Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo’s new online gameplay service for its popular console, had its complimentary app containing a selection of classic NES games hacked in less than 24 hours after launch, Kotaku reports (opens in new tab).
Hackers who have been successful in cracking open the emulator behind this Nintendo Switch app have cited how similar the emulator is to the one found on the NES Classic Mini console. This appears to have been a huge factor in just how simple it was for hackers to get their way inside and start loading in their own games.
In fact, a known hacker on Twitter going by the handle KapuccinoHeck (opens in new tab) claims that this library app hosts the games through awfully simple ‘.nes’ files, complete with a plain text database containing all of the compatible NES games. Of course, this file can be manipulated to add in more games.
ok sothis is incredibly basic but it shows that fully custom games ARE possible!hakchi for NES Nintendo Switch Online when?#NintendoSwitch #NintendoSwitchOnline #NES pic.twitter.com/OBYn3dLOtVSeptember 19, 2018
This has been demonstrated in videos depicting the app launching custom-uploaded games that seem to be snuck in underneath containers for the existing games. You can see in the above video KapuccinoHeck launching Kirby’s Adventure from a window said to lead to the River City Ransom game, one of the officially included NES games on the app.
However, it’s not easy to make this happen, as you need to set up the Nintendo Switch to run homebrew software, which is a complicated process in itself. This involves running an older version of its firmware – indefinitely – so you'll miss out on any security updates and new features Nintendo releases in the future. It also means you can't go online with games on a hacked console without risking having your Nintendo account banned from online play outright.
So, did the Nintendo Switch just become a viable, portable NES emulator? It sure looks like it. But, is that worth risking the rest of your time playing Switch games online, much less your console altogether? Probably not.
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