It should come as no surprise that video games are full to the brim with endless pop culture references. Some are hidden, some are obvious. A video game takes thousands of man hours to complete and there are usually thousands of programmers working to complete the game on a tight deadline.
Video games may be fun, but making them can bring the slow drag of reality sometimes. Just imagine staring at a computer screen for days and days, the hours collecting fast, and you’re still working on a character’s shield or getting their gun to shoot right. To keep things alive, light a fire in creativity and give fans easter eggs to paw over, references are often sprinkled into various video games in fun and entertaining ways.
One of the more popular pop culture references to make in video games is to television. Video game programmers and producers are as obsessed as we are at times with binge worthy television from Lost to Breaking Bad to Twin Peaks. They take that obsession and passion and translate it into their work. Then fans can spend equal amounts of hours finding and sharing these easter eggs. Here’s a look at ten hidden television references in awesome video games.
10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Lost
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (the video game) accomplished the very minor task of receiving better reviews than its atrocious movie counterpart. It’s a fun game, and it contains a very cool reference to a show we were all obsessed with at one point (admit it): Lost.
At the start of the game, you are moving through the jungle fighting enemies and trying to get Wolverine reunited with his allies. While searching through temples and trying not to get lost (pun totally intended), you can find a hatch with a sole window that glows when you approach.
The hatch is an obvious easter egg for Lost fans who remember the hatch being a giant plot point in season two of the series. For finding the hatch in the game, you even get an accompanying achievement!
9. Dead Rising 3 – Breaking Bad
It seemed like the entire world was obsessed with AMC’s Breaking Bad at one point or another. Some more than others, it seems. Some of those with a passion for the series following a meth producing high school science teacher happened to be the people behind Dead Rising 3.
One of the more memorable images from Breaking Bad happened to be, oddly enough, a pizza sitting atop protagonist Walter White’s house for what seemed like far too long. After being thrown up there in frustration, it remains providing the show with some of its more offbeat, but relatable humor.
In Dead Rising 3, there is a rooftop in Sunset Hills you can find yourself on where a pizza sits that you can pick up. An obvious reference to Breaking Bad, the pizza also sits atop a garage roof nearly identical to the one from Breaking Bad.
8. Silent Hill 3 – Twin Peaks
The Silent Hill video games have often been noted for having subtle homages to David Lynch‘s cult television series Twin Peaks.There are numerous characters and relationships that hold similarities to those found in Peaks.
Some of the clever winks to the show, however, can be a bit more hidden. In Silent Hill 3, there is a room surrounded by red curtains. Through the red curtains, the legs of two girls can be seen. This is a reference to The Black Lodge from Peaks which is covered by red curtains and often deals in doubles or doppelgangers.
There is also a near-recreated shot from Twin Peaks found in Silent Hill 3. In a hospital, there is an overturned wheelchair with one wheel spinning. This same image originated on Twin Peaks.
7. Rage – Breaking Bad
Another Breaking Bad reference. Some shows simply hit us at the core more than others. In Breaking Bad, the character of Hank Schrader (Walter White’s DEA agent brother-in-law), keeps the grill of a man named Tuco in a cube as a sort of trophy for killing him. No, not the kind of grill your father burns burgers on. More like the kind Lil’ Jon has a heavy supply of. It’s a memorable and offbeat detail to the show many fans will remember without much trouble.
In the video game Rage, you can find the same grill. It’s an obvious reference to the world of Walter White. In the game, travel to Sheriff Black’s office. It doesn’t take much searching before you can find the same grill from the show on a shelf. It’s even in the same cube Hank stores it in.
6. Contrast – Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British television series that has miraculously run from 1963 through today. It has legions of fans who follow every casting change, every endless science fiction-based episode. Some of those fans happened to be the people behind the Contrast video game.
Any Doctor Who fan worth their salt will know the name Tardis. Tardis apparently stands for Time and Relative Dimension in space. It is a police box in the television series that acts as a spacecraft and a time traveling device.
