Learn from Vogue’s Awesome Dinosaur Easter Egg
“Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A,”
And boom: you’ve just earned yourself 30 lives because Contra for the NES was too damn hard. If you’ve never heard of any of these terms before, Contra is an notoriously difficult side-scrolling shooting game that was released back in 1988 on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The button combination above, known as the Konami Code, is a cheat that granted players 30 extra lives to progress through the hair-tearing game.
Its infamy continues to live on as it remains as one of the hardest games of all time and thus, so has the code as it has become a cultural symbol synonymous with gamers everywhere. In fact, it has enough cultural capital to appear as a special hidden Easter egg in numerous websites, game-related or not.
The website KonamiCodeSites.com is actually a hefty list of nearly 100 websites that all share this common Easter egg, which lends credence to the idea that people really love these elements of surprise and delight — a common design tactic for gamification as well. But why do people even bother putting forth resources into something people may never even see? In gamified designs, surprise and delight mechanics allows systems to become more interesting with elements of random achievements, allowing the experience to be more exciting as a whole.
Standard websites don’t really have these same user-experiences but they can still benefit from this mechanic. Here are three ways how your website can benefit from having Easter eggs:
1) Convey New Messages About Your Brand
It does strike me as kind of odd that Vogue would have an Easter egg related to gaming culture considering the two worlds of high fashion and gaming are worlds apart but that’s exactly what makes this so fascinating. Most of the websites listed on KonamiCodeSites have some relation to gaming or tech in general, which is apt for the Easter egg association. The juxtaposition of the raptor wearing hats, the Konami code, and fashion in general is so strangely awesome that its essentially become viral.
Having messages or images that may not make sense with your brand is not a great idea if its easily accessible by the public but Easter eggs like this one offer unique opportunities to do so. This raptor in particular allows Vogue to show off a particular whimsy of a clever engineer or designer associated with Vogue. And given that the Easter egg is still accessible, Vogue probably sees it as a good thing since it’s really only brought more attention to Vogue’s site.
2) Identify Your Top Fans
There can be a more practical use for these hidden Easter eggs well: they can identify your biggest fans. It’s an interesting thought exercise to consider what kind of people are seeking these little surprises when there may not be any at all. Clearly if people are going to spend time on your website searching, potentially for hours, for an unknown surprise they must derive some amount of enjoyment from your brand or its services. If your website has some type of identification for users, you can log usernames whenever the Easter egg is triggered and even reward that individual for finding it.
You can even go so far as to survey the Easter egg finder to discover other insights like how they found the surprise, how long they have been a fan for, and other data points that could be relevant to your website’s bottom line. Although most Easter eggs tend to be found by accident, they can still provide valuable data when they are found and I would go so far as to say it will get found eventually, which brings me to point three.
3) Know Your Easter Egg Will Eventually Be Found
No matter how well-hidden you think your Easter egg is, someone will eventually find it. Absurd side-missions in games are still being discovered in games from 13 years old ago and perhaps even more ridiculous than that, one software company hid a $1,000 bounty deep into their EULA (End User License Agreements; you know, that thing you always click ‘Yes’ to but never read). It wasn’t found until 7 years later! These are long times to wait for something to happen but that’s part of the fun. Uncertainty of its discovery is met by both parties and forgetting about your hidden Easter egg after a long time and knowing it was found is just as exciting for the user who found it.
And in the case of Vogue, who knows how long that’s been in place for and look how its paying off now!
If you’re also wondering if our own blog has any Easter eggs, well, you’re just going to have to find out and see!
What Easter eggs have you found before? Are there any particularly awesome ones that you still remember?