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Slashdot Asks: What's Your Favorite Easter Egg? ( 165

One year ago, Easter Sunday was greeted with the news that many companies were increasingly cracking down on "Easter Eggs," like the harmless snippets of vanity code playfully hidden by developers. "As programming becomes more corporate, more official, one cannot appear to have code that is not officially sanctioned," the author of The Elements of Computing Style told the BBC, though other programmers they spoke to disagreed.

The Easter Egg is a tradition which dates back at least to a hidden room in a 1979 Atari game, and I still have fond memories of the Batmobile Easter Egg (video) in King's Quest II (1985) and tales of that weird musical Easter Egg in Windows 95 which scrolled the names of their entire development team.

So share your favorites in the comments. What's your favorite Easter Egg?
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Slashdot Asks: What's Your Favorite Easter Egg?

Comments Filter:
  • My favorite (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    My favorite Easter egg is the Hershey's chocolate eggs with the blue foil wrapper.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dark. What? I like dark chocolate.

  • DEC easter eggs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VAXcat ( 674775 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @03:17PM (#51788027)
    Back in the day, when we slew the dinosaurs with our slide rules, DEC had a product that ran on PDP11s and VAXes called Datatrieve. It was a query and reporting language, with extensive help. If you typed "Help me", it would reply that "Datatrieve is not in the counseling business - you should see a therapist, Priest, or Rabbi". Datatrieve help also had the feature that if you wanted more detailed help on a subject, you could type HELP ADVANCED subject, and it would give more detail on the subject. If you typed "Help advanced me", it would rely that "you are not advanced". A DEC executive got wind of this, and demanded that it be removed. It was removed in the next release - at which point DEC was deluged with problem reports from customers, complaining that it had been removed.... Datatrieve help would also reply to request for the subject of Wombats...
    • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <> on Sunday March 27, 2016 @04:08PM (#51788313) Journal

      Seeing as this is Slashdot and there's no Cowboy Easter Egg... I'll have to go with:

      sudo apt-get moo

      And, because Slashdot eats the text formatting, here's a picture: []

      • by kimhanse ( 60133 )


        root@splint:~# aptitude moo
        There are no Easter Eggs in this program.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Seeing as this is Slashdot and there's no Cowboy Easter Egg... I'll have to go with:

        sudo apt-get moo


        Uhh... no sudo required, folks.

      • Aptitude (Score:5, Funny)

        by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @06:19PM (#51788965) Homepage
        # aptitude moo
        There are no Easter Eggs in this program.
        # aptitude -v moo
        There really are no Easter Eggs in this program.
        # aptitude -vv moo
        Didn't I already tell you that there are no Easter Eggs in this program?
        # aptitude -vvv moo
        Stop it!
        # aptitude -vvvv moo
        Okay, okay, if I give you an Easter Egg, will you go away?
        # aptitude -vvvvv moo
        All right, you win.

                               -------/      \
                              /               \
                             /                |
           -----------------/                  --------\

        # aptitude -vvvvvv moo
        What is it?  It's an elephant being eaten by a snake, of course.
        • by bidule ( 173941 )

          What is it? It's an elephant being eaten by a snake, of course.

          Sorry, I thought it was a hat.

  • The original (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Denis Goddard ( 3009697 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @03:19PM (#51788035)
    "Created by ... Warren Robineet" Forever burned into my brain.
    • This was my first easter egg experience, when Adventure was a hot, new game on the Atari 2600; truly fascinating.

    • If it was burned into your brain I am surprise you didn't realize it was "Warren Robinett"

      • by Anonymous Coward

        In the jakks pacific remake i think it was "text goes here" or some such!

    • by aslagle ( 441969 )
      With a 7-digit slashdot id? Yeah.
    • It was anti-climactic for me to learn what those words were. The television of my youth was not the best and the combination of the pulsing colors and the blocky font made them completely unrecognizable as English text. I thought them to be some sort of clue to another puzzle, the beginning of another Adventure (forgive the pun!), that my young brain was unable to fathom at that age.

