In the long history of weird Nintendo moments, this one stands out.
Tucked away deep within the Nintendo Switch operating system is the data for an NES original, Golf. It’s playable by one or two players using Switch Joy-Cons and it even appears to support motion controls… or it would, if anyone knew how to unlock it.
For now, knowledge of Golf‘s existence on Switch comes entirely SwitchBrew.org, a wiki focused on hacking and analyzing the software powering Nintendo’s latest console. It’s not a piracy thing, however; “homebrew” programmers try to crack the code on gaming machines primarily to install software that wouldn’t otherwise be supported.
It’s been known for some time — since July, in fact — that there’s a built-in NES emulator buried in the Switch OS code, called “Flog.” What no one realized at the time, however, was that Flog (which is “Golf” spelled backwards, ICYMI) isn’t a general-purpose emulator; instead, it appears to be one specific game, emulated.
More than that, Golf appears to have been updated specifically for Switch play. It supports two players using Joy-Con controllers, but data-mined screenshots appear to also show support for motion controls.
That’s actually a first. Past Nintendo consoles have offered up legacy games via the “Virtual Console” section of the eShop, but none so far have updated older games to the point that they support new-fangled control schemes offered by motion controls.
Golf apparently does. It’s just too bad there’s no way to know for sure. Although the game’s code has been discovered in the Switch OS, no one knows how to actually unlock it and make it playable.
Maybe there’s some arcane button combination, or a ritual blood sacrifice that no one’s puzzled out yet. Maybe it’s just an easter egg that no one was ever expected to discover. Hell, it could even be something that’s supposed to unlock as a freebie for everyone whenever Nintendo gets around to launching Virtual Console for Switch.
We’ve reached out to Nintendo for more information, so stay tuned for further updates.