n 1983, the arcade smash hit Donkey Kong was ported to the Atari 400/800 home computer systems by Landon Dyer. It was at the time the best home computer/console port for this game.
Mr. Dyer, in between pulling his hair out while working on this game, included what is known as an “Easter Egg” in the game’s code. If a certain sequence of moves or scores were done correctly, the designer’s initials would appear somewhere on the screen. He writes on his blog, “There’s an easter egg, but it’s totally not worth it, and I don’t remember how to bring it up anyway (something like: Die on the ’sandpile’ level with 3 lives and the score over 7,000).”
The Digital Press web site has a whole section dedicated to Easter eggs, and they are even offering cash rewards to those who can find out how to trigger them. Even Landon Dyer himself did not remember how to trigger this Easter egg in Donkey Kong for the Atari home computers. It was suggested on the Digital Press site that the initials would appear in the bonus score box.
26 years later, I am pleased to announce that I have discovered the way to trigger this long lost Easter egg. Here is how to do it:
1. Play a game and get a score of 33,000 through 33,900. This score must become the new high score. [Some other scores will work as well, see below.]
2. Kill off all of your remaining lives. However, your last life must be killed off by falling too far – by walking or jumping off a girder that is too high to land safely. If the last life is killed any other way, the egg will not appear.
3. Set the game difficulty to 4 by pressing the Option button 3 times. The icon for this difficulty is a firefox.
4. Wait a few minutes, and the demo screen where Kong jumps across the screen will appear.
5. The title screen will then appear, and Landon Dyer’s initials [LMD] will be at the bottom center of the screen:
Other base scores that will work are 37,000 ; 73,000 ; and 77,000. The hundreds digit can be anything, as can the hundred thousands digit.
It doesn’t matter what difficulty the game is played on to set the high score. But to see the egg, the current difficulty must be set to 4 (firefox).
By Don Hodges | Donhodges
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