A hidden version of Nintendo’s 1984 game Golf has been found in the code of the Switch. The presence of the game was uncovered by fan site Switch Brew, which specialises in analysing the code and software powering Nintendo’s latest console, and it appears to have been updated to work with the Joy-Con’s motion controls .
The game can only be accessed under specific circumstances, as detailed in a video on the BBC Technology news pages*. The game becomes available on July 11th and loads when the player performs a specific action with the Joy-Cons. Setting the console’s date to July 11th will only work if the Switch has never been connected to the internet; otherwise, it automatically resets to the current date.
At first, the discovery of the game baffled the internet community, but the details of how to access it strongly suggest that it is a tribute to Satoru Iwata, the former president of Nintendo who passed away in 2015. July 11th is the anniversary of his death, and he coded the original Golf game. Add in the fact that the gesture to start up the game mimics his trademark two-handed gesture and everything points to this now open secret being dedicated to him. As of yet, however, Nintendo has not commented on the discovery of the game or its reasons for being programmed into the system.
There is speculation that the game is included as a kind of an omamori – a Japanese talisman intended to provide luck and protection to the owner. This digital tribute may have been designed as a lucky charm to guide the Switch to success by honouring one of the company’s most revered figures. Whatever the reason behind the inclusion of Golf, it is a touching tribute to the memory of Iwata.