Tech

Nintendo Switch consoles hiding secret retro game

A digital copy of 1984 game NES Golf has been tucked away inside the chips and circuit boards of each and every Nintendo Switch console, even adapted for use with the newer machine’s detachable controllers.

Not only does the Nintendo Switch come with an emulator for the 34-year-old Nintendo Entertainment System, but that NES emulator contains working code for a Switch edition of NES Golf.

Community hacking site SwitchBrew.org published the findings, confirming that not only does the Switch contain a secret NES emulator, but that emulator is pre-loaded with a vintage Nintendo game.

The hidden emulator had been discovered in July, per Nintendo Everything, but its specific capability was not communicated until now.

The single program it was coded to run, “flog”, in fact corresponds to 1984’s NES Golf, a launch-day title for the North American edition of the classic console.

It’s not yet known how Golf is or was intended to be accessed by everyday Switch users, nor even how SwitchBrew member Yellows8 got it up and running.

One of Nintendo’s more recent consoles, 2006’s wildly successful Wii, made an overt homage to Golf though in a decidedly more accessible manner, modeling the Wii Sports collection’s golf courses after those originally contained within Golf on the NES.

It seems that the corporate significance of Golf continues on, though to what purpose it is not yet known.

Nintendo certainly has designs to bring some of its vintage titles to the Switch, having announced the beginning of an Arcade Archives series, to start with the original, single-screen Mario Bros. on Sept 27.

What’s also intriguing about the purported discovery is that NES Golf on the Switch indicates the use of motion controls, something possible thanks to gesture tracking tech introduced in the Wii Remote and continued on in the Switch’s detachable Joy-Cons.

Plenty of previous remakes for the Wii have incorporated motion controls – Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime 2, and Pikmin among them – but those were all first released on the Wii’s immediate predecessor, the GameCube.

Instead, this appears to be hard evidence that Nintendo is looking to introduce motion-tracking control schemes to much older legacy titles, even if these discoveries remain off the books for now.

Yet, as Ars Technica notes, Nintendo plans to offer NES games as part of a subscription-based online service launching in 2018; this, then, could be the destiny for NES Golf and others of its ilk. — AFP Relaxnews