It’s often said that if you give a million monkeys a million typewriters and lock them in a room for an eternity, one of them will eventually knock out Hamlet. It’s a cool saying, and I happen to believe it. However, I equally believe in another, similar true-ism – if you lock game developers in a room with nothing but time and money, they’ll start screwing around with their game.

When I say screw around, I don’t mean intentionally ruin – they’re much cleverer people than that. What I’m saying is that they’re an inventive sort, and if given the time, they’ll stuff their game with tons of clever references. They’re only human, and the impulse to dick about and be a smartarse is an overpowering one.

So if a game’s development isn’t too fraught and turbulent (L.A Noire, I’m looking at you) you’ll often find that your favourite games are jam-packed with incidental details that you may not have noticed. Whether these details foreshadow the main plot, offer up Easter eggs or reference something from outside the source material is immaterial – they exist, and when we find them, we’re justifiably thrilled. After all, a game doesn’t simply arrive fully-formed – a lot of thought and programming went into the enterprise, so it’s only right that the developers may want to cite anything and everything that may have influenced them.

With that in mind, I’ve taken the time to catalogue what I believe are some of the cleverest hidden details in games. They often hide in plain sight, but when you notice them, you can’t help but tip your cap and acknowledge the inventiveness.

Be aware, there’s a SPOILER WARNING in effect.

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This article was first posted on August 20, 2013