6 Amazing Easter Eggs Lurking In Places You'd Never Suspect
Video games are so damn full of Easter eggs (as Cracked has extensively covered) that they kind of rewire your brain. Long after you've turned off your console and stepped into the real world, you find yourself wondering if there's any cool shit hidden in your car's dashboard, or in your work printer, or in the exceedingly dull spreadsheet you're paid to stare at between 9 and 5 every day. The answer, of course, is ... yes.
Google Chrome's "No Connection" Page Is A Playable Minigame
If you use Google Chrome as your browser, you've probably seen this a million times:
Literally a million times, if you have Comcast
That's the error page Chrome gives you when it can't connect to the internet, as you might have gathered from the words "Unable to connect to the Internet" up there (someone alert the AP Style Guide police). As you stared at that page for minutes while desperately plugging and unplugging your router, you might have wondered what was up with that lonely T-Rex hanging out above the words. Well, the next time you see that dino with his tiny, useless arms, do what he couldn't do and press the space bar. This will happen:
This is better than any other Toy Story video game so far.
Yep, Google knows how much it sucks when you have to spend a single moment away from your porn and memes, so they provided a fun offline minigame in Chrome called T-Rex Runner. The game features a tyrannosaurus running across a desert, avoiding dangerously overgrown cacti and pterodactyl until you miss a jump and he goes extinct. Play long enough, and it will turn into night -- both in the game and outside your window. Soon you'll be like, "The internet? What's that?"
Tiny T-Rex won't "like" your ex-wife's Facebook statuses. Tiny T-Rex is a real friend.
Yes, it's kind of simple, but it beats waiting around for your network to reconnect or, god forbid, going outside. And remember: You have to press the space bar to start the game. Maybe write that down somewhere, because you'll feel like an idiot when you forget how to do it and try to Google the answer without a connection.
Tesla's Impressively Nerdy Easter Eggs
Yes, we realize that heading sounds like we're talking about Nikola Tesla's balls. We're not changing it. Anyway, this is about the cars.
Not only do quite a few of Tesla Motors' vehicles come equipped with Easter eggs, but they are also precisely the kind of eggs that the sort of person who drives a Tesla would probably beg for if they even knew such tech was possible. The Model S, for example, has a car port which flashes all the colors of the rainbow if you politely ask it to (by pressing the handle 10 times in quick succession, not saying it out loud). Why would a car need that, some of you might ask? Because fuck you, it looks cool.
So it saves you money on gas and psychedelic drugs.
The Model S is also equipped with nods to Spaceballs ("Ludicrous Speed" is now a thing), can quote The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy to you if you name it "42," and if you enter the "007" secret access code, it will even morph on its display into James Bond's underwater car "Wet Nellie" from The Spy Who Loved Me. This car is that one friend you keep trying to outnerd, only for him to shoot back with an even more obscure reference every time.
However, in true Doc Brown fashion, the Model S's coolest feature (also shared by the Model X) has to do with roads. You know those boring roads that boring automakers put on their boring GPS maps, for boring reasons like "making sure you don't die"? Well, if you press your Tesla's autopilot four times, you'll hear a cowbell ring, transforming your map into a dead ringer for the Rainbow Road track from Mario Kart. If only they'd let us lob digital turtle shells at the Volkswagen with the Trump sticker in front of us.
The downside is that "falling off the edges into an endless pit" incidents have gone up drastically since this mode was introduced.
Your Old Computer Had Motherboard Art You Can Only See Through A Microscope
When on the prowl for Easter eggs, most people usually search through video games, rather than the actual hardware the games run on. Not even your dodgiest middle school classmate would suggest taking a hammer to your Mortal Kombat II cartridge if you wanted to see Sonya naked. Besides, the developers wouldn't seriously expect us to tear our machines to pieces in order to find all its hidden secrets, right?
Well, as it turns out, some of the oldest technological Easter eggs were never supposed to see the light of day. After all, if you were a lonely programmer in love with Milhouse, who else could you share it with other than a silent microchip?
Such is the wonderful world of motherboard art, which the Smithsonian has an entire online museum dedicated to. Not only have such designs been lurking within our mainframes for quite a while, but The New York Times even reported on the subject way back in 1999. As the article relates, a photographer was inspecting silicon chips through a microscope when he accidentally found perhaps the best hidden Waldo ever:
"Oh, come on. What do I have to do for some fucking privacy?"
This is sort of a continuation of medieval monks doodling in the margins of their Bibles, only in the digital age and way dorkier. Other examples include both Dilbert and Dogbert, the latter of which is "about 140 microns in size" (or almost as small as the sane area in Scott Adams' brain):
What are the odds that more than one person who works in computers would like comics?
Here are some rare Godzillas:
Godzilla always feels way better right after puking fire.
Check out this rather oriental-looking Mr. T:
From The [Chinese Symbol Your Browser Can't Render]-Team.
Here's a rather rude message:
Hey, fuck you too, buddy.
And, you know, just the most random shit you could possibly imagine.
Holy crap, it's Chuck Berry!
