Everyone loves a good Easter Egg. And I’m not talking about the colorful candy filled plastic cocoons that you get on a specific holiday, I’m talking about the hidden messages or events that take place in video games that are virtual nods from the developers to the players. A well placed Easter Egg can add a heightened level of mystique and intrigue for the above average player. What is better than running through your favorite game for the fourth time only to find that there is a secret family of monkeys hiding in the hills on the first level? Easter Eggs are usually very fun and lighthearted and bring in a wide variety of cultural references.
However some do not don the mantle of a lighthearted non-sequitur. No some have far more sinister roots and are grounded in a darkened reality or paranormal plane. Added bits of code that gives a seemingly traditional game into a nightmarish depth. As players stumble across the landscape of their virtual reality and find themselves face to face with a variety of horrifying events, one has to wonder where the origins of these ideas come from. This additional layer added to games allows for any variety of speculation and is the source for countless creepypastas that are scattered across the internet.
Developers enjoy Easter Eggs as much as players do. It is nice to reward someone with the persistence to find secrets hidden across hours of gameplay. But it is even nicer to scare the mess out of them when they do.
These are the 15 Darkest Video Game Easter Eggs.
15. Witcher 3 – Weeping Angels
If you are a fan of Doctor Who then you will already know the horror that are the weeping angels. These monstrous otherworldly creatures take the form of stone angels as they creep on unsuspecting victims. Here’s the catch – they can only move when you don’t look at them. While this might sound like an easy task, if one chooses to blink then they are that much closer to an untimely demise. The Witcher series plays with a wide variety of monstrous creatures, but the implementation of the weeping angels, however small it may be, adds a whole new level of evil.
If you ever find yourself playing The Witcher 3, head on over to Velen and look for the side quest Monster In The Cemetery. After completion of this quest, you will be exposed to these monsters as they lay in wait outside a nearby church.
14. Fallout 4 – Cask of Amontillado
For anyone who bs’d their way through high school English, you may have not picked up on this literary classic nestled in your textbook. However if you go back and check (or give the ol’ Google search a try) you can uncover the story of The Cask of Amontillado. This classical horror story by Edgar Allan Poe is akin to his other grisly tales such as The Telltale Heart and The Raven as it deals with the darkness of humanity.
In The Cask of Amontillado, one of the characters (Montresor) is consumed by jealousy of his friend (Fortunato). This jealousy causes Montresor to chain a drunken Fortunato to a wall, seal him in brick by brick, and then drop a lit torch into the newly created prison, burning Fortunato alive.
13. Pokémon ORAS – Ghost Girl
Pokémon is one of society’s best childhood friends. It’s the one you played with the most as a kid and continues to re-enter your life time and time again with the same energy and fun you remember fondly. However in one of the latest iterations of the Pokémon franchise, the remake of the classic Ruby and Sapphire, there is a hidden secret that adds a deeper, darker layer.
As soon as you gear up to face the Ghost Type Elite Four Member, Phoebe, you may notice the chair in the back right section of the room. While it may seem harmless at the time, as soon as you begin the cut scene that kicks off your battle, you may notice that the chair is not vacant for a split second. That’s right, there is a ghost girl that appears just before the battle takes place. Now, Pokémon is no stranger to ghosts, obviously having an entire type of Pokemon dedicated to them. But this particular ghost is no Pokémon. And worse yet, there is no mention of her in any other part of the game.
12. Arkham Knight – Joker Intro
The Batman: Arkham series has piggybacked on the Batman hype of the 2000s and thus extended it into the video game community. And though it seems as though Batman content would be over-saturated and dry at this point, the Arkham series does the exact opposite by delivering a challenging and engaging experience for any gamer to enjoy.
And what would Batman be without his ever-present arch-nemesis The Joker. While fans believed that (Spoiler) The Joker (Spoiler) met his ultimate demise at the end of Batman: Arkham City, the beginning of the 2015 Arkham Knight tells a slightly different story.
