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Creepy McDonald’s game secret discovered nearly 30 years later

It’s like an internet horror story, but real

To anyone playing McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure, the 1993 platformer appeared to be exactly the game advertised on the box art: cheery, bright, wholesome. You play as Ronald McDonald as he collects MacGuffins to discover a secret bounty. While the premise and gameplay weren’t particularly novel, the game was generally received well by the public. For years now, though, Masato Maegawa — programmer on the project and president at Treasure, the developer behind the McDonald’s game — has been hinting at something hiding in the game.

Specifics have been scant, though as documented by fans, Maegawa noted that something was in the game that reflected some of the frustrations of development, which in other interviews his colleagues described as an arduous series of revisions. A secret password that output a “polygonal display” was apparently mentioned by Maegawa, with another Treasure developer once noting that folks should pay special attention to the opening demo as it was “crammed” with details.

Well, Twitter user @new_cheats_news dug through the files for the Sega Genesis game and found how to trigger the secret. Apparently, many have tried to brute force this in the past with no luck, so this is the first time we’re seeing the Easter egg in action.

At the password screen, password: “BALLONS”, “RUBY”, “M”, “CLOWN” (or else press Up 4 times on 1st position, 3 times on 2nd, 2 times on 3rd and 1 time on 4th). Press Start three times, until you hear a sound of explosion, quickly hold Up + Left then and wait. The sign picture will change to a 3D model. Use D-Pad buttons to rotate it, B or C to scale up and down, hold A and use D-Pad to move object or press C to sitch to another simple 3D model, including cubes, SEGA logo, spaceship.

And watching it in action above, you can see that it’s not just a shape showcase. The ominous music changes the entire vibe of the secret, making it seem like something that’s more out of a creepypasta story than another element of an otherwise jolly game. Imagine accidentally running into this as a child and trying to tell your friends — likely, nobody would believe you. And you’d probably be scared to boot, unsure of what’s happening or why!

Even if you’ve never played or heard of McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure, the fact someone was able to pull a fast one on Ronald McDonald in such a memorable and unsettling way is pretty damn cool.

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