Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that was released in early July of 2016. The game is completely free to play, location based and features our favorite characters from the 2000’s cartoon, anime and Game Boy game of the same name. This quickly beloved mobile game uses GPS from our phones to let us wander around anywhere in the world looking through completely new eyes, the eyes of a pokémon trainer. Pokémon Go will transport us into the world on the screen where we can catch pokémon, battle other trainers and stop at local spots to grab more Poke Balls. The game blew up after the initial Summer release and was downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide.
At the launch there were some pretty major issues but most were fixed in updates that solved both privacy issues and glitches. With the huge blowup it’s only natural that there were tons of Pokémon Go hoaxes, conspiracy theories and even urban legends that have picked up steam even though some are completely false. While some people believe that Pokémon Go was created by the Obamas or by other government agencies looking to mine all of our personal data for evil government usage. Other stories verge into dead bodies and murder sites found while people were searching for Pokémon in areas outside of town. This is a compilation of all of these wonderfully outlandish tales of Pokémon Go.
15. Pokémon Go Was Released Just In Time To Cover Up News
There is much conjecture surrounding a conspiracy that Pokémon Go was released at the perfect time to distract Americans from startling news stories that the government would have preferred to keep quiet. The augmented reality game was released on July 6, 2016; the same day that the FBI decided not to charge Hillary Clinton for her highly publicized email scandal. It was also the day that protests erupted over Alton Sterling’s cold blooded murder at the hands of police in Louisiana. Many believed that the release of this game was meant to cover up the outrage throughout America about Alton Sterling and put an end to the riots that were blowing up. These were both huge stories and suppressing each of them serves a different political party. Despite this being somewhat plausible from our current American government we just don’t think that they’d do something like being involved in the release of a video game in order to suppress headlines.
14. More Servers Are Needed & $13 Will Get Them For Us
Only about a week after the initial release of Pokémon Go there were already scams formed to leech money off of game users. The scam would steal emails from the server and then send a message that claimed the servers were overloaded with users. This part of the scam was true, Pokémon Go barely worked in the beginning stages of the launch because of how many users signed on so quickly. The scammers made up a fake solution to this problem, they told email recipients that they could pay $12.99 for a server that would guarantee that the game always worked without glitches. This is a complete hoax and there is no paid version of a Pokémon Go server. This type of email scam is called phishing, where there is no basis but the company is attempting to lure us to give them more information. Luckily Niantic fixed the errors and servers began operating perfectly, killing the need for the phishing scam altogether.
13. The Simpsons Predicted Pokémon Go
This has been the year of Simpsons conspiracy theories. Everything started in the Spring of this year when the internet claimed that The Simpsons had predicted that Donald Trump would run for president back in 2000. Unfortunately the rumor was just that and the stills were taken from a Simpsons special drawn in 2015 after Trump had already began positioning for the Republican nomination. After this rumor was debunked another one started circulating and a still was captured from a cartoon that looked like the Simpsons had predicted the formulation of Pokémon Go. The still featured Homer’s hand holding a cell phone that pictured a Simpsons style Pokémon animation on the screen. This was another fake rumor started from an original cartoon where Homer is actually holding the neck of a guitar. Both of these Simpsons style conspiracy theories were completely false, but there was a joke about Donald Trump running for President in a 2000 episode.
12. An Uber Driver Witnessed A Murder While Playing It
Just after the release of the popular game and Uber driver named Alex Ramirez in Texas filmed a video with a reaction that sent chills down our spines. In the video, he was playing Pokémon Go in the early hours of the morning when he locked on an old church house. He claimed that his reaction was due to seeing people dumping a dead body at the church. Once he saw it he called 911 but can be heard in the video refusing to give his phone number because he was filming live. Alex then claimed that the murderer was following him when the video cut off. The police have now said that this whole story was a hoax and there was no body found at that location. Alex Ramirez is actually a follower hungry social media user that has been known for his stunts that are only carried out to get more followers and likes.
