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Best Easter Eggs and Other Software Surprises 233

the_insult_dog writes "Computerworld has an article up (with videos) about some of the coolest Easter eggs and other software surprises, ranging from full-featured games to strange messages from robots. What other eggs are out there? What's the coolest egg ever?"
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Best Easter Eggs and Other Software Surprises

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  • by Akoman ( 559057 ) <> on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:15PM (#27533653) Homepage
  • oh brother..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:19PM (#27533709) Journal
    What's the coolest egg ever?
    Phrase your answer in the form of a tweet. "OMG gt2B SWbxSET3".

    What is this? Tweeny-Cutie magazine?
    I enjoy a fun easter-egg but this is asinine.
    • I'm sorry, I refuse to use twitter, it has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard of, so I'm out of it on these references.

      Can someone explain the joke to those of us who are ignorant to the ways of Twitter?

  • emacs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    M-x; tetris

    • pffffffffffffff

      M-x; aabioshock
    • GNU Emacs isn't licensed by The Tetris Company. Calling a Free tetromino game "Tetris" be like calling an OS based on GNOME and WINE "Microsoft Windows". Ordinarily, changing the name would fix things, as I did with my own tetromino game []. But if Tetris prevails in Tetris v. BioSocia [], might the company use the precedent to attack the Free Software Foundation?

    • Re:emacs (Score:4, Informative)

      by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:47PM (#27534021) Homepage

      Thats no easter egg, thats just a game running in Emacs, there are plenty more (5x5, dunnet, blackbox, gomoku, hanoi, life, mpuz, snake, solitaire and zone).

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Thats no easter egg, thats just a game running in Emacs, there are plenty more (5x5, dunnet, blackbox, gomoku, hanoi, life, mpuz, snake, solitaire and zone).

        I think the point of that page of the article is that distribution of Lisp games along with Emacs, without them showing up on any menu (unlike Windows XP's Start > All Programs > Games), is itself an egg.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by VGPowerlord ( 621254 )

        That's no egg, it's a space station!

    • I thought it was funny that the reviewer called this a Mac OS X easter egg. I suppose it might be somewhat surprising to find that emacs is installed by default on a Mac, but tetris is hardly a emacs easter egg. Heck, there's even a menu entry for it.

      Besides, if you are going to include tetris why not doctor or dunnet?

    • WOW - finally a standard game on Mac better than

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Terminate was primarily a BBS dialer, but it had a hidden feature/easter egg in early versions. With the right combination, it would switch into a Wargames mode, ie "Greetings Professor Falken." If you went through the prompts, it unlocked a wardialer feature. That's useful to some, but I just found the Wargames part really amusing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:21PM (#27533749)

    uggh what a horrible spam submission is this a domain squatters site ?
    loads of adverts and 1 eegg on each single page, desperate for revenue much? ill be glad when adblock finishes these domains off for good, no value at all.

    anyway [] is the source where they have cut and pasted their content from

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:22PM (#27533751)
    The best one was in Excel 4.0 where you could make a Lotus 123 bitmap appear, have bugs crawl out of it, and an Excel bitmap appear and kick the Lotus one away. It was back in the day when people didn't "get in trouble" for putting in Easter Eggs.
    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:45PM (#27534009) Homepage

      I once (and only once) added an easter egg to a program I was working on. It was called "Bullfrog", and was a government system for scanning the radio spectrum for signals and tuning in to whatever you found. On a dialog I was working on, one of the requirements was to have a "bouncing ball" that shows you what frequency you're at as you scan. There was also a little history snapshot dialog that you could turn on or off. If you clicked the button to turn the snapshot dialog on/off precisely 42 times, the bouncing ball would turn into a hopping frog. Only took a few minutes to code, so why not? :)

      I can't help but wonder if anyone ever ran into that... ;)

    • Best was in Excel 97 (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ken_g6 ( 775014 )

      Where if you typed something in a cell near the far right, you got a driving game. With guns in your car to shoot other cars.

      • . . . which is why Excel has bugs in its math routines. Developers! are spending time on easter eggs rather than coding a quality product!

        Hey Microsoft, how about this for an M$ Office easter egg:

        * no known fatal defects
        * a decent, logical GUI not designed by a geek with ADD/ADHD

        That one would please everyone, and you know, like other easter eggs, the average user won't notice it. Why? Because the second your product works well, it ceases to be on the customer's mind. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:23PM (#27533761)

    The Reese's peanut butter egg.

    With the deviled egg tied for a close second with eggs benedict.

