The Un-Easter Easter Eggs

Many people don’t know it, but games, websites and even some DVDs contain Easter eggs. I’m not talking about the chocolate kind. Easter eggs in the digital age are secret messages or images which have been hidden in the code of the media and which are found by chance. Once they’re found, these Easter eggs can go viral.

One of the most recent to become popular was a hidden feature in the search engine Google. Go to the Google website and type in ‘barrel roll’. What did you notice? The screen should have spun 360º. This is because a barrel roll is a word from flying. It is when a plane spins on the axis, which runs the through the length of its body. The search engine creates this experience on your computer screen.

Easter eggs are especially popular in video games and looking for them gives gamers extra fun. Many of the games have secret messages or pictures which you will find if you look hard enough. Two of the most popular games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo have a large number of Easter eggs. In Grand Theft Auto, a game about cars some of the license plates have clues. For example the character called The Truth has the number plate has EREHTTUO which is ‘out there’ backwards. It’s a reference to the slogan from the American TV series The X-Files – ‘The truth is out there.’ In fact there is a whole page about the game’s secret messages and features.

You don’t have play computer games to hunt for and find Easter eggs. DVDs uses digital technology so scenes or additional information can be hidden. You will often find these in the menu section by pressing the selection arrows. Usually behind-the-scenes footage or jokes are included.

Films don’t always have to use technical manipulation to have a hidden feature. The writer or director may put in a special feature waiting for viewers who watch carefully. Sometimes these may be cameo appearances. Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed appearing briefly in his films.

In the sentence ‘it pays to look closely at films’ the author uses ‘pays to’ as a way to describe getting a benefit from something – not anything having to do with money. ‘It pays to study hard – you’ll learn more and finish school faster.’

This clever trick is not only in popular culture. High art can sometimes contain hidden messages or images too. In Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam the image of God fits the outline of the human brain seen from the side. This hidden image may be more powerful because the painting is supposedly a religious image and a celebration of God’s creation. But if Michelangelo secretly made God fit the shape of the brain, it could be to celebrate human intelligence. The Renaissance was a time of great learning.

Whatever the reasons for these hidden images, one thing is for sure; it pays to look closely at films, games and paintings. Who knows what you will find?

Original article by Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

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The Un-Easter Easter Eggs Quiz: Medium

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Many people don’t know it, but games, websites and some DVDs may have Easter eggs. I’m not talking about chocolate eggs. Easter eggs in the digital age are secret messages or images which have been hidden in the media. They are usually found by chance.

A recent Easter egg to become popular was in the search engine Google. Go to the Google website and write ‘barrel roll’. What did you see? The screen should have spun 360º. This is because a barrel roll is a word from flying. It is when a plane spins on the axis, which goes from the front of the plane to the back. The search engine creates this experience on your computer screen.

Easter eggs are especially popular in video games. Looking for them gives gamers extra fun. Two of the most popular games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo have a large number of Easter eggs. Halo Easter eggs are so popular that there is a website about them. Some of the Easter eggs can be quite simple. One of the designers put his initials on the bottom of a character’s boot. Others make reference to celebrities.

A cameo appearance is when a famous person is in a film or TV show for a very short time. Often they will be playing themselves.

DVDs uses digital technology so scenes or additional information can be hidden. But films don’t have to use digital technology to hide something. The writer or director may put in a special feature waiting for a viewer to find it. Sometimes these may be cameo appearances. Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed being in his films.

Art can sometimes contain hidden messages or images too. In Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam the image of God matches the outline of the human brain seen from the side. This hidden image may be more powerful because the painting should show us how great God’s creation is. But if Michelangelo secretly made God fit the shape of the brain, it could be to say human intelligence is more important.

You should always look closely at films, games and paintings. Who knows what you will find?

