Apparently Nintendo Switch Online’s NES Emulator Has Already Been Hacked

In what feels like record time, modders have already figured out how to hack Nintendo’s NES emulator on the Switch, part of the offering in their newly launched Nintendo Switch Online service, to add extra games not already included. And supposedly, it’s remarkably easy.

In a report over at Polygon, videos have surfaced of games running on the Switch that was not included within the initial 20 games included with the service. One video shows a Battletoads ROM being booted up, the other, Kirby’s Adventure. In the video below, the uploader DevRin scrolls across to the Switch menu in an effort to prove it is running on the console.

According to one of the modders, @KapuccinoHack, who spoke to Polygon after sharing the video and tweets below, the software running the emulation on the Switch is very similar to that which ran on the NES Classic Mini, first released in 2016.

The system, along with the SNES Classic Mini was similarly hacked to include additional games not otherwise installed on the system. Supposedly, “for someone without prior experience in running Switch mods, getting all of it set up at first is a bit of a process, but nothing too hard with proper instructions,” @KapuccinoHack told Polygon. @KapuccinoHack was themselves able to install Kirby’s Adventure on their Switch unit.

As both of these videos show, they have not currently found a way to change the cover art to match the installed game.

The ease with which these modders have hacked the console seems to suggest it was in part a deliberate effort by Nintendo to keep it easy for them to add games down the track, @KapuccinoHack suggested to Polygon. @KapuccinoHack took issue with this, suggesting it made the whole emulation package feel like an “afterthought”.

We have not tested the hack ourselves here at Press Start. There are obvious risks involved with doing so, and we would advise caution if you plan to give it a crack yourself.