      To learn they were merely a writer's mark, rather than an access to further fun, was pretty sad. Maybe this is why the book

  • I happened to love the porntipsguzzardo Easter Egg in SimCity!
  • flight simulator (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2016 @03:20PM (#51788043)

    The flight simulator in MS Excel 97 (I think)...

    • by MS ( 18681 )

      Mine favorite too.

      • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        And then in the real MSFS, you could fly your airplane into a certain building in Redmond (with noclip), and see a photo of the development team on an inside wall.

        Back when flying airplanes into buildings was an appropriate thing to do in MSFS.

    • by allo ( 1728082 )

      And flipper in word97

  • Karateka (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    At least on the Apple II version, if you inserted the game disk upside down, the game booted and played upside down.

  • Doom in Excel 95 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhineusJWhoopee ( 926130 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @03:33PM (#51788125)
    As seen in: [] ed
    • The first time I heard of it and saw it, we thought the list of names at the end room was a list of souls that Bill Gates had consumed to prolong his life.

      The truth was more heinous than we had imagined: it was a list of people involved in creating Office...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I liked the .fortune egg in the original Halo: Combat Evolved. []

    I discovered it by accident and was floored by the Unix reference on a Microsoft Console by a Microsoft owned Studio. Bungie previously made the Marathon FPS for the Mac, and Halo is a spiritual successor to Marathon (even includes Marathon Terminals in Halo3, and Guilty Spark 343 has the Marathon Logo in his eye [more easter eggs]).

    Perhaps not the best eggs, but the ones you hear about first and thus expect don't seem to make as big of an impre

    • Bungie previously made the Marathon FPS for the Mac, and Halo is a spiritual successor to Marathon

      While the first version of Halo was released after the Microsoft acquisition, it was already in development when Microsoft bought Bungie and actually came out for Mac OS X. I used to play it on my TiBook.

  • The first one I ever encountered was the one hidden [] in the Atari 2600 Adventure game

  • ResEdit back in the System 7 days had a special "Pig Mode" dialog box that would pop up if you used the right key combo. I mean, I was like 9 or something, so I was easily amused; but I thought it was great.
  • DOS MZ header (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2016 @03:55PM (#51788241)

    The first two bytes of every MS-DOS .EXE was the signature "MZ", which happened to be the initials of a Microsoft developer.

    Kinda like how technical book authors like to slip in their own names in script code examples... only MZ got his wired permanently into *every single* DOS app.

    • On a similar subject, I always really thought it was cool that Intel's hardware devices use the PCI vendor string VEN_8086.
  • Flight simulator (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @03:57PM (#51788249) Homepage
    Within excel
  • make love: I don't know how to male love
    rm God: God non existent
    I al noto dure they weren't easter eggs.
  • Hidden SIDs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2016 @04:04PM (#51788287)

    I remember when Slashdot had hidden SIDs (story IDs), which were IDs that could be entered in the URL and would take you to a discussion that wasn't actually part of a story and wasn't shown on the front page or any section page. One of those was trolltalk, which was a hidden SID dedicated to discussion about trolling Slashdot. I'm not aware of this being documented on Slashdot, but trolls (and others, no doubt) were aware of it and used it. I'd say it qualifies as an Easter Egg.

    • As a coder I would classify that as a bug or glitch, as it was most surely unintentional, whereas easter eggs are. It sounds like the website was allowing users to view and comment on stories that did not actually exist.
    • Also, at one time, slashdot used to embed Futurama quotes in the http headers. curl -sI [] would print them. Alas, no more.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    On the about page there was a picture of the little mouse logo. If you clicked it, it would look startled raise its arms above its head and squeak. Was quite cute. Not sure if it is still there.

  • Tetris on HP 54600 scope
  • Help Wombat and Help Advanced Wombat

    Datatrieve was an early Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) database product for PDP-11 and later, VAX Don't know if it ran on the PDP-10 or not..
    Don't remember the name of the guy who did it, but it was a well received hack in the field (and us software types didn't care what management thought of it).
  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @04:39PM (#51788507)

    It was a stupid mind game that DOS let you play when you were stuck because of bad sectors on a floppy. In retrospect, that was a rather bad and unfunny Easter egg!

