Last weekend, we found out that the Nintendo Switch actually had a copy of the NES title, Golf, hidden on the console. Developed by former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who passed away in 2015, folks have started to speculate as to why that particular game was secreted away on the new console. According to 8-4 Senior Associate Producer Justin Epperson, it might actually be something of a good luck charm.
According to Epperson's speculation, Golf may have been included on the Switch as a charm. Iwata was a beloved developer and executive before his passing, and Nintendo clearly has a lot of respect for what he did for the company. Epperson's guess is that since Iwata coded Golf himself, Nintendo actually included that game and the emulator needed to run it as a way to put some positive vibes on the new console.
While the Nintendo Wii was a runaway success, it took some time for the 3DS to gain traction. Then came the Wii U, which absolutely tanked. It wouldn't surprise us if Nintendo included something like this in the Switch's software not only as a way of paying respect to Iwata, but also as a sort digital prayer that the latest hardware would take hold with Nintendo's fans.
As Epperson points out, omamori (charms) are a big part of Japanese culture and, when kept close, provide protection. He later tweets that he believes Golf was encoded on the Switch so that Iwata's game could "watch over every unit." If true, that's grounds for a serious "I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying" moment.
For those of you hoping to unlock Golf on your own Switch, you're going to have to wait a while unless you've got a brand new machine that has not been connected to the internet. The method of unlocking the game actually adds more weight to the argument that it was included as a good luck charm for the system.
Iwata passed away on July 11, and that's the only day you can actually unlock the hidden game. If your system is new and you set the date to July 11, it will work just fine. If it's ever been connected to the internet, though, it triggers a mechanism that will always know if you've reset the time.
It took hackers several days to figure this out, but the way to unlock the game is to perform a very specific gesture using the Joy-Con controllers. The obvious assumption was a golf swing, but that didn't work. Instead, it was discovered you have to have a Joy-Con in each hand and perform the trademark gesture Iwata used to begin a Nintendo Direct. Hold your hands at your sides. From there, swing them up to your chest and then push them out from your body. If you do that from the home screen, only on July 11, you'll be able to play the NES version of Golf.
Whether it was intended as a charm or not, that's a pretty touching story.