Finding secret features of your DVDs, games, and websites is no easy task
By Mike Wehner, Tecca
An Easter egg hunt is always a good time for kids and adults alike. And while finding a colorful canister filled with candy or other goodies is always exciting, "digital Easter eggs" can be just as enjoyable. Many games, DVDs, and even websites contain Easter eggs — a term used for hidden extras can be discovered as long as you know where to look. In celebration of the upcoming Easter holiday, we've compiled five of our favorite virtual secrets that are just waiting to be found!
Facebook with pirate flair
Do you have a Facebook profile? Of course you do. It seems like nearly everyone you meet these days has a digital persona to compliment the real-life counterpart, but after spending countless hours curating your virtual life online, the site can seem a little bland. Thankfully, the world's most popular social network has a hidden treat to make your browsing experience unique: ridiculous language settings.
From your main Facebook account page, click on the small, downward-pointing arrow on the blue bar on the top of the window. A small menu should pop up. From there, click "Account Settings" and then the "Language" tab at the very bottom. Here you'll find pretty much every language under the sun, as well as two bonus English settings named "Upside Down" and "Pirate."
The upside down setting does exactly what you would expect: it flips all the text on your screen, making it somewhat difficult to decipher but still readable. The pirate setting is most definitely the coolest of the pair, as it switches all your Facebook menu and notification prompts to pirate speak! "In a relationship" becomes "Spoken for," "Add a Photo" becomes "Hoist a portrait," and even your timeline will be measured not in days or weeks but in "Shots 'o rum" and "turns o' yer hourglass."
A video game that reads your mind
Metal Gear Solid was one of the most beloved titles of the PlayStation era, and helped revitalize the Metal Gear franchise and launch it into the upper echelon of gaming where it remains today. The adventure focuses more on sneaking around than all-out gunplay, but defeating bosses was still a major part of the experience. Psycho Mantis is one such boss, and his creepy ability to read your mind is one of the coolest Easter eggs in gaming history.
Prior to your epic battle with the clairvoyant Mantis, he displays his mind reading ability by telling the player what other video games they like. For example, if you had played Resident Evil in the weeks prior to trying out Metal Gear Solid, Mantis is actually able to tell you. It's a surprising and even somewhat unsettling feature of the game, but it's more about technical trickery than psychic talents.
As Psycho Mantis speaks to the player, the game actually scans the PlayStation system's memory card for recent data from other games. If it locates one, Mantis uses that information in his dialogue. It's a simply trick, but it was enough to shock many who played Metal Gear Solid for the first time, and remains one of the coolest interactive Easter eggs ever.
Bloopers from a galaxy far, far away
The three Star Wars prequels — The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith — were met with a lukewarm welcome from fans, but owners of the DVD versions of the films might not realize the hilarious hidden features that await them.
At the DVD main menu screen of the three newest Star Wars flicks, you should see a THX logo. Using your remote control, highlight the logo and then type "1138" on your remote's number pad. Doing this on the Episode 1 and Episode 2 menus reveals lengthy blooper reels that feature everything from botched lines to broken R2-D2 robots. The trick also works on the third film in the trilogy, though viewers are instead treated to a Yoda break dancing routine rather than blooper clips.
THX is a division of Lucasfilm, the film company headed by Star Wars creator George Lucas, and was named in homage to one of Lucas's first films, THX 1138 — the same number needed to unlock the secret feature.
Amazon's secret employee tribute
Amazon is the internet's largest retailer, and while you may have spent many an hour browsing its wares, there's one secret spot you've likely never gone: a hidden employee tribute created as an Easter egg by the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, as a nod to former Amazon VP David Risher.
Risher joined the virtual marketplace in 1997, a time when the site's revenue totaled just $16 million. By the time he left the company in 2002, the site's revenue measured upwards of $4 billion, thanks in large part to his tireless dedication to building the brand and bringing countless merchants into Amazon's ranks.
You can view the touching tribute — which includes a letter from Bezos, as well as a list of Risher's favorite items from the Amazon marketplace — by heading to the Amazon store directory. If you scroll down to the very bottom of the page, there is a small link hidden in the white gap at the very foot of the screen. Use your mouse cursor to locate and click the link to view Amazon's most secret page.
With a legal battle looming, Skyrim developers salute Minecraft's Notch
The game world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is absolutely massive, and if you've ever set foot on its nordic soil you know that fact first hand. Because of this, finding something as small as a pickaxe hidden on a mountain is a daunting task. If you're a Minecraft fan, however, hunting down the Notched Pickaxe lodged in the ground near the peak of Skyrim's tallest mountain might just be worth it.
The axe itself is a one-of-a-kind salute to the creator of the sandbox PC game Minecraft, who happens to go by the online handle "Notch." In Minecraft, the player's primary tool is a pickaxe, and the Notched Pickaxe in Skyrim is a spitting image of the one used by the player in Notch's super-popular crafting game.
It's a neat Easter egg on its own, but honoring Notch in Skyrim was more than just a simple gesture: it came at a time when the legal arm of Bethesda Softworks — the company that develops and publishes the Elder Scrolls franchise — was suing Notch's tiny independent company Mojang over the use of the word "Scrolls" as the title of an upcoming game. It seems that while the lawyers battled it out in legalese, Skyrim's developers wanted the world to know they had nothing but love for both Notch and the company he founded.
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