I found an easter egg from 1977

#11

I’ve got fantastic news for you. This has successfully taken the throne as the very first Easter Egg in a video game.

Spitfire was out and being advertised by April 15, 1977.

Here is a newspaper article from that date, which mentions Spitfire:

It’s from the Mansfield News Journal in Ohio.

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#12

Channel F preservationist extraordinaire e5frog added line-by-line comments to the relevant code in this disassembly.

http://channelf.se/veswiki/index.php?title=Disassembly:Videocart_4

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#13

holy shit!

newrecord

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#14

Greatest website

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#15

Posting in a legendary thread.

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#16

Hello all…

My name is Michael K Glass… Jr.

Someone just notified me on reddit this morning about this post, and I am VERY excited about the thought that this might be the earliest easter egg ever found!

Michael was my father, and while I cannot confirm that this is in fact his easter egg, I can confirm (without current proof, unfortunately… working on that) that he developed games back in the 70’s and 80’s for Atari and other systems.

I grew up in the custody of my Aunt and Uncle, so I don’t know a whole lot about his work… did he work for a company, or freelance? How long did he program games? Not sure. But I did enjoy visiting him from time to time, and I remember playing a lot of silly, crazy games that I am sure never even made it to market!

Unfortunately, my Dad passed away in 2005, so we’ll never really know for sure. But I’m asking his sister (the Aunt I grew up with) if she has any information. She is heavy into geneology, so if anyone has records, she does! If I find anything out I’ll share it here.

Thank you so much for finding this, and sharing. My sister just passed away last weekend, so it’s nice to find some uplifting news about our father.

I just created this account to post, and it’s my first time here. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them the best I can, but please be aware that I didn’t know him too well. I do know that he was a brilliant programmer, loved to play pool (as do I – I’m a pool instructor now), and loved his recreational… herbs :). And I’m sure he would be thrilled to know that someone finally found his easter egg!

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#17

Finding this thread seems like a feat in its own right…!

#18

hi there! thanks for coming by and sharing, im glad you think the timing is serendipitous!

what was your fathers favorite strain of weed?

i suck at pool, but i really enjoyed MINNESOTA FATS: POOL LEGEND’s soundtrack

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#19

Ha ha. Not too sure… I was a young kid back then, and when I was older I didn’t really see my father much.

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#20

ohh i misread as you loving his recreational herbs! i dont condone children smoking weed aaa!

#21

Well, as I said, somebody told me on Reddit, and linked me to this story. But still, pretty fucking cool!

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#22

Hahaha! Yeah, my aunt and uncle would’ve been really thrilled if he had shared them with me :joy:

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#23

ohhh its cuz andi tweeted about it, it was retweeted by K.thor and exp magazine too

and i see jason scott in the replies

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#24

Holy shit, you’re kidding me… That means it was found on my birthday, August 1. This keeps getting better and better!

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#25

happy birthday!!!

#26

Thanks! Great present!

#27

Here are a couple of pics of my father. 1975 and 1967.

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#28

Have you tried looking at any other Channel F games? I’d be interested to know if he did this in other games he programmed.

#29

I have pored over a disassembly of the system’s built-in games, but didn’t find any identifying stuff. (Interestingly, it looks like both Hockey and Tennis share the same main loop.) No idea who did it.

I don’t recall anything special being in videocarts 1-3, but I only looked at them in that graphics editor above – I didn’t do any code analysis.

I’ve made a half-finished annotated disassembly of videocart 16, Dodge It, but that game doesn’t have any identifying information either. It has a couple of unused things (the letters F A S T in its graphics set, a routine that makes the screen flash) that I’ve meant to document publically but haven’t. I suspect that game was made by the same fellow who made Video Whizball (Brad Reid-Selth) due to some superficial similarities, but I haven’t done any actual code comparisons to verify.

Most of the other games I haven’t really looked at too deeply. The trick with peeking with that graphics editor doesn’t work as well with later games that use their own bespoke rendering code instead of the BIOS’s routines, since the graphics aren’t always 8 pixels wide. Actually untangling the code on my own time is somewhat time-consuming, and I’ve burnt out a couple times when trying to balance that against school or work or marriage.

I’ll look into this stuff some more when I get back from vacation (or rather, back to my laptop).

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#30

Very cool. How common are these bit-pixel image easter eggs over all? Did it become pretty common at some point?

And thanks for dropping by, mkglass. It’s interesting to get even some personal perspective on who he was.