  • mIRC & Photoshop (Score:5, Informative)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:23PM (#27533773)

    On the about / register splash screen type:
    a r n i e

    The picture of the creator turns into a picture of a stuffed dinosaur, presumably names Arnie.

    Various Photoshop splash logos in the past have had hidden images.

    Typically you would have to grab a screenshot of the splash logo and then do CMYK separation, fiddle with brightness/contrast, grid masking, etc. to see the images.

  • OMFG (Score:5, Funny)

    by geminidomino ( 614729 ) * on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:26PM (#27533795) Journal

    How do you make the fucking fish go away?!!?

  • by janeuner ( 815461 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:27PM (#27533805)

    ^^ Incredible.

    Netherlanders == Nerds

    • As a "Netherlander" I find this offensive.

      Now, what was I doing on /. again?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Calling the Dutch "Netherlanders" would be similar to calling Americans "United Staters".

      Just an off-topic FYI.

      • My fellow Earthicans and I resent that.
  • Videos? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:28PM (#27533815) Homepage Journal

    Jeeze, can't we do stuff without videos any more?

    Blocked at work.


    • Re:Videos? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RebootKid ( 712142 ) <> on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:43PM (#27533973)
      1. Go to the spreadsheet application in the OpenOffice suite
      2. Go to any cell
      3. Type in: =game()
      The response will be "say what?"
      4. Type in: =GAME("StarWars")
      5. Press the enter key -- the opening screen shows up
      6. Pick your icon -- a message will appear in German
      7. Pick your level (again, in German)
      8. Click 'start'
      • Awesome! My faith in humanity is restored! I never got the "brickbreaker" easter egg in Excel 95 to work, but that doesn't matter anymore.

        Thank you, RebootKid!

    • It is mostly for those people who are OS impaired and don't want to install Linux/WinXP/Mac OS X just to see a cute Easter egg.

      If you are so inclined, you can follow the instructions yourself below the video if you have the matching OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You're missing little, trust me.
      That was the lamest list of "easter egg's" I've ever seen. Most of them were minor apps in Ubuntu that just aren't well known. Then there's the telnet of the ASCII star wars movie, hardly an easter egg.
      What happened to the famed Excel flight-sim? Or any number or other great jokes.
      Not to mention the gratuitous use of shitty videos with the worst narrator in history, who incidentally swallowed the microphone before starting...

      • by hurfy ( 735314 )

        Glad i wasn't the only one that thought that. Definitely lamest list ever. The only cool one was the telnet address which doesn't remotely (ouch) qualify.

        Where have all the good times gone?

  • How about the rediscovery of Charles Darwin's egg [] just in time for Easter?

    About the bird itself, Darwin's notes commented that the flesh was "most delicately white" when cooked. They just don't make Naturalists like that any more! :)

  • Faberge (Score:3, Funny)

    by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:36PM (#27533905)
    Faberge: best Easter eggs ever. Thought everyone knew that.
  • Zombies... (Score:5, Informative)

    by atari2600 ( 545988 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:40PM (#27533937)

    This is somewhere between an easter egg and a surprise. Beating the Call of Duty: World at War single player mode and being patient enough for the credits to end unlocks a mini-game: Zombie Survival that you can play solo or co-op with upto 3 other players.

    Lot of fun, adds to the game value (and kinda apologizes for the quality of multiplayer offering). [] - Found on youtube.

    Found out the game mode purely by accident after I beat the single player mode and went to make a sandwich...A lot of gamers knew it and it was all over the web but I was oblivious to that part which made it a nice surprise.

  • Works on Debian, of course. Maybe Ubuntu, too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:44PM (#27533995)

    fuck computerworld, 80 adverts for a single pages worth of crappy eggs ?
    enjoy unemployment fuckers

    Star Wars game

          1. Go to the spreadsheet application in the OpenOffice suite
          2. Go to any cell
          3. Type in: =game()
                The response will be "say what?"
          4. Type in: =GAME("StarWars")
          5. Press the enter key -- the opening screen shows up
          6. Pick your icon -- a message will appear in German
          7. Pick your level (again, in German)
          8. Click 'start'

    Wanda the fish

          1. In Linux (Ubuntu 8.10 in this case), press Alt-F2
          2. In the box, type: free the fish

    Gegls from outer space

          1. In Linux (Ubuntu 8.10 in this case), press Alt-F2
          2. In the box, type: gegls from outer space

    No Easter eggs here

          1. On Debian-based Linux distros, go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal
          2. Type in: aptitude moo
          3. After the response, type: Aptitude -v moo
          4. After the response, type: Aptitude -v -v moo
          5. (At this point, after the computer program argues with you, you're just adding one more -v each time.) Remember that five is your lucky number!


