- In the context of software an Easter Egg is a hidden feature or novelty that the programmers have put in their software .
A true Easter Egg must satisfy the following criteria:
Undocumented, Hidden, and Non-ObviousAn Easter Egg can’t be a legitimate feature of a product, or be an obvious part of a storyline. Easter Eggs will usually stand out either because they totally don’t fit with their context (like a pinball game in a word processor), or because they have a deeper hidden personal meaning to the creators, so they threw it in for entertainment.
ReproducibleEvery user with the same product or combination of products must be able to produce the same result given the instructions. If others can’t reproduce an Egg, then it doesn’t belong in this archive.Put There by the Creators for Personal Reasons
The Egg must have been put there on purpose, and furthermore have a personal significance to the creators beyond just making a better product (movie, TV show, software program, etc).
Easter Eggs are there for fun, not to do damage.
The most important element… if it’s not there for entertainment, it’s not an Egg.
As a Signature – In the software world, many programs are released simply under a company brand, with no mention of the individuals who put in a lot of work on the product. So you often see Easter Eggs listing the people who worked on the project as a sort of hidden “We made this!” signature.
As an Inside Joke – Most groups of people who work together for a while develop their own inside jokes. Sometimes these inside jokes get slipped in as Easter Eggs, into Software, Movies, Music, etc. Often, an outsider would either not notice or be confused and not understand these Eggs, but that’s the point – they are inside jokes.
Vanity – Directors will sometimes make uncredited appearances in their own movies as some bit part, and only people who actually know the director are be able to tell. Sometimes they’ll also cast friends or relatives in parts also for kicks.
Tribute – An author or director might want to pay subtle tribute to someone or something they admire. For example, if a book is made into a movie, the original author may appear in an uncredited bit part.
To Add Something Personal – They put something in for no good reason other than just because they want to. Like Jerry Seinfeld hiding a Superman reference in every episode of his show.