Nintendo pulls Switch game over developer’s secret
The developer of A Dark Room is in trouble for including an app-building Easter egg in the game
Perhaps out of a desire to brag or a lack of self-control, but either way a developer has ended up on Nintendo’s bad side. Amir Rajan, who created a role-playing text-based game available on Switch called A Dark Room, began talking about the inclusion of a hidden Easter egg in the game that allows players to create basic apps for the Switch, something Nintendo tends to frown upon.
According to Rajan, the included code uses the computer programming language Ruby. He bragged about the Easter egg on a Ruby social media platform, stating, “Last week I released A Dark Room to the Nintendo Switch. Within the game, I also shipped a Ruby interpreter and a code editor as an Easter Egg. This Easter Egg effectively turns every consumer spec-ed Nintendo Switch into a Ruby Machine. To access the code editor, all you had to do was buy A Dark Room, connect a USB keyboard and press the ‘~.’”
It didn’t take long for Nintendo to take notice and it yanked the game a few days ago. This proved to be an embarrassment for Rajan and the game’s publisher, Circle Entertainment, and Rajan issued a public apology. He said, “A simple toy sandboxed environment has been framed as this massive exploit. And of course, it’s the community that exploits these things that pushed it up to that level. I’m partly to blame with my sensationalised media posts. I acted alone and stupidly. It was a last second ‘spark of inspiration’ and I snuck it in assuming that plugging in a USB keyboard and pressing the ‘~’ key wasn’t part of the test plan.”
The code reportedly only allowed for the creation of simple graphics – lines, squares, etc. – and the playing of sounds from the game. However, the ease with which the Switch can be modified could be seen as a potentially huge security threat to Nintendo.
Circle isn’t too happy, either. It issued a statement about the ordeal, asserting, “We’re liaising with Nintendo to clarify on the next steps and will deal with the matter accordingly; they are regretful circumstances and we apologise for the issue. We have always worked hard to carefully follow Nintendo’s processes and terms throughout our history of publishing on DSiWare, 3DS eShop, Wii U eShop and Nintendo Switch eShop, and we’re sorry that there has evidently been an issue with this title.
“Until we clarify the next steps with Nintendo we can’t offer any further comment.”