          1. In Firefox 3, go to the Location bar
          2. Type in: about:robots

    Star Wars movie

    Not technically an Easter egg, but still cool

          1. In Windows XP (or any OS that supports Telnet), click Start, then Run
          2. Type in: telnet

    Terminal Tetris

    This actually is a function of the emacs text editor. Type "doctor" at the prompt and you'll get a free session with a psychotherapist.

          1. On the Mac, go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Terminal
          2. Type: emacs
          3. Press Escape & X at the same time
          4. After your cursor moves to the bottom, type Tetris

    Book of Mozilla

          1. In Firefox location box, type: about:mozilla

    Crazy Dates

    Again, perhaps not really an Easter egg (though a lot of people on the Web think it is)

          1. In Linux (Ubuntu 8.10 here), go to Applications > Accessories > Terminal
          2. Type in the 'ddate' command followed by a date in the format of number, space, number, space, four-digit year number (for instance: 4 6 2009)
          3. Each time you type in a different date, you get another bizarre response from the 'Discordian' calendar

    Pipes screensaver

          1. In the Google Chrome Web browser's location bar, type in: about:internets

    Have you mooed today?

          1. In Linux (Ubuntu 8.10 here), go to Applications > Accesories > Terminal
          2. Type in the apt-get package manager command and a bovine parameter: apt-get moo

  • by RJFerret ( 1279530 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:45PM (#27534005) Homepage

    You had to hold five keys and first insert a disk then eject it again. (left control and shift, right control and shift, any function key--each key had a message but adding the disk offered the best...)

    Upon insertion you saw on the Workbench 1.2 title bar, "We made the Amiga"

    Upon removal: "They fucked it up"

    1.3 removed the profanity/message and it ironically became "Born a champion", then "Still a champion".

  • by clam666 ( 1178429 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:45PM (#27534011)

    My favorite was when I was running Visual Studio inside a Virtual PC environment. I was doing some PDA programming and was going to deploy it to the PDA/Phone emulator in Visual Studio. Apparently there's a problem (hard to believe) running a virtual environment inside a virtual environment. When trying to run it, it threw a visual studio exception followed by the message "You just had to try it didn't you".

  • Nice to know. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:53PM (#27534091)

    That a lot of open source apps have a bunch of extra undocumented code that could be possible security vulnerability.

  • *sigh* (Score:5, Informative)

    by Oxy the moron ( 770724 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:01PM (#27534149)

    From the "up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-a-b-select-start" department?

    Surely you meant "b-a." I'm pretty sure a-b didn't do anything. :)

  • Mac OS Pre-9 (Score:5, Informative)

    by jnetsurfer ( 637137 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:02PM (#27534161) Homepage Journal
    In Mac OS 7.5 - 8.5, you could get easter eggs by typing the text "secret about box" into any text editor that supported drag & drop and text clippings, selecting the text and dragging it to the desktop. In one OS, it would start a "brick-out" type game with the developer's names.
    • by Phroggy ( 441 )

      Another version of this showed a picture of the Apple campus in Cupertino with a flag blowing in the wind; moving the mouse would change the wind direction and it was possible to get the flag to fly off the flag pole.

      Part of the code for this was hidden in the Drag & Drop library (in the Extensions folder, I don't remember the exact name), and I believe part of it was in QuickTime.

  • Matlab (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bakkster ( 1529253 )
    Just ask "why"
    >> why
    She knew it was a good idea.
    >> why
    Because the system manager told me to.
    >> why
    Barney suggested it.
    >> why
    To please a very terrified and smart and tall engineer.
    >> why
    How should I know?
  • ScuttleMonkey, your geek card is revoked for getting the Konami code wrong. Shame on you!
  • 1. Star Wars game in OpenOffice
    2. Wanda the fish in Ubuntu
    3. Gegls from outer space in Ubuntu
    4. "No Easter Eggs here" in Debian
    5. Firefox robots
    6. telnet (not really easter egg?)
    7. Tetris in Emacs (easter egg???)
    8. firefox: about:mozilla
    9. ddate in Linux
    10. pipes screensaver in chrome
    11. apt-get moo in Debian.

    There. I Read The Fantastic Article (rtFa) for you.

    Quite frankly I think they are all dumb.