In Act 1 of Contrast, you can find Tardis. Found outside the map by the cinema, it is the exact Tardis from the television series and a clear nod to the science fiction classic.
5. Duke Nukem 3D – Star Trek
Duke Nukem. A name so synonymous with video game history that the only comparison that really pops into my head would be Star Trek and the science fiction genre. What a coincidence since Duke Nukem 3D had quite a cool hidden reference to the television franchise.
In episode 2, on the mission warp factor, there is a hidden room you can reach after taking a lift. The room just so happens to be the bridge of the USS Enterprise, recognizable to any casual or hardcore Star Trek fan. It may take a moment, but walk around a bit. It’s a replica of the famous ship and a clear nod to Stark Trek.
There’s even a “Really Ready Room” you can open, which is a humorous nod to the “ready room” from the series which the captain normally uses for private talks.
4. Borderlands 2 – Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones, the HBO phenomenon, has found fans from both its television series and the original novels by George R.R. Martin. Some of its fans, however, happen to work in video games. A clear and pretty cool reference to Game of Thrones happens to play a little part in Borderlands 2.
A King Jeffrey in the video game is a clear wink to King Joffrey from the television series. In the game, you find him in Tiny Tina’s assault on dragon keep DLC (downloadable Content). The king’s bodyguards are even named Canine and Molehill. In the show, the King has bodyguards named The Hound and The Mountain.
There’s even a throne that looks a lot like the iconic one from the show (the video game one is made from guns while the one in the TV show is made from swords). You are also told to slap the king three times when you finally get past his guards. This slapping is a reference to the series when Joffrey is slapped three times by his uncle.
Knowing the character from the show makes the action quite fun in the game. Hearing the character speak and seeing the way he acts makes the reference all the more clear. So, if King Joffrey is one of your least favorite Game of Thrones characters, then pop in Borderlands 2 and have at him.
3. Deadly Premonition – Twin Peaks
Deadly Premonitions is a video game that probably should have just called itself Twin Peaks: The Video Game. Originally titled Rainy Woods, the game was criticized for plagiarizing Lynch’s show in too many ways. The title and some small character details were changed. The references, however, are still there for any Peaks fans to find.
There’s a deputy who can’t stop crying at crime scenes, a pot lady (obvious reference to the Log Lady from Peaks), a cross-dressing police officer (David Duchovny plays one in Peaks), and those are just some of the more obvious ones.
The case being solved in the game holds heavy similarities to the murder case of Laura Palmer in Lynch’s series. The two even play out in the same fashion. Deadly Premonitions may be a simple copycat for some, but it’s a lot of fun for fans of Twin Peaks looking for something to tide them over until the show’s return in 2017 on Showtime.
2. Metal Gear Solid IV – Lost
Metal Gear Solid 4 has one of the stranger openings to a video game. It opens with various channels on a television you can flip through. The programming includes a crazy old lady cooking snakes and flies for breakfast, some weird talk show and other nonsense.
The cool thing about the sequence is the channel numbers. Pay attention to them next time you play. The channel numbers are as follows: 15, 16, 23, 42, 48. If you take the last number, split it in half and put it at the beginning of the sequence then you have: 4, 8, 15, 23, 42. These are the winning lottery numbers from Lost, which all Lost fans know have a larger meaning in the series and hold sometimes deadly consequences for the main characters.
1. Half Life 2: Episode 2 – Lost
There’s an image in Half Life 2 with a hidden reference to Lost. The above symbol plastered on the wall represents The White Forest Station in the game. The White Forest Station is an abandoned military base and is Gordon Freeman’s main objective in the game.
Also hidden in the symbol is the smaller symbol known to fans of Lost to represent the Dharma Station, which is an abandoned experiment from the show and something the characters, especially John Locke, obsess over figuring out.
To make the reference all the more clear, the computer in the room has the winning lottery numbers from the show. The computer also holds a similar look to one from the series, kept in a hatch, where the same numbers needed to be plugged in over and over again.