To celebrate Easter, we’re on an Easter egg hunt - but not the chocolate kind. Instead we’re looking for cool un-lockable games, features and fun gimmicks on our favourite apps that you might not know about…
We love a good egg. Both of the people and the chocolate variety – especially on Easter. But there is another type of egg that we also heart, too. The one you stumble upon in your favourite apps and websites.
You might not realise, but coders (of apps, web pages, video games and anything else on the Internet) like to hide bits of code within the webpages and apps they create, to both surprise and amaze the user. These are known as Easter eggs – and finding them in games is just as much fun as hunting for those coveted chocolates in the garden.
The first Easter egg is thought to have appeared in the Atari game “Adventure” back in the 1980s and was such a hit with fans that Atari developers started including further eggs in later games for players to discover. (And if you’re into your retro games, step this way)
Have a gander over to Wikipedia and type in ‘Easter egg (media)’ – you’ll see an ‘egg’ hidden within the picture next to the story.
In celebration of Easter, here are some of the coolest Easter eggs you can find in your favourite apps, web browsers and games.
If you are a geek or just worried about your Internet speed, you probably have the Ookla Speedtest app on your phone. But did you know it hides a scary feline Easter egg within?
The very sinister (and now undead) cat lurking behind the shadows has the best one-liners. To see exactly how mean the resident evil kitty is (she is called Ookla, BTW), run a speedtest as you normally would.
Once the results are in, swipe the speedometer down… you’ll be greeted with a range of very scary Polaroids of Ookla the cat.
Can’t decide if we’re more amused or worried with the tone of messages, though…
Android Nougat (or should we say Nou-cat?)
This is one for all the cat lovers out there. If you have an Android smartphone – or have already pre-ordered Samsung’s new S8 – running the latest version of the OS, then you get to have a virtual kitten pet, too.
Bear with us while we explain how you can get stuck in…
Slide into Settings > About Phone > Android version.
Tap the options until you get a giant Android N logo (just the letter ‘N’) on your wallpaper.
Tap the ‘N’ a few times and then press and hold until you see a tiny cat emoji on the wallpaper.
Next, swipe down from the top of the phone screen to dive into the Quick Settings function and click ‘Edit’.
Do you see the cat face emoji and the words: “???? Android Easter egg?”
Next, pull the cat face icon onto the main settings options and get ready for some fun.
Go back to the Home screen and swipe down to access your Quick Settings menu again.
But this time, there will be a difference: you will also see an empty plate on there and tapping it will place food options. We got fish, chicken, bits and treats.
Select one of the four and use your phone as usual. You will, eventually, get a ‘A cat is here’ notification when you bait a cat.
Tap on the notification to see the number on it, then press and hold to rename or share socially.
You can also save the cat picture onto your phone.
However, be aware that you need to keep swapping the food items around if you cannot get any of the cats interested in what you have on offer.
Playing the game is exactly like owning a cat – or it owning you. Also requires epic levels of patience.
In the name of research we have spent some (*cough* a LOT) of time shooting hoops on Facebook Messenger.
On the app, start a chat with a friend and send them a basketball emoji. Then click on the icon to start a game. So, so simple.
Shoot as many or as few hoops as you want, set a high score and then it’s over to your friend… trust us, this one is ADDICTIVE.
Facebook Messenger Balloons
Facebook connected its billionth user last year and to celebrate, placed a really cute egg within Messenger.
All you need to do is send a balloon emoji to a friend in chat and watch it multiply. Thankfully not to a billion balloons, though.
Getting into the whole Easter eggs on phones thing? We thought you would. Then allow us to entertain you a bit more.
Type ‘do a barrel roll’ into Google search. Your screen does a fun roly-poly and then everything you type shows up backwards. You. Will. Love.
Next, type ‘do a tilt’ or ‘askew’ into the search bar and then try reading the lopsided results.
Internet is broken
This is a little more complicated but perfect for when you have no Internet but can’t tear yourself away from the computer. Note: just put your phone in Airplane mode and this will work – we’re not actually suggesting a life without Internet (the horror!).
Jump on the Chrome browser and run a search – just anything. Did you get the tiny dinosaur? Click on him and watch him run… tap to make him jump over the cacti and enjoy until services are restored and you emerge from under the rock – or London Underground tube station.
An army of Os will invade your webpage, making your search results disappear when you type Zerg Rush into your Chrome search window.
Pro tip: You are gonna lose – it doesn’t matter how hard you try, the pesky Os always win.
Google Atari Breakout
This is our favourite by miles. Run an image search for ‘Atari Breakout.’ Voila, you’re face-to-face with one of the most popular retro games ever.
Blink and Tag
The power of two – that’s what it is. Type in the two words (blink, tag) together and prepare to be dazzled.
Fun fact: Google decided to celebrate/rue the loss of the Blink tag in html. Remember the flashy blingy websites from the early-noughties? Yeah, us neither.
“Siri, what planes are above me?”
If you are an aeroplane-watcher or just someone who is worried about getting cancer from pylons or planes in your area, just ask Siri what planes are flying overhead. The results will amaze.
In fact, Siri is known for some sassy Easter eggs, from telling people she slept through the movie Inception to making you feel like a total moron for asking what 0 divided by 0 is. A Lego Batman Easter egg was recently dropped into Siri: you say ‘Hey ‘puter’ and Siri responds as if she’s your own personal Alfred. “Hello, sir. I’ve heated up your lobster thermidor in the microwave.” Genius.
If, like us, your iPhone is always on ‘Vibrate only’, you can go to Settings > Sounds > Ringtone > Vibration > Create New Vibration to make your own vibration patterns for individual contacts or specific notifications. Warning: might get wriggly.
Type ‘Do the Harlem shake’ into the YouTube search bar and watch the Youtube logo go cray-cray.
And a few iPhone extras…
iPhone users may not have noticed two subtle-but-endearing little icons that are also Easter eggs. Next time you want to add something to your Reading List, pay attention to the glasses icon you’re looking at. Those are no ordinary specs – they’re an homage to the signature ones always worn by the late, great Steve Jobs.
And that open book emoji isn’t just covered in scribbles, either. There’s a secret message inside, taken from Apple’s ‘Think Different’ advertising campaign, which ran in the late-90s and early-noughts. The text says:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The hat troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is…”
The only thing we’ll be doing from now one? Hunting for more tech-tastic Easter eggs…
Main pic: Via Getty
By Sunetra Chakravarti