  • by JPEWdev ( 770760 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:22PM (#27534385)

    The HP Oscilloscopes used in my EE Circuits lab had a hidden Tetris game. It was a great way to have the Lab TA give you a funny look. []

  • Skyfox: hitting Control-G in flight switched from flying an advanced fighter plane to playing a game of Space Invaders.

    Karateka: booting the game disk with the label side down played the game with all the graphics flipped vertically.

    There was another which was just a cartoon image of the author of the game having his head chopped off by another person. I don't recall the game, except that this easter egg was included in all the games he wrote, including games for the Apple IIgs.

    There was another program for

  • Hot Coffee?

  • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:28PM (#27534471) Journal

    My dad designed HP test equipment, along with some other clever people. When they had extra space in ROM they'd put in things that would trigger if you pushed the right buttons on power-up.
    One of my function generators plays "The Hallelujah Chorus" if you know what to push and when. (And you have an 8 ohm speaker plugged into the output.)

    As it so happens, this was such a spectacular usage of the machine -- taking a single-output function generator and getting it to produce four-part harmony by synthesizing waveforms with embedded harmonics -- that when a sales engineer found out about it he started showing it off, and pretty soon it had stopped being an easter egg and started being a front-line sales demo.

  • Nautilus: Not sure what version this is, but in some recent version, if you clicked "clear history" in the "go" menu, with some low probability instead of the standard message it would say, "Are you sure you want to forget history?" and then in small text, "If you do, you will be doomed to repeat it."

    Mac OS X: hold shift as you trigger expose, open a folder or dock a window. The animation plays in slow motion.

    SSH: if your /etc/password is munged (the local one, not the one on the server), then the ssh cli

    • SSH: if your /etc/password is munged (the local one, not the one on the server), then the ssh client will tell you "You don't exist, go away!"

      That's not an easter egg. It's just a witty error message.

  • by KeithJM ( 1024071 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:12PM (#27535011) Homepage [] The cow level was hilarious. I still break out laughing sometimes just thinking about it.
  • Back in the day when people actually made funny games, at one point where no would would think to go it prompts you to insert three floppies successively, three floppies which don't exist. Any game whose users would find that hilarious is great in my book.
    I guess the same can be said for that entire series.
  • Like other commenters in this thread, I'm amazed that visiting a website counts even as an "almost" Easter egg. I guess you can sort of make it fit the pattern of a typical Easter egg: if you go into your Web browser—an innocuous, everyday application—and type the "special code" (i.e., some URL) into the address bar, you see funny cartoons. I guess it seems more like an Easter egg to typical Windows users if you use telnet, because it's unfamiliar and un-graphicky. God forbid they ever get a hol

  • Pinball games are full of them and cows as well.

  • Karateka (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shaterri ( 253660 )

    The Apple ][ version (and probably others, but that's the one I played) of Karateka had my favorite Easter egg ever: while there was nothing to indicate this, the original floppy was two-sided. Inserting the floppy upside-down would bring up another copy of the game, identical in every way -- except that it was flipped over (and inverted left-to-right, IIRC); title screen, all of the character's movements and animation, scores, all of it. It may not have taken that much effort to do, but it's brilliant in

  • while on /. press the Alt and f4 keys together.

  • by ynotds ( 318243 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @12:16AM (#27539373) Homepage Journal

    In early MacPaint successor FullPaint [] by Ann Arbor Softworks, back in those days of single bit graphics, clicking command-L applied one iteration of John Horton Conway's Game of Life to the current selection rectangle.

    Trying it idly one day on a screen grab that included a MacDraw ruler soon lead to the discovery that a long straight line with every 17th cell live on the next row generated a field of pulsars [] and I was hooked on what was effectively the study of Life in a narrow cylindrical universe.

    The idea of filling space so easily soon also had me playing with agars [] where the early Mac's reliance on 8x8 patterns in the absence of colours largely confined my options to finding something close enough to a critical density that it would sustain interesting erosion from a single changed cell, eventually settling mostly on a pair of beacons, either in or our of phase:

    I've resumed playing around with these every time I've found a better tool. That experience informs my strong position [] on disagreements over the border of order-edge of chaos and has very much informed my last few months' work [] with the much more productive tool of Golly 2.0 [] running the Generations 345/3/6 rule which Mirek Wojtowicz christened "LivingOnTheEdge" in 2001 and commented only: "In this very chaotic rule it's hard to tell if patterns will survive or die out." It may have been neglected for seven years but I'm making up for that now, and still discovering something unexpected emerging more days than not.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.