For some video games, semi-secret items are a way of rewarding players that are advanced enough to find them. For others, their secret items are so hidden that only by chance can you stumble upon them, and even then, you’re often left with an item that has little value beyond ‘Hey, look what I found!”
Why then do designers spend the time to code in these secret mysteries?
According to Gamasutra, it’s a way of lending the game a certain quality, called “verisimilitude, where it “seems like there is a world outside the borders of the screen, happening regardless of what the player does. It implies the existence of a fully-fleshed world” and “it allows a game to better enable the player to forget that it is, really, just a game”.
To prove their point, they have put together a fantastic list of 20 Mysterious Games, including the reason for the secret inclusion, the design of the game itself, and the design lesson that the game can teach future designers.
It’s definitely a trip down memory lane for anyone that has been gaming for some time, and it does give you a new appreciation for the dark arts of video game design, so definitely check it out.