In a building that is possibly far away from where you are living, there are the people who are responsible for creating and designing the games that you would want to play. We only know these producers and developers by their work, but we could possibly never see them in person.

That is normally the case with the gamer and developer relationship when you play their games. However, some of the developers thought that they could creatively insert themselves into their work in different ways in order to make them seem like they’re part of the game. Some would make cameo appearances; some would reference themselves through secrets, and most just do it for fun.

This Top Ten is dedicated to the games which show creativity in the forms of referencing their creators through cameo appearances and hidden secrets.

The Scribblenauts series is an interactive series in which the player could summon anything he/she could think of by typing in nouns and adjectives into the in game dictionary. The in game dictionary has a cornucopia of objects to choose from and each with their own selection of interaction choices available to them. The player's imagination is the limit as the player could summon almost everything, ranging from "Cook" to even "Cthulhu", in order to solve puzzles or to just play around freely. The 5th Cell employees who made this game also allowed themselves to be searched up and summoned as well.

There are numerous members of the 5th Cell Development Team available for summoning and some has his or her own abilities and interactions. The most notable one is summoning the creator of the game, Jermiah, by typing in Jeremiah, Miah, or Jackson, and you could see him as an in game character who break dances every few seconds. If you also summon his wife, Kaori Slaczka, his character will protect her character from harm whenever there's a threat which he could fight off.

Other fun examples of characters to summon are Ian Good, who is a magician with the ability to fly; Bailey Hall, who is in a hot dog costume and will only eat hot dogs and destroy fruits and vegetables; and finally, Edison(Edy) who will eat everything in sight that's smaller than him. Overall, numerous Fifth Cell employees are available to be summoned with each adding to the fun in his or her own way.

John Romero was the co-founder of Id Software and best credited with being the designer for the "Doom" and "Quake" series. In Doom II, he made a cameo appearance as a boss.

The game let you assume the role of a nameless Space Marine whose objective is to save humanity from the invading demons on Earth. The Marine must fight his way through a demon infested Starport in order to shut down the Force Shield which is preventing the humans from escaping. At the end of the game, the Marine must go through Hell in order to destroy the final boss of the game: the "Icon of Sin"(or so the players called it because that boss was originally nameless).

The Icon of Sin holds references to Romero himself. The player will notice that the recording of the boss's speech is a distorted recording of John Romero saying "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero!” In order to kill the boss itself, the player must shoot a hole in the monster's head and then it will reveal Romero's exposed head on a stake. Romero's head must be destroyed with rockets in order to finish the game. The only way to see the head in plain sight is with the use of No Clip to go through walls.

Game Freak is best known for being the company which develops the Pokemon series games. The Game Freak employees have managed to insert themselves as cameos in each Generation of games within the series so far.

Starting in the First Generation, the Game Freak headquarters represented in game will appear on the third floor of the Celadon Condoniums. In the Third Generation, the Game Freak staff can be found on the upper floor of the Cove Lily Motel when the player defeats Teams Aqua and Magma. In the Fourth Generation, a single member of the company will appear in Hotel Grand Lake. In the remakes of the Second Generation, Heart Gold and Soul Silver, the Sound Designer will reward the player with the "GB Sounds" key item when the player had defeated the eight Kanto Gym Leaders. And finally in the Fifth Generation, Game Freak has its own in-game office in Castellia City in which the player could battle the designers Morimoto and Nishino themselves.

In each of the Generations, the lead developer will hand the player a diploma if the player has completed the Pokedex for that region as well as the National Pokedex. The diplomas will be hung in various places from within their respective regions and each diploma will also have their own personal written messages from the Developers to the player. It's just Game Freak's way of saying thanks for playing their game.

In the original Japanese version of Final Fantasy IV(II in NA version) there's a feature in game which allows the player to visit the Developer's Office. This feature was not present in the original NA release of Final Fantasy II but was restored again with the PSX, GBA, DS and PSP versions with some versions having their own variations.

The original Developer's Office can be visited as soon as the player is allowed to roam around the Dwarfen Castle in its entirety. In the Pub within the Dwarfen Castle, the player can find a crack within the wall in which he/she can go through in order to reach the entrance to the Developer's Office. Inside, the player can find the names of familiar Developers who have worked on this game being represented by in game character sprites. Some of the Developers would talk to you and give you their opinions and insight while there are some Developers who would fight you as normal random encounters who have scripted lines during the battle.

There were some changes made to the Developer's Office In the reiterations of the original Final Fantasy IV and "The After Years". The DS version had the members from the DS remake Development Team being present instead. The After Years version had the Developer's Office being closed from within the Dwarfen Fortress and instead was moved to the Subterrane of the True Moon.

Nevertheless, The Developer's Offices all have the same concept of congregating the Developers who have worked on the game into a small area as represented by character sprites.

