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10 Video Game Easter Eggs That Took Years to Discover

While most Easter eggs are found within a matter of days or even weeks after a video game’s release date, some secrets have taken much longer to reveal themselves. Here are 10 video game Easter eggs that took years to discover.  

1. GOLDENEYE 007 (1997)

GoldenEye 007 is considered one of the best first-person shooter video games of all time. Though many of its secrets were found upon its release in 1997, a computer engineer with the username “spoondiddly” discovered a pretty big Easter egg 15 years later. Buried deep inside the game’s code, there’s a fully functional emulator with 10 playable games for the ZX Spectrum system (UK’s version of the Commodore 64). Now you can play games like Lunar Jetman, Gunfright, and Knight Lore inside of GoldenEye 007.

The company that developed the game, Rare, was tinkering around with system emulation for the N64, which was a new console at the time. Instead of removing the emulation, Rare just disabled it with a patch. However, spoondiddly discovered how to re-patch it.

2. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST (1991)

In 1990, Nintendo Power hosted a contest where one of its readers' names would appear in an upcoming SNES video game. A reader named Chris Houlihan won the contest, so Nintendo programmers named a secret room after him in The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. The room remained hidden for 10 years until gamers started to pick apart the game’s code in 2002.

Gamers can find the room using the Pegasus Boots in a series of dashes from the Sanctuary to the Sewer Passageway's entrance. If done correctly, the secret room will reveal itself. Once inside, Link will be greeted with the name of the room and 45 Blue Rupees.

3. DONKEY KONG (1983)

In 1983, Atari hired video game programmer and designer Landon Dyer to port Donkey Kong from the arcade to the Atari 400/800 home consoles. After he finished writing more than 25,000 lines of assembly code, Dyer hid his initials “LMD” deep inside of the game. It remained undiscovered until an engineer named Don Hodges figured out how to unlock the Easter egg 26 years later in 2009.

Here’s how to find Dyer’s initials: First, set a new high score between 33,000 and 33,900 points. Then kill off all your remaining lives, but save the last life to be killed off by falling off a really high girder. Afterwards, press the “Option” button three times to set the game’s difficulty level to 4. This will unlock the game’s credits page and the programmer’s initials, “LMD.”

4. WAVE RACE: BLUE STORM (2001)

Released in 2001, Wave Race: Blue Storm was a hit jet ski racing game for Nintendo’s GameCube. Although a majority of its secrets were revealed throughout the game’s initial release, it took gamers almost 10 years to discover an Easter egg hidden deep in its audio settings menu. Once unlocked, the normally upbeat and enthusiastic announcer will be replaced with a bored and sarcastic one.

Here’s how to find the Easter egg: Go to the audio settings menu and tap “Z” until the waveform on the page looks like rising fog, and then use the D-Pad to type in “Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, X, and Z.” You’ll then hear an audio cue if you entered the code in correctly. Start a race and pick the first racer to hear the voice of the new announcer.

5. SUPER SMASH BROS. MELEE (2001)

Seven years after Super Smash Bros. Melee was released for the GameCube in 2001, an Easter egg was discovered to unlock the game’s final boss, Master Hand, as a playable character. The player has to perform a very elaborate combination of inserting controllers and some well-timed button pushing, but the end result will have you dominating every character in the game.

Here’s how to unlock the character: First, connect a controller in port three of the GameCube, then go to the character selection screen in the game. Select an opponent and then select your character as “Human.” Instead of selecting a character, clear all the names in your list except one (this will be the new option for Master Hand). Now position your cursor on the entry box to select a name, but instead press “A” and “B” at the same time. Continue holding “B,” but let go of “A” for a split second and then press “A” again at the exact same time the character selection screen exits. If done correctly, the game will take you to the setting location screen where you can now pick any location to play as Master Hand.

6. BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY (2011)

In 2011, video game developer Rocksteady Studios included a secret message inside of Batman: Arkham City that revealed hints and clues surrounding its sequel, Arkham Knight. The Easter egg remained hidden for three years until Rocksteady released how to unlock it in a YouTube video in 2014. If you set your Xbox 360, PS3, or PC's clock to the date December 13, 2004, Calendar Man will give a monologue about being there “from the beginning," and will warn you that "the end of days is coming." The special date in 2004 is when Rocksteady Studios was established.

7. PUNCH-OUT!! (1987)

In 2009, late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed a visual cue in Punch-Out!! to knock out Bald Bull during the first fight. When a camera flashes on the right side of the first row in the crowd, that’s the exact moment to throw the knockout blow. Iwata revealed the Easter egg 22 years after the boxing game was released.

