Gamers have long known about hidden “Easter eggs” within their games, fun little tricks that bring up unexpected treasures. If you’re “in the know,” you press a particular combination of keys and some hidden treat reveals itself to you. Part of the fun is discovering the Easter egg, and part of it is knowing about it and feeling superior to others who are not as informed as you are.
There are websites that offer up such fantastic tidbits as well, as long as you know where to look, and what to enter that will unlock the secret. Google is famous its sense of humor and up-to-the-minute trend awareness, and over the years the company has imbedded many Easter eggs on their site.
The term “Easter egg” was coined in the 1970s, when Atari designer Warren Robinett told his co-workers that there was hidden content, and that they would have to hunt for it as if they were hunting for Easter eggs.
Microsoft was a big fan of the concept, and the Microsoft Office suite used to hold all kinds of goodies. The 1997 version had a Magic 8-Ball hidden in Access, a flight simulator in Excel, and a pinball machine in Word. Microsoft eventually banned Easter eggs in its software in 2002, due to security concerns.
Google has done much to make sure the public knows about Easter eggs. Their daily doodles often have fun little extras tucked inside, and they are especially famous for their April Fools Day jokes.
Try this one to change your Google RSS Reader into ninja mode — hit “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a.” First, you get the ninja, then the screen turns blue, and then your active and unread feeds change to “30.” If you click the “like” icon, then you get some animated hearts. Click “unlike,” and you get an animated broken heart. (I actually could not get this to work, so I have no picture.)
If you search for “zerg rush”, you get a video game that you can play.
Mozilla is a robot
If you type “about:mozilla” in the URL bar of Firefox, you’ll get The Book of Mozilla,
Or robots about:robots
Amazon the joker
Amazon has also gotten into the Easter egg game. If you go to the Site Directory page and move your mouse around in the center of the page below the copyright notice, a clickable spot will appear. Click on it, and you’re taken to a page that was posted in 2002, paying tribute to David Risher, a key employee in the company’s history.
Find Chuck Norris
Type “find Chuck Norris” into the Google main page and then hit “I’m Feeling luck” to get the following message:
Google in pig latin and in pirate
Also, you can change the display language that Google uses, and get your search results in Klingon, Pig Latin, Elmer Fudd or Pirate.
There are tons of more Easter eggs hidden in Skype, Facebook, in the Android App, and even in the iPhone (Ask Siri what her favorite color is, and see what happens.)
The more you know, the more you can find.