The NES Golf Game Hidden on Every Nintendo Switch Could be a Tribute to Satoru Iwata

The NES Golf Game Hidden on Every Nintendo Switch Could be a Tribute to Satoru Iwata

The late Nintendo President has a presence on all Nintendo Switch consoles.

The mystery of why a copy of the NES game Golf and an NES emulator were packaged into every Nintendo Switch has seemingly been solved, and it's incredibly heartwarming.

Recently, the internet began speculating as to the reason why an NES emulator and copy of 'Golf' was embedded into every Nintendo Switch. Originally discovered by hackers, they took this as a sign that Virtual Console or classic game emulation was coming to the Switch. As it turns out however, the copy of Golf and the way to access it are in fact tributes to the late Nintendo President and developer Satoru Iwata.

A detailed post by Ars Technica chronicles the exhaustive attempt at finding a legitimate way of unlocking the NES copy of Golf (a game Iwata programmed) after it was initially discovered by hackers and triggered "illegitimately". The theories and attempts originally included secret button inputs, overclocking the RAM, and various other weird guesses. Ultimately however, user yellows8 discovered two things: that the system date had to be July 11 (the date Iwata died) and there was a specific 1.5 second motion with the joy-cons necessary.

The Iwata Direct gesture

Initially believed to be a golf swing motion, two new bits of information surfaced that tied the whole thing together as a tribute to Iwata. First, the date couldn't be manually changed thanks to system's internet connectivity. If you have a fresh Nintendo Switch that's never been connected to the internet you can actually set the date for July 11 and try this out. The next bit of info was the necessary motion, which video evidence suggests isn't a golf swing like previously believed, but Iwata's trademark Nintendo Direct arm gesture.

If you do both in the Home screen of the Switch, you'll hear a voice clip of Iwata saying what sounds like "chokusetsus" ("direct") and Golf launching.

Japanese audiences have since taken to call the easter egg an "Omamori" -or charm- from Iwata that in Japanese culture is meant to protect or give good luck to.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Related articles

Are Launch Day Lineups Getting Worse?

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | People are clearly excited for the new hardware, but are the games they'll actually play on it as interesting as they used to be?

Hello Games Teases New No Man's Sky Update Called Origins

It'll be "the beginning of something new," studio founder Sean Murray says.

Superbrothers Delay Jett: The Far Shore to 2021, Pushing Back Another PS5 Holiday Title

Before Jett lifts off, the Sword and Sorcery EP makers say they need more time.

You may also like

Axe of the Blood God: Reacting to the Final Fantasy 16 Announcement

Harry Potter, Monster Hunter, and Final Fantasy 16 highlight a huge week for RPGs.

What's Your Favorite Nintendo 3DS Game?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | Now that the 3DS is officially no more, let's reminisce about our favorites on the portable platform.

Farewell: My 10 Favorite Articles From My Time at USG

I'm moving onto pastures new, so here's a look at my ten favorite articles I wrote while working at USgamer.

Face the Music: Confronting the End in Disco Elysium and Outer Wilds

”I learned a lot, by the end of everything.”