Donkey Kong Easter egg cracked 26 years late

Who knew? You can put a price on obscure video game secrets, after all. Buried in 25,000-odd lines of game code for twenty-six years, an ancient "Easter egg" has been uncovered -- thanks to a modest cash reward -- from the Atari 8-bit port of Donkey Kong. Hint: You're looking at it (pictured above). Don't see it? It's the initials: LMD. Yeah, that's it.

Last year, in an unabridged blog post about early-80s programming for Atari, celebrated coder Landon M. Dyer offhandedly remarked, "There's an Easter egg [in the Donkey Kong port], but it's totally not worth it, and I don't remember how to bring it up anyway." Still, game databaser Digital Press thought it worth it enough to offer up a $75 reward for discovering the hidden treasure; or, more accurately, a reward for discovering the process by which the Easter egg is triggered, as it was known that the bonus itself was simply the programmer's initials displayed on the title screen. In turn, the seventy-five bucks was worth it enough to a Mr. Don Hodges to scour the game code and dig up the dusty trail to the Easter egg. There are plenty of eggs left to crack, too, if you're looking for adventure that pays.

Head past the break for the suspenseful reveal. The video's got quite the build-up. Be patient.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.