Easter is right around the corner, if you’re into that sort of thing. It is a strange holiday where a giant, somewhat anthropomorphic rabbit hides eggs under shrubbery for no reason other than to have human children find them. Then, on top of all that, the eggs are either made of, or full of, candy. Meanwhile, the term Easter Egg has become synonymous with any hidden goodie, pretty much anywhere, made of anything. YouTube, for example, has been chock full of them over the years.
Peter Cottontail aside, Easter Eggs are usually pretty cool things that nerds geek out about. Hidden references to their favorite pop culture, cult film or canceled TV show. Sometimes they are interactive things that are there just for fun or to show off what a developer, etc. can do.
So here’s a list of some of the best YouTube Easter Eggs over the years.
#1 Geek Week 2013
YouTube went retro for geeks who were able to crack a simple code they put up last year.
Crack the code to go retro: 53 65 61 72 63 68 20 59 6f 75 54 75 62 65 20 66 6f 72 20 2f 20 67 65 65 6b 77 65 65 6b #GeekWeek
— YouTube (@YouTube) July 24, 2013
If one managed to crack it one was treated to an ASCII version of YouTube.
The Easter Egg harkens back to the days of text-bases Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), IRC chat and all that came before we had graphics and the world wide web.
#2 Viral Easter Egg
2013 also saw the Harlem Shake take over the world. While you can “shakify” just about any site through a third party one, YouTube decided to just add it into their mix if you knew what to search for, which is “Do the Harlem Shake.” It then presents results in a Harlem Shake-like fashion.
#3 Winter Wonderland
In winter 2011 YouTube decided to get into the holiday spirit with a bit of what some might call bad weather. But if you’re from Wisconsin like me, it’s just another day in the 8-month season of winter. Of course, many in the world have never seen snow and so it was a special treat when you typed in “let it snow”
They even let you play in the snow if you wanted.
#4 Transporter, Engage
Showing off their sci-fi chops, the devs at YouTube needed to be sure to get some Star Trek reference into the site and so when you typed in Beam Me Up Scotty, the site beamed in some results.
And you can’t have Sci-fi and Star Trek without Star Wars. So if you type in Use the Force Luke, it get results being pushed around in a force wave like fashion. As an added bonus, I got the transporter effect to couple with my force effect. Nerdgasm!
#5 Wadsworth Constant
The Wadsworth constant is a statement that claims you can skip the first 30% of any video because there is no useful information in it. With that in mind you can add &wadsworth=1 to a YouTube video URL and it will skip the first 30% for you.
The Golden spiral also makes an appearance on YouTube for math and biology nerds. Simply type FIbonacci into the search window and you’ll see what I mean.
#7 Stats for Nerds
Right clicking on a video that is playing will bring up a small context menu with one of the options being Stats for Nerds. What’s that you ask? It’s perfect for ReelSEOites.
#8 Retro Arcade
Oh the heyday of the arcade is not lost on YouTube developers. If you type 1980 while a video is playing you’ll get a treat of a Missile Command game. Don’t type it in the search window, just click anywhere and type it and the game will appear and ask you to defend this video from attack.
So as you can see, YouTube likes to lay the Easter Eggs.
Have some other favorite YouTube Easter Eggs? Drop them in comments and share with the world!