In honor of Easter and for your reading pleasure, I present a list of some of the best Easter Eggs ever found in Macintosh games.
For those who arenít familiar with the term, an Easter Egg is an unadvertised feature hidden within a computer program. It is revealed if a user performs the correct steps. Easter Eggs are not quite the same as ďcheatsĒ because, unlike cheats, an Easter Egg does not usually serve any useful purpose other than to please the person who programmed the game, or to entertain the player. A simple example: a game might play a special song if it is run on the birthday of one of the gameís programmers.
But what makes an Easter Egg good? That is a matter of personal taste, but here are some rules of thumb.
- Elaborate Easter Eggs are usually more memorable.
- The actions that reveal the Easter Egg should have some logical relationship to the Egg itself.
- Itís nice if the Easter Egg is accessible from actions taken within the game, rather than outside of it. I especially like it f a player could conceivably discover it on their own. And yet, it should not be too straightforward. For example, in an adventure game the player needs to explore thoroughly, so printing a funny message if the player looks under the table (e.g. the text adventure Planetfall) is perhaps a little too accessible. On the other hand, if a developer should subtly embed pictures of his children in the texture of some of the scenery (e.g. Riven), that would qualify.
- The game itself should be good. A great Easter Egg in the middle of a bad game just gives the player the feeling that the developers spent too much time working on the wrong part of the game. For example, letís consider Rebel Assault II. Typing in a special code causes three sillhouetted heads to appear on the bottom of the screen and all the dialogue in the game is replaced with a humorous version. This tribute to the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a great Easter Egg, but it has to be said that Rebel Assault II was not well-received when it came out, and time has not been kind to it.
Keeping these rules in mind, letís take a look at some of the best Easter Eggs ever found in Macintosh games!