If you start a new game after completing the main story you have the opportunity to see The Joker come screaming back to life as his body burns away. Why would anyone want to see that? Well the developers at Rocksteady Studios are playing to the horror genre’s favorite element; the element of surprise.
11. GTA V – Jolene Cranley-Evans’ Ghost
Between the hour of 11:00pm and 12:00 am, close to the peak of Mt. Gordo in Grand Theft Auto V, legend has it you will see the ghost of Jolene Cranley-Evans. And by legend I mean you will definitely see it, as it is in the game’s programming.
If you read an in-game newspaper, it tells the story of Jock Cranley, a famous stuntman who allegedly pushed his wife off of a cliff while hiking Mt. Gordo. While Jock was released because of lack of evidence, his dead wife tells a different story. Spelled out on the rock in front of her spectral body is the word JOCK in blood. And though the one word accusation is not a full confession, players can comfortably assume that means he did the foul deed. If you do make your way out to Mt. Gordo during this time, make sure you bring a sniper rifle as if you get too close, the ghost will dissipate.
10. Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Watching Aliens
For the second time on this list, Nintendo makes its seemingly unexpected appearance. Who would think that the company responsible for a feel-good game such as Super Mario Sunshine would also be responsible for a series of unsettling events. Well Super Mario Galaxy 2 falls victim to this Nintendo curse with its ever-watchful alien silhouettes.
The distant aliens that reside in the Shiverburn Galaxy make our list with their mysterious presence and even more mysterious lack of explanation. The creepiest part of it all is through the coding under the game’s hood, where it refers to these beings as the HellValleySkyTrees and the surrounding area as Beyond Hell, twisting the child-friendly galaxy fun land into something far more sinister.
9. Call Of Duty – Teddy Bear
The Call Of Duty teddy bear has been a staple to the series periodically since Call Of Duty: Finest Hour. And, why shouldn’t it be? It’s a fun little slice of child-like wonder spread across the world’s favorite first person shooter. There’s nothing like killing a squadron of Nazi troops to then go downstairs and find an adorable teddy bear sitting on their couch.
However, in Call Of Duty: World At War, the teddy bear took a more sinister meaning. In the series’ first iteration of the zombies play mode, there was a map that had a specifically dark backstory. The evil doctor that began the zombie outbreak had a granddaughter, Amanda. Amanda was bitten by zombie dogs while holding on to her favorite teddy bear. From then on, she took possession of the teddy bear, spreading ill fortune to all who see it.
8. Minecraft – Removed Herobrine
Who or what is Herobrine? Did Herobrine ever exist in the game? No. The answer is no. The indie success story for the ages, Minecraft, has had more people playing at any given point than the population of my home town. And if you’ve played Minecraft (even if you don’t regularly admit it) you have probably heard the tale of Herobrine.
Herobrine, born in early Minecraft folklore, is the deceased brother of the game’s creator, Notch. He is said to appear as a lifeless version of the game’s protagonist and wander through the far reaches of your world creating strange sculptures and stealing the leaves off of trees. A bogeyman for the sandbox universe.
In the 1.5 patch update of Minecraft, the devs gave a nod to this fabled villain by adding “removed Herobrine” to the list of patch changes. A fun and non-intrusive way of debunking all of the communities myths.
7. Sonic CD – Fun Is Infinite
This one goes deep into the back entries of the game. It was the Isle of Tortuga of dark video game Easter Eggs, the one you could only find if you knew where to look. In the game Sonic CD, there is a secret feature that allows you to sound test the game. This feature is only achieved by a number of button combinations. After you get to the sound test screen, you must place in the specific numbers into the different slots to get this screen.
This translates to “Fun is infinite with SEGA Enterprises -Majin.” Spooky right? But it doesn’t end there. The name Majin refers to a deity or god-like humanoid, usually akin to the Western understanding of a demon. So that ultimately means that a demon is prowling in the depths of Sonic CD and has left a message for someone to seek him out.
