The term Easter egg-- or a joke or message hidden within a video game-- originated from the 1979 Atari game Adventure. Atari did not allow their developers to display their names during the end credits of a game because they feared competitors would recruit and steal away these employees.
However, Warren Robinnett, the developer of Adventure, didn’t agree and felt that his name should be known. So, he surreptitiously hid the message “created by Warren Robinett” in the game.
Robinett didn’t tell anyone about his hidden message and it wasn’t actually found until he left the company. Shortly after his departure from Atari, a player wrote to the company detailing what he found.
Although management originally wanted to reprogram and release a different version of the game without the message, Steve Wright, the Director of Software Development at the time, not only wanted to keep Robinnett’s name in the game, but also to incorporate these special Easter eggs in other games. Thus, Easter eggs were born.
Now Easter eggs are expected in video games and have become a challenge and a reward for players to find. They are no longer just a developer’s name, but range from all types of references to include books, movies, games, and pop culture.
This list will focus on video game Easter eggs that revolve around movie references. So, pick up your basket and get ready for a hunt.
Here are 20 Movie-Based Video Game Easter Eggs You Never Noticed.
20 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Smeagol’s Note & Tyrion Lannister’s Dead Body
In the Blood and Wine expansion pack, there is a note from Smigole Serkis about losing a “most precious spoon.” Smigole clearly references Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings, while Serkis is a reference to Andy Serkis, the actor who played him. The note can be found in Touissant, where you come across a bloody scene and a broken carriage. Search the dead body and you will find the precious note.
Another Easter egg that can be found in Witcher 3 is the dead body of Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. To find him, go to the Skellige Isles and sail to Prison Island. On your map, it will be to the left of Ard Skellig. Follow the main road until you reach the prison Kaer Almhult and enter the dungeon through the courtyard.
You will need to find a key that unlocks the middle cell in the prison, where you will find a dead dwarf. On examination, Geralt will say “sky cells. Nice idea for a prison without bars. Shame he didn’t know how to fly.” This refers to season 1's episode 6, where Lady Lysa Arryn throws Tyrion in a sky cell.
19 Overwatch – Items from The Thing
Ecopoint: Antarctica, an arcade mode map within Overwatch, is a research station much like the one in The Thing. The station’s research team once included six members, whose names are listed on cryogenic pods in the game. One of the pods, is labelled Macready with an American flag on it. The name Macready is the same name as the American pilot and star of The Thing.
In the crew’s quarters there is also a game of chess displayed on the computer monitor, with a bottle next to it. This is a reference to a scene in The Thing where Macready, played by Kurt Russell, loses virtual chess to the computer and pours whiskey into its disk drive.
These Easter eggs have convinced some players that Mei, the sole survivor from her team, is actually the Thing from the 1982 film. In the left side corridor of the left spawn room, you can look through a window and see the same ice block that the Thing thawed out of. Coincidence?
18 Fallout 4 Expansion Packs – Adventureland Reference and Titanic Scene
In Fallout 4: Nuka World, there is a small games booth in Dry Rock Gulch called “Bandit Roundup.” Hop behind the booth and you’ll find a skeleton wearing a dress at a table. Beside the skeleton, there is a tape labelled “Kristy’s Holotape.”
Play it and you’ll hear a woman’s voice saying “The new guy gave up one of the small Cowboy Kappy plushies yesterday, so Andre fired him. Now he wants me to rig the game even more. I told him if I kept tweaking it people are going to know, but he doesn't give a shit as usual. Least it wasn't the giant Sheriff Nuka plush.”
This is a reference to Adventureland when Jesse Eisenberg’s character is forced to give away a giant panda plushie at knifepoint and Kristen Stewart (Kristy) tells him that, if it sucks, he’s going to get fired.
Also, near “The Nucleus” in Fallout 4: Far Harbor, there is a door in the water with two skeletons. One is on top of the door, while the other is in the water holding on. This represents the iconic scene where Jack and Rose hang on for dear life after the Titanic sinks.
17 Deadpool & Tom Clancy’s The Division – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been referenced in many video games; however, here are two instances you might not have noticed.
In Mission 3 of Deadpool, your adventure takes you through the sewers. Be sure to check the tunnels for a shout-out to the mutant reptiles. Near the entrance of one tunnel, there is a pizza box with a sai stabbed into one of the pizza slices.
