Hippitus Hoppitus Deus Domine: The premiere holiday celebrating egg-laying cottontails is upon us once more. Hens sometimes lay these eggs in baskets of plastic hay, while other times they litter the eggs around fields and playgrounds. And sometimes, when the Bunny stars align, St. Peter (Rabbit) comes down and lays Easter eggs into your favorite games to be found as an Easter treat you can celebrate the whole year round. Some say that game developers have inserted them into games for years as a way of signing their works and saying hi to the player. But, we all know that in reality, they come from magic bunnies.

Easter eggs in games serve as a fun way to reward players for exploration and experimentation outside the normal storyline or intended structure of the game. Let’s take a moment this Easter to look back on some fun examples that you can spend a lazy Sunday exploring on your own retro handhelds.

The Cows: Diablo 2/Blizzard Universe

One of the longest-running and referenced Easter Eggs in gaming has to be Moo Moo Farm. This is most commonly referred to as the “secret cow level” in Diablo 2. After completing the base campaign, players entered a code to transport themselves to an open field. Without warning, the “Hell Bovine” charged forth, their thunderous hooves shaking the ground, intent on swarming and overwhelming the unfortunate souls in their path.

Hell Bovine in Diablo 2

Hell Bovine in Diablo 2

Blizzard developers initially teased this as an April Fools’ joke with a screenshot. However, the prank gained so much traction that they ultimately incorporated it into the game’s final build after fans refused to let the joke die. Since its first appearance in Diablo 2, Secret Cow Level has had some variation or reference in a heap of Blizzard games including Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone. Red Faction even included a secret cow launcher as a wink in 2001.

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The Egg: GTA: Vice City

The Grand Theft Auto series has become known for its on-the-nose satire of both games and the real world around us. In 2002, GTA: Vice City got the Easter Egg treatment in the traditional Rockstar wink and nod sense. This time it was by making it an actual egg on a pedestal wishing the player a happy Easter.

Vice City Easter Egg

Vice City Easter Egg

Open-world sandboxes were still a new genre at the time. And this little bonus served as a way to award especially exploratory players. To find the egg in the game, you must climb onto the roof of a broadcast building. Then taking a leap of faith into what appears to be a wall. But actually, allows players to clip through and enter a secret room.

The OG: Adventure

The film version of Ready Player One used this piece of Easter Egg history to deliver the final prize to protagonist Wade Watts. This fun little plot device was a cool way to show how developers hide themselves within their art and gives the audience a bit of a history lesson.

Adventure on Atari 2600

Adventure on Atari 2600

Adventure was a crude, but unique for the time game on the Atari 2600. Players control nothing more than a small cube as they navigate a labyrinth of screens of various colors and visibility. It’s a simple game. But, if the player takes the right steps, they can unlock a hidden screen signed by creator Warren Robinett. This is generally considered to be the first example of an Easter Egg in gaming and an artist signing his own work within hidden code.

Reptile Eggs: Mortal Kombat

“Ok so, if you get to the bridge level, and you get flawless victory in both rounds and pull off a fatality, you get to fight a green reptile ninja in the spike pit.” Even as a kid hearing this on the playground while the game was in arcades, this sounded like bullshit. This was the stuff of lore. Someone always had a brother who knew a kid who had seen it done.

Mortal Kombat Reptile

The first appearance of Reptile

But nay! If you manage to pull off the prerequisites, Mortal Kombat gifted you with a fight against an enemy that appeared nowhere else in the game. In the era before online connectivity, those tantalizing gaming secrets spread like wildfire through whispers and rumors.

The Dev’s Head: Doom 2

It’s Doom 2, one of the most iconic pieces of gaming history. Sneakily, developer John Romero found a way to immortalize himself within his creation with an iconic Easter Egg. Players can find Romero’s head on a spike in the finale of Doom 2. He’s behind a hidden wall that can only be accessed using the ‘idnoclip’ cheat. Once discovered, he tells the player “To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero!”

John Romero's Head in Doom

John Romero’s Head in Doom

The Swiss Army Easter Egg: Konami Code

If you’re here, you’re more than likely familiar with up, up, down, down, left right, left right, etc. Songwriters have penned tunes about it. It transcends video games. Every year websites have easter eggs on 4/1 that do something fun when you enter the Konami code. What started as a way to get power-ups in Contra and Gradius became a part of gaming culture itself.

Castlevania Requium Easter Egg

Castlevania Requiem Easter Egg

In Contra 4 on the DS, the player has to enter the Konami Code via the touchscreen. If a player inputs the code on the main menu of Castlevania: Requiem, the game appears to glitch out. Then it launches the hidden minigame Akumajyo Dracula Peke. Pausing the game and inputting the Konami code on a second controller in Mario Party 1 will unlock the game debug menu.

These are just a sampling of gaming Easter Eggs. Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below, and chat with us in our Discord!

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