As long as developers have made video games, they’ve hidden secret Easter eggs in them for their own entertainment, or as a practical joke. Sometimes, features in a game may be scrapped before the title hits the shelves, and unfinished content is left inside for anyone smart enough to find it. While some of these secrets were definitely meant to be discovered, there are just as many gaming Easter eggs that the devs never intended to be found. Lucky for us, some seriously smart players over the years have managed to uncover them anyway. Here are some of our favorites.
Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour (PlayStation 2)
In a standard golfing game which was only notable because it was the first endorsed by Tiger Woods, a hidden file that started as a developer’s joke ended up creating a furor so large it actually got the game pulled from the shelves in a mass recall. On the PlayStation 2 version of the 99 PGA Tour, a developer filled out the extra space on the disc with a “dummy” file. But instead of what should have been empty space contained a five-minute video of the South Park pilot episode, “Jesus vs. Santa.”
While you couldn’t view the episode in your PlayStation, sticking the disc in a PC and using File Explorer to open the video would allow you to watch the entire pilot in it all its vulgar glory. Naturally, this caused an uproar among the parents who had purchased the child-friendly title, so EA recalled the game, replacing it with a version that had the dummy file removed.
Goldeneye (Nintendo 64)
As if this classic N64 game wasn’t awesome enough, apparently there was another mode built in that was disabled by the developers, despite most of the assets being in place. If the team at Rare Games hadn’t run into some licensing difficulties, you might have been able to play as other classic Bond actors besides Pierce Brosnan. That’s right, the original version of Goldeneye came with models and textures for Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Timothy Dalton.
This “All Bonds” mode would allow you to choose one of the alternate actors when playing the bonus Egypt and Aztec levels, and you could even go head-to-head in multiplayer mode. When word came down that the additional Bonds had to be scrapped, the development team held one final massive deathmatch, which lasted a grueling three hours. Today, you can check out some of the assets for the additional Bonds using special GameShark codes, or there are a few videos floating around of players who successfully managed to recreate the “All Bonds” effect by mapping the textures onto other player models.
Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds (PC/Mac)
In this “Junior Adventure” for ages 3-8, you play as Freddi, a plucky little yellow fish. Freddi’s ever-present buddy Luther also comes along for the adventure as you chase down the thieves who stole all the kelp seeds, which apparently are the only source of food for Freddi and her friends. At one point Freddi and Luther encounter Eddie the Eel, who blocks their path. Some intrepid code-tinkerers found that if you change a specific variable to one of the game’s initialization files, this encounter becomes 10 times more sinister.
With the modification in place, clicking on Luther during your meeting with Eddie causes Freddi to grab her little green buddy and offer him up as a sacrifice to Eddie—who eagerly accepts, gobbling down Luther and smacking his lips in satisfaction. Only at the end of the cutscene is it revealed the whole thing was just Freddi’s dark fantasy, when Luther (alive again) asks, “Whatcha thinking about, Freddi?” While the animation—complete with blood and guts—was obviously never intended to be seen by tiny human eyes, it’s interesting to note that the voice acting for this gory scene was completed, and even translated to all the other languages Freddi was available in.
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (PC)
This game is already pretty badass, and even made it to #10 on our list of the top Star Wars games. But what if we told you there was an easy way to make it even better? One thing many gamers have complained about over the years when it comes to Star Wars games is the lack of realism in lightsaber battles. It’s a fricking laser sword, so why can’t you cut off anyone’s head with it? Well, the developers of Jedi Academy heard those pleas, and built dismemberment into their game. Apparently the publishers may have felt that the option was a little too graphic to be enabled by default, so if you want to start cutting off legs and arms, you’ll have to enter a few console commands first.
After you’ve entered the right commands, you can go crazy dismembering enemies—but don’t start hacking around willy-nilly. Remember your defensive game, because this tweak means that your character can be dismembered too. Also, it should be noted that this mod reportedly does not work on the Steam version of Jedi Academy, so you’ll want to find an original version of the game.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC)
Have you been lusting after a particularly rare piece of armor or weaponry in Skyrim, but have just never been able to get it? Do you own the PC version of Skyrim? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then we have a secret just for you. If you know how to use console commands, you can use this secret command to teleport to a secret underground developer’s room which is completely inaccessible through any other means. Within this room, you’ll find chests full of literally every item in the game, from weapons to wooden spoons. Stock up on what you need, and use another console command to teleport to Whiterun (or elsewhere) and continue your quest.
