One of the best parts of having total control over your own project is that you can so easily slip in references and Easter eggs. Piczle Cross Adventure is brimming with references that most people will probably not see, understand or care about, but they tickle me pink. Here’s just a few of them.
For some time now I’ve tried to hide 1729, the Hardy–Ramanujan number, into games I’ve worked on. Why I started doing this I can’t exactly remember. I believe it was to hide a personal signature in bigger projects, and I chose one that wasn’t tied to anything anybody could take offence to. It’s the digital equivalent of tagging. In Piczle Cross Adventure the professor’s house number is 1729.
Every clock in the game, even though there aren’t that many, will show the time according to the system’s clock setting. There is absolutely no reason for this other than I thought it’d be “nifty”.
Even though the Piczle universe has its characters, a growing roster in fact, there is one side “character” I specifically chose to include as well, and will try to find a way to include in future Piczle games as well: the flowerpot. In Piczle Lines DX it was a flowerpot that was the first victim of the Piczle-matic 3000. Indeed, the first thing to be pixelated in Piczle Cross Adventure is the exact same flowerpot. Well, not the same flowerpot, but a very similar looking one.
Unless platform holders decide it’s a breach of standards, Score’s bedroom has a poster of Piczle Colors hanging on the wall. The professor’s PC, if you decide to switch it on (unprompted) will show a small animation of Piczle Lines DX+α.
Though I’ve built in some accessibility options to ensure a wide variety of players of different skills and abilities can enjoy the game, I’ve not yet found a way to make it playable to people with visual impairments. But because I’ve enjoyed playing with the concept of blocks, noughts and crosses, bits, on and off states, I’ve squeezed in a few braille references. As one example of this, the blocks in the grid that form the letters CROSS in the game’s logo spell out the same letters in braille.
In one city-themed area one of the rooftops you can see is based on the (in)famous rooftop of the much loved classic movie The Room.
This is a mere tip of the iceberg. Piczle Cross Adventure has a lot of references and in-jokes all over the place. It will not ruin your experience if you don’t “get” or find them all, they have been put there mostly for my own enjoyment. Game development is a hard and sometimes gruelling process. To keep one’s spirits up, and to stay invested for such a long time, it is important to make it fun for yourself. None of the Easter eggs in the game took a long time to implement, but they definitely help a lot in keeping the project enjoyable.