What do you think of when someone says “easter egg?You may reminisce to when you were first playing "Portal” and you came upon a secluded chamber behind an extended panel with “the cake is a lie” scribbled all over the walls. Or maybe you think of discovering a cave in "The Legend of Zelda" with a mysterious Moblin telling you “It’s a secret to everybody” as he hands you a cluster of rupees (which was a translation mistake). No matter what you think of when you hear the term, Easter Eggs are a major part of many Games and they add a bunch of charisma and fun to an otherwise serious game.

Take, for example, the first known Easter egg in video gaming.

The first Easter egg

When the Atari 2600 first came out, Atari themselves were shelling out games like "Missile Command" and "Breakout" as rapidly as achievable. And it worked, as the 2600 sold around 30 million consoles from 1977 to 1984. One of these games, dropped in 1980, was called "Adventure," and it was one of the earliest additions to the, well, adventure genre. "Adventure" was a basic game, comparable to a number of the games from Atari’s lineup. Your task was to run around a labyrinth of castles in the game and unlock various doors with specific keys, all the meanwhile dodging enemies which you could hardly do anything about.

The end goal was to recover a chalice from an evil wizard and carry it back to the very start. The Easter egg was obscured and the only way to find it was to bring an essentially invisible gray dot in the black castle of the game to the yellow castle which had differently colored floors and walls.

This allowed the gray dot to be more visible.

You could thus use this color contrast to find a secret passage that revealed the words, “Created by Warren Robinett." He put this egg in because Atari almost never gave the actual coders of their games credit because they saw no need to. Robinett put his name in the game so that he wouldn’t be forgotten with time. The egg wasn’t discovered for quite a while until someone found it and told Atari if he fixed it, he would replace the text with, “Fixed by Brad Stewart.” Atari ended up not wasting tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars just to release a copy of the game without the egg.

One of the ridiculous Easter eggs that is insanely complicated was from, and still is, from "Trials Evolution." The game is one of many "Trials" games where you traverse a level on a motorcycle and do tricks for extra points along the way. The game has plenty of textures of wooden boards in the background with seemingly random letters and words on them. However, if you put all the textures together it reveals - even more random text! But players of the game eventually realized it was written in code. The result told players to remain near a rock in one level and wait for the soundtrack to play.

After sitting for a little while the voice of a character played, saying, “Secrets are hidden. You might have to transform it into a visible form.” People had to translate the audio file into a spectrogram, which revealed Morse code.

The investigation went on and on for a long time before a picture was unlocked. The picture showed multiple sites via coordinates in four cities. Sydney, Bath, Helsinki, and San Francisco. The final discovery was a box with a key and carved wood in Helsinki with the message, "Midday in Year 2133, 1st Saturday in August, One of five keys will open the box, Underneath the Eiffel Tower." That’s right. The hunt hasn’t even ended yet. And it won’t for another hundred years. Good luck hunters!

The fun in the hunt

Both of these games have a lot of charm and are fun in their own ways. Adventure is a classic Atari game with a bunch of fun to be had. "Trials Evolution" is a newer motocross game about racking up as many points as conceivable.

These Easter eggs are memorable and many people recognize the games for these eggs. With the upcoming "Ready Player One" movie having themes about Easter eggs, it's good to know what some good examples are. But after writing this article, I’m understanding the point of an Easter egg. It provides the communities of wonderful games a way to interact and discover new, hidden things in games that bring everyone together. It shows that even single player games with not much player-to-player interaction can be social.