EASTER EGGS (and more!)
•Although Atari VCS programmer Warren Robinett is often regarded as the first person to hide their initials/name in a video game with the ability to trigger their appearance on the screen with his 1980 Adventure game, I know of at least 4 programmers to do so before Warren.
Atari coin-op programmer Ron Milner included the message "HI RON!" in his Starship 1 game, which was released July 1977. Atari coin-op programmer Owen Rubin included his initials (and those of other people) in two 1978 games - Orbit and Skydiver (the method to trigger them, if possible, is still unknown).
Fairchild Channel F programmers Brad Reid-Selth and Michael K. Glass put them in their games as well - Brad with 1978's Video Whizball and Michael with the original demo cart (produced in September 1977 and available soon after), which although it isn't a game (and wasn't for sale until 1979), is the earliest-known Easter egg on a video game console. Michael also hid his name in his Spitfire game (and possibly others), which was available as early as April 1977 and predates Starship 1, but due to how the Channel F carts were manufactured, it's likely the Easter egg can't be triggered on the original hardware, only on emulators (LINK).
Owen doesn't recall anyone else doing it, but that "it was something most hackers did". Warren states he was inspired by artists putting their names in their paintings. It's unknown where Michael got the idea, but Brad mentions getting the idea to include them after learning Atari programmers were putting them in their games.
• Steve Wright (from Atari) is credited with coining the term Easter eggs (in regards to hidden surprises in video games) in a quote from an article in the 1st issue (Winter 1981) of Electronic Games magazine (pg. 14); they later confirmed this in the December 1984 issue (pg. 91).
• This is the most comprehensive listing of all the presently-known facts and is continuously being revised to ensure the most accurate provenance. It's not my intention to take credit away from those people who first discovered some of information presented in this section (Easter eggs, tricks, bugs, etc), however, credit is only given to the earliest-known published account. If you know of any tricks, glitches, or hidden messages not listed here, or feel any of the info here is incorrect, email me. Thanks!
Atari Video Computer System/2600
Atari 5200 Super System
Atari 7800 Pro System
Click the egg for info on the Easter egg contest!
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