11. A Teen Playing Pokémon Go Was Shot To Death By A Scared Homeowner
Originating around the same time as the other rumors, this one held a heavy foundation on social media despite coming from the fake news outlet National Report. The story stated that a teenager was shot dead while playing Pokémon Go because he had unknowingly wandered onto private property. The young man was said to have left his house late at night with a friend who was sleeping over because a rare Pokémon was on the list of nearby creatures. The Pokémon appeared to be inside of a neighbor’s house so the friends thought they couldn’t get it. But the murdered teen felt differently and circled the house which set off all of the security lights, he then moved to the back porch before trying to find the rare Pokémon through the windows of the home. Homeowner Ellen Jones was said to live in that house alone and when she saw a man lurking in her bedroom window she shot him twice, hitting the young man both times. This story proved false, although there have been murders related to playing Pokémon Go.
10. This Boy Killed His Brother For Deleting His Pokémon Data
Cartel Press is the original source of the tall tale that has been circling the web for months. The story says that a teen boy killed his little brother after he thought the boy had deleted all of his Pokémon. The 15-year-old Florida teen was said to have been arrested in the murder of his 13-year-old brother but the younger boy wasn’t even guilty of what he was accused. In fact, the younger brother was said to have simply logged his elder sibling out of the game instead of deleting all of his Pokémon data. This isn’t actually a real story and Cartel Press is well known for their fake stories interwoven with actual news, they do this in order to help show people how easy it is to feed the masses bull sh*t. No brother actually killed his family because of Pokémon Go, this story was shown to be entirely false.
9. Drug Dealers Are Using Pokémon Go To Give Children Marijuana
The satirical Facebook page entitled Christians Against Drugs posted a meme featuring a picture of the Pokémon named Weedle and a syringe filled with cannabis flower, an herb often referred to as marijuana. The meme had a quote that said, “Since the release of ‘Pokeman GO’ [sic] more than 40 billion children have used the app to ‘catch weedles’, slang for buying weed needles. Stop dealers selling marijuanas to your children! Ban Pokeman GO now!!”
This was actually a completely fake post meant to be a satire about these new fangled video games and their influence on our children. In fact, cannabis can’t even be taken through a syringe. Aside from that it is pretty clear from the blatant misspellings that the meme is meant to be a satire. If that isn’t enough information to realize that this story is a fake, take a look at the other satirical content located on the sometimes hilarious page.
8. Niantic Built The Game To Get People To Walk Into Retail Stores
The first altered reality game put out by Niantic was intended to draw business into local companies and retail spots. Before releasing Pokémon Go they put out another altered reality game called Ingress that was developed while Niantic was still owned by Google. The goal of Ingress was to draw mobile gamers to a business using the game play. Ingress launched three years ago in 2013 but had little success in events and usership. Two years later, in the late Summer of 2015, Niantic split from Google with all data to be transferred to Niantic just one month later. A year after going solo Niantic dropped Pokémon Go which essentially has the same baiting plan as Ingress to draw advertisers in just as quickly as mobile downloads. Basically, this is a very plausible conspiracy theory but it would probably be more of a data mining game if Niantic hadn’t split from Google a year ago.
7. One Woman Found A Dead Body While Hunting Water Pokémon
19-year-old Shayla Wiggins woke up one morning on a mission to catch water pokémon, so she decided to go for a walk in her town of Riverton, Wyoming. While walking by the river Wiggins ran into what looked like a man’s body floating face down in the water. She was right, the body of a deceased unidentified male was floating by her as she went to catch a water Pokémon. The late teen called the police who immediately drove out to retrieve the body. Luckily there was no foul play at foot and it seems that the man fell in the water accidentally and drowned. Police found that the man probably entered the water at almost the exact point where he was found. Other players have done things like unknowingly bump into people and things which incited small cuts and bruises here and there. But the story of Shayla Wiggins remains the most intense find yet.
6. Michelle Obama Is Entirely Behind Pokémon Go
As part of her first lady duties Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move! Initiative in 2010 with a goal to decrease childhood obesity 5% by the year 2030. Aside from the main goal of getting American children more fit, the Let’s Move! Program was focused locally on five tasks. They aimed to create a healthy start for children, increase physical activity, empowering parents and caregivers, providing healthy foods in schools and improving access to both healthy and affordable foods.
