Coded Easter Eggs
Written by Sue Gee   
Monday, 18 April 2022
Article Index
Coded Easter Eggs
Early Software Easter Eggs
Google Easter Eggs


Starting in the late 1990s Easter Eggs were concealed in Nintendo systems. The following list is from Wikipedia and hasn't been tested by us.




If the console is turned on with no cartridge a different boot screen is displayed. After a few minutes a Super Mario 64 based model of Mario will show up and "play" with the logo.




 If the "Z" button is held while turning on the console, a different start-up sound plays. Another start-up sound plays if the "Z" button is pressed on all four controllers.




While software is downloading on the Wii Shop Channel, if the on-screen Mario sprite is Fire Mario, the "A" button on either the Wii Remote or the Classic Controller to make Mario shoot fireballs.
 Wii  On the News Channel if the "A" button is pressed on an on-screen cat, a "dialog" will appear and the newspapers at the bottom change to cats in which can be rolled over to play certain notes.
 DSi  If a sound is rolled over for 2 minutes, the sound will play synced to Super Mario Bros.

Jokes in Operating Systems

Easter Eggs aren't always elaborate and some just  display a gently sense of humour. For example, Berkeley Unix 1977 countered "why" with "why not", a reference to The Prisoner TV series. Easter eggs found in some Unix operating systems caused them to respond to the command "make love" with "not war?".   The TOPS-10 operating system (for the DEC PDP-10 computer) had the "make love" hack before 1971; it included a short, thoughtful pause before the response.

In older versions of MS-DOS (prior to DOS 6.2) if you pressed F1, the Help function key while in the Help, About menu you were greeted by a dialog box that read "No Help Available (so leave me alone). This wasn't a particularly funny joke and was removed from later versions.

One long-lived Easter Egg was in all Windows systems prior to XP. In the 3D Text screen saver, entering the text "volcano" will display the names of all the volcanoes in the United States.

Despite Microsoft's policy of Easter Egg removal for security reasons Windows XP still has several. For example, in the Notepad if you type "bush hid the facts" and save the document under any name when you re-open it you will discover a row of 0s have replaced the text. 

Another unexpected behavior occurs in the voice preview of the Speech Properties box of the Text-to-Speech facility. With Microsoft Sam (the default voice) selected type in "crotch" - he reads it as "crow's nest". If you type in "soy"  you hear what can only be described as a squawk. 



Easter Egg in Windows 1 Discovered in 2022

A characteristic of an easter egg is that it is concealed in such a way that an end-user will only come across it either by accident - perhaps by accidentally pressing a unique key-combination  by mistake - or by being let in on the secret and following a convoluted list of instructions. So if no-one goes looking, an easter egg can remain undetected. That appears to what happened to the list of name of the developers of Windows 1. It appears to have stayed hidden for 37 years and only came to light when Lucas Brooks @mswin_bat set out to find all the easter eggs in the early versions of Windows. He revealed his find with this Tweet:


This tweet drew attention to the inclusion in the list of Gabe Newell, now president of the video game company Valve.

He also tweeted:

Of course Microsoft did a really good job at hiding it and I still don't really know how to trigger it. I patched some binaries to force it to show up.


It was very well hidden, they placed the encrypted data at the end of a bitmap file (the smiley face bitmap) and there weren't tools to extract bitmaps from NEs back then. Even if somebody managed to extract the bitmap, they wouldn't've noticed the extra data at the end.

Following this @JoeyBeattie2 tweeted the Windows 2 also had a 


The Tradition Wanes or Morphs?

The original article ended with a short section titled "The Tradition Continues" with the concluding sentences:

Programmers will always try to add some personality to their code even if it is counter to the idea of code security. The need for self expression within an over-controlled and under-rewarded situation is going to ensure that Easter Eggs continue.

A decade later that seems anachronistic hopefully because originators are given more credit and also because developers are more aware of security concerns. mean developer.

One sign that times have changed  is that while the website The Easter Egg Archive, devoted to disseminating information about Eggs discovered in software and also in movies, music, TV shows, books and art is still accessible, it is no longer active. In 2011 it had a total of 13998 items, 18 of which had been added in the previous two weeks. The total now stands at 14450 and while there was a flurry of activity in March/early April that wasn't 2022 - it was 2017 and the previous addition had been in August 2015.

There is one company, however, does continue to deliver new easter eggs. I refer of course to Google. 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 April 2022 )