The best hidden video game homages to Star Wars

These are the references we're looking for

Star Wars mania doesn't just mean fans get a bit stirred up when a new Star Wars Battlefront game comes out, or start to twitch involuntarily as Star Wars: The Force Awakens draws closer. Star Wars surrounds us and penetrates us, binding the galaxy together, and bleeding into a wide swath of entertainment as people truly moved by the series pay homage to it in their own work.

With the vast worlds afforded to video game developers, it's no surprise you can find a galaxy's worth of references tucked into the corners of your favorite games where you'd normally never look. And though all those "I am your father" jokes are pretty good (with "It's a trap," and "I have a bad feeling about this" close behind), the references here are more impressive that we could have possibly imagined.

Darth Vader render credit: Lightsabered

20. Luke doesn't turn out well in Skyrim

At first glance it doesn't look like there's anything particularly Star Warsian about the encounter with the Frost Trolls of Bleakcoast Cave in Skyrim, unless you think that Star Wars holds the patent on Yetis (it doesn't). However, it's all things taken together here that make this subtle reference work: after clearing out the Wampa-like creatures, you'll find the remains of a skeleton hanging upside-down from the ceiling, trapped in a thick layer of ice, with a sword lying sad and forgotten beneath it. Basically, it looks just like Luke's perilous encounter with the Wampa on Hoth, except with a more tragic end.

19. Queen Anora's a bit short in Dragon Age Origins

Mass Effect might be an obvious candidate for doling out Star Wars references, but BioWare's other baby, Dragon Age, has its fair share of nods the galaxy far, far away too. It just has to be a bit more subtle - in Dragon Age Origins for instance, one possible response to seeing Queen Anora in a castle guard disguise echoes Leia's comment to Luke in A New Hope. Or if you're looking for something even more clandestine, one of Cole's offhand comments in Dragon Age Inquisition seems very familiar.

18. Isaac gets cocky in Dead Space

Every video game set in space has to have at least one nod to Star Wars in it - there's a law or something. Dead Space abides by that rule, but keeps it nice and discreet. You could watch all of Isaac Clark's valiant cannon-battle against space rocks and reasonably claim that it's in no way meant to refer to Star Wars. But when the trophy you get for particularly fine shooting is named after Han Solo's famous line during the TIE fighter attack in A New Hope, it's a lot harder to disregard.

17. There is no try in Sly 3

This one's quick as a fox, so you might miss it if you aren't watching closely. When the gang's adventure takes them to the Australian outback, Murray spends the whole flight talking up his amazing spiritual teacher, The Guru, and everything he learned as part of their training. But something tells me he let a bit of fiction seep into his memory, because the one shot they share is pulled straight from Luke and Yoda's training scene in Empire Strikes Back. Either that, or Murray's seriously living the dream.

16. Day of the Tentacle is appropriately nerdy

This one may be cheating, since Day of the Tentacle was developed by LucasArts, so it's a bit like pointing out you found a Pixar reference in another Pixar movie. But still, that doesn't make it any less fun for Star Wars fans to spot the Darth Vader calendar in Dr. Fred's office, or notice the Stormtrooper helmet in the room where you find Green Tentacle (top-left), or hear Bernard drop Star Wars lines like an expert to try to sway people to his side. But not trying to do a Jedi mind trick? What a missed opportunity.

15. Mega Man demonstrates the sincerest form of flattery

The Death Star radiates evil - massive, imposing, and virtually impenetrable except for an ill-conceived exhaust system - so its not surprising that it has its fair share of imitators trying to capture that same daunting glory. One such coattail-rider is the consistently ineffective Dr. Wiley of Mega Man fame, who tops off Mega Man 5 by manning a Death Star lookalike with a skull on the front for decoration. It's even called the Wiley Star. Such genius!

14. Sonic the Hedgehog wants a piece of that action

Now you're not even trying. A villain even more famously inept than Wiley, Dr. Eggman tries to make himself look a lot more frightening and competent than he is by constructing his own Death Star, but messes it up by calling it the Death Egg. Having his smiling face on the front isn't much help either.

13. Conker's Bad Fur Day breaks the freshness seal

In the cutscene that introduces the Doon multiplayer map in Live and Reloaded (which looks an awful lot like Tatooine, though I'm sure that's just a coincidence), Conker's ultimate enemy, the Panther King, is discovered frozen in a tomb that looks suspiciously like Han Solo's carbonite prison. And if you're still not convinced of Conker's Star Wars affinity, the Millennium Falcon flying by a second later is the developers' way of staring you in the face, asking you if you get it yet.

12. Duke Nukem 3D wants to make sure you get the joke

Here we have another recreation of Luke's encounter with the Wampa gone wrong, but without the delicacy. While exploring the Lunar Reactor level, you can jump down into a hole in the side of a pit (made a whole lot easier with the jetpack, but sometimes you have to live dangerously). Within you'll find Luke Skywalker in his stormtrooper outfit hanging from the ceiling, his arms ripped off, and his whole body covered in blood. And in case you're totally lost, Duke punctuates the whole picture by joking, "Now this is a Force to be reckoned with!" Thanks man! Appreciate the help.

11. Sam and Max Hit the Road is gratuitous

A LucasArts point-and-click based on silly pop-culture references tossing out a Star Wars joke? Inconceivable! Sam and Max Hit the Road slips in a blatant reference to A New Hope in its Bumpusville chapter, when Sam uses his mechanical wit to reprogram a cleaning droid to work for him. Before he gets down to the actual tinkering though, the droid plays a clip of a small, obviously Leia-like figure saying, "Help me Sam and Max, you're my only hope!" Max is kind enough to point out how 'gratuitous' that joke is, so we don't have to.

Ashley Reed

Former Associate Editor at GamesRadar, Ashley is now Lead Writer at Respawn working on Apex Legends. She's a lover of FPS titles, horror games, and stealth games. If you can see her, you're already dead.