Five of My Favorite Easter Eggs in Gaming

3pmegamanstyleBefore I get into the nitty-gritty of the topic at hand, let me first say I hope you’re all having a great day, regardless of what you celebrate. It’s been a rough time for a lot of folks, but hopefully, if you want to be socializing or celebrating, you’re finding a responsible and satisfying way to do it!

That said, today is Easter- so what better time to talk a little bit about some of my favorite Easter Eggs? I know plenty of folks have heard of the term, but to give a bit of history on it, the term “Easter Egg” refers to a piece of programming in a game that is hidden and meant to be found by people playing the game with a little bit of effort. While they aren’t always left in on purpose, almost all of them are put in deliberately as something fun to trip across. While it wasn’t the earliest example- plenty have been found since the term was coined- the origin of the concept came from the game Adventure on the Atari 2600 as a way for the programmer, Warren Robinette, to be credited for his work since games at the time didn’t have credits as a way to retain their talent. No credits meant no chance their programmers could be enticed to another company.

Intrepid enthusiasts have found more examples from games before Adventure, and Easter Eggs have become less career necessary and more referential and quirky for the most part. Out of all of the Eggs that have been hidden, here are a few personal favorites: Continue reading

Stranded, Steadfast, and Surviving – Nintendo Entertainment System – Startropics – 1990

Startropics 1

Startropics
Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo
1990
Genre: Action Adventure

Over the years, certain properties of companies like Nintendo have fallen to the wayside. Some of them also have a cult following, fond memories of yesteryear making for occasionally fulfilled wishes of revisiting once promising stories and characters. One title in particular, Startropics, is a title that I remember from growing up but never really playing it, despite stories about how much fun it was. It fell off my radar growing up, though. Thanks to some manner of circumstance, Startropics came back into my periphery. I decided to seize that lost opportunity from years ago and take the game for a whirl.

Startropics has a couple of flags that pop up, so far as some of my research has come up with. Word has it that this is a Zelda clone. Given that the game came up mere years after the original Zelda, that wasn’t the most promising thing I could hear, but it’s certainly not a strike against the game from the outset. There has to be some reason that the game didn’t spawn more than one sequel, though, right? If it has so many people who have such fond memories of it, it has to have done things right.

Could it be that the game was just a victim of being forgotten? Maybe it’s just the haze of nostalgia that’s left a mark on gamers who played during a simpler time?

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No Game Is an Island – Nintendo Gameboy/Gameboy Color – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX – 1998

legend-of-zelda-the-links-awakening-dx-usa-europe-rev-a_01

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
Nintendo Gameboy/Gameboy Color
Nintendo
1998
Genre: Action RPG

It has been a while since I visited the Legend of Zelda franchise, and when the holidays brought the Triforce Heroes cartridge to my 3DS, I started to wax nostalgic. Growing up, my mother and I played through A Link to the Past a few times, along with the original game, and while we were recalling memories of this over the holidays, we downloaded Link’s Awakening for her onto her 3DS so that she could play through it.

With that, of course, I needed to get the game myself to reminisce. The game has been an outlier of the Zelda series, though it has been popping up through references in recent games such as Hyrule Warriors and being available on the Virtual Console. More people have had the opportunity to experience this game.

In all honesty, this is a great thing for fans of the series.
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When Sequels Strike – Nintendo – Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – 1988

 

Zelda II: The Adventures of Link
1988
Nintendo
Genre: Role-playing Platformer

I couldn’t tell you what Nintendo was thinking back in the day when it came to sequels.  I could wager a bet that they were about innovation, as it seems that way with everything they do, but the second game of almost every one of their earlier series winds up being immensely different from the first before the third game returns to the original formula.  Super Mario Brothers and Castlevania spring to mind as prime examples.  Among their ilk is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.  Much like the other series mentioned, The Legend of Zelda was a tour de force, even when it first arrived on the scene, and The Adventures of Link is widely considered a black sheep and (pardon the pun) a weak link, especially considering that the third game in the series was so well regarded.  Does the game deserve all of the nay saying it gets?

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