The late and incredibly great Satoru Iwata, previous CEO of Nintendo and incredibly amazing man all round, was lost to us on July 11th, 2015 due to cancer. Not only was he a brilliant CEO, but in the early days of Nintendo, he was one of the most amazing minds around when it came to game programming. This little bit of history is incredibly important to the main story, so let’s take a look at that.
He was the man who saved and perfected Super Smash Brothers Melee, debugging it for weeks on end in order to ensure it was the highest quality product possible when it went out to gamers world wide and became an instant cult classic on fighting circuits. He not only managed to port the Pokemon battle code to the N64 for Pokemon Stadium, but he was responsible for fitting two entire worlds into the Pokemon Gold and Silver cartridges, letting you go back to the land of Kanto after finishing the main Johto quest.
But, most importantly, he was responsible for a game titled Golf on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This was a game no one else at Nintendo really wanted to tackle. It was seen as a pretty mammoth task for the hardware. The game consisted of 18 holes, which was a heck of a lot for the limited space on a NES cartridge. But Iwata looked at the project and put his hand up for it, delivering it to the world without hassle. This was a defining moment in Iwata’s career.
So it seems fitting that this was what became a part of every Nintendo Switch sold to the public. It all began when one user had a strange experience with a Switch, specifically the NES portion of it. Golf randomly popped up on her screen. She didn’t have the game for it, or intend to play it, but it happened. She then asked a forum to look into this and see if her Switch was haunted, had some weird glitch, or if there was something else going on.
So hackers began the long process of looking into the Switch’s code and seeing what possible reason this could have for happening. They soon discovered a portion called ‘Flog’, set to activate on July 11th when the console recognizes the player has done some kind of ‘secret handshake’. As you may have guessed, ‘flog’ is just ‘golf’ backwards. But the secret handshake? That’s just another term for a certain hand movement Iwata was known for doing in Nintendo Direct segments.
So performing this specific gesture with the Joycon controllers on July 11th will result in Golf appearing on your Switch in a fully playable format. Every single Switch has been shipped with this fun little feature, though Nintendo themselves still haven’t said anything about this little find. And don’t think about putting your Switch’s clock forward, it’s tied to the internet synced time, rather than the clock you set. Unless you’re a hacker with an understanding of how the Switch works. So maybe give it a try next year as a way to honor this amazing developer and CEO.