Remember that hidden golf game on the Nintendo Switch? If you missed it, Nintendo stashed away a hidden file deep in the Nintendo Switch firmware titled "flog." This is an NES emulator and a not-so-subtle blinding of the game Golf for the NES, which Satoru Iwata, the deceased (and beloved) Nintendo president worked on himself.
Now, thanks to some excellent work by a group of dedicated hackers and some great reporting from ars Technica, we know that the inclusion of Golf on the Nintendo Switch is in fact a tribute to Satoru Iwata. Get some tissues, because we're bringing the feels.
The hacking enthusiast forum GBA Temp spent months pouring over the mystery of the "flog" emulator on the Nintendo Switch. There were ways to dive into the system memory and trigger the emulator through trickery, but no one could figure out how to make the game boot up through official means. Sure there is a way to get this up and running without hacking the system, right? As it turns out, there is, and the parameters that have to be met in order to get this thing up and running are so touching.
In order to boot up Golf on the Nintendo Switch, the date on the Nintendo Switch system has to be set to July 11, which is the day that Satoru Iwata passed away in 2015. There's no way to fake this. After a Nintendo Switch is connected to the internet it automatically syncs the time and date, and it cannot be tricked or adjusted afterward. The only way to test this is to get a brand new Nintendo Switch that's never been connected to the internet, and set the date to July 11.
After you do this, the emulator and game can be triggered by mimicking Satoru Iwata's iconic "Direct" motion with a Joy-Con in each hand. If you're a Nintendo fan, you know exactly what motion I'm talking about.
One man noted why this is such an amazing tribute to Nintendo's former president.
Justin Epperson, a producer over at game localization suite 8-4 made the following observation:
Golf is imbedded in the Switch firmware and JP internet is calling it an “omamori” or charm from Iwata (he coded the game himself)— Justin Epperson (@sprsk) September 20, 2017
In Japanese culture omamori are bought at shrines for various reasons, if you keep one close to you it will protect you or give luck— Justin Epperson (@sprsk) September 20, 2017
So the idea is Nintendo imbedded Iwata’s game to watch over every unit and thats fuckin me up good rn. That man was loved.— Justin Epperson (@sprsk) September 20, 2017
There is a digital Satoru Iwata shrine embedded in every single Nintendo Switch. Iwata is still watching over the company and exuding his influence in a small, but touching, way. Nintendo is an incredible company, and the fact that someone went to these lengths to quietly include such an astounding tribute is inspiring.
Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to go have a good cry.