Just a few weeks ago, Nintendo made the rather abrupt decision to indefinitely delay their Advance Wars 1+2 remake for Switch, Re-Boot Camp. The platform holder stated that the delay was due to ongoing world events — likely Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Russian military analogues found throughout both original Advance Wars games — but stayed away from any specifics such as when the game would actually release. For fans looking forward to the series which doesn’t get much attention from Nintendo at all these days, this was a crushing blow. That is, unless you were seemingly the one person in the world who got access to the game this week due to a preload glitch.
On April 8, a Tweet started going around of someone stating that they’re playing Advance Wars on Switch with a screenshot seemingly sent straight from the Switch’s share interface. Rachael Adamson bought a copy of the game months ago and was sent a code to enter on the eShop long before the delay. It only worked on her Switch Lite, which had a copy of the game preloaded from when she entered the code and suddenly went live on the day the game was supposed to release.
(Editor’s Note: the previously embedded tweet has since been deleted.)
“It was just sitting there on my Switch for a couple of months unplayable,” Adamson told Fanbyte. “The game was there on the home screen but, like any game that hasn’t been released yet, it wouldn’t let me play it.” Just a few days ago, however, that changed. “I got a notification on my Switch saying it was ready to play. So I played it, thinking it had been released on schedule anyway. I never imagined that I was the only one (that I know of) that it was working for.”
Adamson tweeted a bit of the game here and there, showing off bits of the game that definitely had not been seen in Nintendo’s always carefully curated pre-release marketing. Her mentions meanwhile became a mix of people laughing at the absurdity of the issue and those accusing her of fakery, piracy, or some other malice against the game and Nintendo. For Adamson, though, she was content to simply enjoy the game and not care.
Eventually it seemed that Nintendo caught wind of this and took action to cut her off. It’s not clear exactly how the publisher found out; Adamson thinks enough big Twitter accounts retweeted her and put it on Nintendo’s radar — which, uh, maybe oops. However it happened, Nintendo didn’t waste time pulling her license.
“They sent out an email like ‘We’ve successfully received your return’ with the game listed as the item that was returned,” Adamson said. “The timing was so suspicious, it was the next day after the tweet. I thought there’s no way that was a coincidence.”
Suspecting this was going to go this direction anyway, Adamson had already placed her Switch into airplane mode, preventing it from going online at all. While the Switch needs to check for a valid license every 30 days, it conversely can’t confirm a newly-invalidated license without being online. That meant that, even though Nintendo pulled the game from her library, Adamson could still keep playing for about another month.
“I had it on airplane mode for a while when I received the email from them, I haven’t gone online since,” Adamson said, “so I have no clue if it’ll stop working if I do. I assume it will.”
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp is not currently purchasable on the Nintendo eShop or preloadable and there has been no word on when either of these things will be rectified, though I imagine the latter will certainly be a while.
We reached out to Nintendo for comment on this story but had not heard back by time of publication.