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What are some easter eggs that went wrong and resulted in unintended consequences, e.g programmer(s) being fired, monetary losses, even human life loss, etc? Please share.

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why the bounty? Seems like a fun question on its own... –  webdad3 Apr 11 '11 at 16:47
    
@webdad3 What's the difference? –  NickC Apr 13 '11 at 22:15
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I believe this question fails to meet guidelines 1, 2, and 6 (in a big way) of the guidelines for constructive subjective questions, while meeting 3 and 4 and only sort of meeting 5, assuming people list some references in their answers. –  Anna Lear Apr 13 '11 at 23:10
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Jesus christ, i hate these uptight mods. –  Click Upvote Apr 14 '11 at 7:14
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You are more then welcome to start a discussion on meta if you have a concern with how moderating is being handled. A comment is the wrong place to start that discussion. –  Josh K Apr 14 '11 at 14:43

8 Answers 8

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Jacques Servin was fired by Maxis after including gay, kissing Sim City residents into SimCopter in 1996.

Servin claims that he coded the "muscle boys" to appear only "every few months" of play. But "unfortunately," says Servin, "my random-number generator didn't work as I'd planned," and the hunky Sims appear more often, especially in the final level of gameplay.

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oh yeah i remember this! –  Chuck Stephanski Mar 30 '11 at 3:59
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I can't believe he was fired for that! –  billynomates Apr 5 '11 at 9:34
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@billynomates: That had the potential to get the software not sold by some vendors, and that could affect sales. It might have affected people's perception of the series. I wouldn't fire somebody for sexual orientation, or expressing it reasonably privately (as long as it didn't create a difficult environment). I could easily see firing somebody for doing something, without authorization, that hurt sales. –  David Thornley Apr 11 '11 at 20:54
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@billynomates @David, he was fired for inserting unauthorised content. He claims EA weren't homophobic. It seems reasonable to me to discipline a developer who ignores "build the software the business wants". –  user4051 Apr 13 '11 at 1:12
    
It says a lot about the U.S culture if including a couple of guys kissing in a game which has got straight couples kissing and a lot more all over it would hurt its sales much at all. Embarassing. –  Click Upvote Apr 15 '11 at 15:02

The unix test command?
Probably not intended as an easter egg but it has led to 30years of

"my first program doesn't work - it runs but nothing happens"

"Did you call it test by any chance?"

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This Gamespot article, The Greatest Easter Eggs in Gaming, has a sidebar listing Easter Eggs that went wrong. They list Hot Coffee and Simcopter, as mentioned in other answers, but also this one:

The original printing of Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour Golf for the PlayStation was a golf game, first and foremost. However, clever players who checked out the game's files on a PC were able to open one called Zzdummy.dat, which would play five minutes from the South Park episode "The Spirit of Christmas." Once this was publicized, EA reprinted the disc, but there were already approximately 100,000 discs circulating with the illegally distributed episode on it.

The main article is well worth reading if you have an interest in Easter Eggs.

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My Dad once changed the login screen for an in-house software, that he developed, to a simple and cheerful christmas greeting. Management was not amused.

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Not quite on the same scale, but MPlayer's printing of

Core dumped ;-)

as the success message when using the -dumpstream option has been an endless source of bogus bug reports and anger from users...

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What is Mplayer? –  Click Upvote Mar 30 '11 at 2:58
    
MPlayer: mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/faq.html#id2609977 –  Ciaran Mar 30 '11 at 5:52
    
This answer would be better with a url of a bug report etc and the programmer who coded this being angry :P –  Click Upvote Mar 30 '11 at 6:39
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google.com.sg/… Google reports about 900 results. –  Ciaran Mar 30 '11 at 7:57

Significant financial loss: We burned the poop.

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Haha. Good one! –  Click Upvote Mar 29 '11 at 19:48
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Awesome example! –  Beofett Mar 29 '11 at 20:07
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Interesting example, not sure I'd class it as an Easter egg, however. –  sdg Mar 29 '11 at 20:25
    
Its fine. Unintentional easter egg. –  Click Upvote Mar 29 '11 at 21:45
    
not an easter egg. funny tho! –  Chuck Stephanski Mar 30 '11 at 3:59

The blink html tag.

No one lost their job, died, or even lost money over it, but it did horrible, horrible things to websites across the internet :P

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not an easter egg? –  rmx Mar 29 '11 at 19:57
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@rmx read the article... it was definitely intended as an easter egg: "I remember thinking that this would be a pretty harmless easter egg, that no one would really use it, but I was very wrong." –  Beofett Mar 29 '11 at 20:02
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"No one will ever do that": trust me, users will, no matter how stupid it is –  Anto Apr 11 '11 at 5:10

Hot coffee? No doubt someone lost their job for that one.

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"By the middle of July 2005, the minigame's discovery attracted considerable controversy from lawmakers and politicians, prompting the game to be re-rated as an adult game, and pulled from some shelves. " Pretty sure someone did lose their job over that :P –  Click Upvote Mar 29 '11 at 16:51
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Does this count as an easter egg? It was an intended feature that was pulled from the game but the assets were never removed from the final media. –  nlawalker Mar 29 '11 at 17:16
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@nlawalker: I wondered myself. Still, it's a feature that was in the game, which could be enabled with a minimal amount of effort. –  Satanicpuppy Mar 29 '11 at 17:22
    
This was the first one that sprang to my mind too –  Kevin D Mar 29 '11 at 18:25
    
it was an intended feature? –  Chuck Stephanski Mar 30 '11 at 3:57

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