Grand Theft Auto: 10 Coolest Easter Eggs, Secrets & References Explained

Revisiting the ultra-controversial 1997 classic that started it all.

Grand Theft Auto Gouranga

With more than 280 million copies sold and over $9 billion in revenue, the Grand Theft Auto franchise is one of the most lucrative entertainment enterprises the world has ever seen - video game or otherwise.

But the cinematic sandbox action series had undeniably modest origins when it launched back in 1997, as an honestly rather ugly top-down offering from the folks at DMA Design (later Rockstar).

Played today, the original GTA seems hilariously quaint - the story is minimal and the mechanics are sometimes frustrating, but without it the series never would've evolved into the critical and commercial colossus it is today.

And with the game being close to 25 years old (!), it's safe to say that most fans haven't revisited it in many years.

Returning to the first GTA in 2020, it's certainly a comparatively basic offering, but also shows the smart, satirical DNA which would define the series thereafter.

Better still, there's a good deal more detail hidden within the game than its rudimentary visuals might suggest.

Though certainly lacking the immensity of its successors, the original GTA nevertheless boasts some sneaky Easter eggs you most certainly missed, as well as a few ridiculous secrets, and even an insane feature you've probably long forgotten about...

10. The Box Art Features Trump Tower & A Secret Cheat Code

Grand Theft Auto Gouranga

The first set of Easter eggs appear not in the game itself but actually its cover art. For starters, GTA's European box art simply features the game's logo splashed over a seemingly nondescript skyscraper - it's nothing fancy, but effective enough.

More keen-eyed players might've noticed, however, that this is in fact a picture of New York City's Trump Tower.

Amusingly, Rockstar eventually decided to include the building in the series proper, by creating the Trump Tower knock-off Cleethorpes Tower for GTA IV.

Meanwhile, the box art for GTA's PC release in North America (pictured below) touted an altogether sneakier secret: the license plate of the car reads the number "6031769," which can be entered as a cheat to unlock infinite lives.

Better still, the number itself is a reference to the classic ZX Spectrum platformer Manic Miner, where the same number string unlocks a level select cheat.

Grand Theft Auto Cover Art

Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.