Biggest Secrets in Gaming History

As rumours continue to circulate around Phantom Pain/Metal Gear Solid 5, we count down the greatest gaming secrets of all time.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Is Phantom Pain actually Metal Gear Solid 5? We don't know. No one knows. Well, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima probably knows. But other than, no one knows. Well, the creators of Phantom Pain probably know, but other than that, NO ONE KNOWS. It's a secret. 

Over the years, there have been tons of secrets in video games, from easter eggs and hidden levels, to teaser trailers and cheat codes. Here are the top five biggest secrets in video game history.


 Dead Island's CGI Trailer

When the sombre announcement trailer for Dead Island dropped, everyone who witnessed it immediately took to their social networking site of choice in order to excitedly proclaim that this previously unheard of new IP would be the definitive zombie game.

The trailer, which depicts the untimely demise of a family accompanied by a haunting piano loop, instantly put Dead Island on everyone's radar despite no in-game footage actually being shown. We impatiently lapped up snippets of gameplay footage until, come Dead Island's release date, we learned that the bleak tone of the CGI teaser was nowhere to be found in the far more wacky finished product.

However, due to the strength of the marketing campaign, Dead Island still overachieved in terms of sales, despite disappointing many who had hoped that it would finally be the game that gave a realistic spin on the tired zombie apocalypse formula. The misleading trailer was not exactly an enjoyable secret from developers Techland, but certainly a successful one.


 Warp Zone in Super Mario Bros.

The warp zones in Super Mario Bros. came along at a time before you could simply visit GameFAQs in order to decipher a game's secrets. Learning that you could access hidden areas in worlds 1-2/4-2 either came about by accident or you were told by a friend, making the discovery of them that much sweeter.

Hopping into one of the pipes in the warp zones would transport you to a different world within the game, granting the players the ability to cut out a huge portion of the game, and the use of them has now become so instinctive among old-school gamers that it's a wonder when the last time anyone last played the game without taking advantage of this helpful little cheat.

Since Super Mario Bros. the majority of Mario platformers have incorporated a warp zone, or at least a variation of it, making it one of gaming's most enduring and treasured secrets.


 Meeting Yoshi in Super Mario 64

For completionists, meeting Yoshi in Super Mario 64 was the ultimate prize. Although the lovable dinosaur only appeared briefly and was only accessible via very precisely shooting Mario out of the cannon in the castle grounds and onto the roof, receiving the little congratulatory message from the Super Mario World sidekick after collecting 120 stars (the equivalent of approximately 40 hours of gameplay) must've felt oh so rewarding.

Not that we'd know, of course, because we never got that far. We instead disbelieved anyone who claimed that they'd met Yoshi (the same treatment we gave to those who claimed Luigi was a playable character, which is justified because we've now learnt thanks to the internet that he isn't), but the joke's on us, because there he is, sitting on the top of the castle being all green and adorable and sh*t.


 "Hot Coffee"

Considering that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features, among other things, wanton violence and drug-pedalling, it must've come as some surprise to developers Rockstar that the "Hot Coffee" mod was the thing that got politicians and retailers most concerned.

The Hot Coffee mini-game was accessible in the PC release of the game, and it allowed players to simulate sex between protagonist CJ and his girlfriend. The scene was tame, with both CJ and his partner remaining fully clothed, but the furore that surrounding it was anything but.

Huge North American chains at the time such as GameStop and Blockbuster pulled the game from their shelves, until Rockstar was forced to create another batch of disks that made the mini-game inaccessible (well, almost). The reaction to the Hot Coffee mod provoked a hysterical reaction to video games in general and their influence on children who, by law, weren't allowed to play the game in the first place,


 Contra Code

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A.

Contra for the NES was an unforgivingly difficult game, but was made bearable by these 10 button inputs. The 'Contra code', or the 'Konami code' as it is now more commonly known, was used to grant players 30 extra lives to help them traverse through the seeming unassailable challenges the game set before them. 

Although it was initially used in another Konami title, Gradius, it is its use in Contra that has made it the most infamous cheat code of all time, with it since appearing in many other games and, in 2009, even prompting a weird screen effect on the Facebook homepage. 

Paul Tamburro is the UK Editor for Crave Online. Follow him on Twitter @PaulTamburro.