Depending on where you are and who you’re talking to, the phrase “Easter egg” will probably have a couple of different meanings. However, for gaming enthusiasts at least, the term refers to a hidden message or hidden feature often found within a video game, and most avid gamers would assure you that finding one of these is a lot more satisfying than tucking into an ovally shaped block of chocolate.
The term was originally coined to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt and was first used to describe a secret message found in the 1979 Atari game, Adventure, which, in turn, encouraged Atari to hide more of these messages in future games for users to hunt down. Below are some of the most well known and best loved Easter eggs in what many consider to be some of the greatest games of all time.
Metal Gear Solid 3
Well known for his wacky sense of humour, Japanese game designer Hideo Kojima is no stranger to Easter eggs and perhaps one of his most hilarious comes in the form of a climactic boss battle with ageing sniper, The End. Whilst this is a fairly routine victory for most proficient gamers in the first place, if the player saves the game before the battle and then sets their PlayStation system clock forward a few months before reloading the game, they will find out The End has actually died of old age and that there is no need to traipse around the jungle for an hour looking for a big white beard hidden in the shrubbery.
Final Fantasy IX
Released in 2000, this is considered by many to be a real classic of the video gaming world but, in addition to this, when the player completes the game and the prelude starts to play, a combination of buttons and joystick movements will unlock a blackjack minigame. Whilst the minigame isn’t as difficult as taking down Queen Brahne of Alexandria, it still helps to know the rules of blackjack as explained on Bitcasino’s online blog redesign, which details how and why to play, and lets newbies try hands – as well as slots and roulette games – for free.
Completing just one hand in Square Enix’s epic will earn the player the achievement “Taking the Black”. Not bad eh?
Saints Row 2
Animals have long been a part of gaming Easter eggs. Diablo 2 has a secret unlockable cow level, Gears of War has golden poultry but perhaps the most outrageous is a giant purple bunny that emerges from the sea once players find an island offshore. It’s not particularly easy to find said island with the constantly rolling mist but, once the player reaches it, wandering around the coastline generally wakes the bunny up just in time to scare you half to death before retreating back under the water.
In some cases, Easter eggs can be more rewarding or entertaining than the actual games themselves and, with the Internet now available to point you in the right direction, finding a hidden message or a rabid fluffy bunny that wants to destroy everything in sight is an absolute doddle. However, back in the day (whenever that was), games such as the much loved NBA Jam: Tournament offered up more practical and playable Easter Eggs, with the basketball game giving you a chance to land slam dunk as Al Gore or Bill Clinton!
Nevertheless, Easter Eggs remain part and parcel of the video gaming industry and are a lovely little break from the blood, sweat, and tears that are usually required to beat one of the modern day blockbusters.