Writer and creative consultant
Writer and creative consultant
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History of the Easter egg

No, not the chocolate egg first produced in the 19th century to bizarrely celebrate the reanimation of Jesus from the dead.

But rather the hidden surprise inside a piece of software to unexpectedly delight the user.

The first software Easter egg inside a game appeared in the 1979 Atari game, Adventure. Programmer identities were jealously guarded and not made public. Software studios didn’t want staff to gain celebrity status or eclipse the brand.

So programmer Warren Robinett hid a feature with his name in the game. (No, not the most imaginative easter egg but what do you expect from a programmer.)

Easter eggs in games became more elaborate and self-referential over time. The cake probably goes to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Aside from all the hidden hookers and blow, when you jump from the top of a certain building you’ll miraculously go through the window of a neighboring building. You’ll be inside a room with a pedestal, on top of which is a big chocolate egg with “Happy Easter!” written on it.

The earliest known Easter egg was placed in the ‘make’ command for PDP-6/PDP-10 minicomputers in 1967 by William Weiher at the Stanford AI Lab.

When you attempt to create a file named ‘love’ by typing ‘make love,’ the program responds ‘not war?’ before proceeding.

It’s the little things that count.


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