Of Course Nintendo Left a Cute Message for Hackers Inside the NES Classic

The “hanafuda captain” saw your naughty tampering coming.

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Jan 11 2017, 3:00pm

Above: Nintendo Classic image courtesy of Nintendo

As if we didn't have enough reasons to believe the folks at Nintendo work to the beat of their own drum, Nintendo has again shown it's a gaming company apart.

The Nintendo Classic Edition, the hard-to-come-by micro-console preloaded with 30 games from the 1980s and '90s NES catalog, has been a target for hackers ever since its November release. So has the Famicom Mini, the NES Classic for the Japanese market. The objective: get more software on there.

And now industrious retro-gaming enthusiasts have found way to add (up to, but no more than) another 30 games to the system's neat and tidy UI, as explained in this YouTube video. It's probably not the simplest way to get Batman: The Video Game running on your HD TV, but you know Some People: they do like to muck about inside machines.

Nintendo saw this type of actually totally illegal (but it's okay, we won't tell on you if you get a screwdriver out) tomfoolery coming, and—as reported on VG 24/7Eurogamer and elsewhere, via an original Reddit post—left a hidden message within the Famicom Mini's (and presumably the NES Classic's) code, as pasted below.

If you can't read what's on the image, the English text reads:

"This is the hanafuda captain speaking. Launching emulation in 3...2...1. Many efforts, tears and countless hours have been put into this jewel. So, please keep this place tidied up and don't break everything! Cheers, the hanafuda captain."

"Hanafuda" refers to a line of playing cards still produced by Nintendo in the 21st century—a product line that the company's put its name to ever since its founding in 1889. It was set up specially to make said cards, no less. The only portly plumbers in the building back in those days were there to plug the leaks.

Now I don't know about you, but that is too cute, from where I'm sitting. "Please keep this place tidied up and don't break everything," except our hearts, right? I'm confident in saying: only Nintendo. Nintendoes, if you like (and if the reference makes any sense to you at all).

A word of warning to anyone now undoing the plastic casing of their NES Classic: tampering like this can brick the console completely, reports Gizmodo and other sites. Rendering it nothing more than a pricy chunk of grey plastic to sit forlornly on your shelf. (I hesitate to say it'd become an expensive paperweight, because it barely weighs anything.) 

So maybe you want to stick to the 30, and enjoy Nintendo products as they were designed to be enjoyed. Mario! Kirby! Zelda! Samus! Those bubble-spewing dinosaurs! But hey, I'm not your dad or anything. It's your money and happiness (and adorable micro-console) to risk.