Fireaxis Games is well known for being co-founded by the designer named Sid Meier whose works often has his name prefixed in the title. He is the creator of "Sid Meier's Pirates!", the "Civilization" series, and many more titles which spread throughout the years. The latest addition to the company's roster of games is "XCOM: Enemy Unknown" and the game has a reference to Sid Meier and a couple of other personalities as well.

In this game, the player is a commander of the elite multinational military organization named "XCOM" and the organization is in charge of defending the planet from extraterrestial invaders. The game is a tactical turn based RPG in which the commander can command his units on the field, manage the team's finances and equipment, and also develop and research new technologies to use. The player can hire new soldiers and be able to customize his/her new recruits and the current squadron members too by changing the character's name, equipment and abilities.

You can customize a character's name after these four people: Sid Meier, Ken Levine, Joe Kelly, and Otto Zander. Once you have finished inputting the names of any of these four people, you will notice that the character's attributes are changed to become powerful individuals that are loaded with excellent gear, stats, and abilities. You can even make multiples of the same hero if you want on you team. The drawback is that once you have activated the cheat by assigning one of those names to a character, achievements will be disabled for the remainder of the playthrough.

Keiji Inafune was once the illustrator and producer for Capcom and was chiefly responsible for the designs and art for the Mega Man series ever since the series’ inception. He left Capcom and founded his own company back in 2010 named "Comcept" after working for 23 years at Capcom. The newest company's first work was being a part of the collaborative project along with Idea Factory, Compile Heart, and a host of other developers to produce the game Hyperdiemnsion Neptunia Mk2. Although his company was only one of the assisting companies for the project, Inafune managed to have included a self-reference into the game in the form of a bizarre ability.

In this game each character has an arsenal of skills which could be performed anytime during battle at that cost of a set amount of Skill Points(SP) and having the required Action Points(AP) per turn to use them. Each skill has primary attributes like range, element, and to determine its uses in battle. In chapter 3 of the game, the main character named Nepgear could receive a skill which is named the "Inafune Brand" as long as the player answers "yes" to each inquiry during the Chirper cutscene with an in-game avatar of Inafune. After the awkward cutscene, Nepgear can now use the "Inafune Brand" skill during battle.

When the skill is activated, Nepgear summons the body of Inafune himself in the form of a sword and uses it to attack her enemies. As the sword collides with the enemies, big bold letters saying "You think you have money to burn?" will appear with each strike of the sword.

As if the Inafune Brand wasn't bizarre enough, the player could also acquire another Inafune based attack named the 'Inafune Sword Beam" during chapter 6. With this attack, Nepgear could summon the wrath of a deity like Inafune as his titanic sized head appears through black clouds in order to shoot a powerful laser from his mouth to the ground, and all the while having bold
blood red letters below his face screaming "who authorized this decision?!".

Overall, these two crazy references in game are bizarre enough to warrant an entry on this top ten.

Richard Garriott is a video game developer who is well known in the industry for being the developer of the "Ultima" series. He was the co-founder of Origin Systems and it was through that company that he was able to publish the installments for the Ultima series. He made his cameo appearances throughout the series as a character named "Lord British".

Lord British is a prominent NPC character and has been the ruler of Akalabeth, Sosaria and Britannia. He summons the player character whenever there's a crisis going on in his Kingdom and calls for the aid of the player to help out. The player character will receive rewards, advice, quest items, and miscellaneous help from him as he offers different support to the player character. The player can see the role of Lord British as the ruler of his Kingdom throughout the games as he advances the progression of his Kingdom, faces off against different antagonists, and even help the player character ascend into greatness.

There are two famous characteristics of Lord British: he is almost always in his castle with the exceptions of V, VI and IX due to story reasons, and he is indeed killable throughout each game but only with certain methods. A famous incident happened during the beta phase of Ultima Online where Lord British was killed by a character named "Rainz" when Rainz used a stolen firewall-scroll while Lord British was idle while giving an audience to the players.

The name "Lord British" came from Garriott's real life nickname. Garriot was born in England to American parents and he was raised in Texas. In 1997 he entered a computer camp where the nickname was first given to him when he greeted the other members of the camp with "Hello" instead of "Hi", and his peers thought that he sounded British. Since then, he started using that nickname throughout his works with the character named "Lord British". He is still referred to by his nickname today.

Yasumi Matsuno was a former Square Enix employee who joined Squaresoft back in 1995 after his departure from Quest. His primary works within Square were mainly the Final Fantasy installments which took place in Ivalice: Tactics, Tactics Advance, and Final Fantasy XII, along with Vagrant Story which was not a part of the Ivalice series. His main contributions to those projects were from various different roles ranging from Director to Writer. Final Fantasy XII, however, was the last game he had directed for the reason of health concerns. His role in development was not forgotten as the Development Team had left him a tribute in the game as a Superboss.

