The Switch carts are bite-sized, so it's probably a good idea.
Nintendo Switch, which launches nationwide today, is the latest revamped console from the Japanese gaming company. It doubles as a home-based and portable device and thus features small, SD card-sized cartridges. It’s those new thin, bite-sized games that are likely could become a swallowing hazard, and Nintendo isn’t taking and chances, confirming that they are intentionally making Switch games taste terrible.
The rumor that the latest generation games were foul-to-the-tongue started when video game journalist Jeff Gerstmann Tweeted that he had stuck one in his mouth (as one does?) and the ensuing result was, apparently, awful:
As a response, Mike Fahey from Kotaku (and editor of their food column Snacktaku) did a taste test of half a dozen legacy cartridges from the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo and Gameboy portable systems to compare, before trying the Switch cartridge himself. The result for the Switch game was also, predictably, awful.
In an update to his original post, Fahey included an official response from Nintendo admitting that the company, indeed, coated the new games in foul-tasting compound.
“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,” Nintendo told Kotaku.
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According to Denatonium-Benzoate.com (“The Bitterest Place On the Web”), it’s “one of the bitterest substances known.” Other applications include detergents, antifreeze, and products intended to stop pets from chewing up your stuff.
The lesson? Just avoid putting any Nintendo games in your mouth and stick to putting them into the console. But considering the old myth that blowing into NES cartridges somehow fixed glitches, one might say there’s been a long “oral” history with Nintendo products. And while most video gamers are probably of an age where putting a $60 piece of plastic into their mouths isn’t likely (adults like Fahey and Gerstmann excluded), with the economic miniaturization of all facets of technology, it’s probably best that these colorful little carts are