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Looking across my newsfeed today, there seems to be a new fad sweeping the game reviewer nation. This fad is sticking a Nintendo Switch cartridge in your mouth. Supposedly it tastes disgusting.
It all started last Saturday with this fateful tweet:
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) February 25, 2017
I’m not sure what possessed Jeff to put a cartridge in his mouth. Maybe it was a convenient place to hold the cartridge between games sessions. Possibly it was using it as a toothpick. It doesn’t really matter, we had the information. Now you would think it would have at least ended there. Someone put something in their mouth and it tasted bad. In our culture we seem to have disbelief on such things. Other reviewers not wanting to miss out wanted to try it themselves.
Now why does it taste terrible? Is it radioactive waste that will turn you into a ninja fighting sewer dweller? Unfortunately if you were hoping to gain super powers at all after tasting your new Nintendo Switch cartridge, you are about to be disappointed.
The taste actually is there by design. While I’m sure taste isn’t something that Jony Ive takes into account when designing the next iPhone, Nintendo was worried about small children ingesting their cartridges. Since the cartridges are small enough to be a choking hazard this actually makes senses.
Nintendo coats the Switch cartridges with Denatonium Benzoate. This chemical is non-toxic and is used in products to help nail biters to curb their habit. It is also used as an animal repellent and other products where a bitter taste could be used as a deterrent.
Is this the new cinnamon or hot sauce challenge that will be going around for years? I’m not sure. This will be on the band wagon for a while, since human nature has us asking us “How bad could it be?” I don’t think I’m buying a Switch at launch since I won’t have time to play it anyways. However, when I do get one – I’m not tasting the cartridges. At least I don’t think I will. Well, maybe…. Dammit – I need to forget about this whole thing all together.
If you want to sit and watch reactions to the taste just search YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, or your social media network of choice.