Earlier this year, a similar Easter egg was also revealed that clued gamers in on how to knock out Piston Honda during the first World Circuit bout. When the bearded man on the left side of the first row ducks down, that’s the exact moment to throw a punch to knock out the Japanese boxer. 

8. FINAL FANTASY IX (2000)

Since it was released for the original PlayStation in the year 2000, gamers have unlocked most of the secrets and quests contained in Final Fantasy IX. However, the game’s final side quest was discovered 13 years after its release. The secret quest involved the Nero Brothers teaching Zidane how to gamble. Gamers had to track down and encounter all three brothers throughout the game on disc four, only to receive a Protect Ring once the side-quest was completed.

9. SPLINTER CELL: DOUBLE AGENT (2006)

While hardcore fans often find Easter eggs in video games within weeks of release, sometimes secrets are hidden so well that the game’s programmers have to come out and tell people how to find them. Take Splinter Cell: Double Agent, for example. It was released in 2006, but one of its Easter eggs remained hidden until Ubisoft released how to unlock a special baby seal rescue mission in 2010. The secret side mission must be found in co-op mode and involves an elaborate series of finding coins in the right order to use in various vending machines to rescue five seals wearing party hats with the names Muffin, Pepperoni, Vanilla, Cookie, and Buddy.

10. HALO 3 (2007)

Although Halo 3 was released in 2007, a special message from the game’s developer Adrian Perez to his wife wasn’t discovered until seven years later in 2014. Halo modder Lord Zedd found the secret after a game engineer revealed there was only one more Easter egg that remained hidden during a fan Q&A in 2012.

If you press down both thumbsticks during the game’s loading screen on December 25, it will reveal a wider look at the Halo ring with the message “Happy Birthday, Lauren!” inscribed on it. The Easter egg is only available to view on December 25, or if your Xbox 360 or Xbox One’s internal clock is set to the date.

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The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

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Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain
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9 False Rumors With Real-Life Consequences
King Louis XV of France
King Louis XV of France
Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain

Don’t believe everything you read—or everything you hear. Unverified but plausible-sounding rumors have been the basis for violent death and destruction throughout history, whether or not the stories had anything to do with the truth.

In their book A Colorful History of Popular Delusions, Robert Bartholomew and Peter Hassall describe rumors as “stories of perceived importance that lack substantiating evidence.” They also note that the sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani describes rumors as “improvised news,” which tends to spread when the demand for information exceeds supply. Such an information deficit most often occurs during wars and other crises, which might explain why some rumors have had such dramatic results. Here’s a selection of some of the most interesting rumors with real-life results collected in Bartholomew and Hassall’s book.

1. KING LOUIS XV WAS KIDNAPPING CHILDREN.

In 1750, children began disappearing from the streets of Paris. No one seemed to know why, and worried parents began rioting in the streets. In the midst of the panic, a rumor broke out that King Louis XV had become a leper and was kidnapping children so that he could bathe in their blood (at the time, bathing in the blood of children was thought by some to be an effective leprosy cure).

The rumor did have a tiny kernel of truth: Authorities were taking children away, but not to the king’s palace. A recently enacted series of ordinances designed to clear the streets of “undesirables” had led some policemen—who were paid per arrest—to overstep their authority and take any children they found on the streets to houses of detention. Fortunately, most were eventually reunited with their parents, and rumors of the king’s gruesome bathing rituals were put to rest.

2. LONDON WAS GOING TO BE DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE.

Two small earthquakes struck London at the beginning of 1761, leading to rumors that the city was due for “the big one” on April 5, 1761. Supposedly, a psychic had predicted the catastrophe. Much of the populace grew so panicked that they fled town for the day, with those who couldn’t afford fancier lodgings camping out in the fields. One soldier was so convinced of the impending doom that he ran through the streets shouting news of London’s imminent destruction; sadly, he ended up in an insane asylum a few months later.

3. JEWS WERE POISONING WELLS.

A deep well
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Reports that Jews ritually sacrificed Christian children were not uncommon during the Middle Ages, but things took a particularly terrible turn during the spread of the Black Plague. In the 14th century, thousands of Jews were killed in response to rumors that Satan was protecting them from the plague in exchange for poisoning the wells of Christians. In 1321 in Guienne, France alone, an estimated 5000 Jews were burned alive for supposedly poisoning wells. Other communities expelled the Jews, or burned entire settlements to the ground. Brandenburg, Germany, even passed a law denouncing Jews for poisoning wells—which of course they weren't.

