It seems that the Nintendo Switch’s hidden and largely inaccessible NES Golf game is more than just a simple Easter egg. Reports are flowing in that the game’s presence inside the company’s latest console is, in fact, a tribute to the late Satoru Iwata and that the game can only be unlocked on the former CEO’s death anniversary and in a somewhat odd way. Whether true or not, the idea seems to have a struck a chord among Nintendo fans who looked upon Iwata as an icon not only in the company but in the gaming industry at large as well.
It was actually quite a while back when an NES emulator named “flog” was discovered in the Switch. This week, however, it was discovered that it was simply a wrapper around a full copy of the NES Golf game. While a classic, Golf isn’t exactly the best showcase of NES emulation on the Switch, so why did Nintendo bother to put it in there?
According to Switch hackers and sleuths, it was Nintendo’s subtle way of paying respect to Satoru Iwata. Before becoming Nintendo’s public face and head, Iwata worked in the company as a programmer and his claim to fame was to fit the entire 18-course Golf game into a single NES cartridge, no small feat in those days. Iwata, sadly, succumbed to cancer on July 11, 2015, which happens to also be the only day you can play NES Golf on the Switch.
The problem is that the Switch will know what date it is, especially if you have ever connected it to the Internet. No amount of changing the system date will fool it. The only way to do so outside of July 11th is to buy a new Switch and never connect it to the Internet. You could also wait around for July 11, 2018 for your next try. Oh, and you also have to perform Iwata’s now iconic Switch gesture to actually activate this Easter egg.