When the first Doom game came out in 1993, I played it in a straight session for hours until I completed it. It blew me away, and still to this day is hailed as one of the most important first-person-shooters of all time. So when Doom II: Hell On Earth came out in 1995, I was just a little excited. In fact at the time I was working in a computer store, and we had done a game launch for Beneath A Steel Sky (that story is for another post). But because of our connections in the gaming industry, we sometimes managed to get pre-release copies of games.
In gaming an easter egg is a secret element of the game, placed there by the programmers. It is usually found by entering a set of secret commands, following a set sequence of actions, there any number of ways to unlock and discover these secret gaming gems. Often in-jokes, in the Doom II easter egg the head on the stake was that of John Romero, one of the lead programmers of Doom II. And in fact the head was the hit detection element for the final boss.
Easter eggs aren't exclusive to games. I remember digging around early copies of Microsoft Windows, and Office looking for rumoured hidden elements. Funnily enough Microsoft Excel 95 contained a hidden Doom-like action game called The Hall of Tortured Souls. And who can forget finding the hidden flight simulator in the 1997 version of Microsoft Office include a hidden flight simulator in Microsoft Excel and a pinball game in Microsoft Word? Now the fun has been taken out of finding these things, since most games have them, and how to find them is blasted across the Internet the second the first person discovers one. Back then, you had to find them for yourselves, not sure if they even existed. Wondering if the whole rumour was no more than urban legend.
Weird Retro Fact: There is an absolutely brilliant easter egg that exists in Google Maps. If your go to Earls Court Road in London, you will find on street view an old police public call box. Any sci-fi fan will recognise it immediately as the TARDIS. Which you can click on and enter, getting a panoramic view of the inside. Go ahead, try it!