Hackers have finally cracked open the secret on how to launch the secret NES Golf Game that was discovered recently on the Nintendo Switch.
This Easter Egg on the Switch is a tribute from Nintendo to Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s former CEO. Iwata died in 2015. He had been working on the Nintendo Switch on the year of his death. He was also the programmer behind the NES golf game, in the eighties.
Launching the NES emulator (and the golf game) on the Switch therefore uses references to Iwata. In particular, to be able to run the game, you have to set your console’s date to match Iwata’s date of death: July 11. Additionally, in order to trigger the launch, you must perform a specific move with the joycon controllers: the “Nintendo direct” move from Iwata:
There are a few things that complicate launching the game, though. In particular, if you’ve ever connected your Nintendo Switch to a network, its clock is now synchronized with the network and you can’t trick it anymore by simply changing the date. Some people have reported that doing a factory reset of the console could help, but for most of you, it means you’ll have to wait until July 11th next year to give it a try.
If you do have a Nintendo Switch that’s never been connected to a Network, you can give it a try by manually changing the date to July 11th in your settings, go into the Switch home menu, and reproduce the “Directly to You” gesture above with the two joycons in your hand.
The checks for this only run while Home Menu is active, aka main-menu.
It checks exactly the following:
Both Joy-Cons must be detached from the system.
The same motion checks for both Joy-Cons must pass, at the same time. The motion seems to be a reference to this. Hold the Joy-Cons pointing forwards/downwards, then move Joy-Cons to a vertical position, and hold it there for a bit. The Joy-Con grip can be used for this.
The month+day must match the date of Iwata’s death: July 11. The loaded date originates from network-time-sync’d time, regardless of whether the user has it enabled or not. When the system was never connected to the Internet, it comes from the user-specified date instead. This is loaded from the time service-cmds, with the actual time-sync being handled by NIM.
The output from a certain function must return 0, 1, or 2. On one system this was tested with, this check would pass.
Lastly a nsam cmd is used. Probably to verify that the title is installed?
Once everything passes it continues to the code which launches flog. When flog is launched, audio is played which matches this.
Hackers found how to reproduce the gesture with a mix of reverse engineering and some help from the community: many people suggested gestures related to memes associated with Iwata, including the “Nintendo Direct” gesture. Initially some people thought the gesture could have been a golf swing.