[Updated] Nintendo Switch emulation capability revealed with NES Golf

[Updated] According to further research from SwitchBrew.org, the NES Golf game built into the Nintendo Switch may have a deeper meaning than first thought.

The app has a timer which will unlock only on July 11th every year for that one day and is unlocked by a hand gesture used the late Satoru Iwata. The development veteran who passed away in 2015 was the coder of the original NES Golf while he was working at HAL Laboratory before eventually becoming Nintendo president.

The inclusion is being seen as a tribute to Iwata by the Nintendo team and the date is the same day as Iwata-san passed away. It is also possible that this inclusion is seen as an ‘omamori’, which is an item in Japanese culture that you keep close to you for good luck or protection.

Either way, it is a genuinely lovely touch and a great way to remember the Nintendo legend.

[Original Story]

A few months back, it was revealed that the Nintendo Switch had a built-in NES emulator in its firmware. The emulator, know under the name ‘flog’ was pre-installed on every Nintendo Switch, leading to speculation on the potential of retro gaming and the Virtual Console store for NES classic titles coming sooner rather than later.

It turns out that ‘flog’ had the answers all along. Golf, the reverse spelling of ‘flog’ reveals that the NES emulator is actually NES Golf. What’s more, the game appears to have Joy-Con support as well according to the photos sourced by the website SwitchBrew.org and picked up by Nintendo Everything.

The most likely explanation is that the program is a test program for NES emulation as it is embedded in the system itself, and not as a ROM to be emulated. There is no way to launch this sadly from the Switch console without modification, like a debug mode.

It’s pretty neat that Nintendo is beginning to have interesting little hints in their firmware coding that tickle our funnybones. Following the release of the NES Classic Mini, Nintendo obviously expected people to have a go at cracking and hacking the console and left an interesting message buried in the code.

The message read, "This is the hanafuda captain speaking. Launching emulation in 3…2…1. Many efforts, tears and countless hours have been put into this jewel, So, please keep this place tidied up and don’t break everything!

"Cheers, the hanafuda captain."

It does make you wonder what is going to be hidden within the upcoming SNES Classic Mini, which will undoubtedly have similar treatment from online modders.

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