  • Dartmouth Timesharing had the "what" command that gave info about the system. Don't recall the legitimate uses, but as a special case if you entered "what 2+2" it output "4". Comment in the code was "joke".

    • Did it sniff for a numerical argument and invoke a calculator, or did it just look for those arguments? What happened if you did "what 2+3"?

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        Yeah it just looked for "2+2". Anything else I think I just gave a brief error message. That was the joke... people (including me before I knew better) thought it might have a calculator in it, so you would try "2+2" and get an answer.

    • If I remember correctly, I believe they also had a "What is life?"

      Wow...that was a long time ago.

      • Actually, I just wracked my brain on this. I may not be remembering correctly--it may have responded that "Life is an unknown option," which was also somewhat profound.

  • "Don't click on my head"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Excel 2000 []

    Excel 97 []

  • Up up down down left right a b select start.

  • My most recent discovery is :smile. My most memorable is probably the legendary secret page of The Mushroom Kingdom []... That was a long time ago, and in hindsight, the staff did a great job ensuring users who knew the secret did not spoil it for others. I still check on the secret page from time to time, just to make sure it is alive and well.
  • by Anonymous Coward
  • It was in my "Rock Lobster" revision of the A500. I'm not sure how early the Easter Egg started in the AmigaOS or how long it was allowed to continue in future revs. If you hit a certain key combination, you would get a message: "Amiga: Born a Champion." If you could manage to keep four fingers on the keyboard while pushing a floppy disk in with your big toe, the message would change to: "Amiga: We made it, they fucked it up." Obviously, a rebellion against Commodore taking over the brand.

    • by Layzej ( 1976930 )
      If I recall you had to pop the disk out as part of the sequence to trigger the message :)
      • Yes, first disk change (in or out) provided "We made the Amiga." Second disk change swapped the text with, "They fucked it up."

        It was that way in 1.2 and 1.3, removed in 2.0, changed to something like "always a champion" or something lame like that IIRC.

  • python2.7 (Score:5, Funny)

    by rekoil ( 168689 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @05:48PM (#51788853)

    In python2.7 interactive mode:
    >>> from __future__ import braces
        File "", line 1
    SyntaxError: not a chance

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What about import antigravity?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In versions of Quark xPress in the late 1990s, there was a series of keystrokes that when performed while a text box was selected, would cause a small robot to appear from one side of the screen, walk across the screen, raise his arm to point at the box, and then fire a ray gun that would make the box disappear. I discovered it one day when a guy in the office who could barely breathe and see at the same time started yelling something about a robot with a ray gun had just destroyed the page he'd been workin

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Type webdriver torso into the search bar on YouTube. Creepy! Doesn't work on mobile.

  • In win95 and 98, using the 3d text screensaver and typing "volcano" in the text field would bring up a rotating list of volcanoes.

    Similarly, "beer" would bring up beers.

    You could make a text file called "secrets.txt", with a certain format, and it would play your lists. :)

    It was changed for win2k and later.

  • Nowadays they are vanishly rare.
  • by Flu ( 16236 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @06:30PM (#51789009) Homepage
    An ATM-type machine developed by an ex-employer used to play Silent Night on Christmas Eve by spinning its motors. Unfortunately, that model is no longer in use. :-(
  • The taxi that used to appear at random on the Palm Pilot.

  • There were a few easter eggs on the original Palm Pilot. One showed the Development Team Credits with a photo, another was dancing palm trees in the Giraffe app.

    I used to have a web site listing a lot more, but it's been lost many ISP's ago...

    edit: Found it! []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not a software Easter egg, but a hardware one.

    On the inside of the back plastic cover of the Mac Plus was the signature of everyone who had worked on it. Probably no more than fifty people if I remember right.

    • by QQBoss ( 2527196 )

      The Amiga 1000 also had signatures on the inside of the case, along with a paw print for Mitchy.

      Does the Guru Meditation Error count as an Easter Egg, though?

