How to play the Nintendo Switch's secret NES game

Very recently it was discovered by SwitchBrew that each and every Nintendo Switch console has a NES game buried quietly in its code. 

After some digging it was discovered that Flog, an emulation of NES Golf from 1984, has existed on the console’s firmware since version 1.0 and even supported motion controls. 

Though many users managed to get the emulation up and running via unofficial methods, the game’s highly deliberate inclusion has had fans looking for an official means of playing it. 

Once a year

Users at SwitchBrew seem to have done it again and uncovered what appears to be the official method of unlocking the game. Interestingly, and touchingly, the method of unlocking the game indicates that it may be a tribute to Nintendo’s late CEO Satoru Iwata. Given that Iwata programmed NES Golf as part of his early work for Nintendo long before becoming its president in 2000, it does seem likely. 

To launch the game SwitchBrew user, yellows8, reports via the site's wiki that you have to detach both Joy-Con controllers and perform a simple hand gesture that’s reminiscent of Iwata’s Direct greeting. If the activation is successful a voice sample from a 2012 Iwata presentation is apparently triggered.

There is a catch, though. 

The game’s activation reportedly only works on July 11 – the day Iwata passed away. As the console’s time synchronization is managed server-side, this means that unless your Nintendo Switch is box fresh or has never been connected to the internet you won’t be able to trick it into thinking it’s July 11. 

As a result, we, like many Switch owners out there, haven’t been able to try the method out for ourselves and verify whether this is accurate. We imagine that when July 11 rolls around again there’ll be many Switch owners raising their Joy-Cons to Iwata. 

In the meantime, video evidence of the method working has been posted online and you can watch it for yourself below:

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.