Indie title A Dark Room removed from Nintendo eShop due to in-game code editor

A Dark Room is a recently released indie game for the Nintendo Switch. Or, at least it was. Shortly after the game’s release a couple of weeks ago, the A Dark Room eShop listing is nowhere to be found. We’ve now learned that this is due to an easter egg that allows players to mess with the Ruby coding language that A Dark Room was built using.

What players could do was plug in a USB keyboard, hit the tilde key, and pull up a developer console. From here, they could create basic applications within the Ruby framework. Understandably, Nintendo was not okay with this due to security reasons, hence the takedown. Nobody knew of the easter egg until developer Amir Rajan made a post about it:

“Dear Ruby devs and game devs. I have a crazy announcement I want to share. Please boost.

Last week I released A Dark Room to the Nintendo Switch. Within the game, I also shipped a Ruby interpreter and a code editor as an Easter Egg.

*This Easter Egg effectively turns every consumer spec-ed Nintendo Switch into a Ruby Machine.*

1. Download A Dark Room from the US/EU.

2. Connect a USB keyboard and press the “~” key.

3. Follow the onscreen instructions.”

As a developer, Rajan says he had good intentions. He claims the easter egg is “an attempt to capture the magic of coding in its purest form” for both kids and adults. It’s for those who’ve forgotten what it’s like to “create something from nothing.”

A Dark Room eShop listing

No matter how good the intentions may be, Rajan’s move was a bit of a rebellious one. Publisher Circle Entertainment must have been unaware of the editor and would have caught it otherwise. According to a statement from them, the group is working with Nintendo on “next steps” and will deal with the situation “accordingly.”

The lone developer, while regretful that Circle has to deal with this, doesn’t agree with the takedown. He defends his intent, claiming that “you can’t even render an image with the damn thing. So yes, if your app is composed completely of labels, squares, and lines (like A Dark Room), then it lets you build an app without having to perform any hacks.”

A Dark Room has been off the shop since April 26, and we’re unsure if it will ever come back. Rajan seems to think so, stating that he is sure “that within their company there are many many developers/programmers that can empathise and will completely understand.” Meanwhile, those that want to play the Ruby-based text adventure game will have to wait for Nintendo’s verdict to do so.