  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @09:05PM (#51789661)
    In MacOS 7.5, drag and drop the "secret about box" [] text snippet to the trash, and get a waving MacOS flag. Wind direction and force is controlled by mouse position.
  • I'm having trouble remembering a specific one, but a lot of games and apps for classic Mac OS (7-9 mostly) included Easter Egg pictures, sounds, and text if you opened them in ResEdit. Usually they'd be something along the lines of "What are you looking in here for?", "Stop trying to bypass the registration!", etc kind of things. There was a little shareware app that tweaked menus that had the author singing Daisy, Daisy I'd love to find again, but I can't remember the name of it.

  • I think it was in Gnome (maybe still is), where you could use the ALT+F2 keyboard shortcut to bring up the run dialog, and type in "free the fish". And a swimming fish would appear across your screen. You could click on it and it would swim away, but would return a few moments later (unless you killed gnome-panel). We used to do it to each other if we left our machines unlocked.
  • If you hit F1, then Ctrl-3, the C64 would start belting out "Pomp and Circumstance" in all its SID (Sound Interface Device) glory!
  • Every 777th snapshot (or so the rumor says), Solid State Logic's G series audio consoles would put up the coveted "Begbroke" Easter Egg. The legend said that if that happened when you were mixing, you'd come up with a gold record . . . I can personally attest that that was NOT the case. ;-) []
  • Data General's AOS/VS operating system had an undocumented command named "XYZZY." In the original 16-bit version, the response was: "Nothing happens." In a later 32-bit version, this was amended to: "Twice as much happens." []

    The Apple MPW C compiler had a notorious set of error messages (does this count as an Easter egg?). []

  • I recently picked up a used HP 54600B oscilloscope and whilst searching for the manual came across a "three finger salute" that launches a fully playable version of tetris [ [] ]. I wonder how many hardware engineering hours were spent "debugging" hardware during the 90's with one of these. I also wonder how this slipped through code reviews.
  • by zaft ( 597194 )
    The text editor TECO that ran on... TOPS-10, I think, before most of you were born had a fun Easter egg. To create a file once you started TECO, you'd type "make ". If you typed: >make love TECO responded: ?not war?
  • Enter about:mozilla in a Firefox location bar.

    • I just did that in Pale Moon and got this:

      Mozilla: In Memoriam

      Dedicated to the tireless developers who have come and gone.
      To those who have put their heart and soul into Mozilla products.
      To those who have seen their good intentions and hard work squandered.
      To those who really cared about the user, and cared about usability.
      To those who truly understood us and desired freedom, but were unheard.
      To those who knew that change is inevitable, but loss of vision is not.
      To those who were forced to give up the good

  • Around 30 years ago, I was one of the lead developers for the first query server for Unisys V-Series/Medium Systems. The product (named Exxtract(tm) ) would display a little "text picture", on the system console (ODT) at midnight Christmas Day of a small Christmas Tree, with presents around it, and at midnight new Years Eve/New Year's Day would display a little text picture of a couple glasses of Champagne, along with the words to "Auld Lang Syne", and best wishes from M. V. and Associates. No harm done, an
  • If you type zzzz and right-click, the suggestion is 'sex'.

  • The two that come to mind for me ... Opera 7-12 and now Vivaldi will come here if you type /. in the address bar ... and some old programing language - I forget which one now, it was ages ago - that if you typed "What is the meaning of life?" would respond with 42.
  • Or maybe it was SImCity 2000. Anyhow, you could get a window where one of the dev's favorite jokes (also one of mine) would scroll past. A punny joke about bits of string trying to get served in a bar.
    • You know the cross hair to center the map? Try clicking on the helicopter flying over crossings. If you have catastrophes enabled, it will even start a fire, else it just will crash into the ground and a new one will appear later

  • I guess they're not really Easter eggs if they're in the documentation... still amusing:
    ack --thpppt
    _ /|
    U ack --thpppt!

    ack --bar is a bit better (but slashdot won't allow "junk" characters)
  • I seem to recall the vi man page having a pronunciation guide in HP-UX 10.10 or 10.20. I might be wrong on the particular operating system, but it was funny nonetheless.

I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.