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Hunting For Digital Easter Eggs

They're not the kind of Easter eggs that you hide on your lawn. These Easter eggs are hidden in popular digital video discs (DVDs). CBS MarketWatch Correspondent Renay San Miguel reports for the Saturday Early Show.

And "cheat codes" are not meant to help you pass that big math test. They're ways to make video games more fun.

Both Easter eggs and cheat codes have an underground following on the Internet. In the case of Easter eggs, when you crack these open, you never know what you'll find.

It's true that DVDs already come loaded with such extra goodies as behind-the-scenes footage or outtakes, additional soundtracks with director's commentary, or foreign language translations. But you can read all about those on the DVD's packaging.

Easter eggs are unadvertised features placed there by film companies for movie fans to dig up by pressing the right combinations of remote control buttons and screen icons.

Easter eggs are unearthed by an Internet underground community that uses Web sites, message boards, and emails, says Guido Henkel. He is the editor of the Web site DVD Review, which he says gets more than 5 million visitors per month.

Henkel says that of the 12,000 DVD titles that have been available in stores since 1997, maybe 300 have Easter eggs. Some movie studios lay more eggs than others, 20th Century Fox and New Line among them.

Some of the Easter eggs are hard to find, and many vary in quality. They may be trailers for other movies by the same actors or director. If it's an older film, maybe there's a shot of an original movie poster.

But sometimes, directors get a chance to show you their earlier work. In the DVD of The Sixth Sense, you'll find a short film made by director M. Night Shyamalan when he was 11 years old.

An early kung-fu movie parody from director Brett Ratner can be found in the DVD of his Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker action flick Rush Hour.

Hidden gems aren't confined to DVDs. The makes of video games also write in something called "cheat codes." These enable you to skip over levels you may have easily mastered. You can change characters or locations, add weapons or special powers, or become an instant winner.

Like Easter eggs, cheat codes aren't advertised. You have to play or go to a Web site to find them. But video game enthusiasts say they can add to a game's shelf life.

Here are some of the best Web sites for hunting down these hidden gems:

  • Cheat-CC has listings for both DVD Easter eggs and video game cheat codes. In fact, its cheat code list is one of the best on the Internet.
  • Guido Henkel's DVD Review has an extensive Easter egg section.
  • DVD Easter Eggs was recently listed in Computer Active magazine.
  • There is lso DVD Angle.
You can find other helpful sites simply by doing a search for "DVD Easter eggs" in your Web browser.

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