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Easter eggs have been a part of the gaming world since 1979 when the Atari 2600 game Adventure shipped with hidden messages imploring players to hunt more secrets. They are usually silly messages or hidden treats that reward players for exploring every nook and cranny of a game.
Sometimes, hardware vendors get in on the action, which is what’s come to light this week as Facebook’s Head of VR Product, Nate Mitchell, has confirmed that thousands of new Oculus Touch controllers have been made with Easter eggs of their own.
Hidden inside the Touch controllers are messages like, “This Space For Rent”, and “The Masons Were Here.” The controllers haven’t yet made it to customers, as they are for the new Oculus Quest and Rift S VR headsets. Mitchell confirmed via Twitter that this was intended to be a joke included only in the prototypes. Indeed, the Dev versions had extra messages hidden, including “Big Brother is Watching” and “Hi iFixit!”
The messages on final production hardware say “This Space For Rent” & “The Masons Were Here.” A few dev kits shipped with “Big Brother is Watching” and “Hi iFixit! We See You!” but those were limited to non-consumer units. [2/3] pic.twitter.com/po1qyQ10Um— Nate Mitchell (@natemitchell) 12 April 2019
While some outlets are reporting this as an offensive mistake, most people responding on Twitter seem to appreciate the mild gallows-humor of the messages. The only one to draw much condemnation is “Big Brother is Watching” – which is perhaps to be expected, given that this is a Facebook product we’re talking about.
Mitchell didn’t quite apologize for the mistake, but did say that their inclusion was “inappropriate.” How inappropriate it is for a gaming-focused company to include jokes in their hardware is up for debate. Evidently it’s not bad enough to recall the controllers, which instead might just become one of the first VR collector’s item.