Everyone knows that Rockstar Games loves to make vague nods to pop culture references and place them as Easter eggs in their games. In fact, entire cultures and websites have been formed surrounding the stuff they put into their games that no one was intended to find and don’t go along with the main story, or any story for that matter. These secrets range from the obvious to the esoteric, from the specific to the vague. Often enough, these secrets are found only by veritable pros with the Rockstar titles, though these days all you really have to do to find them is follow laid-out instructions on any given forum. Though, if you’re a hardcore gamer like I am, you’ll spend hours and hours inside of a game, exploring it as a sandbox game is intended to be explored. Found this way, the Easter egg holds a certain charm of victory that can’t be had by Googling.
Here, I am pleased to outline just a few of the best Easter Eggs found in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. They are by no means all of the Easter Eggs and secrets that you’ll find in the games. In fact, a list of every single secret Easter egg in the GTA series would take aeons to read and even longer to write. So, from the funny to the creepy, from the pointed to the pointless, I present to you the fifteen most awesome Easter Eggs to be found in the Grand Theft Auto franchise!
And fair warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
15. Literal Easter Egg (Vice City)
As if to make fun of themselves and their penchant for putting things where they don’t belong, inside the Vice City news building downtown by the helipad lies a literal Easter egg. Any gamer can appreciate the irony that can be found in sticking a literal egg into one of their games, and it’s pretty obvious that Rockstar is making fun of themselves, here. This Easter egg is a large brown egg on a pedestal in a bland interior room that says “HAPPY EASTER” in scrawled lettering. There are PC mods for the game that can change the color of this easter egg and even allow you to paint one, yourself. Personally, I prefer the drab brown color. More importantly, what kind of creature laid this egg, anyway?
14. Hotel Member (Vice City)
As you will see in later Easter Eggs in this series, Rockstar games is no stranger to the raunchy, and Grand Theft Auto is at the absolute peak of the raunchy and immoral things that Rockstar Games puts into their titles. This particular Easter egg, though, is a mere prank that ranks pretty low on the raunchy scale, compared to the other things that Grand Theft Auto is known for, such as the Hot Coffee Easter egg found later in this list. Between the hours of 11:00pm and midnight, if you take a helicopter and view a certain hotel, the lights will be changed into a very telling shape. It makes you wonder if the hotel management is aware of their own faux pas, doesn’t it?
13. RIP Opposition (San Andreas)
In what appears to be a memorial for war casualties, there is a particular gravestone that emphasizes and frames what Rockstar Games thinks of itself, and what the company thinks about their business competition. It is almost as if Rockstar Games is making it very clear that they know that similar games to the Grand Theft Auto franchise such as Driver and True Crime will get buried beneath their own games. You can’t be too mad, though, considering that this is how a true rock star would view their competition, right? Plus, the numbers don’t lie. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is one of the top selling, top grossing franchises in the video game industry and to this date, there is very little competition to be had.
12. Vice City Teaser (GTA 3)
From the time Grand Theft Auto made their second and third games, Rockstar must have known that it was a franchise that would see many more sequels. It was obvious to the company that they had hit paydirt. Veritable video game gold. True to their own self-aggrandizing ego that you see in their ego-stroking “R.I.P. Competition” memorial in this list, there is a teaser for the next game that was published in Grand Theft Auto 3 before Vice City had even begun. Here, we see a billboard advertisement for Francis International Airport reading “See You In Miami!” which is obviously a nod to their next title, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. You can’t even be mad, though. The company might be a little egotistical, but they seem to have every right to be.
11. Party On (GTA 4)
Easy come, easy go. What do Wayne’s World and Grand Theft Auto have in common? At first glance, you wouldn’t think that there is any overlap, but Grand Theft Auto begs to differ. In an appropriate nod to the veritable classic Wayne’s World, Rockstar includes an Easter egg in their “The Lost And The Damned” downloadable content in the form of a vehicle that they, for copyright purposes, have called the Rhapsody. You know, like Bohemian Rhapsody? As if this weren’t enough of a nod to the iconic movie scene that caused millions of neck injuries due to headbanging, there is another tidbit that completes the devoted nod. If you look through the back window of the Rhapsody, you can see a photo on the dashboard of some very familiar rockers.
10. Heart of the City (GTA 4)
Have you ever wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty, but you can’t find the time or the money? Maybe you just don’t feel like dealing with the people you’ll inevitably find in New York City. Thankfully, I have good news for you! You can visit the city in the Grand Theft Auto series! Better yet, you can even go inside the statue, just like you can in real life! You get the same scenic views, and the same feeling of freedom that the French intended when they gave us the work of art. Better yet, if you ignore all the plaques telling you not to go any further, and act like an employee and head beyond the door, you’ll find a ladder where you’ll get to climb up into the chest of the statue and see Lady Liberty’s beating heart. Just like in real life!
9. No Easter Eggs Here (San Andreas)
San Andreas gave players the ability to fly using jet packs. How cool is that? This, of course, meant that players wanted to explore everything just like they did with all of the other titles, only this time, the players could explore high points as well as the ground. Naturally, this lead to players trying to seek out the highest point in the game, which, as it turns out is one of the attachment posts of the Gant Bridge. Here, at the highest point in the game, the top of the Gant Bridge, is a plaque reading “No Easter Eggs here. Go away.” So I have to ask you. Is it still considered an Easter Egg if it is an Easter Egg telling you that there are no Easter Eggs? Easter Egg-ception!
