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Good Thinking Ahead, Nintendo! Switch Cartridges Taste Horrible on Purpose.

It's meant to prevent accidental ingestion by young children, and it's really effective.

This story originally appeared on PCMag

I expected a lot of tests to be performed on the Nintendo Switch this week in the run up to its launch, but a taste test was not one of them. More specifically, those in possession of a Switch and games are tasting the game cartridges. And apparently they taste horrible, to the point where you want to but can't forget the nasty taste left in your mouth.

Nintendo via PC Mag

Why any adult would want to place an expensive game cartridge in their mouth is beyond me, but this is a Nintendo console, meaning children will be handling the cartridges. Responding to an enquiry made by Kotaku, Nintendo explained it is well aware of this and decided to try and help parents out by deterring kids from putting the cartridges in their mouths and potentially accidentally ingesting them.


How did they do this? With the help of Denatonium Benzonate. If you recognize the name it's likely because this is the non-toxic chemical compound used to help prevent nail biting. It is unbearably bitter to most humans, so by coating the Switch game cartridges with it the chances are most people placing one in their mouth will spit it out immediately.

The reaction is immediate and the horrible taste spreads throughout your mouth. It's pretty much guaranteed a child will only try this once after experiencing the extreme bitterness.

This seems to be the first time Nintendo thought about trying to prevent cartridges being ingested, and it looks as though they are on to a winner. However, the publicity this is getting means a lot more Switch game cartridges are going to get licked over the course of the console's lifetime.

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