Update removes hidden ‘Golf’ game from the Nintendo Switch

When the Nintendo Switch debuted earlier in 2017, hackers quickly discovered a secret hidden away in the system’s firmware. By setting the system’s date to July 11 and holding the two Joy-Con controllers outward, players were able to unlock a version of the classic NES game Golf. However, it appears that a recent firmware updated has removed the Easter egg from the system entirely.

According to users at SwitchBrew, the code for launching the hidden game, called Flog, was removed with the recent 4.0.0 firmware update. All code related to it was “overwritten with garbage,” making it impossible to access.

The game was initially included as a hidden tribute to Satoru Iwata, the former Nintendo CEO who died on July 11, 2015, after a battle with bile duct cancer. His “direct to you” gesture — he would extend both hands directly at the camera as he said the words — was the clear inspiration behind the Joy-Con motion necessary to unlock the game, and it seems unusual that such a tribute would be removed.

Iwata oversaw some of Nintendo’s biggest hardware launches, including the handheld DS and the Wii. The last major launch he oversaw was for the Wii U console, but the time necessary to develop hardware and software before a system’s launch guarantees he was also involved in the Nintendo Switch’s creation.

Prior to his role as CEO of Nintendo, Iwata served as a game programmer. His credits include the classic NES game Balloon Fight, and when the Pokémon Gold and Silver development team ran into issues with compression, he even stepped in and created tools that enabled the game to run.

Prior to his death, Iwata’s name would be listed as an executive producer on Nintendo’s first-party games. The ending credits to PlatinumGames’ Star Fox Zero said the game “is dedicated to our wingman who fell in battle.”

We’re hoping Nintendo reconsiders its decision to remove the Golf game from the Switch’s firmware. Even if the game can’t stay, a lasting tribute to Iwata and his passion for games seems appropriate, particularly on a system just as innovative as the DS or the Wii.