In Final Fantasy XII, players could participate in various "Mark Hunting" sidequests in which the player is entrusted with the task of slaying certain enemies at the request of individuals who offers rewards if the player succeeds. In order to initiate each assignment, the player can find various contacts who are dispersed throughout the world and agree to the conditions of which they would have to oblige to before they leave to seek out the assigned Mark. Once agreed, the player could seek out these assigned Marks, kill them, and then report back to the contract in order to receive their reward.

One Mark in particular is the final Elite Mark named "Yiazmat" in which the player can only have of privilege of killing it after the player had killed every other Mark(except for Shadowseer) and also killed the Hell Wyrm first. Montblanc, the Clan Leader of Clan Centurino, will assign the player the task of defeating Yiazmat once those prerequisites have been satisfied. Yiazmat is the most powerful Mark in the game. It boasts over 50 million Hp and has an arsenal of devastating attacks with some of them being capable of inflicting instant death. Yiazmat will also become more powerful when its health bar has 9 to 10 bars left, and it could even cast protective buffs and heal itself as well. The battle with Yiazmat will usually be very time consuming and the average player will take hours of battling in order to slay it.

Yiazmat isn't just the Superboss of the game but also a reference to Matsuno himself. The name of the assigned Hunt from Montblanc, "Farewell to a Legend", is a reference about how Matsuno had left the company before the production of the game was done. The name "Yiazmat" even came from Matsuno's name itself as he was nicknamed "YAZZ" from his co-workers and "Mat" is a part of his last name, which combined together to form "Yaz-Mat". Another reference from the Hunt was how the Superboss was possibly a jab at Matsuno himself. The Moogles(possibly portraying the employees of Square Enix) described Yiazmat as a Wyrm which had gone mad and killed Montblanc's own master, and as a result provoked Montblanc to seek revenge against it with the player's help. The company didn't exactly disclose all the information pertaining about the leave other than that he had a health concern, but some guessed that perhaps the leave had something to do with how Matsuno was not collaborating well with the rest of the Development Team during the production of the game.

With his departure he had personally apologized to the employees, the shareholders, and the fans for letting them down, but he was still credited for "Original Work/Scenario Plot/Supervision". He had since then recovered and had worked on a few select projects with various other producers.

Hideo Kojima is widely known for being associated with the Metal Gear series as the basis for his success as a game director. He was formerly an employee at Konami as the vice president of Konami Computer Entertainment Japan, but ever since 2005 he has been the head of his own studio named Kojima Productions in order to focus more on developing games. So far, one of the games which was made at the studio named "Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker" had two references to Kojima himself.

The first reference is the mentioning of Kojima through one of the in game briefing file when Snake and Kazuhira Miller(Kaz) talks to Cécile Cosima Caminades. Snake begins the conversation by asking if her last name was common because he had never heard of it before. Kaz inserts himself into the conversation by mentioning that Cecile's middle name, "Cosima", sounds very close to "Kojima". Kaz extended the idea even further with a thought about her first and last name as well which he thinks that together it sounds like the sentence "Kojima Kaminandesu" in Japanese which translates to "Kojima is God". He finally concluded that Cecile's name itself is a message about Kojima.

Another reference to Kojima is having him as a recruitable character in the game. In a part of a mission that's within South America, Snake has to investigate a line of trucks to discover which truck has a stash of concealed nukes within. If the player finds the truck in which Kojima is hidden in, Kojima will be available for recruitment as a soldier.

The 1995 hit game Chrono Trigger was the game that was said to be developed by a "Dream Team" of iconic designers who have collaborated together to accomplish the project. The developers referenced themselves in one of the thirteen endings from within the game by allowing the players to enter a "Developer's Room".

This particular ending is the most difficult ending to achieve in the game and there are two ways to acquire the ending. One method requires the player to start a New Game+ file in order to begin. At the beginning of the game, the player must look for a sparkling object on the right Telepod to initiate a fight with Lavos. This time, however, the player must defeat Lavos with only Chrono and Marle as they are the only characters available in the New Game+. Alternatively, the player can also use the alternative method by defeating Lavos when the party first encounters it at the Ocean Palace.

When Lavos is defeated, the party will be transported to the "End of Time" where Gaspar will invite you to talk to the inhabitants who reside there. There are eight themed rooms where you could enter and talk to the developers who are represented by the in game sprites from within each room. The developers will give you funny comments, introduce themselves, and more whenever you talk to them.

After you have talked with each developer, Gaspar will unlock the door to the "Dream Team"'s room where you can meet the creators of the game themselves. If you talk to Sakaguichi, he'll make you a member of the Dream Team and insert you into the credits.

Thank you for reading my Top Ten. If you have any suggestions and/or comments, please PM me or visit the Top Ten board.


Honorable mentions:

Postal II: The Postal Dude works at the company that also made this game.
Chrono Cross: Developer Room.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Deadpool talks to a developer in the credits.
Conker's Bad Fur Day: Conker asks a programmer to help him out in the ending.

List by highwind07 (02/06/2013)

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