Wow! I’ve just realised that it’s been over a year since I last wrote anything about easter eggs. So, I thought that I‘d re-visit this whole subject today and take a look at it from a slightly different angle.
In the bizarre event that you’ve never heard of an “easter egg” before, it refers to a hidden joke, hidden content or a hidden cultural reference in a comic, game, song, painting, building, book, movie, DVD etc.... Hell, even blogs can have easter eggs.
If you can think of something that involves creativity, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find at least one example of an easter egg in it.
But, why do people add easter eggs to things? The most obvious reason is because they’re funny and the audience enjoys them, but there are also a few less obvious reasons why adding easter eggs is a good thing to do when you’re working on a project of any kind. Here are three of them:
1) It shows that you’re human: It can be very easy for people who don’t create stuff to see their favourite artists, writers, game developers, webcomic creators etc… as being somehow “superhuman”. Hell, even creative people can still see their favourite artists and writers as being somehow more than mere mortals. And, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But, at the same time, being put on a pedestal means that there’s a fair amount of distance between you and your audience. Now, you might prefer to keep a certain respectful distance and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But, if you want to step off of your pedestal and get closer to your audience, then one of the easiest ways to do this is to add a few easter eggs to whatever you’re creating.
Why? Because it shows that you have a sense of humour and you don’t take what you’re creating entirely seriously. It shows that you’re capable of having fun and that you enjoyed making whatever you made as much as your audience enjoys reading, watching or playing it.
Even if your easter egg backfires and your audience still puts you on a pedestal (which they probably will if you produce astonishingly good stuff), then they’re probably going to think that the easter eggs make you even more awesome. It’s a win–win situation.
2) It keeps people curious: Have you ever been randomly surfing the internet and suddenly heard about an easter egg in, say, your favourite computer game or comic? What’s your first reaction when this happens? I’m guessing that it’s probably to re-visit your favourite comic or game and try to find the easter egg.
Not only that, you’re probably going to start to wonder if there are any other easter eggs in there too. Maybe you’ll search the internet for more of them or maybe you’ll actually start taking a much closer look at your favourite game or comic. Whatever you do, you’ll feel curious and you’ll be thinking about your favourite game or comic.
Even the best advertising agency in the world couldn’t pay enough money for this kind of intensely focused attention on a particular thing.
So, even if you’re a miserable cynic with no sense of humour whatsoever, then adding an easter egg or two can be a good thing in practical terms because it increases fan loyalty and it makes people interested in your stuff.
3) Acknowledgements: If you create things, then there’s a very good chance that you will have been inspired in some way by someone else’s work. If I was a gambler, I’d be more willing to bet money on this (as willing as I would be to bet on Duke [NSFW], no less!).
So, adding hidden references to the things that have inspired you to your next project can be a good way of acknowledging the things which have inspired and influenced you. Not only might this catch the attention of the people who inspired you (hopefully not in a lawsuit kind of way…), but it might also make your fans curious about the very same things that have inspired you.
Plus, well, there’s just something satisfying about including even a tiny allusion to the great things that inspired you in your own work. It’s kind of hard to explain why, but it can make you feel like you’re “standing on the shoulders of giants” or something like that.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂
(Unir lbh sbhaq gur qnapvat gbegbvfr lrg? Gur cnffjbeq vf zmmlmcyrk.)