Original article by Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team

The Un-Easter Easter Eggs Quiz: Mild

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Unbeknownst to many of us, games, websites and even some DVDs contain Easter eggs – I’m not talking about the chocolate variety. Easter eggs in the digital age are secret messages or images which have been hidden in the code of the media and which become apparent by chance. Once they’re found, these Easter eggs can go viral.

One of the most recent to gain notoriety was a hidden feature in the search engine Google. Go to the Google website and type in ‘barrel roll’. What did you notice? The screen should have spun 360º. This is because a barrel roll is a term from aviation. It is when an aircraft spins on its longitudinal axis. The search engine recreates this experience on your computer screen.

Easter eggs are especially popular in video games and searching for them provides gamers with an extra bit of fun. Many of the games have secret messages or pictures which you will find if you look hard enough. Two of the most popular games, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo have a large number of Easter eggs lurking in amongst the details. Given that Grand Theft Auto is a game about cars – stealing cars to be exact – it stands to reason some of the Easter eggs would be found on the cars. Some of the license plates give a hint of the character’s real nature. For example the character called The Truth has the number plate has EREHTTUO which is ‘out there’ backwards. It’s a reference to the slogan from the American TV series The X-Files – ‘The truth is out there.’ In fact there is a whole page dedicated to explaining the game’s secret messages and features.

Halo Easter eggs are so popular that there is a website dedicated to them. Some of the Easter eggs can be quite simple. For example, one of the designers put his initials on the bottom of a character’s boot. Others make reference to celebrities. Two of the soldiers in the game resemble the American celebrities Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter. The website has an option for people to submit more, which suggests not all the Easter eggs have been found.

If someone ‘exploits’ something, they are using or developing it in order to gain a benefit. Often, it has a negative connotation, meaning the person may be taking advantage of something or someone in an unfair way. ‘My boss exploits my language skills by making me write his emails in English.’

You don’t have to be a lover of computer games to hunt for and find Easter eggs. DVDs exploit digital technology so scenes or additional information can be hidden. You will often find these in the menu section by pressing the selection arrows. Typically behind-the-scenes footage or jokes are included. The Cure: Trilogy concert DVD has a particularly clever Easter egg. Pressing the arrows during some of the songs will show different camera angles. This is one Easter egg I can appreciate because it can heighten our enjoyment of the concert…and I’m a huge Cure fan.

Films don’t always have to rely on technical manipulation to insert a hidden feature. The writer or director may deliberately place some special feature waiting for an observant viewer to spot it. Often these take the form of cameo appearances. Alfred Hitchcock was fond of appearing momentarily in his films. An especially difficult to spot Easter egg is a reference to another film. In the romantic comedy zombie film or rom-com-zom film Shaun of the Dead, one of the characters says “We’re coming to get you, Barbara.” This same line is used in Night of the Living Dead – which is considered to be the first zombie movie.

This clever deceit is not restricted to popular culture. High art can also arguably contain hidden messages or images. In Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam the image of God fits the outline of the human brain seen from the side. Whereas the other Easter eggs are more for fun, this hidden image may be more powerful because the painting is ostensibly a religious image, a celebration of God’s creation. But if Michelangelo secretly made God fit the shape of the brain, it could be to celebrate human intelligence. The Renaissance was after all a time of great learning.

In the sentence ‘it pays to look closely at films’ the author uses ‘pays to’ as a way to describe getting a benefit from something – not anything having to do with money. ‘It pays to study hard – you’ll learn more and finish school faster.’

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper contains an even more baffling code according to Italian musician Giovanni Maria Pala. He found musical notes when he superimposed a musical bar across the lower section of the painting and found that the hands and loaves formed notes. The notes fit together too perfectly to be pure chance. Listen to a short performance and judge for yourself.

Whatever the reasons for these hidden images, one thing is for certain; it pays to look closely at films, games and paintings. Who knows what you will find?

Ryan Scott – Sydney, Australia

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The Un-Easter Easter Eggs Quiz: Spicy

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