4. BRIGANDS WERE TERRORIZING THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE.

In July 1789, amid the widespread fear and instability on the eve of the French revolution, rumors spread that the anti-revolutionary nobility had planted brigands (robbers) to terrorize the peasants and steal their stores of food. Lights from furnaces, bonfires, and even the reflection of the setting sun were sometimes taken to be signs of brigands, with panic as the predictable result. Provincial towns and villages formed militias in response to the rumors, even though, as historian Georges Lefebvre put it, “the populace scared themselves.” In one typical incident, near Troyes on July 24, 1789, a group of brigands were supposedly spotted heading into some woods; an alarm was sounded and 3000 men gave chase. The “brigands” turned out to be a herd of cattle.

5. GERMAN-AMERICANS WERE PLOTTING SNEAK ATTACKS ON CANADA.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police marching in a Canada Day parade
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Canada entered World War I in 1914, three years before the United States did. During the gap period, rumors circulated that German-Americans sympathetic to their country of origin were planning surprise attacks on Canada. One of the worst offenders of such rumor-mongering, according to authors Bartholomew and Hassall, was British consul-general Sir Courtenay Bennett, then stationed in New York. In the early months of 1915, Bennett made “several sensational claims about a plan in which as many as 80,000 well-armed, highly trained Germans who had been drilling in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, were planning to invade Canada from northwestern New York state.” Bizarre as it may sound, there was so much anxiety and suspicion during the period that Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden requested a report on the story, which the Canadian police commissioner determined to be without any foundation whatsoever.

6. THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT WAS HUNTING HEADS FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

In certain parts of Indonesia, locals reportedly believe—or once did—that large-scale construction projects require human heads to keep the structures from crumbling. In 1937, one island was home to a spate of rumors saying that a tjoelik (government-sanctioned headhunter) was looking for a head to place near a local jetty construction project. Locals reported strange noises and sights, houses pelted with stones, and attacks from tjoelik wielding nooses or cowboy lassos. Similar rumors surfaced in 1979 in Indonesian Borneo, when government agents were supposedly seeking a head for a new bridge project, and in 1981 in Southern Borneo, when the government headhunters supposedly needed heads to stabilize malfunctioning equipment in nearby oil fields. Terrified townspeople began curtailing their activities so as not to be in public any longer than necessary, although the rumors eventually died down.

7. POWERFUL APHRODISIAC GUM WENT ON SALE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

An assortment of sticks of pink bubble gum
iStock

In the mid-1990s, the Middle East was home to some alarming rumors about aphrodisiacal gum. In 1996 in Mansoura, Egypt, stories began spreading that students at the town’s university had purchased gum deliberately spiked with an aphrodisiac and were having orgies as a result. One local member of parliament said the gum had been distributed by the Israeli government as part of a plot to corrupt Egyptian youth. Mosque loudspeakers began warning people to avoid the gum, which was supposedly sold under the names “Aroma” or “Splay.” Authorities closed down some shops and made arrests, but never did find any tainted gum. Similar rumors cropped up the following year in the Gaza Strip, this time featuring a strawberry gum that turned women into prostitutes—supposedly, the better to convince them to become Shin Bet informants for the Israeli military.

8. SORCERERS WERE PLAGUING INDONESIA.

In the fall of 1998, a sorcerer scare in East Java, Indonesia, resulted in the deaths of several villagers. The country was in crisis, and while protests raged in major cities, some in the rural area of Banyuwangi began agitating for restitution for past wrongs allegedly committed by sorcerers. The head of the local district ordered authorities to move the suspected sorcerers to a safe location, a process that included a check-in at the local police station. Unfortunately, villagers took the suspects’ visits to police stations as proof of their sorcery and began killing them. Anthropologists who studied the incident said the stories of supposed sorcery—making neighbors fall sick, etc.—were based entirely on rumor and gossip.

9. OBAMA WAS INJURED BY A WHITE HOUSE EXPLOSION.

These days, rumors have advanced technology to help them travel. On April 23, 2013, a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account claimed that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. That lone tweet caused instability on world financial markets, and the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index lost $130 billion in a short period. Fortunately, it quickly recovered. (Eagle-eyed journalists were suspicious of the tweet from the beginning, since it didn’t follow AP style of referring to the president with his title and capitalizing the word breaking.)

An earlier version of this story ran in 2015.

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