(credit: Arcade Flyer Archive)

The historical record of video games received a strange shake-up on Wednesday from Ed Fries, the ex-Microsoft executive who had a huge part in the creation of the original Xbox.

Fries took to his personal blog, which typically covers the world of retro gaming, to announce a zany discovery: he had found the world’s earliest known arcade game Easter egg.
His hunt began with a tip from Atari game programmer Ron Milner about the 1977 game Starship 1.

This tip seemingly came out of nowhere, as the duo were talking about an entirely different ’70s arcade game, Gran Trak 10, which Fries was researching separately. Starship, Milner said, had a few special twists that didn’t all make it to market, but one did: a secret message to players.

The game would display “Hi Ron!” if players put in the right combination of button commands.

This type of thing is better known to gaming fans as an Easter egg, and more than a few Atari games had them as a way to include the developer’s name (which Atari never put in games or on cabinets).
Milner didn’t tell anyone at Atari about the secret message for 30 years, he told Fries, and one reason is because he’d forgotten how to trigger it.
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