There are countless others. The Silicon Graphics MIPS R10000 even included a marriage announcement for Ellen and Yeuk-Hai Shark Mok in 1996 -- which is an adorable idea, though we don't imagine that was a very well-attended ceremony.
Especially since most people who got the invitation couldn't figure out what to do with a high-end microprocessor.
Unfortunately, modern-day manufacturers don't take so kindly to these sorts of shenanigans, so the designers had to stop ... or they went subatomic and no one's found them out yet.
You Can Explore Doctor Who's TARDIS In Google Maps
You might be aware of some of Google Maps' many jokes, like when they warned us that "One does not simply walk into Mordor" (unless you live in Washington), or that April Fools prank where they pretended you could use GPS and a phone app to find Pokemon in the real world. Shyeah, as if something like that would ever catch on.
However, those gags pale in comparison to their shockingly elaborate Doctor Who Easter egg. If you ask Google Maps to take you to Earl's Court Road, London while using Street View, you'll see a police telephone box, kind of like the one the Doctor uses to make house calls across space and time ...
For instance, he can travel back to a time before even babies had smartphones and these things weren't obsolete.
... or, you know, exactly like the one the Doctor uses. True to the Myst-like mechanics of Google Street View, if you double click on the double white lines in front of the telephone box, you'll be taken inside of it, whereupon you'll be treated to a 360-degree view of the TARDIS time travel machine Doctor Who fans know and probably write erotic fan fiction about. (We looked it up. Yep.)
It's cleaner on the inside.
You can then explore the place to your heart's content, and marvel at sights like, uh, this nifty screensaver over here.
"Why is the computer logged into fanfiction.net ... OH GOD."
Or these mysterious metallic doors which can't be opened, so we're guessing a couple of the Doctor's various incarnations are simultaneously having a private moment behind each. Such is the magic and wonder of time travel.
Have we finally found the TARDIS's mythical bathroom?
OK, so there isn't really a whole lot to look at in there, but still. Pretty cool, Google. Now do the Batcave.
There Might Be A Classic Game Hidden In Your HP Printer (Or Your Oscilloscope)
It's hard to find a person who has fond memories about a printer. Can you even picture that? "Oh, I love the Samsung SLB-3108H! We've spent so many good times together!" Yeah, that never happens. Honestly, fuck the Samsung SLB-3108H. Fuck it right in its stupid ass.
The HP PhotoSmart 3310, on the other hand, secretly tried to be nice to us when no one was looking. This accurs'd machine you see down here ...
Just looking at this killed 1 percent of your soul right now.
... is, technically speaking, a video game console. Enter "7664" into its special command prompt to unlock a Pong/Brickbreaker knockoff. Finally, something fun to do with your office printers/scanners that doesn't involve your butt!
Now imagine if HP put this much effort into making sure their printers actually printed stuff.
Does that sound like an odd place to hide an Easter egg? Well, it somehow gets even odder. After all, how could a piece of hospital equipment that looks like something out of Ghostbusters ...
... have an Easter egg on it? That's an oscilloscope, those blippy things that measure your pulse -- and, when no one is looking, help you pass the time until your surgery. The HP 54622D oscilloscope has an Asteroids clone hidden on it, the 54645D HP reportedly has Centipede, and the HP 54600B you see above comes with a pre-programmed a Tetris clone, complete with save features for high scores. You know, because EMS workers apparently have that much time to kill during an ambulance ride.
It's only a matter of time before these things have Angry Birds.
The Surprisingly Badass Videos Games In Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is the furthest thing from fun ever created. At least PowerPoint can be used to create porn, and Outlook to send it. There's simply no entertainment to be had with Excel spreadsheets, unless you're way, way into math and/or ruining your entire business with one misplaced comma.
All of which, of course, made Excel the perfect place to hide some of the most creative Easter eggs ever invented. We've already told you about the fucked up Doom-esque video game in Excel 95, but it turns out the Excel 2000 sequel has a game in it too. And this one has a plot.
This is already more sophisticated than the first Halo.
This is not an easy Easter egg to unlock. You have to save a blank file as a web page, choose "publish" and "add interactivity," open the page with Internet Explorer (which requires waiting ten minutes for Internet Explorer to load up), scroll all the way down to row 2000, highlight the row, press tab to make column WC active, and click on the Office icon while holding Control, Alt, and Shift. Once you follow all of these steps, or somehow accidentally do all of them while doing your normal work, you'll be treated to a Spy Hunter-esque racing action game with surprisingly decent graphics for the time.
And, you know, for coming in a spreadsheet program.
Want more? Excel 97 had a freaking 3D flight simulator hidden in it. And it's a surprisingly good one, considering that it came out during the last few months of Bill Clinton's first term of office. Computers were basically running on coal back then. All you have to do this time is enter a code and click a few things, and the dreaded Clippy will be replaced by an alien-looking landscape you can fly around in and explore.
And then you'll be fired for gaming on the job. Totally worth it, though.
Want a summer reading challenge? Read both of Jacopo's books, and tell your friends to do the same. They are quite awesome.
For more Easter eggs hidden all around us, check out Crazy Secret Places Hidden In The Middle Of Famous Locations and 5 Cool Secret Codes Hiding In Plain Sight Around The World.
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