Satoru Iwata was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nintendo, a hardware and software company that specialises in video games (you may have heard of them). On 11 July 2015, Iwata passed away, leaving behind a much-loved legacy of broadening the appeal of games, being the public face of Nintendo of Japan, and many other accomplishments besides these.
Earlier today, Ars Technica reported on some hackers having found an NES emulator buried in the Switch’s firmware, including reports of people having previously been able to launch it in mid-July. The only game that works on it is Golf for the NES which, it transpires, was a game that Iwata programmed.
What, then, seems likely is that this is an intentional easter egg made in tribute to Iwata by some folks at Nintendo. This tweet from Brandon Boyer illustrates the hand motion folks would need to make to activate the game. Given some of the lengths it goes to in order to ensure that people are thinking about with the original context in mind, it’s hard to see it as anything but that (quote from Ars Technica):
In other words, if your system has ever been connected to the Internet, the “flog” emulator will know the real date and ignore any manual clock change to July 11. You can only cheat and reset the system date manually if you have a fresh system that has never done an Internet time check (or, possibly, if the Switch’s internal clock battery is disabled or dies). For those with a clean, never-Internet-connected system, though, some fresh video evidence has emerged.
Justin Epperson, a Senior Associate Producer at translation and localisation company 8-4, offers these tweets to give the tribute additional context:
What do folks think of this?