Known Easter Eggs in Commercial Jaguar Games

Easter Eggs-Software Surprises
Easter Eggs are secrets hidden in many pieces of software, from operating systems and applications to games on PCs and consoles. This book provides an excellent insight into why programmers add these unofficial features, and how to access them.
Click on the book to find out more, and order.

Reasons for including Easter Eggs

There may be lots of reasons for including Easter Eggs (or Gang Screens) in games. The very first Easter Egg apparently originated with Atari, when the programmer of "Adventure" for the Atari 2600 got sick of his bosses refusing to include any credits, and hid his name behind a "dot" in the game. It is nice then that most Jaguar games included Easter Eggs of some sort.

 The Atari Myst programmers egg.The Programmers "Gang Screen"
The programmers who wrote MYST for the Atari Jaguar CD unit included themselves in the game, stood on a balcony at Atari HQ. This kind of easter-egg which relates only to the programmers, either showing their pictures, their names, and other secret credits was traditionally called a "gang screen". Normally such screens include the names of the programmers, but these were not secret.

Eggs are usually well hidden, this so complicated it had to be leaked to find it. To activate this egg you enter May 22, 1970 6:30am in the planetarium, and this changes the view of the library to a view of the Atari building. Looking up shows the Myst team on the balcony.

 The Hoverstrike Development Team Egg.The Development Team "Gang Screen"
The Atari programmers who wrote Hoverstrike for the Atari Jaguar included a team photo of themselves in the game too, stood against a game landscape. This kind of easter-egg which relates only to the programmers, either showing their pictures, their names, and other secret credits was traditionally called a "gang screen". Normally such screens include the names of the programmers, but Atari credited each member of the team by name in the Jaguar game manuals.

To activate this egg...

The Programmers Friends / Lovers
Defender 2000 by Jeff Minter

Flossie's Revenge in Defender 2000 Plus Mode Jeff Minter had a special relationship with Atari after the success of Tempest 2000 and was able to include this tribute to his pet sheep Flossie, the "most beautiful sheep in the world" if I remember right. Spitting lasers, and powered with a jet (of methan presumably) from her rear, this feature is unlocked by entering your name as OVINE on the Defender Plus high score table, and starting the game with A instead of B. Fame for Flossie, yes.

As Tributes to Other Programmers
BattleSphere by 4Play
BattleSphere includes a secret "VLM" style feature.
This much sought after recent release apparently holds a number of secret features unlocked by secret codes found in the game, one being "Yak Mode" which offers a "VLM" style display to accompany the game music. As a tribute to Jeff Minters Jaguar CD VLM, it is a great example of this type of Easter Egg. It is activated by typing 842659686275 from the Game Options. (This screenshot captured by JC.)

Mini-Games Similar to Real Games
BattleSphere Gold by Scatologic
BattleSphere includes mini-game Defektor
This follow-up to BattleSphere includes a mini-game called Defektor, which is simplistic, but similar to Protector, a Defender type game by Songbird. The game may be considered a tribute to classic Defender or Protektor. Later levels include falling meteors as does Protektor, as is ground and background. The game is activated by typing 752933332867 from the Game Options. (This screenshot captured by JC.)

Nostalgia and "Retro" Features
Pitfall, The Mayan Adventure

Possibly the most interesting Jaguar Easter Egg in some respects for the unlocked potential it holds, by pressing C 26 times, then down, while over Info on the main menu the game gives you a full and apparently perfect game of Atari 2600 Pitfall. If this uses an emulator, Pitfall holds the potential to play many more 2600 titles on your Jaguar. Great implementation.

The snowman egg in action.  Nostalgia and "Retro" Updates
Defender 2000 by Jeff Minter

Defender 2000 was originally intended to have a number of hidden games, but I guess due to shortage of cartridge space most were culled. Entering NOLAN as a high score (for Nolan Bushnell, considered "creator" of Pong) permanently unlocks "Plazma Pong", classic Pong with a very psychodelic background, and sound. A nice example of a tribute and update.

Sub-Game to Unlock Features

The already excellent game, Rayman, .includes an excellent secret game. Rayman can play a special version of Breakout in order to unlimited continues when he wins. Not just a Breakout clone either, it is beautifully implemented fun, and pressing 1,3,6,4 on the walking hands screen unlocks this sub-game anytime.

 Secret Level from Programmers
Club Drive
Perhaps feeling guilty at the "prototype" nature of Club Drive, an excellent game in concept, but rushed to publication long before it was ready, one of the programmers included a secret level called "Todd's World", captured here. Sadly it is not much of an easter egg as it is so small. Holding 4+2 on world select, selects this.

NBA Jam features a joke Sega 32X code.  Arcade Secrets as Game Feature
At the opposite end of the scale from Club Drive, NBA Jam TE is a Jaguar port of the massive arcade hit of the same name, but in this case the programmers wanted to add more to the Jag version..There are numerous secrets in this game, many more even than the arcade version, includeing the option to play as all the programmers, so this is definitely Easter Egg heaven.

As a special Jaguar feature, shown here is the 32X Doom egg in action. All the players face front only, and move left and right still facing front. This is to make fun of the Sega 32X port of Doom, which shows all enemies with minimal animation frames, all face on, unlike the superb Jaguar version. An Easter Egg which slams a so-called Jaguar competitor had to be fun.

Val D  Secret Level from Programmers
Val D'Isere by Virtual Studios

The last common reason for Easter Eggs in games, Jaguar included, was playtesting. It is very difficult for playtesters to try every feature if they have to play from the start every time they get a new version. Many games have a secret menu or options for infinite lives for Playtesters. Val D'Isere includes a menu activated by pressing 4,0,8,5,7,4,1,4 on the main menu which offers an impressive set of options.

More to follow if you are interested...

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