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.
At this point, after looking over things and talking with some people, I can safely come to the conclusion that the Nintendo Switch NES app is simply a quick port of the NES Classic's emulator kachikachi to Switch. Good grief.
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.
Just to clarify, currently I have no idea how to properly modify the game cover art to make it fully legitimate. This is the only obstacle to making them look entirely correct from what I can tell. Hopefully some more interest sparks and people start to dig into it!
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.