Nearly every modern game these days features Easter Eggs that refer to the developers’ inspirations, past works, or other fun surprises. Usually, these bonus bits will be found by searching down a hidden corridor, or completing a level under specific parameters. Many Easter Eggs have strict criteria that must be met in order to unlock them, or you have to know just where and how to look if you want to track them down.
However, every now and then you’ll come across something that crosses the line from being just a fun little extra to straight-up advertising. These instances are often unavoidable, or happen naturally during gameplay without much effort or searching. Nintendo, in particular, seems to really enjoy pushing their other products on their fans, but they are far from alone. Here are some of the best (or worst, depending on your point of view) moments we’ve seen.
Life is Strange Promotes Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
During Episode One of Life is Strange, Max has to snoop around Victoria’s dorm room to dig up some dirt. When glancing at Victoria’s TV, she recalls one of one of her favorite sci-fi movies, and how amazing it would look on such a high-end model. Of course, the notorious film in question just happened to be made by Life is Strange’s publisher, Square Enix. Subtle.
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Promotes Fire Emblem
Just after arriving in Petalburg in this GameCube classic, you’ll see a couple Toads wandering around near the entrance. One of them will excitedly tell you about how much he loves playing his Game Boy Advance, as well as his favorite game. Interestingly, in the Japanese version, he instead talks about his playing Famicom games, with his favorite being Super Mario Bros. The self-promotion is not limited to North American releases.
Metal Gear Solid Promotes Other Konami Games
During a truly surprising cutscene, antagonist Psycho Mantis “reads your mind” and rattles off how much you like other Konami games like Castlevania, Suikoden, and Vandal Hearts if you’ve got save files for them on your PS2 memory card. As a bonus, if you played on GameCube he would take note of Nintendo titles like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.
Every Pokémon Game Promotes Nintendo consoles
Every mainline Pokémon games starts off in similar fashion, and every time you begin a new adventure you’ll find the latest Nintendo home console in your bedroom. In Pokémon Red and Blue it’s the SNES, whereas newer titles like Black and White feature the Wii. Then there are the latest games, X and Y, which sport the Wii U. Now, if only they’d think about bringing a mainline Pokémon game onto one of those home consoles…
Final Fantasy IX Promotes Final Fantasy VII & VIII
It’s no mystery that Final Fantasy IX is a great big love letter to all past games in the series. From the brief retelling on Final Fantasy II to bad guy Garland reappearing from the first game, there are many references and nods littered throughout. There’s one specific bit though, just before the game’s closing cutscene, where Zidane straight-up calls out the main heroes from FFVII and FFVIII, its PlayStation predecessors.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue Promotes Ubisoft Games
When you’re not our adventuring in centuries past via simulations, you’ll be exploring the much less exciting setting of the Abstergo office building. You needn’t walk far or look very hard before noticing many posters, books, magazines, and even action figures for previous Ubisoft franchises like Far Cry, Splinter Cell, and of course, Assassin’s Creed. These aren’t clever imitations meant to throw back to those games either. The box art, logos, and titles for each game represented is fully in-tact, shoving them all in your face. You know, just in case you didn’t know they existed.
Kid Icarus: Uprising Promotes Nintendo’s Entire Catalog
Okay, maybe not the ENTIRE back catalog, but pretty darn close. Throughout the course of the game characters like Pit, Palutena, Viridi, and several others will openly discuss games like Metroid, Super Smash Bros., Nintendogs, and even the Game & Watch series.
What’s the best or worst case of self-promotion you’ve seen in video games? Let us know in the comments below!