8. Hot Coffee (San Andreas)
Normally inaccessible, Hot Coffee was initially intended to be scrapped and not used in any of the actual games. This is surprising because, even though Rockstar typically pulls no punches in regards to its content, Hot Coffee depicts real and actual sex in all of its graphic XXX glory. If you’ve got the time and the mods, you can unlock this Easter Egg in several versions of the game. Using this mod in San Andres gives you full access to the mini game and, of course, other entrepreneurial gamers took this code and applied it to almost all future games. Originally, the Easter Egg was named after the main character getting an offer from his girlfriend to come in for coffee, which turns out to be much more.
7. Bigfoot (GTA 5)
This one took a long time for patchers and modders to identify. The sleuthing of these ingenious players and modders was well rewarded as the mystery of the golden peyote and Bigfoot itself was solved! Originally beginning when a player found and reported a single golden peyote plant, this finding spurred a massive investigation into the code. This search yielded the exact coordinates of every single peyote plant in the game, but players still couldn’t find them! Further on in the investigation, it was made clear that there were different days of the week where these plants could be found and if one were to find them all, the bigfoot could be found. This, and many other bigfoot and sasquatch sightings span the Grand Theft Auto universe.
6. Purple Dinosaur (GTA 5)
If you grew up in the 90s, you are probably instinctively aware of the purple dinosaur that helped shape the hearts and nightmares of children all over the United States. Barney also makes an appearance in the Grand Theft Auto series when he shows up a little more fit and slim in Grand Theft Auto V. Located outside the purple and green Rex’s Diner in the game, he is seen in the parking lot eating a hot dog next to a sign that should read EAT but looks a whole lot more like FAT. This may be a nod to the fact that one of the Barney actors actually liked to have hot dogs on set and sometimes gave them to the children who would visit the set. Then again, maybe the programmers just like a good dog.
5. Paranormal Activity (GTA 5)
Another timed event, but this one is actually pretty horrifying, even to the players. Make sure you don’t investigate this Easter Egg in a dark room alone at midnight on Halloween. Or maybe you should. If you go to Mount Gordo at a specific time in the game, you might catch a glimpse of a rather Ring-esque ghost that has some rather interesting mythology attached to it. Named the Mt. Gordo Ghost by players, she appears near a rock that has the word “JOCK” scrawled in blood. You see, the ghost is that of Jolene Cranley, wife of Jock Cranley. As the mythology goes, he threw his wife over the cliff and before she died, she wrote the name of her murderer in her own blood.
4. Encounters of the GTA Kind (GTA 5)
In a world full of criminals, yeti, bigfoot, golden hallucinogenic peyote plants, vampires, monster prostitutes and ghosts, it is only logical that the Grand Theft Auto universe also contain unidentified flying objects, right? There are several instances of UFOs in the previous Grand Theft Auto games, but the fifth installment really unleashes them. Most of them require the player to have beaten 100% of the game, but it is worth it to be able to see them in person. Does this mean that once the game is over, that the aliens come in and wipe the city clean? Or have your criminal activities been noticed by these beings, who are now visiting to watch you? Maybe they even play the game? Either way, these Easter Eggs are worth a find.
3. The Egg (GTA 5)
As of the writing of this article, this Easter Egg has still not been solved. People have modded the game in order to glitch the game and cause the eggs to appear, and even made a diaper out of the egg item but insofar as finding the egg “in the wild” goes, no player has found it yet. So how does anyone know it exists? The code. Folks digging through the code found a string that lead them to believe that it exists and even alluded to certain locations where it might spawn, but no instructions to find it, or what it does when it’s found. The mystery continues to this day and if you are lucky enough to find it, it just so happens that there is a reward, too.
2. Not Sneaky Enough (GTA 5)
Michael doesn’t like people messing with his house. Who can blame him, really? If you play one of the other characters and go around Michael’s house at night, Michael will take offense. He will text or call the character doing the sneaking and ask what they’re doing and whether or not they’re skulking around his house. Moreover, if any of the other characters go to Michael’s house and decide to shoot at it, Michael will text or call their phone and angrily demand that they stop. This is a unique little Easter Egg that shows the ingenious planning and programming work of the code monkeys at Rockstar, and winds up being a hilarious little time killer if you decide that there isn’t enough to do already in this monster of a game.
1. Trapped Under Ice (GTA 5)
In North Yankton there is an alien trapped under the ice! You can find this alien when you’re in the Prologue mission if you travel underneath the train bridge in Ludendorff that you and the gang pass in the Rancher XL. Look in the frozen creek and there it will be. Now, the strange part about this is that it comes in tandum with four flying UFOs and some glowing eggs as well as other supernatural easter eggs in a game that’s supposed to be based in the real world. Worse yet, nothing is explained. The alien has no origins and no story, nor do the UFOs or eggs. It’s all one big mystery that only Rockstar Games and those who program it may ever know. Maybe it’ll be part of some future game?