As exciting as it is to find chocolate covered in glitter and paint in the middle of a patch of grass, those aren’t the easter eggs I’m talking about. I’m talking about the virtual kind. A lot of you might be familiar with these, even if you don’t know it. A virtual easter egg is basically a hidden message or image tucked away in a movie, TV show, computer program, video game, crossword, heck anything really. They’re usually left behind by the author as a little joke or just a nod to rivals or deserved predecessors. The term was apparently coined by Atari – legends in the arcade game industry (who sadly filed for bankruptcy earlier this year).
For fans they are a lot of fun indeed. In fact for those of us who just don’t seem to get ever get tired of watching great movies – like the Avengers, Indiana Jones, Kill Bill, Star Wars (the original trilogy), Die Hard, Back to the Future – and a million others, it’s a real kick to catch these little hidden images or references. It’s like an extra dollop of hot chocolate on your sunday or (if you are so inclined) sprinkles on top of your scoop. It’s also fun to see that the creators themselves have a sense of humor. Sure this is phenomenon more common to more light-hearted genres, but easter eggs are abound in movies you wouldn’t have even thought of. I can just imagine a software designer or director chuckling to himself as he throws in a joke most people would not even notice – only the worthy (and the unbelievably obsessed).
Some quick examples of my favorite easter eggs before parting:
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – In the beginning of the movie we see our hero visiting a night club called “Club Obi Wan”! Classic example of George Lucas having some fun with some cross-franchise homage.
- Pixar with its constant references to its other movies – The little girl from Monsters Inc. with her Nemo doll and the Pizza delivery car from Toy Story which was in almost every other Pixar flic!
- Thor – Ok this one is pretty subtle. In the movie Portman gives Thor her ex boyfriend’s clothes – his name being Donald Blake. Those more familiar with the Thor comics will realize that this is actually Thor’s alter ego, his human identity.
- Stan Lee – Ok this man is a legend! And if you pay close attention, you’ll realize he’s in like every Marvel movie. He’s the man reading the paper who almost gets run over in Daredevil, he’s one of the security guards leaving the facility in the beginning of the movie in Hulk (along with the original big man himself, Lou Ferigno), he’s in the crowd as the balcony collapses in Spiderman, a mail man in Fantastic Four – ok you get the idea!
- The episode of HIMYM where Marshall’s dad dies – It was somewhere around No. 42 I think that my friend and I realized their was a countdown, prompting us to go back to the beginning and yell out loud every time we found the next number. Great easter egging, though around No. 3 I remember thinking, oh no, oh crap, something bad is gonna happen…
Right so maybe I’ve helped open your eyes to a whole new world! Or maybe I’ve just given you a few funny examples. Or maybe I’ve contributed absolutely nothing to your life whatsoever. Well it can’t all be sunshine and rainbows can it sonny?
Then again, maybe you got more than you know. Close followers of my blog might realize that there may just be a few hidden eggs here and there, if you’re really looking ; )