Subliminal messages? Hidden Easter Eggs? Or are you just looking for things that aren't really there? While the film world has the topless woman in The Rescuers or advertising has the suggestive image in a cube of ice in a coke ad, games have been just as controversial too. Sometimes, though, we have to say it’s legitimate. Now, some of these are a bit creepy (and slightly unsuitable for minors), so be warned. Let’s start with WarioWare Touched on DS.
It definitely says “I grant this kid to hell” or “I have granted kids to hell” depending on your own personal opinion. Of course, it’s just made up of Ashley’s words, picked out by the fast-forward feature as it skips over certain parts of the track. Maybe it was deliberate… it fits with her Emily Strange-like character, after all. But we're creeped out by it.
God of War II has a hidden message that appears in the sky when you trigger a secret orb stash, echoing the words of Robert Oppenheimer, the 'father of the nuclear bomb'. When Oppenheimer saw the world's first nuclear test in 1945, he said: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" based on verse 32 from Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu script. And there it is, written slowly in the sky above Kratos – perhaps because of all the power you just absorbed. Eerie, huh? By the way, this video has no sound, but it's the clearest one we could find visually.
In the E3 2007 trailer for Halo 3, people saw strange, text-like shapes around the Bungie logo at the end, just before it fades and immediately set about deciphering it. Obsessively. After all, it’s clearly of massive importance – why else would they put it in? Have a look - it's right at the end.
Or, to save you time, here's a screengrab we took from the trailer:
Is that a 'C'? An 'A'? Look, there’s nothing there. In any of the frames. Seriously, nothing. Just look at the difference in the supposed messages people see (itself great for a study of what people want to see):
“The Chosen One.” (Okay, possible)
“You choose the ending.” (Maybe)
“Chief C1-7 8x6” (Aha! Of course! 6x8? Why, 48 rounds is enough to deplete a fully charged shield and kill Master Chief!)
“The Choice was there.” (Why would they tell us that?)
“The Chosen One, Marathon continues.” (Got a lot out of that one)
“Cheif is not dead” (yes, obviously Bungie would spell ‘Chief’ wrong) “LvUrFR3NZ” (Stop being so silly - it doesn't say that, does it?)
But the author of one of the in-depth YouTube videos, TheHierarchs, cleared it all up with this blindingly obvious answer:
Our advice? Look long and hard at what you just said. Our favourite comment underneath all the speculation has to be: “you mother ******* retards you realy dont know what it says”. Megalolz.
That kind of obsessive search for hidden meaning can obviously be a lot of fun for the developers. We can just imagine the Bungie guys sitting around a monitor and laughing hysterically as people find meaning in deliberate gibberish. The same goes for Naughty Dog, who put a message in Spanish on a tombstone in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (as reported by Kotaku). When translated, this Spanish message reportedly reads:
“If you are reading this grave, you're a huge nerd. Please get a life and a girlfriend.”
Harsh, but funny.
Sonic and Mario can't have hidden messages in them, can they? Well, there was the famous (infamous) "U R MR GAY" scandal, with the Photoshop sparkles on the official boxart (look at your own copy if you don't believe us)picking out specific letters on the Super Mario Galaxy box art.
But Mario's not the only one said to 'drive on the other side of the road'. Listen to the Sonic trailer for Super Smash Bros Brawl played backwards:
Surely it wasn't done on purpose, surely. In a less controversial observation, it seems there's a secret nod to Mario in the very first Sonic The Hedgehog:
Deliberate cap-tip to the plumber, or just two lions standing up against a pedestal (that handily makes for a nose, eyes and moustache)? We reckon it's the former.
While we're on the subject of Sonic, there's a reference to a 'one-eyed snake' in the Sonic cartoon, too. Strange choice of words, Bunny.
There are hidden messages in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, from Nintendo luminaries Iwata and Miyamoto. They're not satanic or disturbing in the slightest, but still interesting:
"Hello, this is Iwata from Nintendo.
A president has to take things really seriously, even if it doesn't seem like it. It's understandable if you lose weight from stress...but I get fatter instead. Nobody thinks I'm taking it seriously."
"Ah, can you hear me? This is Miyamoto.
All of you playing Metroid, can you hear me?
It's fun, isn't it?
I've also worked on many [Metroid] games, but this one is the best yet, don't you think?
Definitely play it all the way to the end.
And who could forget the door in Assassin's Creed that looks like Optimus Prime from the Transformers?
It's a bit silly, but still cool. It's hard to know where hidden messages stop and daft Easter eggs begin... so one more demonic-sounding hidden voice before we leave you with the most juvenile hidden message we've seen. This rather sinister-sounding voice is hidden in Jam Sessions on DS. When you play a specific chord, you can hear a voice whisper something. But... as a YouTube comment pointed out, it could just be the Japanese word 'Tsugimasu' which apparently means 'next'. As in 'Let's record the next chord'. But that's no fun, is it? No, must be Satan or something.
So to the final message. There's no hidden meaning as such - it's pretty self-explanatory. Found in GTA3, you can't see it unless you fly over the stadium or use a cheat, but here's a screen for you to save you the hassle.
Yup, we felt our IQ drop a few points too.