Video games frequently make references to pop culture—movies, music, novels, brands of soda, etc. However, once in a while, a video game will make a reference to another video game. Sometimes this is done as a bit of cross-promotion, and other times it's just an Easter egg tucked away for those with sharp eyes. We've gathered our favorite video game references that we've found inside other video games and have compiled this list.
A side note: we decided it wouldn't really be fair to include games that refer to other games within the same series. For example, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII showed up in Final Fantasy Tactics. Games released by the same developer, however, are fine.
Those who purchased the PS3 version of Mortal Kombat probably noticed they had access to an extra character in their lineup that Xbox 360 users didn't have. Kratos from the God of War series joined the Mortal Kombat crowd, and he fit right in alongside long-time MK veterans like Scorpion and Johnny Cage—he fought just as hard and his fatalities were just as brutal. In fact, he was such a perfect fit that if you were somehow completely unaware of the God of War series, you probably wouldn't even notice that this guy was taken from outside the MK universe.
In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, there was a "Bumper Sticker" option. If you turned this option on (you had to unlock it first, of course), images from other first-party Wii games would show up as bumper stickers on Samus' gunship. In order to get the sticker from a particular game, you had to have a save from that game in your system memory. Games that would give you stickers included Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Wii Sports, and Super Smash Bros.
Most people remember Battletoads for one thing: the impossibly hard hoverbike sequence. However, in the Turbo Tunnel level—the same level that featured the hoverbikes—there was another interesting hazard: the aliens from Space Invaders would show up to each steal one block of your health. Punching them while they were carrying off your health would cause them to drop it, and you could gain that block of health back. While those little guys were pretty annoying, it was kind of fun to see a throwback to the glory days of Atari. Of course, the Space Invaders weren't half as annoying as the hoverbikes that were just ahead.
Many consider Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time to be among the greatest video games ever made. This masterpiece of gaming paid homage to another of Nintendo's mega-franchises: in Hyrule Castle, there were some Paintings of Mario and friends hidden just out of sight. In order to find them, you'd need to do a little snooping. There were some windows off to the right-hand side of the courtyard, and if you switched to first-person perspective to peer through the correct one, you'd see pictures of Mario and Luigi, among others, hanging on a wall inside the castle. Of course, you couldn't ever actually get to them. But if you were able to reach them, perhaps you could hop through those paintings and warp to Peach's castle from Mario 64.
Twisted Metal 2 was the game that really kick-started the short-lived car combat genre back in the PSOne era. It was also a game loaded with Easter eggs. Among these was a cheat code that let you brawl in the Suicide Swamp map from another popular PSOne game, Jet Moto. While this wasn't a particularly fun stage to play on, it was pretty cool to see a map from another game show up in such an unexpected place.