Nintendo Switch more like Nintendo Retch amirite
March 2, 2017 3:40 PM   Subscribe

How do you keep kids from eating your tiny video game cartridges? If you're Nintendo, you coat the damn things with the incredibly potent bitterant Denatonium, the compound usually added to things like methanol, antifreeze, and denatured alcohol. Jealous that your old NES carts don't taste so bad? This educational video will help you make your own!
posted by cortex (37 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
The funny thing is that this story only came to light because a reviewer stuck one in their mouth for no particular reason.
posted by GuyZero at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2017 [14 favorites]


Bonus link: Don't Put It In Your Mouth
posted by cortex at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also I am noting for posterity that despite the fact I have the ability, as a mod, to hastily change the title of this post to "is this something I'd need to own a tongue to understand", I am going to respect the process and leave it as is.
posted by cortex at 3:50 PM on March 2, 2017 [32 favorites]


Good thing they're not doing this with Amiibos.
posted by indubitable at 3:51 PM on March 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


The "lickingstuff" tag is disappointingly underused.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:54 PM on March 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


They blend both toy and game alike!
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:54 PM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


@indubitable Literally my first thought was "How long until Griffin McElroy puts one in his mouth for science?"
posted by ThatSomething at 3:55 PM on March 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


He forcefully rejected the idea on Twitter, @ThatSomething.
posted by wotsac at 3:59 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Things I didn't know I needed to know #7294: how to make Super Nintendo cartridges taste terrible in order to keep up with current technology trends
posted by byanyothername at 4:40 PM on March 2, 2017


My Switch and Zelda come tomorrow, and I don't know how long I can resist putting that thing in my mouth... for science!
posted by Huck500 at 4:45 PM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


I dunno about you guys but when I am told explicitly that something is deliberately treated to make it taste as bad as possible, my first reaction is not "now I do want to put it in my mouth"
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:49 PM on March 2, 2017 [9 favorites]


Several people in the family are big Pokemon Go players, so my first instinct was to wonder what Denatonium evolves into.
posted by kurumi at 4:52 PM on March 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


Back in my day, we didn't have this problem because video game cartridges were too big to fit in your mouth.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:02 PM on March 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


Faint of Butt sounds like a quitter to me
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:07 PM on March 2, 2017 [24 favorites]


Atari 2600 cartridges would be a little big except for maybe a Steven Tyler-sized mouth. Colecovision's were a little smaller. We're going to need a YouTube channel for this, I fear.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:41 PM on March 2, 2017


Shopkeeper: The cartridges contain denatonium benzoate.
Homer: ...
Shopkeeper: That's bad.
Homer: Can I go now?
posted by a car full of lions at 5:41 PM on March 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


From the Wikipedia article I learned that Denatonium is the local anesthetic lidocaine (lignocaine for you British folks) with a a benzyl group added to it. I look forward to sharing this bit of trivia at work tomorrow!
posted by TedW at 5:50 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think that stuff is on the feather headdress of Playmobil Native American Chief figures. As a kid that was definitely the grossest-tasting toy in the house.
posted by closetphilosopher at 6:55 PM on March 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Denatonium is indeed impressively bitter. I'm surprised nobody has made an IPA with it yet. (Or maybe they have but aren't talking?!)
posted by Pyry at 7:12 PM on March 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


This, perhaps, could help cows who lik bred obsessively.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 7:26 PM on March 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


when I am told explicitly that something is deliberately treated to make it taste as bad as possible, my first reaction is not "now I do want to put it in my mouth"

Pssh, I bet you're the sort of killjoy party pooper who doesn't touch-test things with "wet paint" signs on them, either.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:30 PM on March 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of carts. My personal preference was for Game Gear, but I found Turbo Grafx-16 had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor -- heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness. N64, on the other hand ...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:53 PM on March 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


Does anyone know what's going on in the video where the chemist is getting weird inconsistent reactions? Is this normal in organic chemistry?
posted by Richard Daly at 8:04 PM on March 2, 2017


I wonder why they never saw fit to do this with DS cartridges, which are only maybe a smidgen larger.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:13 PM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


I wonder why they never saw fit to do this with DS cartridges, which are only maybe a smidgen larger.

My theory is that it has to do with toddler choking hazard specs.

The DS cards measure 1.3125" x 1.4375", which just squeaks past the CPSC guideline for a choking hazard at 1.25" or less being a problem.

While the even smaller Switch card isn't really subject to the rules, I bet it was a defensive measure on Nintendo's part to keep them out of kids' mouths.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:43 AM on March 3, 2017 [3 favorites]


This, perhaps, could help cows who lik bred obsessively.

I gamer am
a Switch I have
they say dont lik
an I must laf

they say its gros
I listen not
I likt the cart
and gros I got
posted by dialMforMara at 9:34 AM on March 3, 2017 [5 favorites]


Different (and superior) Don't Put it in Your Mouth.
posted by Hactar at 11:52 AM on March 3, 2017


Between Jeff's pioneering investigation of this and Drew "blinking white guy" Scanlon, Giant Bomb is once again on the cutting edge of Internet memes.
posted by kmz at 1:43 PM on March 3, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yesterday was have-a-long-play-on-the-Nintendo-Switch day with a bunch of colleagues, which turned into a six hour session. Some of them had started the midnight before when they bought the kit, and were still going when I left (I'm too old to do 24/7 stuff any more). It's an interesting piece of technology and not quite - in a good way - what I was expecting from Nintendo. Video games where you face your opponent rather than the screen are ... interesting. Think rock-paper-scissors but with a digital enabler as a starting point. I'm also somewhat relieved, after the "What is this, exactly?" disappointment of the Wii U, that realistic game playing situations seem to have been thought through and carefully designed this time.

I'm still unpacking thoughts on it. While the others were trying all manner of things (including, in one extreme teccie case, taking apart an expensive piece of kit one had only bought a few hours before - eh?), I stuck mainly to playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Heck; that is one expansive gaming area and I need to go back for another long session.

But on the subject of putting things in your mouth that shouldn't be there - the eating contest game may result in some people putting the controller in their mouth, hence the coating is probably a good idea.
posted by Wordshore at 2:57 AM on March 4, 2017


The new Zelda is pretty great so far!
posted by ersatz at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2017 [3 favorites]


yes but how does it taste
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on March 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


I made a Zelda food so unthinkable that the image is mosaic-ed out so

pretty good overall I guess
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:46 AM on March 5, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to be able to afford this game for at least another couple of months, alas. I keep trying to decide if I should just go ahead and look up spoilers to remain internet relevant or hold out. It's a shame, because it's definitely the most interested I've been in a Zelda game since Wind Waker.
posted by JHarris at 8:36 AM on March 5, 2017


Oh, speaking of coatings, the word is that the plastic on the Joy Cons is cured in such a way that it really REALLY doesn't take well to adhesives, that things stuck to it tend to horribly scar and pit the surface. So don't stick things to the Switch, okay?
posted by JHarris at 8:38 AM on March 5, 2017


Incidentally, where can we exchange friend codes? Because I would like to exchange friend codes
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:23 AM on March 6, 2017


The traditional approach has been to make a MetaTalk post now and then saying OMG LET'S SHARE NINTENDO FRIEND CODES.
posted by cortex at 7:23 AM on March 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


The traditional approach has been to make a MetaTalk post now and then saying OMG LET'S SHARE NINTENDO FRIEND CODES.

Yes; this is known as an "Epona".
posted by Wordshore at 8:26 AM on March 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


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