The origin of Easter Eggs in games

The origin of Easter Eggs in games

For those who do not know, an Easter Egg, or Easter egg, is a small joke or hidden message within a certain game. One of the most famous, if not the most, was Mew . The Pokémon 151 was not originally going to be in the game, but at the last moment it was added, hunting the fact that you could catch it. These rumors were one of the reasons for Pokémon’s success.

But why are these details called?

To know, we have to go back to the time of the arcades , at the end of the 70s, Atari dominated the market. Under the Kassar mandate, the developer managed to bill more than 2,000 million dollars in three years. It broke the record of the company with the fastest growth of a frnchise at that time.

Atari had two parallel markets: he had the confidence of arcade users and the monopoly of desktop consoles . Having started in the arcade, many of the games of the Atari 2600 were ported from the arcade. Among them was Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Adventure titles.

However, the programmers, who worked in terrible conditions, earned around only $ 30,000 a year, when the game they made millions in a matter of months. Moreover, Atari did not acknowledge its authors, since in their titles, they never showed who created the games, for fear that the competition would ” take away ” their programmers.

Warren Robinett the creator

Fed up with this situation, the programmers of Atari left during 1980 and 1981 and founded Activision, but this is another matter entirely. Amongst those who stayed longer was Warren Robinett.

Robinett had the task of adapting Colossal Cave Adventure to a cartridge of the Atari 2600. It took a whole year, since the memory of the cartridges only allowed a 4kB of memory. Why Warren decided to use 5% of that memory is still a mystery.

On the gray floor there was an object the size of a pixel that could only be seen if it interacted with it. After forming the bridge, you could use the object to open a tiny cave in which there was a large screen with a text: ” Created by Warren Robinett “, all in color to make it stand out.

Robinett did not tell anyone this and neither did he expect any player to discover it. 400,000 copies of Colossal Cave were distributed. A year after the launch of the game and with Robinett out of Atari, a boy from Utah called Atari to say that his copy of Colossal Cave was broken. Someone finally discovered it!

It became an authentic phenomenon. Several newspapers wrote about it and one called it ” Easter Egg “. This small detail that was born in response to executives, became a personal brand of the developer and that is still preserved today.

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