The Nintendo Switch launched with a few secrets no one saw coming. In fact, one of those secrets were discovered to be an old golf game that left a lot of people puzzled and amused. Well, all good things come to an end, and it appears as if the secret golf game may have been removed from the Switch's firmware.
Kotaku is reporting that the latest firmware update for the Nintendo Switch that brings the version up to 4.0.0, has actually removed the golf game, better known as the firmware title, Flog. The game is no longer available through the firmware, according to hackers who have been tracking the progress of the firmware updates for the Switch and those who first discovered the game early on in the year back when the Switch first released.
The article states that the homebrew community who have been monitoring the Switch noticed that the code in the firmware that accessed the NES Golf game appeared to be "gutted". The code's removal and replacement with junk data meant that it was no longer possible to boot the embedded game up, and instead, there was just an error response of 0xA09.
Originally the Flog was discovered way back in September, where news spread that hackers had discovered the NES-style golf game buried within the firmware. It required a very specific set of motions and actions from the players to access the firmware app.
The game let you play as a golfing version of Mario, and you could use the Joy-Con controllers to play the game. Interestingly enough, the game was played using the motion swings. Based on the screenshots, gamers simply attach the wrist straps and then swing the Joy-Con just as if they were swinging a golf club.
Later on, it was discovered that the game may have been coded into the Nintendo Switch's firmware as a good luck charm from the late Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata. As it turns out, the original was actually designed by Iwata himself, as one of the early games for the NES back during his design days.
Kotaku reached out to ask Nintendo exactly what was going on with the NES golf game but the company didn't exactly explain what was going on. The site also attempted to ask why the game was removed from the latest firmware update, which just recently arrived during the holiday season, but Nintendo also declined to explain why it was removed.
Some people speculated that Nintendo removed it because hackers ruined the surprise and that Nintendo had plans on unveiling it at some point as a surprise to Switch owners. However, the embedded program was supposedly only available on the older Switch units, so it doesn't sound like something everyone would have had access to.
Others speculate that Nintendo was simply doing testing for some other purpose that hasn't been disclosed yet. It's very well possible that a Mario Golf game could be in the works for the Switch and the NES outing worked as a testbed for the motion controls. For now, we'll just have to take guesses as to why the game was there in the first place and why it was removed.