CSc 050: Easter Egg! Easter Egg!
An undocumented feature of an application or other program is called an
Easter Egg, called such because it is hidden, but usually cool to find.
An example is this web page, which you get to by clicking on the Macintosh
even though it's not mentioned anywhere to do so.
Programmers install such Easter Eggs into their programs as in-jokes or
as bonuses for people to find. Easter Eggs are generally fun and/or harmless,
unlike computer viruses which, although hidden, are malevolent.
Easter Eggs are usually activated by entering a password or performing a
certain combination of keystrokes at a certain point in a program. Games
which run on dedicated machines such as PlayStation or XBOX are usually full
of such eggs (e.g. "secret moves" in fighting games.)
Easter eggs have been around a long time. Here are some examples from
- a keystroke combination which will play the song "Pomp and Circumstance" in
the old word processor Easy Script
- a keystroke in an old Apple-2E game which would let you play
Space Invaders from within the first game
- the PC game Raptor: Call of the Shadows will play a strange
version of the opening theme music if the game is played when the computer's
internal calendar date matches the birthday of any one of the programmers
- Windows 3.1 will show a picture of a professor & list design credits
after a series of mouse clicks and keystrokes are performed with the
"About Help" command (thanks: Ivan Meyers)
Drop me (Chris Fernandes) a line
if you find this page. I'd be interested in hearing
about any Easter Eggs you may have run across. I'll add them to this list.
Back to Main Menu