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Nintendo is always full of surprises. In fact, the Nintendo Switch is already very much a surprise in itself, combining home console gaming with the ability to play in portable mode on the go, but it has yet another surprise: a hidden game locked away in its firmware.
The homebrew community discovered the game tucked away in the Switch's firmware, as reported by Nintendo Everything. The game is called Flog, a reverse play on the word "Golf". It's obviously a golf game where you play as Mario. It's based on an NES game hidden away somewhere within the Switch's memory.
It's been reported that as hackers have been peeling away the infrastructure of the Switch, it was discovered that Flog was in the system and that it even supports two-player versus play using each of the Joy-Con controllers, along with motion-control support. It's still a bit of a toss-up if it supports HD rumble.
According to the Switch Brew organization, the community discovered the game's title ID through a memory address, and that it can be launched but no one has figured out how yet. They do know that the game cannot be launched through basic file system services already available on the Switch, which means there's no user-facing functionality from the menu or an accessible executable to launch Flog from the current iteration of the GUI.
According to the entry, the game has been a part of the Switch's firmware since OS system version 1.0.0, which means that it launched with the console back in March.
So far, the homebrew community have been crowdsourcing information on how to get the game to run. It appears as if there could be two options available: the first option is that hackers will simply have to spill the code out onto the floor and reverse engineer a way to access the game through emulation. The second option is to go through the process of potentially accessing a firmware menu or the Flog game by using Joy-Con input combinations.
Yes, one method could be inputting a code.
In the old days it was sometimes possible to access debug menus in games to then access codes. For a lot of emulated titles, especially for arcade games, there's a button assigned for the debug menu so you can modify and change various things in order to make the game more appealing to your tastes using dip switches.
For now, gamers, hackers, and the homebrew community are stuck trying to figure out exactly how to access the game. This could be part of a long-term internal test project from Nintendo for something coming down the pipeline at a later date. They could have implemented this as part of a test hook for some other form of emulation that might be added at a later date. Nintendo has been rather mysterious about features such as backwards compatibility and the Virtual Console, so maybe the game plays some part in that? Then again, it could have something to do with the upcoming implementation of the Classic Games feature that Nintendo has plans on rolling out for the Nintendo Switch.