The Nintendo Switch is out tomorrow, and yesterday the embargo dropped on reviews for the hardware itself. While they’re a little all over the place and still waiting for some features for Nintendo to actually switch (hah) on, there’s one aspect that as quickly found itself at the forefront of Switch talk – just why do the cartridges taste so damn awful?
It all seemingly started as a joke, when Giantbomb’s Jeff Gertsmann popped the Breath of the Wild cartridge into his mouth and recoiled in discomfort. The little plastic casings taste terrible, which only prompted more enquiry into why that was. Kotaku’s Mike Fahey even went as far as to test cartridges from every generation of Nintendo hardware, but none made him gulp down a drink faster than the Switch.
I put that Switch cart in my mouth and I’m not sure what those things are made of but I can still taste it. Do not try this at home.
— Jeff Gerstmann (@jeffgerstmann) 25 February 2017
So the question is why? Unsurprisingly Nintendo hasn’t really been focusing on what’s going on around them, but yesterday they finally responded to questions regarding the foul tasting cartridges. As you might have guessed, it’s all to do with safety. Nintendo specifically coated their new cartridges in an incredibly bitter oil, which should prevent any small children from swallowing and choking on the bits of plastic.
“To avoid the possibility of accidental ingestion, keep the game card away from young children. A bittering agent (Denatonium Benzoate) has also been applied to the game card. This bittering agent is non-toxic.”
It’s kind of ingenious on Nintendo’s part, and a fairly simple way of avoiding the potentially devastating possibility of this causing some sort of harm to a child. Given that the Switch features a lot of functionality for kids and their games, this sort of overlap is necessary.
So now you know. Don’t put little bits of plastic in your mouth. Especially if you value your taste buds for the foreseeable future.