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An Easter Egg is an intentionally hidden joke and reference found in media that is meant be found by and entertain the audience. These references are generally hidden for a specific audience inside a broad piece of work, acting as a type of inside joke.
While hidden references to various pieces of art could be found prior to its release, the 1979 Atari video game Adventure is widely reported to have the first Easter Egg. When the game was released, the game's creators were not allowed to credit themselves in the game, so _Adventure_'s creator Warren Robinett built a secret room in the game that contained the text "CREATED BY WARREN ROBINETT."
In August 1980, The page was discovered by a 15-year-old boy, who sent a letter that detailed how to get into the room to Atari. After Robinett left the company, the page (shown below) was too difficult and expensive to remove, Atari decided to leave it and include them in more games. Steve Wright, the Director of Software Development in the Atari Consumer Division, at the time, said, "From now on, we're going to plant little 'Easter eggs' like that in the games. Eventually, we may have a real treasure hunt, with the clues hidden in various cartridges!"
Other artists have included references and inside jokes to specific audience members in their work, including film director Alfred Hitchcock, who famously appeared in cameo roles in all of his films.
In 1986, the video game Gradius was ported from the arcade cabinet to the Nintendo Entertainment Console. However, when game developer Kazuhisa Hashimoto realized the game was too difficult, he included a button pattern (↑↑↓↓←→←→BA) that when used would give the user a full set of power ups. The pattern would later be dubbed the Konami Code.
On March 2nd, 1987, Apple released the Macintosh SE. Unlike other versions of the Mac, an image of the development team was hidden on the machine, contrasting from the readily available image on earlier versions. If the user clicked the debug button and typed "G 41D89A," an image of the team would appear on screen (shown below, right).
On January 22nd, 2002, the mystery film Memento, which is told in reverse, was released on DVD. If the user enters the "Special Features" menu and presses enter when the words "Memento Mori" begin to fade, the film plays in chonological order.
Two years later, on October 22nd, 2004, the website Hidden DVD Easter Eggs launched. The site provides instructions for accessing easter eggs found on DVDs. As of February 2018, the site lists the Memento easter egg as the most popular of all time.
On August 16th, 2011, the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was released. In the book, the character Wade Watts searches for Easter Eggs inside of a virtual reality game in a contest similar to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
In 2017, the first trailer for a movie adaptation of the book directed by Steven Spielberg was released.
 DP Interviews – … Easter Egg Hunting with Bill Kunkel and Joyce Worley