The same Easter egg is in Tom Clancy’s The Division. However, here you can find a “Radical Pizza” box representing each turtle. Outside the Ubisoft office at 2nd Avenue and E 43rd Street, on top of a dumpster, there is a pizza box with Leonardo’s katanas on top.
At 7th avenue and W 31st Street next to “Kerman Coffee," there is another one with Michelangelo’s nun-chucks, and on the corner of 9th Avenue and W 46th Street, you’ll find Raphael’s twin sais on another dumpster.
Donatello’s box took gamers awhile to find and some gave up on the search. It’s located in front of the building to the right of “Pizza by the Slice,” next to some trash bags.
16 For Honor – Monty Python and the Holy Grail Reference
In the multiplayer “Citadel Gate” map in For Honor, there is a sneaky little reference to the hilarious classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Directly behind the attacker’s spawn point, a little off the map, there will be a pile of logs blocking your path.
Just beyond these logs, you will see a dead knight dressed in black armor, missing its arms and legs. This black knight references the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
More specifically, the part of the movie where the Black Knight fights King Arthur and loses his arms and legs in a hilarious battle. Apparently, it’s "only a flesh wound." However now, the esteemed knight has no arms and legs left.
15 Aliens: Colonial Marines – Dancing Alien from Spaceballs
In Chapter 7 of Aliens Colonial Marines, you can find the video game’s spoof of the spoof. When you’re in the lab with aliens in glass cases, O’neal will eventually tell you to be quiet.
At this point, stop following him and turn right into a room. Inside this room, you’ll see a capsule that holds a hat and cane. Press X on the capsule and when it lights up, go on to the next room. In this room, there will be aliens wearing the cane and hat in the window right in front of you.
14 Stardew Valley – Turnip Head from Howl’s Moving Castle
In Stardew Valley, scarecrows prevent crows from eating crops, just like in real life. You can buy rarecrows that work just like these scarecrows and one of them may seem familiar to you.
At the Stardew Valley Fair you can buy a rarecrow that looks like Turnip Head from Howl’s Moving Castle.
In an interview with Eric Barone, Barone said “I love Miyazaki; he’s a genius, and I’d bet a lot of people who are interested in Stardew Valley feel the same way. His style is a big influence for me. I try to take my favorite things from all over the place and blend them together in my own way.”
13 Aragami – Mulan’s Training Scene
In Chapter 7: "Kyruyu," Aragami pays tribute to one of the best Disney films ever created. Simply follow the following steps to find the dark side of the moon, a great Mulan Easter egg.
In the beginning of the chapter, make your way past the graveyard and go across the bridge. Continue straight until you see the bright blue orb, then turn left.
When you see the tower in front of you, look up and you’ll find the arrow under the mysterious dark side of the moon.
This represents the memorable training scene in Mulan when Shang shoots an arrow at a tower and tells his recruits to retrieve it.
The scene then leads into the iconic song "I’ll Make a Man Out of You", where the image of the arrow and tower are backdropped against the glowing moon in the night sky. This shot is exactly what is depicted in Aragami.
12 Dead Rising 4 – Glowing Suitcase from Pulp Fiction
The glowing briefcase in the classic film Pulp Fiction has become-- and always will be-- the mystery of the century. What was in the briefcase? The audience never finds out what made the briefcase glow, but Dead Rising 4 provides an answer.
Inside the Willamette Memorial Megaplex, head to the Stillhouse Diner in the Miami Boardwalk District. Once inside the diner, you will see an open briefcase on a table. Inside the briefcase, is simply a glowing lightbulb.
This answer references what was actually used in the real life briefcase prop. To make the briefcase glow, prop designers put a lightbulb and a battery in it.
Pretty anti-climactic, but Dead Rising 4 takes a knee-slapping jab at all the crazy conspiracy theories surrounding the mysterious briefcase.
11 Call of Duty Black Ops 3 – Back to the Future Easter Eggs
Call of Duty Black Ops 3’s Outlaw map is a giant tribute to Back to the Future 3. The first being the clock tower within the map which is set to the time of 10:04.