6. Hitman: Contracts – Mirror Ghost
A haunted hotel is a cliche that has run rapidly across our culture for many years. I remember watching The Shining as a kid and never wanting to sleep in a hotel again. Well Hitman: Contracts plays on our fears by adding this creepy number into their game.
While your character is in Budapest, seek out the section of the hotel that says “Wing Closed.” (Note that whenever you see an entire section of a building closed, it is probably either an international drug ring or something supernatural) After you bypass that sign and enter the wing, you will begin to see traces of the ghost in the hallway. And if you are brave enough (and have a master pick) to enter the bathroom, you will see this ghost in the reflection of the mirror. Standing behind you as all creepy ghosts do. It does not matter which bathroom you enter, the ghost will appear in all six of them.
5. Silent Hill – Robbie The Rabbit
Robbie is similar in feel to the teddy bear from Call Of Duty, but unlike our friendly stuffed bear, Robbie has always been sinister. It is no secret that Silent Hill is already a dark game. And the question that developers ask themselves when making a horror game is “How can we get creepier?” Well they succeeded with the iteration of the anthropomorphic rabbit with the name Robbie.
Robbie will make his appearance in the Silent Hill franchise starting with Silent Hill 3. He is seen as a pink rabbit with red overalls, a green bow tie, and dried blood surrounding his mouth and upper torso. Robbie plays a variety of roles within the series, but is typically found as a harmless add-on.
4. Gameboy Camera – Who Are You Running From?
For those of you old enough to remember, we haven’t always had cameras on every available device. The fact that Gameboy was advanced enough to have image capture technology was a modern marvel.
Gameboy Camera adopted the similar RPG feel on the SHOOT screen with the various options to SHOOT, ITEMS, MAGIC, CHECK, or RUN. While each of the individual options performed its own function, the RUN option did one of two things; show a small photo of Africa or one of these WHO ARE YOU RUNNING FROM photos.
Without context or explanation, Nintendo blindsides us again with their strange approach to creepy humor. The phrase alone could belong to a serial killer in a modern slasher film, but with the added doodle on the faces seen by the gamer, it paints a stalker vibe that would cause anyone to put down the camera and go face reality.
3. Splatoon – Origin Of Species
Splatoon quickly became Nintendo’s child friendly response to first person shooters. Think Overwatch, but with paint instead of bullets. But what is the context of the paint splattered inkblots? Well according to the in-game Sunken Scrolls, the events of the game take place thousands of years in the future. Not only that, but they take place thousands of years in the future after the fall of humanity.
The central conflict inside the game revolves around two species: the Inklings and the Octarians. This feud, as told through the sunken scrolls, originated after mankind lost its footing as the world’s premier intelligence due to their extinction. Once mankind has been eliminated, the path was paved for each of these two species to take their place. A grisly tale for such a fun and light game.
2. Portal Series – Ratman
Where to start with this monster of a story. Ratman is one of the most intriguing and dark Easter Eggs ever to surface on the video game spectrum. From the beginning of the first Portal game, you are exposed to the secret of Ratman as he leaves his messages hidden away for the player to find. Many messages can be read into his intense scrawlings found behind the scenes across the series.
If you take the time to decipher his messages, you find that he was indeed the one to wake the protagonist of the Portal series and he set her on her quest to escape the Utopian complex. He was also one of the last Aperture scientists to survive the apocalypse. Being one of the last men on Earth must get lonely.
1. Animal Crossing: New Leaf – The Devil’s Hour
Ah, Animal Crossing. Such a fun and innocent game that allows you to play endlessly in a town of your creation with your fuzzy animal friends and the evil alien that appears in your television at The Devil’s Hour. That’s right, Animal Crossing: New Leaf has incorporated what is popularly known as The Devil’s Hour into their game.
It is said that during the hour between 2:33 and 3:33 am, you are most susceptible to ancient spirits, paranormal demons, and visitors from beyond the solar system. This is a theory that was popularized by the horror film The Fourth Kind.
If you wait until 3:33 am (in game time) in front of your television, you will see an alien approach you through the TV. This will creepily only happen for a minute and will be accompanied by static.