Easter Eggs

No, not that kind! Here we’re talking about those that describe a message, image or feature hidden in a video game, film or some other electronic (usually) medium.

The first was in the 1980 video game “Adventure”. Atari did not allow the creators to put their name on the games to prevent competitors from poaching their developers and from the writers to have a bargaining chip for more pay. Warren Robinett, the inventor, who also wrote Slot Racers and Basic Programming, did not agree with this policy and hid a secret message,

that if you found, would display “Created by Warren Robinett”. When Atari found out, they wanted to remove it from future releases of Adventure, which would have proved to be costly.

Instead, Steve Wright, the Director of Software Development in the Atari Consumer Division, decided to not only leave the message but encourage inclusion of Easter Eggs, as he called them, in other games that consumers could find.

There are video games, that pre-date Adventure, that contain Easter Eggs as they are now known. The earliest is Moonlander (1973) that has a McDonald’s restaurant to find. Colossal Cave Adventure (1976) includes several secret words, one allows you to move between two points in the game.

 Starship 1 (1977) has a hidden egg that displays “Hi Ron!” as Ron Milner was the games programmer. The Easter egg in Age of Empires (1997) changes the objects being catapulted from stones to cows. Konami’s Gradius (1985) was the first game to contain a cheat code that the developer put in the game for debugging purposes and then forgot to remove. Since then a lot of games have cheat codes purposefully left in them.

There are Easter eggs in Software too. In the 1997 version of Microsoft Office included a hidden flight simulator in Excel and a hidden pinball game in Word. There are Easter eggs in all version of Microsoft Windows prior to XP.

Hardware also can have them. There are Oscilloscopes that contain have games (Tetris clone, Asteroids like game called Rocks, and even fish swimming on the screen) hidden in them. The Hewlett-Packard electronic pocket calculator, HP-45, (1973), has a built-in undocumented stopwatch.

There are tons of Easter eggs on DVDs and Blu-Rays. For a great listing of them , with how to find, check out The Easter Egg Archive website. a few examples are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Ultimate Collector’s Edition) has a red gun to find. Press enter and Robert Redford talks about a movie prank.

The movie Hair has one that is a video of people dancing to the opening theme. The Matrix has three different ones included. Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2 has 4 that show you extra extras that are not in the extras. (Sorry) Some are really cool like In the Doctor Who episode “Blink”, the existence of video Easter eggs across seventeen DVDs leads to solving the protagonists’ dilemma. Have fun looking for Easter Eggs!

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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