‘Golf’ on Nintendo Switch pays tribute to former president

Parker Loizon, Reporter

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Official GDC. Former CEO of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, presents at Game Developers Conference in 2011.

Data miners have found that Nintendo Switch consoles carry a copy of “Golf,” a game created in 1984 for the Nintendo Entertainment System by former company CEO Satoru Iwata.

Iwata was a fixture at Nintendo until his death in 2015. In interviews since his passing, game designers and friends alike expressed nothing but respect for him. Game producer and designer Shigeru Miyamoto called Iwata the “head of development,” for the Switch. Miyamoto explained that the Switch is everything Iwata emphasized during his time at Nintendo.

The initial release of “Golf” was met with positive reviews, as it was an innovative game for the time. Iwata was the sole programmer for “Golf” and since its original debut in 1984, it has made appearances in multiple Nintendo made games.

At first, many believed this addition might be a subtle hint at future classic games coming to the Switch. The steps taken to open the game, however, suggest otherwise.

Those who hacked into the console say that, after reading the code, the gesture to begin the game is similar to one associated with Iwata’s appearances at Nintendo Direct events. It was then discovered that the game would not launch unless the date is set to July 11, the day Iwata died in 2015.

A tweet from Justin Epperson, a senior producer for the company 8-4 which specializes in video game localization, explains what many believe the addition of “Golf” really means.

“‘Golf’ is imbedded in the Switch firmware and [the Japanese] Internet is calling it an ‘omamori’,” said Epperson. “In Japanese culture omamori are bought at shrines for various reasons, if you keep one close to you it will protect you or give luck.”

Epperson then goes on to say that Iwata was truly a beloved figure.

Many have reached out to Nintendo for a comment but they have yet to confirm why this game was added, or comment on what it means. Until then, it is still a touching, unofficial tribute to a great creator.