In Back to the Future, lightning struck the clocktower at exactly 10:04PM, and the time has been significant throughout all of the Back to the Future movies.
The train within the map leads to a bridge, which is also homage to another scene in the movie. This depicts when the train is used to push the Delorean to the time-traveling-speed of 88 miles per hour.
Thirdly, the flux capacitor, which makes time travel possible can be found in a barn labelled "Livery & Stable." When inside the barn head to the right corner and the flux capacitor is sitting on top of a couple of brown sacks.
Within "Outlaw," you can also find the colt peacemaker, which Marty won after challenging Buford Tannen to a duel, and the map of the Western Railway that Marty and Doc used to plan how they will use the train to push the Delorean.
10 Battlefield 1: They Shall Not Pass – Floating House from Up
The downloadable content of Battlefield 1 “They Shall Not Pass” has a tribute to the Disney film, Up. It can be a little tricky to find, though, as there are certain steps you must take to trigger the Easter egg.
You first need to find and shoot three wine bottles along the fence in the south field by the A Flag. Two of the bottles are along one fence, while the other is at the fence across the field.
Then, turn left at the last flag and you will see houses in the distance. Head to the houses and shoot the weather vanes. These weather vanes are a reference to the one on top of Carl’s house in Up.
From here, look south and you will see Carl’s house floating in the sky, held up by three balloons. The balloons are now red, white, and blue, which represent the colors of the French flag.
When Battlefield 1 was released, many gamers were upset that the French Army was missing from the game. Therefore, the developers made up for it by adding this Easter egg to the downloadable content.
9 Call of Duty 2 and Outlast – Chainsaw Chalk Outline from Evil Dead II
Your worst nightmare – you’re a character in a horror movie and you look through a shed for a weapon. You open a curtain that should contain a chainsaw but what do you find instead? A chalk outline where it should be.
This is hilariously depicted in Evil Dead II and portrayed in two separate games. In Call of Duty 2, the chalk outline of a chainsaw can be found in the “Fog” map. In a shed, you will see the chalk outline as well as a skull in a vice that represents the talking head from Evil Dead II.
A similar image can be found in Outlast towards the end of the game. After finding Father Martin, enter the courtyard and go left and into the small shed. You will need to use your camcorder to find the chalk outline on the top shelf on the right of the room.
8 Metro 2033 – Planted Boot from Wall-E
On level 6 of the old but golden Metro 2033, there is a small but cute reference to Disney’s lovable robot Wall-E.
Find the Missile Control Room and in the back-left corner of the room, to the left of the main screen, you will see some cabinets with dirt in front of it. If you take a closer look at the dirt, you will see a boot with a plant growing out of it.
In Disney’s CGI cartoon Wall-E, the robot known as Wall-E finds a green plant and places it in a boot. He then gives the planted boot to his robot friend, Eve as a gift.
However, as soon as he gives it to her, she goes insane and shuts down. This planted boot is exactly like the one found in Metro 2033.
7 Dying Light: The Following – Harry Potter's Cupboard under the Stairs
The "Boy Who Lived" survived only to be stuck in a cupboard under his aunt and uncle’s staircase. Harry Potter's infamous cupboard is depicted quite well in Dying Light: The Following.
Although it’s not on Privet Drive, you can find the room in the south of “The Countryside” map. Here, you will find a grayish building with stairs that lead up the front door. Enter the house and make the first left into the room before the staircase.
In Harry's room, you will find a wizard’s hat, a book, and Harry Potter’s glasses. On the shelf above the bed you can also find a mysterious spinning skull, and once you leave the room, you will be met by an enchanted ghostly figure.
6 The Walking Dead Telltale Series – Bumper Sticker from Forrest Gump
During Forrest Gump's run across America, he is stopped by a man who claims to be in the “bumper sticker business” and in need of a good slogan for his next sticker.
The two of them then run through a big pile of dog waste and Forrest simply responds with “S**t Happens!” According to Forrest, the bumper sticker businessman did come up with a bumper sticker slogan and was able to make a lot of money from it.
This bumper sticker was so successful that it even made its way out of the Forrest Gump universe and into the universe of the Walking Dead via the Telltale Series.
In episode 1 of season 1, you will come across a truck that sports the “S**t Happens” bumper sticker, just like in Forrest Gump.
