You might’ve heard that Nintendo hid a game from the Nintendo Entertainment System within the firmware for the Switch. The site SwitchBrew announced last Saturday that hackers had discovered the 1984 NES game Golf deep inside the system, along with a built-in NES emulator called “flog,” with motion control functionality using the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers.
Initially these industrious computer geniuses weren’t sure how to actually access the game through the Switch. Within three days of announcing the discovery of flog, though, somebody claims to have cracked the case, and if true, the secret is bittersweet. Too bad most people who own the Switch won’t be able to actually pull it off anytime soon.
Golf was a launch title for Nintendo’s classic system, arriving in the States in the Fall of 1985. It was released in Japan in 1984, though, with programming by future Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata. Iwata was a beloved figure to Nintendo fans and the gaming community at large thanks to his friendly presence in Nintendo Direct videos and at E3 presentations. Sadly he died of cancer on July 11, 2015, at the too-young age of 55. If there was any doubt that the inclusion of Golf in the Switch was a tribute to its programmer Iwata, it would be resolved by the method that reportedly unlocks the game and makes it playable on the Switch.
To play Golf on the Switch, according to SwitchBrew, you have to do the following. First off, you have to detach both Joy-Cons from the Switch. The month and day need to be set to July 11, the day that Iwata died. You then have to thrust both Joy-Cons forward at the exact same time, one in each hand, in a motion similar to the one Iwata would use in the opening of his Nintendo Direct videos. Here’s an example. If those conditions are met, Golf should launch on your Switch.
Here’s why we have to say should right there. There’s a big catch with this process. If you’ve ever connected your Switch to the internet, you won’t be able to change the date in the system. Paste can’t verify this procedure for that reason. Once you take the Switch online, it syncs the date and time to the internet, and that can’t be manually changed. So the only way to test this out at home is to either do it with a new Switch right out of the box, or if you, for whatever reason, have never connected it to your internet connection. Theoretically it might be possible to do on any Switch system every July 11, so we’ll be trying it out in ten months.
It’s entirely possible this isn’t legitimate. It’s a rumor that’s circulating heavily on Twitter and Reddit, with links back to those instructions on SwitchBrew. If you have a Switch that hasn’t gone online yet, and want to test this out, make sure you’re taking video for proof. Until July 11 rolls around again, or until somebody issues undeniable video evidence, we’ll continue to be a little skeptical about this whole thing.