Attack of the Fanboy

Nintendo Switchs Contain a Tribute to Satoru Iwata

by Dylan Siegler


Some hackers and dataminers have found what many are thinking is a tribute to the late president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, in the coding of all Nintendo Switch units. The supposed tribute comes in the form of the NES game Golf, which is apparently in the console’s code labeled as “flog.”

According to Kotaku, this all started when a hacker had Golf randomly appear on her screen while playing on her Switch. Since then, hackers and dataminers have been searching for a reason why a game the hacker didn’t own would have started up on the console, and it looks like they may have found an explanation. “Flog” is set to only open on July 11. This is the day that Iwata tragically succumbed to stomach cancer in 2015 at the age of 55. Furthermore, Golf is one of many games that Iwata worked on as a programmer before becoming president of the company. Other games he programmed for include EarthBoundPokémon and Super Smash Bros. Programming Golf was seen as one of Iwata’s greatest accomplishments, since many other developers turned down the project thinking that fitting a full, 18-hole Golf game into an NES cartridge wouldn’t be possible.

But if Golf is set to open up on July 11, then how come we didn’t hear about it this past July 11? Well, it turns out there’s one more qualification to get Golf to open. Iwata was known for hosting a number of Nintendo Direct streams, and when doing so he often performed a specific hand gesture he became known for. While saying, “Direct to you,” he would motion his hands at head-level toward the camera. Apparently, to open Golf on the Switch, one would need to perform this hand gesture with the Joy-Cons while on the Switch’s homepage on July 11.

This was difficult to prove since once a Switch is connected to the internet for the first time, you can’t change the time and date settings. Luckily, one Switch-owner, who goes by Fiskerdin, happened to have a spare, unopened Switch that he was able to open and set to July 11 to test this theory out. And it worked. Since then, other Switch-owners have been able to replicate this. Below is a video of one such person demonstrating how to activate “flog.”

Polygon explains that many Nintendo employees, such as Shigeru Miyamoto, credit Iwata with heading the development of the Switch, despite the fact that he died nearly two years before the console’s release. Many at Nintendo consider the Switch to be Iwata’s legacy. Miyamoto stated, “I think that the idea of Nintendo Switch being a device you can take out and anywhere, and the idea of it being a system that really allows networking and communicating with people, I think that’s something Mr. Iwata put a lot of emphasis on.”

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