Developed by programmer Warren Robinett, Adventure was an Atari 2600 recreation launched in 1980 during which players performed as a high-fantasy hero (however actually a pixelated sq.) who wandered by way of an open world of dungeons and dragons, all with the intention to retrieve a magical chalice that wanted to be returned to the Golden Castle. However, hidden inside the bowels of considered one of the recreation’s caverns, and utterly divorced from the extra linear path that the aforementioned avatar should trod to select up a key and wander by way of a wall off-screen, is the first easter egg. And in fact it’s actually a credit score Robinett wrote for himself.
It reads: “Created by Warren Robinett.” The easter egg was inserted by the recreation’s designer as a result of he had spent over a yr programming the recreation and was annoyed (amongst different issues) by the Atari coverage of not crediting their programmers in the recreation. So he sneaked this “egg” into the expertise, which Atari solely discovered about after Robinett had left the firm, and items of the recreation had already shipped. Hence the coined phrase of “easter egg.” Because like the prizes of an Easter scavenger hunt, it’s a pleasant little shock for players to find.
Technically, this isn’t the first online game easter egg. That honor would possibly belong to a online game known as Moonlander (1973) the place gamers who’re trying to drag a Neil Armstrong can discover a hidden McDonald’s on the moon and go and get a hamburger and fries as a substitute of ending the recreation’s mission. Nonetheless, Adventure was the first time an easter egg was developed in secret and known as, nicely, an easter egg.
The legacy of this occasion was drastically enhanced in the twenty first century by Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One novel, which was printed in 2011. While the guide solely mentions the Adventure incident in passing, the entire guide helped additional popularize the time period “easter egg” in geek tradition and past by framing its entire story round a hunt for an omnipotent egg, whose location might be found by discovering keys and gates hidden all through an unlimited digital universe known as the OASIS. And Cline’s personal scripted adaptation of that guide in the Steven Spielberg film model of Ready Player One (launched in 2018) raised consciousness for the authentic Adventure easter egg to even better heights by constructing the total climax pivot round the film’s protagonist taking part in the Adventure Atari recreation with the intention to discover the last key that may give him entry to the OASIS’ final easter egg.
So there you might have it, the root etymology for the idea of recent media easter eggs!