Hill 2. And no we aren't talking about the dog ending. However, you do need to finish the game with the dog ending to unlock it. On top of that, and a long list of random controller commands, you can unlock a minimap and save anywhere option for the game – which weren't originally in the game but surely would have been helpful. In any case, Silent Hill 2 released in 2001, and it wasn't till 2016 that this secret was discovered.

3. The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past – Chris Houlihan

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In 1990, Nintendo Power magazine ran an event that would secretly include one reader's name in an unannounced NES game. That game just so happened to be The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. However, it wasn't until eight years later that players found Chris Houlihan's name on a plaque in a hidden room in the game. Finally receiving recognition for winning the competition.

2. Wave Race: Blue Storm – Sarcastic Announcer

Wave Race: Blue Storm was released for Gamecube in 2001 and featured an announcer that would narrate parts of the race. No one gave it much attention until 2008, seven years later, when one gamer discovered that if you change the audio option and enter a modified version of Konami's Code, the original game announcer is replaced with one who is a bit blunter with his remarks.

1. Donkey Kong 64 – Hidden Rainbow Coin

Since we started this list of the best video game secrets with Donkey Kong, why not finish with it too? Donkey Kong 64 was released in 1999 and it included a list of secret rainbow coins in each level. For a long time, it was led to believe there was only one rainbow coin per level. However, 17 years later one gamer found out that one level, Fungi Forest, actually has two. Officially changing the games total coin count to 977.

So, what's your take? Do you agree with our picks? Are there other video game secrets that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below or over on our socials here!

Riley Fonger is a freelance writer, music lover, and gamer since adolescence. He loves anything video game-related and grew up with a passion for story games such as Bioshock and The Last of Us.