Featured StoryGenesisNewsRetro

Spooky McDonald’s game secret found 30 years later on SEGA Genesis

McDonald’s is a brand that’s known on every continent; You can’t drive two miles without seeing those golden arches in your face. In the early 90s, legendary developer Treasure tried their hand at a licensed game for the SEGA Genesis. Following their work on Gunstar Heroes, they released McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure. It’s a strange diversion from their first project, but the game was actually quite good.

As a brand, the fast food chain was seen as wholesome, Happy Meal, laughing clown fun! Who doesn’t love finding a toy with their meal and jumping into a ball pit after? The game follows that similar style, with bright and colorful game design. Masato Maegawa, the game’s programmer and President of Treasure, has hinted at an Easter Egg that no one found…until now.

McDonald's Treasure Map fun
Smackin’ the McShit out of that enemy

The fine folks at SEGA-16 were in deep discussion about its secrets, trying to crack Maegawa’s code of “if you enter a secret password the password entry screen itself turns into a polygonal display.” One forum dweller actually solved one of the Easter Eggs. Twitter user @new_cheats_news discovered the secret while spelunking through the game’s files and had this to say:

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.


When the password is entered, the title screen transforms into different polygonal shapes. The morphing is accompanied by super creepy sound effects. The sound and tone definitely does not match the bright and cheery atmosphere of the game. I was half expecting a clown with a red balloon to pop out of the screen and drag me to the NetherRealm.

The dichotomy between the actual game and its secret definitely gives me the creeps. It’s quite amazing it took nearly 30 years to find the secret. What could the shifting polygons have to do with Treasure’s frustrations developing the game? I think that’d be a fun interview, don’t you think?

Have you played McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure before? What did you think of it? Let’s have a chat in the comments below!


Marcin Gulik

Live and learn everyday. Dreamcast and Shenmue are the epitome of gaming!
Back to top button