Ever since hackers discovered that a copy of NES Golf is present on every Nintendo Switch console this past weekend, countless individuals have been working to uncover why it was placed there and how Nintendo intended for gamers to be able to naturally access the easter egg. Now, some members of the community believed they’ve figured it out, but it’s going to take a while for most of us to test it out. And that’s because, if they are correct, this is no mere easter egg—it’s a touching tribute to late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata himself.

After exploring the code and working through numerous scenarios, the consensus is that
NES Golf is designed to only be accessible on one day of the year: July 11th, the anniversary of Satoru Iwata’s passing. You can’t just fake this by resetting your system clock, however—it turns out that the Switch has a hidden secondary clock, one that automatically syncs up to the current date whenever the system first connects to the internet. This is the date that the NES emulator checks against, meaning that if you have ever connected your Switch to the internet at all, you’ll be unable to check this out until July 2018 rolls around.

But the date isn’t the only thing needed to access this, and it’s not the only connection to Iwata. Once the date is correct, gamers must go to the home menu, detach their two Joy-Cons from the system, and then make a very specific motion with their controllers: Iwata’s iconic “directly to you” hand motions. That is, you hold your Joy-Cons horizontally in front of you, pointing forwards, then move them to point vertically. Hold them there for a bit, and the Switch should accept the input and open the emulator and
NES Golf for you.

Note that if you haven’t connected to the internet, you’re in luck; in that case, the emulator will check against the system clock that you can reset that at will. This has allowed at least one person to accomplish these steps already, and you can check out the result in the video below.

Furthermore, whether this was Nintendo’s intention or not, it seems the Japanese side of the internet believes this game’s inclusion to have an even deeper meaning than just being a tribute or easter egg for fans to find. According to Justin Epperson, the Senior Associate Producer for 8-4 (a Japanese localization company), many think that Nintendo included the game to function like a Japanese shrine charm—one that will keep the spirit of Golf‘s original programmer, the one and only Satoru Iwata, watching over the system forever.

“Golf is imbedded in the Switch firmware and JP internet is calling it an “omamori” or charm from Iwata (he coded the game himself)

“In Japanese culture omamori are bought at shrines for various reasons, if you keep one close to you it will protect you or give luck

“So the idea is Nintendo imbedded Iwata’s game to watch over every unit and thats fuckin me up good rn. That man was loved.”
Justin Epperson

Dang… I first learned about this story an hour ago and have been thinking about it ever since, and even with all that time to process this, I’ve still got tears in my eyes from writing that last part. I honestly don’t care if Nintendo intended for it to be an omamori or not; that’s my head-canon now. And no matter what, it’s definitely looking more and more like this is an elaborate and beautiful tribute to one of gaming’s greatest creators and innovators, one for whom Nintendo still holds the greatest of respect and love to this day.

I know I’m not alone in believing that Iwata will watch over the Switch, and whatever Nintendo consoles may follow it, for a long time to come. Feel free to share your own thoughts, beliefs, and tears in the comments below.

Source: Ars Technica, Twitter

Our Verdict


Tyler Meehan
Tyler is verbose. He apologizes for that. Tyler "Alpha" Meehan's first experiences with gaming came from his cousins' NES and the Mario games that went with it. They were fun, but merely brief distractions while on the road (yes, they had an NES in their car. It was awesome, and he was jealous). Still, nothing compared to his Star Wars books. OR SO HE THOUGHT. His love of gaming truly began when he and a friend came together to beat the Nintendo 64's Mission: Impossible, a challenge so intense that Tyler bought his own console to facilitate its defeat. Upon being introduced to Ocarina of Time (an introduction that included, among other spoilers, the freakin' final boss fight. GEEZ, PHILIP), his lot in life as a Nintendo fanboy was sealed in stone. His ability to recall absolutely useless video game information served him well during the Pokémon craze, and helped him aid numerous friends in their own endeavors to defeat games like Majora's Mask and Kingdom Hearts. Those were good days. Good days... The Zelda series soon became his primary obsession fascination, but additionally he was soon introduced to text-based RPGs by one of his schoolmates. Discovering that he had a knack for the English language and a strong love of telling stories, he started putting effort into writing his own storylines. That all got put onto the backburner, though, when he discovered the Zelda online community, particularly The Desert Colossus's Hyrule Adventures 2, an online text RPG based in the Zelda world. He joined under the pseudonym of "Alpha" and soon became one of their lead writers, going so far as to join the moderator staff and, in a year's time, become the head administrator of the RPG. During this time, Twilight Princess was released, and he joined several other TDCers in posting their thoughts on the game - his "Twilight Impression Posts" lasted for several months and were well received by the community. Staying on even after the webmaster was forced to retire, he continued to provide occasional news posts and articles for the site, until it became clear that the site was dying. He turned his focus back to Hyrule Adventures 2 and his college studies, until the latter forced him to stop work on the former. Tyler graduated a few years ago from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Computer Science, and now serves as a software engineer for a rather large company that he doesn't feel like telling you all about (he's a jerk like that sometimes). His love of gaming and writing still strong, he joined the Zelda Informer staff in early 2013 to write a walkthrough for The Wind Waker, but later began using his English skills to become ZI and Gamnesia's first dedicated Copy Editor. When not trying to get Brian to shut up in Gamnesia's group chat, he spends his time writing Zelda fanfiction, planning some original fantasy stories that he may or may not try to publish some day, and playing games on his Wii, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo 3DS. He intends to get a WiiU sooner or later, probably around when Pikmin 3 comes out, but has little interest in the other consoles currently. Also, he can't stand writing bios in first-person. Talking about yourself like that is just...weird.


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