Many of the early defenders of Pokémon Go argued that the game got kids to finally get outside and start moving. That is why there have been theories revolving around the first lady working with creators on Pokémon Go. Since the game is more so launched towards marketing we’re pretty sure this one is simply a farce. Although Mrs. Obama is surely excited about how active Pokémon Go is making children, it’s a little bit of a reach to think that she’s entirely behind it.
5. The United States Is Going To Ban Pokémon Go Entirely
In late August of 2016, a news article was first posted on That Viral Feed that scared Americans into thinking that the federal government was going to completely ban Pokémon Go. The story stated that there had been too much hacking activity using the “altered reality” game and that they were going to have to completely shut it down. This rumor might have stemmed from Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go, receiving a letter from the House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce a month or so after launching the game. But the letter had nothing to do with what was reported on The Viral Feed, it just went over the data usage and privacy information attached to the game. After nothing happened regarding the federal shutdown of the beloved mobile game lots of hoax hunters tried to figure out if it was real or not. Turns out the major promotion regarding this conspiracy theory was by fame seekers that don’t rely too much on truth before reposting.
4. There Was A Traffic Pileup When A Man Saw A Pikachu
This is another urban legend that was circulating quickly after the release of Pokémon Go, that a man was driving down the interstate illegally playing the game when he saw a Pikachu and literally stopped in the middle of the highway. Obviously if someone stops on the interstate there is likely to be an accident which is exactly how the story goes, the man caused a huge pileup on the highway because of the game. This is yet another Pokémon Go story that originated on common fake news source CartelPress and it is 100% false. There was no pileup related to drivers playing Pokémon Go and the photo from the news story was actually taken from a completely unrelated freeway pileup. The photo is of a pileup in Denver that took place in 2014, before Pokémon Go was even in the making. This was an urban legend fabricated for click value more than truth.
3. Pokémon Go Was Created Through An Alliance Between The US & Japan
There has been quite a bit of Pokémon Go controversy in China, which has led to countless weird conspiracy theories surrounding the game. Chinese authorities are worried that employees in “sensitive areas” will play the game and inadvertently leak secrets from these facilities. Going even farther into these controversies, some Chinese are convinced that Pokémon Go is only infiltrating their country out of a conspiracy surrounding the United States and Japan. These Chinese conspiracy theorists believe that these two countries are placing Pokémon in secured areas in hopes of capturing pictures of these places. For example, some rare Pokémon showed up on a Chinese military base. The bloggers and other small factions that have barrelled down this train of thought believe that if Japan and the United States can easily target missiles with this valuable gathered information. The factual basis for this information is unknown but we’re pretty sure that China is paranoid by the Japanese-American game gaining so much popularity.
2. Mobile Carriers Are Behind The game So That People Will Suck Up Their Data
One of the more financially driven rumors about Pokémon Go is that the game was thought up by mobile carriers in a conspiracy to siphon all of our data for the month. In fact, a month after the game’s release the T-Mobile US Inc. Chief Executive tweeted that after the release of Pokémon Go data usage in T-Mobile plans had quadrupled. There was also a surge of fans of the mobile game that took to Twitter to complain that they were out of data and couldn’t play Pokémon Go. Since the game gets us outside and walking around it’s obvious that we’re moving around too much to stay on WiFi and obviously have to use our data when playing Pokémon Go out of the house. Although we’re positive that mobile carriers weren’t at the helm of launching Pokémon Go, it’s a fact they aren’t mad when mobile data quadruples. Although Pokémon Go was creating for marketing purposes we’re pretty sure those marketing mines are placed by mobile carriers.
1. The Game Only Exists For Government Surveillance
The final and most believable conspiracy theory related to Pokémon Go is about the game’s use of our personal data. Many believe that the government is using the game to get past data mining contingencies placed on them by the Patriot Act. Since the game connects to our camera and Niantic owns all of the images that are captured, it is completely possible that they are saving every image that is filtered through Pokémon Go data banks. Also when the app was first launched, if we signed into our Pokémon Go account we gave full authorization to all of our Google accounts which caused much alarm. The last huge eyebrow raiser is that the Pokémon Go terms of service are quite liberal when it comes to handing over our private information to police and law enforcement. This is a conspiracy theory that has been neither proven nor shown to be false; but from these few facts it seems completely believable.