On Monday, it was revealed that Nintendo is shipping every Switch console with a hidden copy of the 1984 NES game Golf running in an emulator. Nobody knew why, and Nintendo wasn't (and still isn't) saying anything. But the mystery has now been solved.
The game is hidden on the Switch as a tribute to the late Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's fourth president and CEO. He died due to complications from a tumor on July 11, 2015 at the age of 55.
Iwata was the programmer on Golf, which Shigeru Miyamoto and Kenji Miki designed. And so it is a fitting game to include as a tribute to the much-loved man. Getting to play it isn't exactly easy, though.
A BBC video reveals how it is done. First, you need a Switch that has never been connected to the Internet. The date on the Switch must be set to July 11 to match the day Iwata died. Then navigate to the Home screen and using both Joy-Cons perform Iwata's well know arms up, hands thrust forwards gesture. This will trigger the game to load.
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When setting the date, it is only the day and month that need to be changed. By doing that, Nintendo allows the game to become playable every year on July 11 as a way of remembering Iwata. It's a lovely gesture.
It has also been suggested that the inclusion of the game is an "omamori" from Iwata. In Japan, omamori are amulets thought to provide luck or protection. I think it's best to see this as both: a tribute to the man and a lucky charm.
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