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.
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.