Often when you are playing a video game, you run across Easter eggs placed in the game by the creators, which are meant for the more discerning (or sometimes just lucky) players to discover. These Easter egg secrets are often a surprising treat. But for many players, the Easter eggs essentially make the game. The eggs can hint at secrets about new games, undiscovered gems in the current game, and even just general clues that make the game. For some games, these Easter eggs can even be credited as the reason for purchase in the first place. Easter eggs aren’t a necessary component to make a great game, but time and again, they have been known to make good games great, and great games amazing. So, let’s dive into this eggy phenomenon and hope we land sunny-side up.
When thinking about Easter eggs, the first one that comes to mind is Pepe the bird in World of Warcraft. Pepe is the brainchild of one of WoW’s artists, Jordan Powers, and is known for cropping up all across the world in different expansions of WoW. While he can now be found easily if you know his usual spots, it is still always a delightful surprise to see him as you run through the game. Pepe is the perfect example of a beloved Easter egg: he was quite a secret at first, and now that his spots are a bit more familiar, he can be both an exciting surprise and a welcome remembrance.
Easter eggs like Pepe or the design of the new PS5 DualSense controller, which has etchings of the original PlayStation symbols on it, hold a special place in the heart of gamers because they bring a sense of nostalgia to the gaming experience. A small detail like the PS5 etchings can go a long way towards exciting fans and encouraging life-long PlayStation players because they give us something to remember beyond the experience of just playing the game.
These nostalgic Easter eggs will always hold a special place in our hearts whether they remind us of our early gaming experiences or give us something to always come back to in our favorite games. These are often the Easter eggs that result in people buying specific games and devices because of their presence. When I first started playing WoW, for example, I knew I would enjoy it either way, but a big part of the allure was that I knew I would find these types of eggs, be included in a community that treasures these nostalgic secrets, and treasure them just as much as any quest or battle.
Another type of Easter egg is the newer, less emotional, but equally exciting-to-discover egg found within the options or the controls. Something like a trick within the controls of Discord or the fabled ability in Pokemon to press ‘B’ to increase the chances of catching the Pokemon give players another way to feel connected to the game, as though they have an “in” with the very fabric of the game design.
What it really comes down to is, Easter eggs give us a way to feel a special connection with a game, console, or server. Without them, we would certainly still be playing games, but we might not be playing the same ones we play now, and we definitely wouldn’t feel the same connection with the games. Knowing that I might spot Pepe while I run along completing a quest or that I may have a higher chance of catching my favorite Pokemon with the help of the ‘B’ button, gives me that much more of a reason to spend hours living in these created worlds. Easter eggs may be only a small part of gaming in general, but they are quite a large part of the reason we play the games that we love so much.