Andy Warhol eating a Nintendo Switch

Screengrab via Jørgen Leth/66 SCENES FROM AMERICA Remix by Jason Reed

New trend: Putting disgusting Nintendo Switch cartridges in your mouth

It's become a damn meme.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 6, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 9:39 pm CDT

The main selling points of Nintendo‘s new Switch are the new Zelda game and the ability to use it as both a mobile device and a TV-based console. But a secondary selling point is that the cartridges taste really really bad. 

Nintendo has coated Switch games with a bitter chemical called denatonium benzoate, to discourage kids from chewing on them. It seems to have had the opposite effect on childlike adults, though: Putting Switch carts in your mouth is now a damn meme.

It all started in late February on video game site Giant Bomb’s loose talk show, Unprofessional Fridays, which you may remember as the show that started the White Guy Blinking meme. Host Jeff Gerstmann popped a Switch game into his mouth on video to confirm the terrible taste, and discovered it was just as horrifying as promised.

Gerstmann’s stunt started a trend of spinoff videos and tweets that peaked around the Switch’s March 3 release date. Here’s just a small sampling of people who touched their tongues to Nintendo Switch cartridges in the name of science (or web traffic):


The Switch-tasting posts have become such a common trope on Twitter and YouTube that people are already spoofing them, tasting things that are … not Switch cartridges.

Of course, the prevalence of the meme has led people to wonder whose bright idea it was to start eating video game cartridges in the first place.

Where does the Switch meme go from here? Nowhere, basically. The meme and the ironic meta-meme already exist, and there’s only so many ways to make a joke about the revolting taste of video games. It’s a nice little bit of marketing by Nintendo—some people like the Switch specifically because of its cartridges’ acrid flavor—but its long-term prospects as a meme are nil.

Next time a major video game system comes out, though, you can bet people are going to lick it, just to be sure.

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*First Published: Mar 6, 2017, 12:41 pm CST