There’s a Hidden Emulator On Your Switch Triggered By This Man’s Death

There are Easter Eggs hidden everywhere in our pop culture, from movies to games, and sometimes they’re a reference to some other game or movie, just something random or an inside joke, but sometimes they have a more significant meaning to the people who place them there, not to mention the fans who end up finding them.

Satoru Iwata was a game programmer who worked at Nintendo and was the 4th President of the company, also servings in the role of CEO. He has been attributed with helping games reach a larger audience, with a focus on raw entertainment and fun rather than always trying to push hardware limits to the moon. Under his guidance, Nintendo developed the Wii and the Nintendo DS, and really helped steer the company back on track after some tougher years of increased competition. Instead of trying to compete directly with Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo carved out their own corner of the gaming world by focusing what they’ve always done best.

image: niche gamer

It was a great loss to the gaming world when Satoru Iwata passed away from cancer in 2015. Shortly after announcing his passing, Nintendo shared a photo of a rainbow over their headquarters dubbed “the Rainbow Road to heaven,” and even though it was a dreadfully stormy day on the day of his funeral, over 4000 people attended his memorial service.

Shigeru Miyamoto has said that Iwata had a lot of influence and input in the design and creation of the Nintendo Switch, and now there’s a part of him that’s going to live on in the Switch…

Somebody named Setery posted on a forum saying that the Golf game from NES showed up on their Nintendo Switch out of nowhere. Why this game in particular? Well, there’s an old story that says that Iwata took on the task of programming the game, after others had turned it down, and was able to fit all 18 holes onto one cartridge, which was a feat to accomplish back in those days.

image: gbatemp forums via arstechnica

I had this really odd experience with my switch that when I had left and returned to it, NES Golf was on my screen. I played it and it played normally, but it was night time for me so I wasn’t thinking about the importance of this.

Hackers have been digging around, and found a NES emulator hidden inside the Nintendo Switch, and this emulator was named “Flog.” At the time, people weren’t really sure what it was, but after Golf was discovered on the Switch, it all started to make sense…

Flog is golf spelled backwards, and hackers have also noticed that it appears that a specific gesture is required to unlock this Easter Egg, and that gesture seems similar to a move that became associated with Iwata after his Nintendo Direct appearances:

image: kotaku via Nintendo Direct

We don’t know who it was at Nintendo that included this, or whether or not it was even an “official” addition or just something that a rogue programmer did on their own. Chances are it was either a good friend of Iwata, or maybe even somebody that he had mentored over the years. Whoever it was, this is a beautiful and fitting tribute, and they may not have ever even expected anybody to find it.

It’s not just a matter of turning on your switch on July 11th, either, otherwise tons of people would have noticed this already. You’ve got to make a very specific gesture, by pointing the controllers towards the ground, and then lifting your arms up and foreward. Allegedly this triggers the screen to turn black, and for Golf to pop up.

People have tried changing the date on their system to July 11th in order to investigate further, however somehow the system seems to know what they’re up to if it’s ever been connected to the internet, and we’ll have to wait until the real July 11th to see what’s up.  Yellows8, a Switch hacker, explains further:

“The loaded date originates from network-time-sync’d time, regardless of whether the user has it enabled or not. When the system was never connected to the Internet, it comes from the user-specified date instead. This is loaded from the time service-cmds, with the actual time-sync being handled by NIM.”

Multiple outlets have reached out to Nintendo for a comment on this, but Nintendo has been silent. In the meantime, somebody following the story had an un-opened Switch and they opened it up and plugged it in without any updates or internet access, changed the date to July 11th, and low and behold, the Easter Egg was activated..

Set an alarm on your phone if you own a Switch and you want to try to remember this for July 11th next year, in order to experience it for yourself and to pay respects in a way that Satoru Iwata would have loved.