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Many Digital Video Discs (DVD's) come with hidden surprises and secret bonus features called DVD Easter Eggs, in a reference to the eggs full of surprises which are hidden by the Easter Bunny for seekers to find. Some DVD Easter Eggs are very cleverly buried, and require a great deal of effort to extract; others are relatively easy to access, especially those on films for children. Some consumers enjoy the thrill of the hunt which DVD Easter Eggs require, making the hidden content all the more exciting. In other cases, companies have been criticized by movie fans for including DVD Easter Eggs that are too difficult to find for most consumers.
The practice of embedding content in publicly released material is very old. Books published hundreds of years ago had "Easter Eggs" of hidden content that were only understandable to a few people, or to those who were able to visualize a pattern and solve the riddle. When computers became widespread, most software companies enjoyed sneaking Easter Eggs into their content as a sort of clever joke, or to reward users who explored the content to the fullest. Some of these Easter Eggs have been controversial, because they contain explicit or offensive content, while others have attained pop culture status. The human penchant for puzzles and riddles makes Easter Eggs pop up in weird places ranging from written court decisions to food products.
Typical DVD Easter Eggs are accessible with a bit of trial and error. Some DVDs embed content cleverly within menus, or require users to click in a certain place to access content. Others might have a series of puzzles or games which will yield an Easter Egg if the user is patient enough to complete them. Several websites provide databases of DVD Easter Eggs, and fan bases often detail ways to access hidden content in favorite movies.
DVD Easter Eggs usually contain content such as deleted scenes, interviews, trailers, and blooper reels. Many of these Easter Eggs are only accessible to people who have watched the film numerous times, and are therefore able to catch subtle in-jokes or suggestions in the DVD menus. Often, DVD Easter Eggs are made accessible through the DVD's menus, but only when a certain character appears on the screen, or a particular sound is made. In other cases, an Easter Egg may be embedded during the actual movie itself, by linking the content with a character, word on the screen, or incident in the film.
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