Fair warning: You’ll want to have a pretty powerful rig before you attempt to open any of the item chests within this room, especially the enchanted items chest. There are literally so many different items available that simply loading the loot list will be enough to crash the game on lesser computers.
Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae (Xbox One & PlayStation 4)
Before Final Fantasy XV officially hit the shelves at the end of November 2016, Square Enix made a large playable demo (titled Episode Duscae) available via an exclusive download code in 2015. Like many playable demos, Duscae was built in the incomplete world of the final game, with a glowing blue barrier which hems you into the demo area.
Not long after the demo was released, players were already figuring out how to
break through that barrier via an in-game exploit. By traveling to the edge of the barrier along a highway, you can throw yourself in front of any passing car and let the vehicle toss you through the invisible barrier. Once you’re through, there’s quite a bit of unfinished world to explore—including a gigantic dinosaur and even a epic Titan. A word of warning, however: don’t camp or do anything that would auto-save your game while you’re on the other side of the barrier, otherwise it’ll corrupt your entire save file.
Dragon Age: Inquisition (Multiple Platforms)
In Dragon Age: Inquisition, BioWare delivered a visually stunning game with an engaging story. But like most things in life, there’s usually a downside to go along with the good stuff—and for Dragon Age, the downside was the numerous bugs and technical issues players encountered with the game. Thankfully, the developers were aware of some of these problems before the game hit the shelves, and they had a sense of humor about them.
One particularly cheeky game artist took the time to leave an Easter egg for players beneath the castle of Skyhold, where you sometimes would find yourself after inexplicably falling through the floor. If you take the time to explore around the area, you might spot a huge pie, smiling cheekily and wearing a top hat. Artist Graham Kelly explained that this is not just any pie, but the “Lord of the Pies,” and he also confirmed that he “may or may not have hidden some of his smaller flock around the rest of Skyhold.”
Super Mario Bros. (NES, Famicom)
As you probably know, as you adventure through Super Mario Bros., each level is numbered according to the world you’re in: 1-1, 2-1, etc. But did you know there’s actually a “Minus World?” That’s right, if you know the right trick you can reach a world that’s simply numbered -1, which is how it got its nickname among players. There are multiple methods for getting to Minus World, which vary depending on which platform you’re using.
The payoff is also quite different between NES and Famicom. On an NES, you’ll get a level that looks identical to underwater world 7-2, but the level can’t be finished, as the final pipe will simply send you back to the start of the level (until you eventually use up all your lives.)
If you have a Famicom version of the game and exploit this glitch, you’ll get a bizarro version of world 1-3, where you swim through the air while dodging floating Princesses, headless Bowsers, and more. Even better, when you complete -1 world on Famicom, you’ll go on to -2 world and even -3 world, which is filled with enemies you can stomp for 1000 points each. Once you complete -3 world, you’ll return to the game’s title screen. Start it up again, and you’ll have entered hard mode Super Mario Bros.—with all the goombas replaced by buzzy beetles.
Sonic Adventure 2 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
When Sonic Adventure 2: Battle first came out for GameCube, fans soon discovered that you could access a secret developer test level by using the correct code on an Action Replay device. When the game was ported to PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012, for some reason the designers never bothered to remove the secret level—probably because it’s actually pretty cool. While the method of entry is now a little bit harderthan simply entering a code, it’s a fun little area to visit and play around with the physics of Sonic.
World of Warcraft (PC/Mac)
For over a decade, intrepid World of Warcraft players have been finding ways to exploit the sometimes buggy walls and ceilings of the Karazhan raid instance in order to slip outside the castle and explore an unfinished zone, known as Netherspace. Over the years, the method for entering this area has evolved as Blizzard has fixed/patched old exploits, but once the cat was out of the bag, players have continued to find new ways into the area.
Once you’re outside of Karazhan, there’s a lot of cool stuff to explore left there by bored developers, like a smiley face on the ground under the main castle tower. Next, take a trip up to the neighboring Ogre village, you can actually glitch walk through a hill and find yourself in Netherspace: a featureless gray expanse, which is very disorienting at first. If you’re a Demon Hunter, or if you have an item like Aviana’s Feather, Rocket Boots, or Goblin Glider, you can use it to fly up to the floating shattered rock platforms in the sky, or you can use this cool bug to simply walk up the wall of Netherspace and jump onto the balcony which holds Karazhan’s final boss: Prince Malchezaar. For anyone who has suffered through the agonizing “Chess” event in Karazhan, the ability to skip right to the last boss is an awesome relief.