10 Classic Video Games You Can Play Within Other Games
VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
You can experience classic video games all over again within these titles! For this list, we'll be looking at games that are either hidden or unlockable within other titles that give players different gameplay experiences. Our list includes “Geometry Wars” (2003) In “Project Gotham Racing 2” (2003), “TimeSplitters 2” (2002) In “Homefront: The Revolution” (2016), “Jetpac” (1983) In “Donkey Kong 64” (1999), “Doom” (1993) & “Doom II” (1994) In “Doom Eternal” (2020) and more!
Script written by Johnny Reynolds
10 Games You Can Play Within Other Games
Welcome to MojoPlays and today we’re looking at 10 Games You Can Play Within Other Games.
For this list, we’ll be looking at games that are either hidden or unlockable within other titles that give players different gameplay experiences.
What’s your favorite game inside a game? Be sure to sound off in the comments.
“Geometry Wars” (2003)
In “Project Gotham Racing 2” (2003)
From hidden minigame to bonafide franchise. “Project Gotham Racing 2” was a well-received entry in a well-received racing series across the Xbox and 360. But what would become one of the most noteworthy features of this sequel was its bonus game, “Geometry Wars.” Inside the garage, players could access an arcade cabinet with the additional game. The top-down multidirectional shooter became such a popular inclusion that developer Bizarre Creations expanded it into a full game on the 360’s Arcade. This in turn led to a handful of sequels. Not too shabby for something that started off as an in-game extra.
“Space Harrier” (1985)
In “Shenmue” (1999) & “Shenmue II” (2001)
When developers or publishers hide a game within another, it’s often their past work. Take Sega, for example. For the Dreamcast’s cult-classic “Shenmue” and its sequel, Sega made it possible to find and play “Space Harrier.” This 1985 rail shooter was originally released in arcades. And that’s exactly where Ryo finds it. Although it costs a bit of in-game money, it’s also possible to win a copy for Ryo’s in-game Sega Saturn by competing in a raffle. And if you really wanted to show your retro love, you could even collect an adorable “Space Harrier” toy.
“TimeSplitters 2” (2002)
In “Homefront: The Revolution” (2016)
This 2016 FPS game is set in an alternate reality during a hostile occupation of Philadelphia by North Korea. So we can’t blame the character for wanting some me-time. While exploring the Bourse safehouse, players can find an arcade cabinet of “TimeSplitters 2,” despite it never appearing in arcades. While it isn’t the full game, it does include the first two levels: Siberia and Chicago. “TimeSplitters 2” is one of the most entertaining FPS games ever made. “Homefront: The Revolution”…not so much. But at least the developers recognized greatness when they included an Easter Egg of the former. And since many team members also worked on the “TimeSplitters” series before Free Radical Design closed, it was nice to see them pay homage to their roots.
Various Sega Games
In the “Yakuza” Series (2006-)
The “Space Harrier” Easter Egg in “Shenmue” is nice, but this is downright incredible. This Sega-published crime series features a ton of side quests and additional activities. One such activity that has appeared throughout the series is visiting the arcade Club Sega. Hey, members of organized crime need to relax, too. Depending on which game you’re playing, you can find entries from the “Virtua Fighter” series, the aforementioned “Space Harrier,” the puzzler “Puyo Puyo,” and the original creation, “Boxcelios.” If you find yourself missing the golden age of arcades, then “Yakuza” has got you covered.
In “Donkey Kong 64” (1999)
Rare was absolutely unstoppable in the 90s thanks to “GoldenEye,” “Banjo-Kazooie,” and its work on the “Donkey Kong” series. Its last release for Nintendo’s great ape included one of the studio’s earliest hits back when it was called “Ultimate Play The Game”. After getting 15 Banana Medals, players can access “Jetpac” inside Cranky Kong’s Lab. The simple shooter, originally released for the UK-only ZX Spectrum, follows an astronaut who assembles a rocket ship and collects resources while defending against aliens. A score of 5,000 earns players the Rareware Coin, which is needed to complete the game. But it’s also a cool reference to Rare’s history and a game that many may have been unaware of.
In “Tekken” (1995)
Loading screens will soon be a feature of the past, but developers have often found clever ways to entertain players. For the 1995 PlayStation release of its arcade fighter “Tekken,” Namco knew just what to do. While waiting for the game to load, players can enjoy up to 8 rounds of another Namco classic: “Galaga.” It’s a game that everyone can appreciate, but Namco went one step further than helping to pass the loading time. If you get a perfect score, you’ll unlock Kazuya’s Devil skin, which was originally only seen during a boss fight for Heihachi. It’s a nice bonus for those that seek it.
“Doom” (1993) & “Doom II” (1994)
In “Doom Eternal” (2020)
This groundbreaking FPS series was silent for quite a while before it was resurrected in 2016. And for the 2020 follow-up, id Software and Bethesda let players go back to the very beginning. Both the 1993 original and its sequel are playable in “Doom Eternal.” Inside the Fortress of Doom, you’ll find a computer. Inputting the code “FLYNNTAGGART” will immediately give you access to “Doom 2,” but the original takes much more effort. Only after collecting the game’s 14 floppy disks hidden throughout the world will you be able to play the first game in the series. It’s totally worth it though.
Sonic Game Gear Games
In “Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut” (2003)
“Sonic Adventure” brought Sega’s mascot into 3D for the first time. And with the Director’s Cut re-release on GameCube, Sega let players new and old alike experience his past adventures. By collecting the game’s Emblems, fans would gain access to Sonic’s various Game Gear titles. Some of these were ports of console games, such as the original “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.” But others had been exclusive to the niche handheld like “Sonic Labyrinth” and the Japan-only “Tails’ Skypatrol.” While it can be a pain to earn every Emblem, the games are nevertheless great unlockables.
Various Midway Arcade Games
In “Lego Dimensions” (2015)
LEGO games have always been celebrations of whatever property they are showcasing. “LEGO Dimensions” makes that truer than any other game in the series. The game was designed to bring in characters from a ton of different franchises. And for players who wanted more, there were a plethora of expansion packs to choose from. One of the coolest was the Midway Arcade Level Pack. Not only did it give players new figurines and a story level, but it also came with over 20 classic Midway Arcade titles. These included “Rampage,” “Spy Hunter,” “Defender,” and “Gauntlet.” Not every expansion is worth the asking price, but this one certainly is.
Before we get to our final pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Wolfenstein 3D” (1992)
In “Wolfenstein: The New Order” (2014)
“Crash Bandicoot” (1996)
In “Uncharted 4: A Thief's End” (2016)
Various Classic Activision Games
“Call of Duty: Black Ops II” (2012)
Various NES Games
In “Animal Crossing” (2002)
A key element of “Animal Crossing” is allowing players to design their home with whatever interesting furniture they can find. In the GameCube original, it was possible to obtain NES consoles housing various games. While some were collected by playing Tom Nook’s Lottery, others were only obtainable via a Nintendo giveaway on the game’s official site or through e-Reader cards. But collecting them all meant having access to more than 15 classic games like “Donkey Kong,” “Balloon Fight,” and “Mario Bros.” In a pre-internet era for Nintendo, it was an awesome feature to include.