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Internet Lingo History, or Cracking An Easter Egg

With so many new apps, platforms and technological advances in recent years, our language has expanded greatly with the addition of so many tech-related words to our daily vocabulary. Since we were a little hungry today, we thought what better time than to crack the mystery of what an Easter egg means specific to internet terminology.

Which Came First – The Easter Egg or the Internet?

Per www.dictionary.com, Easter Eggs in popular culture are “text, images, visual gags, jokes, or other content that creators intentionally hide in media for their and their viewers’ amusement.” Think of it almost as an internet version of that old Highlights Magazine game, find the hidden image but one step further. Add context and pop culture reference and you start to get warmer.

Image result for tron pacmanThe concept isn’t entirely new. It first was started by Warren Robinett, a video game designer who worked for Atari in the late 1970s. Tired of programmers not getting credit for the work they did, he decided to add a tag of his name in the video game “Adventure”.  A video game fan discovered the tag and wrote a fan letter to Atari, expressing how much they loved it. Atari executives didn’t initially approve of the gag until Steve Wright, the Director of Software Development in the Atari Consumer Division at the time, noted in a company meeting that this could be something big and “wrote a memo to all concerned [that] going forward it is the policy that we will bury Easter eggs in the video games for the kids to find.”1

Hide-And-Seek

Movies have included Easter Eggs before – PacMan made a subtle guest appearance in the original Tron (1982) and many Disney movies contain Easter Eggs. “Fight Club” director David Fincher supposedly placed a visible Starbucks cup in every scene… if you have the time and the interest to check it out.

It was only to be expected that this pop-culture game of hide-and-seek would extend to the internet as it grew. From video games like Grand Theft Auto to sometimes not suitable for kids (but also generally missed by kids) images hidden in children’s youtube videos and even Disney movies, Easter Eggs are a fun nod or tribute to the creator’s inspiration, likes, and sometimes even just a silly gag to garner buzz around a newly-released product containing a few searchable treasures.

So keep your eyes open when watching that next movie or sitting down with your X-Box and get to cracking!

 

1https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-guy-who-coined-the-term-easter-egg-didnt-know-it-became-a-thing_n_5abe6e2de4b0a47437aaabe1

 

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