5 Duke Nukem Forever – Inception Spinning Top, American Psycho Message, etc.
Duke Nukem Forever-- which took 15 years to develop-- came out with a nod to the movie Inception. After killing a boss in a strip club, you end up in a room in a dream-like state.
On a table in this room, there is a spinning top that does not stop spinning. The dream-like state, as well as the spinning top is a reference to the end of Inception.
If you use the phone on the desk next to the spinning top, you will hear a voice saying “tonight… you” which is a TV reference to an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode.
Also in this level, if you use the ATM twice, you will be rewarded with a strange message that says “feed me a stray cat,” which is a quote from American Psycho.
Lastly, behind the curtain, there is another room, which depicts a scene from The Hangover. Here you can find the pliers that Stu used in the film to remove his tooth.
4 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Scene from The Empire Strikes Back and The Poltergeist
To set on your quest to find Luke Skywalker, head to Bleakcoast Cave, which is to the southeast of Winterhold.
Beware though, as you will be met by the abominable snowman. Destroy him and then enter the cave. Look up and you will find a skeleton stuck in the ceiling of the icy cave. Look down, and you will find a lightsaber.
This depicts a scene from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke ends up in a similar situation in the Wampa Cave in Hoth. Although Luke prevails in the movie, this videogame Luke was not as lucky. He hangs in the top of the cave for all to see.
Another movie Easter egg that can be found in Skyrim refers to the iconic horror film The Poltergeist. Find a house labeled “abandoned house” in Markarth.
Once inside you will feel as though you’re in an Egyptian sacrificial room. At the end of the room, there is a stack of chairs on top of a table, stacked just like in The Poltergeist.
3 Shadow Warrior 2: Harry Potter’s Horcrux Cave, Finding Nemo Fish Tank, etc.
Shadow Warrior 2 includes Easter eggs related to two major picture films and one new hit Netflix series.
In the cave in Calamity Town, there is a hidden rock wall that, if broken through, will take you to the Horcrux Cave from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Here you will find the boat that Harry and Dumbledore find chained, and on the island in the middle of the water, you will find a wand and the bowl that held the Horcrux.
The second Easter egg in Shadow Warrior 2 is based on Finding Nemo and can be found in Wang Cave. Head upstairs and you’ll see a glowing blue fish tank. Upon closer inspection, you will see the words “just keep swimming…” next to it, and a dead clownfish outside the tank. Apparently Nemo didn’t keep swimming.
The plot of Shadow Warrior 2 is somewhat similar to that of the Netflix hit series Stranger Things. Not only does it have similar elements, but the game even incorporates the entrance to the “Upside Down.” The other world seeps through this gate, much like in the TV show.
2 GTA V – Thelma and Louise Alternate Ending and the Hatch from Lost
Every night between 7 and 8PM in game time, an alternate ending to Thelma and Louise is played in Grand Theft Auto V.
When looking around the cabin above the Altruist Camp, police cars appear and chase off a convertible car with two girls inside it. This car then drives right off the cliff, to an impending death.
Sometimes the car blows up on impact, while other times you will see both of the girls dead inside the car. However, either way, this is GTA’s spin on the ending of Thelma and Louise.
If you want, though, you can play director and add pedestrians in front of their car and the car will stop, saving the two women.
Another special Easter egg lies in the depths of the ocean. On the seabed, off the east coast of San Andreas, you will find the large steel entrance known as The Hatch, which is from the television show Lost.
1 Fallout: New Vegas – Remains of Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker's Aunt and Uncle
In the Mojave Wasteland, by the Goodsprings source, you can find a nuked fridge with a skeleton and a “Suave Gambler Hat” that looks very similar to Indiana Jones’ brown fedora.
This is a representation of the scene where Indy hides from a nuclear explosion in a fridge during Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He survives in the movie, but isn't so lucky in the Fallout universe.
For the second Easter egg, you will need to go to the northeast corner of Nipton, towards the water tower. Here, there will be a shackled house with two skeletons in front of it.
On inspection you will see that these skeletons are named Beru and Owen. If you’re a true Star Wars fan, you will know that these are the names of Luke Skywalker’s aunt and uncle.
Do you have any favorite movie-based Easter eggs? Let us know in the comment section!