I love easter eggs in games. This Gamespot article mentions some great ones – and I’m a sucker for this one in San Andreas – but I’m still a BBC Master man at heart. With that in mind, here’s one of my favourites – from 1989’s Repton Infinity.
Repton Infinity was the fourth game in the Repton series, and was a fascinating departure from previous games – it included its own programming language. This meant that instead of the usual collect diamonds/avoid boulders/kill monsters formula, you could create any number of games with it, with an in-built language called REPTOL. (I had great fun creating the odd utterly lousy and half-arsed game myself.) The only real fault with the system was that even at the time, it felt slightly slow; the language strained at the limits of the machine.
But what of the egg? Only available on the BBC Master version, due to that system’s extra memory, it’s accessed by entering BANJO on the main menu screen, with one letter on each of the five options. The result is as follows – after a minute or so, I’ve speeded up the video, as while great, it’s also a bit slow. (The message lasts for around eighteen minutes at its original speed!)
Stuffed with in-jokes, of course – some of which I get, and some of which I don’t think anyone outside the circle of the programmers and their friends would find funny. (But then, if you can’t be self-indulgent in a hidden message, where can you be?) I confess that the joke “My dog’s got no nose? / How does he smell? / With a cunning hydraulic mechanism” has stuck in my head since I first saw it back in the early 90s, although I found the following even funnier this time round:
Man 1: My dog’s got no nose.
Man 2: Jamaica?
Man 1: When it’s ajar.
…maybe I have problems. Actually, I know I have problems, because I get every single joke in the fake address they give out. Sigh.
More interesting, perhaps, is the idea of the code zipping around the country at 1200 baud. (Ironically, all the best stuff is in the section they call the “boring bit”.) But at the time, of course, it was just great to feel part of something secret. Even if the only way I found out about it was through a news stand magazine, rather than hacking the code like someone cool.
So, there we are – one of my favourite hidden eggs of all time. I’ll leave you with a question: whilst I know about the cheat mode mentioned – moving around your character whilst on the map screen – I have no idea about the other hidden messages in the game. Anyone out there know anything about them?