A couple of weeks ago I was binging through Patricia Briggs’ Mercy series. In the short story collection Shifting Shadows there’s a story with Ben, one of the werewolves as the POV character. Now Ben is a DBA. I have some experience with both DBAs and some of the tools they work with. Listening to that story and the narrator talking about Ben’s workday, I went “waitaminute!” I recognize that thing she’s talking about. And then laughed out loud when the narrator named the product Cassandra. For the non-IT people reading this, there is a database product called Oracle which is suspiciously similar to the one described in the story.
It doesn’t really affect the story one way or the other. It’s just a fun little extra bit on top of a story. It doesn’t take away from the story either. And that’s what a good easter egg is meant to do. All Marvel movies have them, sometimes to distraction. Certain DC movies chose to stop everything in order to make sure nobody missed theirs.
But really, why are easter eggs? And I do mean the media kind, not the chocolate or the painted actual egg kind. Well, according to Wikipedia, easter eggs in this form got their start because Atari didn’t want to acknowledge their developers in the credits. Because something headhunters something developers. Silly bean counters. Denying creative workers credit for something they’re proud to have worked on is the fastest way to lose them. But that’s not the point here.
In Finnish, there’s a fairly modern saying: “tietäjät tietää”. It translates to both “knowers know” and “people with magical powers based on superior knowledge know”. Have I told you lately how much I love my mother tongue? Anyway. To me that’s a significant feature of easter eggs. You go through hoops to find these references in things that you love and they are your rewards.
And if you don’t think recognizing Oracle from straight text by the name of Cassandra, then clearly you have never worked with Oracle’s non-database products. Because those are some hoops, my friend.
What are your favorite media easter eggs, dear reader?