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Now, before you get excited – this is nothing to do with chocolate!
Easter eggs in this case refer to hidden surprises and extras (just like an Easter egg hunt when you were a kid). They are aimed at people who like to explore (Free Spirits) as they reward people for just looking around and digging a little deeper than some others.
In games (and actually even in serious software like Office), Easter eggs have been around for a really long time.
An Easter Egg doesn’t have to be hard to get too, Disney’s Aladdin had a lovely nod to Mickey Mouse for the more eagle eyed amongst its players.
Some games, like Duke Nukem 3D had little digs at other games if you looked around. For instance, below we see the fate of the marine from Doom. This kind of Easter Egg just requires you to be a little more inquisitive.
Actually, Duke had loads of them – check out this reference to the Simpsons!
Activision’s Black Ops II had a playable version of the classic Pit Fall. Accessing this required a bit more effort as you had to do certain things in the game first.
In gamification we can make use of Easter Eggs as well. Hell if software giants Microsoft used to include them in Office, you can include them in your solutions!
The trick is to make them fun to find and make the value of the Easter Egg or the smile factor relative to the amount of effort! If you require someone to dig through your source code to find a secret page (for instance…), make sure there is some level of reward for doing it!
It does not have to be that complex though, it could just be a funny reference that only the most observant will see. It could be that you send people on a short treasure hunt to find things. It won’t be for everyone, but if you spend a bit of time and effort on them – Free Spirits will be very grateful to you and you may just raise a smile or two!