#7: Maniac Mansion [Unlockable In: Day of the Tentacle]
One of the original hidden games-within-games. Day of the Tentacle is a semi-sequel to the original Maniac Mansion, an extremely early graphical adventure game from LucasArts. Later, while exploring the mansion, you can access a computer in one of the hotel rooms with a fully playable version of Maniac Mansion — it’s really easy to find, and a worthwhile bonus for fans.
It’s nice to see how LucasArts evolved. The original Maniac Mansion is a hard game, and you can lose easily — the company totally changed focus from annoyingly difficult Sierra-style nonsense where you could screw yourself by missing items or solving puzzles incorrectly. It’s what made them the leader of the early ’90s, and why Day of the Tentacle is a classic while the original is just a footnote in history.
#8: Ninja Gaiden 1 / 2 / 3 [Unlockable In: Ninja Gaiden Black]
Ninja Gaiden Black on Xbox is a revelatory action game — and it’s also a sort-kinda remake of the NES games. As an added bonus, players could discover hidden collectibles and earn each of the three games from the original ‘Nintendo Hard’ trilogy. If you’re feeling lucky, you can step away from the fast-passed bloody action of Ninja Gaiden and get your butt-stomped by endlessly respawning enemies in crude sprite graphics.
To unlock the games, you’ll need to find a hidden item called ‘Arcade Ninja Gaiden’ — which is earned by finding 50 Golden Scarab collectibles. Yeah, it isn’t easy. Hilariously, you can transform the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy into the original japanese arcade version by swapping the in-game language to Japanese in the settings.
Check out more fully playable, complete games within games on the next page.