Fans were caught up in something of a frenzy earlier this week when it was discovered that every Nintendo Switch contains a secret Golf mini-game, although users had yet to figure out how to get the game to run. After a bit more digging, fans have figured out the way to get the mini-game running and the steps to do so suggests that its inclusion is in fact a touching tribute to Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s former president who passed away in 2015.
In order to launch the Switch’s secret Golf mini-game, both Joy-Cons must be detached and a hand-gesture that looks very similar to Iwata’s famous gesture used to signal Nintendo Direct must be carried out. Gamers will know if a successful activation is carried out because if the steps are followed correctly, a small voice sample of Iwata from a 2012 presentation is triggered. As a final requirement, the date must be July 11th, a reference to the day in which Iwata sadly passed away in 2015.
Given how the Switch’s time synchronization is done through Nintendo’s servers and owners are required to connect to the internet, this means that fans will only be able to play the Golf mini-game once per year. The one possible workaround to this is to obtain a Switch that has never been connected to the internet and manually configure the date, though Nintendo has yet to offer clarification on whether this method will work and Game Rant has been unable to verify this at the time of writing.
What may appear as a simple old-school game is in actuality an incredibly touching tribute to the beloved former Nintendo president that carries multiple layers of meaning. Golf was programmed by Iwata during his tenure at HAL Laboratory in the 1980s, nearly two decades before he was named Nintendo president in 2000. During the final months of his life in 2015, Iwata oversaw the development of the Switch, thus the incorporation of Golf into the console can be seen as his work coming around in a full circle.
Beyond acting as a simple reminder of Iwata’s legacy, the inclusion of Golf in the Switch can also be seen as an “omamori” – a charm traditionally available at shrines that is said to provide forms of luck or protection if it is kept close. By having Iwata’s game in each and every Switch unit produced, the idea is, in essence, that he will be providing luck and protection to all owners of the console.
It’s been two years since Iwata’s untimely passing, but it is clear from this latest Switch tribute that the former Nintendo president is still much loved within the gaming community. With the newly-unearthed knowledge that Iwata is essentially watching over every Switch unit, perhaps that ambitious 130 million unit sales prediction may not be so far-fetched after all.
The Nintendo Switch is out now.