Much as I enjoy a bit of chocolate indulgence, one can have too much of a good thing, and I try my best not to go too overboard on Easter goodies at this time of year, even though every shop I go into wants to entice me into filling my basket with sweet treats. To be honest, I don’t find it that difficult to resist, and I find that Easter eggs, in particular, can be somewhat disappointing when all is said and done. Give me a giant bar of choccy over a hollow apology for chocolately goodness any day!
Whilst I don’t struggle too badly with fighting the urge to overload on chocolate, there is another type of Easter egg that I find hard to resist: Those little hidden features and quirks that developers and coders sneak into applications that only the most dedicated of nerds are ever destined to find.
I’ve always loved these particular Easter eggs, and from my very earliest dabblings in technology and cyberspace they’ve fascinated and intrigued me, and – of course – I’m always on the look out for new ones, although they can be incredibly elusive, sometimes only appearing on a particular date, or more often, you have to follow an arcane and complex pathway to discover them: So, this post is dedicated to anyone who’s ever entered the keystrokes [up][up][down][down][left][right][left][right][B][A] and know therefore knows the true joy of cracking eggs!
Easter eggs first became a thing when a chap called Warren Robinett was so proud of the game ‘Adventure’ he’d created for Atari back in the late ’70s, that he created a hidden room containing his own game credit. Atari were not amused, but thereafter, Easter eggs became a thing – a tradition that has been carried on ever since.
Some Easter eggs are never meant to be found, whereas others are sneakily hidden and left to be discovered by those wily enough to figure out the clues, or lucky enough to stumble across them. I found my first Easter egg back in the days of 8-bit, when – in the course of messing with stuff I really had no business poking around in (enquiring mind, don’t you know!) – I discovered a story hidden in the code of a binary file in the operating system for the Amstrad CPC (Yes, I’m a nerd!). It was an adventure tale about a bunch of intrepid developers, led by the wizard Niloc, and I wish I’d kept a copy, because nobody believes me when I tell them about it and any sort of search for ‘hidden story in Amstrad knife.bin’ or any variation always comes back with zippo 😦 I firmly believe it was a secret in-joke that the developers never intended to be found, but they didn’t reckon on tenacious little me!
Microsoft went through a period of adding Easter eggs to their products and have continued the tradition to the present day – Excel has had a couple of hidden games embedded in it over the years, and Word 97 had a pinball feature; before that, I spent many a happy hour back in the days of Win 3.1 playing the hidden snake game in MS Dos, to while away the time whilst defragging my hard drive, and there’s even a Star Wars ASCII text ‘movie’ hidden in Windows 10, if you know where to find it… Although it’s embedded in functionality that’s been a barely-used part of every version of Windows for many years. Most games have their own Easter eggs, as does Google and a number of other websites, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself.
So, what about SL? Surely there are Easter eggs to be found in our virtual world? It stands to reason!
Well, I’ve only ever found one, which first made an appearance in 2012: Try hitting [CTRL]+[ALT]+[SHIFT]+[H] together, and see what happens! (If you want to know more about hippos and why Linden Lab is obsessed with them, check out this wiki article. That, however, seems to be it, and no matter who I ask, beg, bribe or threaten, nobody ever seems to have found any others, which I think is a great shame.
It won’t stop me looking for them though, and in the meantime there’s another rich source of unexpected jollity that the unsuspecting SL resident may come across without warning, which in my opinion is every bit as good as discovering a secret Easter egg… The freaky glitch, borkism, or ‘oh sh*t’ moment when SL throws a wobbly and the most peculiar and outrageous things can, and do, happen. This of course, is nothing new, and it’s not only the preserve of our virtual world. Back in the day when I was hooked on Tombraider, there were sneaky bugs that allowed you to squeeze through locked doors, and another that would let you escape the confines of the walled gardens of Lara’s mansion. My favourite driving game, Gran Turismo had a glitch that would see you flying off the racetrack into unexplored territory, if you happened to aim at specific points at a specific angle and speed, and I think – rather than break the game – these mischievous glitches added immensely to the fun. And the same, I’d venture to suggest, holds true for SL.
Sadly (yes, I’m weird), glitches that used to be commonplace inworld happen far less frequently than they once did, but when they do, I think that only adds to the excitement! So, in no particular order, here are my top 5 glitchy ‘Easter eggs’ that I think define what it means to be an experienced and world-savvy resident of SL: If you’ve not had them all happen to you at some time, then you’re still a noob in my book!
- The rubber band boomerang. Few things can be as hilarious as going for a walk and finding that you’re unable to stop walking, as you stroll happily through buildings, people’s bedrooms, and out and away off the sim edge, far out to sea. Until, suddenly and without warning, you’re snapped viciously and unceremoniously back to your starting point, having made no progress at all!
- The Exorcist effect. Not a case of eyes in the back of your head, but your whole head on back-to-front. At least you have the advantage of seeing where you’ve just been. Often also associated with suddenly finding you’re wearing your shoes on inappropriate parts of your body.
- I’m over here syndrome. You’re in the room, but you can’t see yourself because somehow you’re almost simultaneously 3 miles out above the ocean on the other side of the sim, dancing alone in the sky. If you find yourself in this position do not take the opportunity to do a sneaky quick change, as everybody else will see you perfectly normally right in the room with them… And nobody wants to be subjected to you flashing your alphas in public!
- Dizzy, I’m so dizzy. Somehow, and you’ve absolutely no idea how you got there, you’ve managed to embed yourself in a wall, or the floor, where you spend the next few minutes slowly spinning, to the great amusement of everyone around you, until embarrassed beyond belief, you log off and vow never to go back to SL again.
- Reconstructive surgery. You know that something’s up because you logged in ten minutes ago and you’re still a curry cloud. Then, horror of horrors, you receive a pop-up message ‘Failed to find body part in the database – replaced with default’, with a nice little ‘OK’ button underneath. No! It’s not at all OK! What have you done with my bits? And which bits have you done it with? If you’re lucky, a swift relog and a stiff drink will resolve the problem, or – if you’re unlucky – you’ll spend the next week wandering round in an amber haze, and will see 3000 items of no-copy inventory disappear down the toilet forever, as happened to me recently! This is probably not a fun Easter egg to find – it’s more like unwrapping the foil to find a live grenade with the pin already pulled, instead
There’s always something new to be discovered however, and even if you think you’ve seen it all, you probably haven’t. Only a couple of weeks ago, I managed to fall off my build platform in the sky and, quite unexpectedly, got stuck, mid-fall, unable to go up, down or sideways. There I was, hanging, upside-down in mid-air, with my face – rather disconcertingly – buried in my own cleavage! What fun!
I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob
Oingo Boingo – I Am The Walrus