When you were a kid, did you go egg-hunting at Easter? Physical Easter eggs are sweet little treats we enjoy during this holiday. And because they are most often found on scavenger hunts, we started using the same name when we find amusing things hidden in numerous things, from video games to modern tech software.
There are so many Easter eggs hidden in popular films that websites exist solely to help viewers find them. Their roots go back to the early days of the video game industry – when designers and programmers often hid jokes and secret messages in their games.
The first Easter egg ever found was in Adventure’s 1979 Atari 2600 game. At the time, Atari kept the developers’ names a secret, so the competitors wouldn’t poach them. Warren Robinett then designed and hid a feature in the game that credited his contribution.
These days, Easter eggs can be anything from silly animations to funny jokes to extra features that aren’t part of the official software.
Famous Easter eggs
Easter eggs are hidden features or messages, inside jokes, and cultural references inserted into media. They are typically well hidden – so that users find it gratifying when they discover them. When you’re watching a movie or playing a game, you have no idea what might be waiting around the next corner. This is especially true if you’re looking for Easter eggs — those secret little references to other movies or games that artists slip in for the fans.
Some Easter eggs are so famous they are embedded in popular culture, and you sure have heard of them.
Excel: The Hall of Tortured Souls
Although with an unfortunate name, The Hall of Tortured Souls was a well-known Windows 95 Easter egg. It was a gruesome method of paying tribute to the inventors of the operational system, particularly Microsoft Excel.
To access the game, users had to create a new blank Excel worksheet, select the entire 95th row from the drop-down menu, toggle over to column B, go to Help/About, click Ctrl + Alt + Shift, and then the tech support button.
It wasn’t an easy way, and, at the time, only the developers knew how to find the game. However, due to the amount of computing power needed to support it, the software was much bigger (and slower) than it could have been.
The Konami Code
The most popular Easter egg is probably the Konami Code, from video games made by the Japanese company Konami.
It was originally used as a cheat code for the game Gradius (1985), but it lives on today as an Easter egg in many video games. The code is activated by pressing the keys Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A in a Nintendo console.
Fun Easter eggs
Apart from video games, Easter eggs have entered our everyday lives, and there are a few ones that are made to have a little fun.
Google Chrome’s Dinosaur
Have you ever received the “no connection” error screen on Google Chrome? There is a cute dinosaur in there. But if you press your spacebar, that dinosaur starts to move.
It is an inbuilt game where the user controls the Lonely T-Rex as it walks from left to right across black-and-white desert terrain, jumping or ducking to dodge impending hazards like cacti and Pteranodons. Also, if a network administrator blocks the game, an error message shows a picture of a meteor going towards the Lonely T-Rex.
Alexa watches Star Wars
Voice assistants are becoming a staple in many households, and Alexa is always listening. There are a couple of fun questions you can ask, and if you happen to say, “Alexa, I’m your father”, it will answer you in a true Return of Jedi style.
Useful Easter eggs
Besides being very fun to look for, Easter eggs can also be very helpful. Maybe you need to know the time quickly or add a colour code. While some are mere jokes, some are tributes, and some are just downright useful.
Google’s Colour Picker
The colour picker Google Easter egg, often known as the hex colour picker, allows you to search millions of colours and colour combinations. Using the HTML colour picker, you may get the Hex, RGB, HSL, or CMYK values for each colour. It’s simple to use for engineers, web designers, and other folks who need precise colour values. Just search for “hex colour picker,” and voilà!
Let me Google That For You
Do you have that annoying friend who asks you many questions Google would solve in a second? Let me Google That For You is the perfect Easter egg for them. It essentially shows you step-by-step how to search the platform and maybe really handy for our friends who frequently ask inquiries.
iPhone’s Clock App
The clock icon in iOS isn’t just a simple image, which may surprise some. It’s a functioning clock that displays the hours and minutes. You’ll be amazed to discover that the cursors truly move and show the time in your timezone like an analogical clock.
Were any of these Easter eggs a surprise for you?
It’s good to see Easter eggs still present in modern tech software, and that some of them even have functionality. Overall, Easter eggs are a fun way for developers to add some personality and creativity to their code. They’re designed to please the eye, inject a bit of whimsy into our daily routine, and provide a brief distraction when we need it most.
We should look at them as bonuses rather than main attractions. In their quirky way, Easter eggs have come to reflect the diversity of personalities in the technology community. They have become yet another way to humanize technology in our everyday lives.