Nintendo has pulled A Dark Room from The Switch’s digital store after its developer revealed he had snuck a code editor into the game right before it shipped.
According to Eurogamer, the secret editor was accessed by plugging a keyboard into a Switch running the game and hitting the tilde key and allowed players to do some very basic coding in Ruby.
When revealing what he described as an Easter egg shortly after launch, developer Amir Rajan said in a Mastodon post that this “effectively turns every consumer spec-ed Nintendo Switch into a Ruby Machine.”
Nintendo’s decision to pull the game shouldn’t come as a surprise, however. Nintendo tends to be protective of its hardware and extremely proactive when exploits pop up in games or software that potentially opens its platforms up to modification.
Rajan says that he slipped the feature at the very last minute in with the assumption that “plugging in a USB keyboard and pressing the ‘~’ key wasn’t part of the test plan” for Nintendo’s cert squad, and it seems like his assumption was correct. Now that the game has been pulled, however, he tells Eurogamer that the Easter egg was intended as a way to let kids and adults experiment with coding.
He explains that the code editor itself isn’t as powerful as his initial claims made it seem, and that the extent of its use is creating shapes, detecting button presses, and playing sounds from A Dark Room.
"You can't even render an image with the damn thing," Rajan tells Eurogamer. "So yes, if your app is composed completely of labels, squares, and lines (like A Dark Room), then it lets you build an app without having to perform any hacks."