Nintendo Switch cartridges 'taste so bad'

By Chris Baraniuk
Technology reporter

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The Nintendo Switch, released worldwide this week, is Nintendo's latest home console

Cartridges for the Nintendo Switch console taste foul because of a "bittering agent" intended to prevent them from being accidentally swallowed.

The discovery was made after gamers noticed the repellent flavour.

"I can still taste it. Do not try this at home," tweeted games writer Jeff Gerstmann last week.

However, other gamers have since posted videos online of their reactions to tasting the cartridges and Nintendo has confirmed the use of a chemical agent.

"It was very, very chemical-like," Mr Gerstmann told the BBC. "It was like someone poured a bottle of concentrated [new car scent] into my mouth."

Mr Gerstmann explained that he tasted the cartridge on a whim during a live stream for his website, Giant Bomb.

"The strange thing about it was it lasted a very long time - for an hour or so afterwards I could still taste it," he said.

"I had to stop and grab something to eat or drink to get this flavour out of my mouth."

Image caption,
Anyone who's tasted a Nintendo Switch cartridge seems to regret it - deeply

Cartridges for the Nintendo Switch, which is released worldwide on 3 March, are 34mm by 23mm (1in).

Nintendo revealed a non-toxic bittering agent, denatonium benzoate, had been applied to the game card, in a statement to video games site Polygon.

This was "to avoid the possibility of accidental ingestion", the statement added.

Denatonium benzoate has an especially bitter taste and is commonly added to products such as paint to deter people from consuming them.

Mr Gerstmann added that he thought the technique to prevent someone choking on the cartridges, given their size, was a good idea.

However, news that the cartridges are intended to taste disgusting has not discouraged others from licking them.

"Oh, it's so... God... it's so awful," said one YouTuber.

Readers are advised not to try tasting Nintendo Switch cartridges at home.