What’s the best day to celebrate history’s first Easter Egg than today? And what if the first Easter Egg turns 40 this year? Well, that’s a great combo!
In 1979 from the genie of Warren Robinett, the gamers from all over the world got in touch for the first time with the first Easter Egg in a videogame, when a small but precious chunk of memory on the tiny cartridge of Adventure was used by Robinett not to implement the gameplay or to add something to the game but to get revenge. We all know the story of Atari not crediting their developers in the late 70s (and this led to the rise of the first “third parties” and also to 1983 crash) but nobody would thought back then that an act of “rebellion” would have led to the spread of something that today can be identified as a joke or as a “developer signature”.
The video games world is full of easter eggs, but there are also other egg-related products released in almost 50 years of history so here’s my own personal egg-cellent shortlist:
- Doom II: John Romero’s head on a stick
This is probably one of the scaries easter eggs in a video game and comes from the satanic mind of John Romero itself: when fighting against the last boss, a strange noise can be heard and if played backwords adjusting the pitch you can hear Romero saying “To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero”. Then using the noclip cheat code you can enter the face of the monster to find the severed hear of Romero impaled on a stick. Scary.
This is just one of the endless amount of easter eggs that can be found in Doom. Romero surely used a lot of code to put his signature everywhere…
- Dr. Eggman
Even though in the West was originally known as Dr. Robotnik (hence the videogame Dr. Robotnik Mean Bean Machine on the Mega Drive) the original japanese name of the villain in Sonic universe has always been Dr. Eggman and kept this name worldwide from the game Sonic Adventures.
As most of the villains in the video games (but also in comics, books and movies) Dr. Eggman is an evil genius with a IQ of 300 and an expert in mechanics, robotics and computers. Of course the name comes from his figure, but his main features that make him immediately recognizable are the long mustache and pince-nez sunglasses. In the intention of the designers Eggman had to be an egg figure with some caricatural elements of Thedore Roosevelt. Nice touch.
Dizzy is the prptagonista of a successful series started in 1987 with Dizzy for the ZX Spectrum. The game, developed by Codemasters represent the flagship of the Oliver Twins, was one of the most successful platformers on the humble Speccy and in 1989 received its first port on the Amstrad CPC and C64. Your Sinclair magazine in 2004 named it the 5th best game on the Spectrum and when it came out received an unanimous praise with reviews well over 80%.
The iconic eponymous character was protagonist of omany other games until 1992. The first sequel, Treasure Island Dizzy was the first to be ported also on console (namely on the NES) while the first game to debut on a 16-bit machine was Fantastic Dizzy, released in 1991 and ported on Sega Genesis (although there’s also a 8-bit port on the Master System). The same game made also an incursion in 32-bit territory with the release on the Amiga CD32 but sincerely 32-bits were more than enough to handle an “easy” game like Dizzy, whose soul remains tied to the 8-bit micros.
- Wonder Boy
Here we come to another great platformer, this time originally created by Sega that has been stolen and reinterpreted by Nintendo with their Adventure Island. The egg-relation between Wonder Boy and Easter lies in the eggs that Tom Tom has to break to get some power-ups (or the different dragons in the NES incarnation).
Wonder Boy received a lot of sequles after the 1986 debut: Wonder Boy in Monster Land (1987) an interesting mux of platform and RPG elements, Wonder Boy III: Monter Lair (1988), Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap (1989), “third” but actually the fourth game of the series, Wonder Boy in Monster World (1991) and the last game Monster World IV (1994) where our “wonder boy” disappears. Just to be complete, also the NES “clone” spawned some sequels and after Adventure Island (1986) we have Adventure Island II (1991), Super Adventure Island (1992), first installment on the SNES, New Adventuere Island (1992) for PC Engine, Adventure Island 3 (1992) for NES and Super Adventure Island II (1994).
- Bonus content: Jazz Jackrabbit
It’s not an egg, but damn, it’s Easter so a bunny is just what it needs! Jazz was part of the plethora of “mascots” that debuted in the early 90s when every console and every company wanted its furry mascot. The original game, Jazz Jackrabbit was released by Epic Games in 1994 as a colourful but rather standard platformer on MS-DOS computers.
As frequently happens, Jazz had two sequels that complete the original trilogy and an equally predictable 2002 reboot.
Happy Easter again to all of you!!!