Before we jump into the cultural phenomenon that is Pokémon, it’s important to see the numbers to understand its significance to the video game industry. Nintendo’s market value increased by 9 billion dollars in just 5 days after Pokémon GO was released. The first Pokémon ever to be designed was Rhydon. Pokémon is actually a contraction of “Pocket Monsters,” not a Japanese word. And while Pokémon started off with just 150 creatures, there are now over 800 Pokémon to catch.
Few video game series can boast as much cultural and industry impact as the Pokémon franchise. Generations of kids and young adults has a favourite Pokémon game and favourite creature. Many even have a specific Starter type they swear by. Pokémon stretches far beyond the video games. There have been numerous movies, TV shows, manga, and toys released since its original inception. Pikachu is now even a well-recognized mascot. But with such access to a rich lore, public perception can become skewed to a certain extent. While Pokémon has built up a tremendous amount of trivia and fun facts, it’s also created its very own library of false facts.
Here are the 25 biggest Poké-lies players have been fed over the years. Gotta debunk ‘em all.
25 Catch Mew If You Can
In the first generation of Pokémon games, back when it was significantly easier to catch ‘em all, Mew was the spectacularly rare Pokémon hidden within the game. Mew was more than just the elusive 151st Pokémon available in the entire roster of Red and Blue. Mew is also one of the few mythical Pokémon able to learn every move in the game. This of course made Mew a highly desirable and overpowered Pokémon available in the first gen games.
And unless you had used a Game Shark or hacked the game, there was little chance of your acquiring this mythical creature. Of course, that didn’t stop rumours for circulating regarding the whereabouts of Mew. Soon, one rumour stood above the rest, suspicious truck in St. Anne’s Harbor. But no matter much you huffed or puffed or tried to move the truck with Strength to access the Mew underneath, there was nothing there.
24 A Wild Armed Homeowner Appears
There are rumours lead gamers on a wild goose chase and then there are rumours that spread unwarranted and despicable reports. When Pokémon GO became a cultural phenomenon, the latter took a life on its own. In fact, Pokémon GO generated a huge amount of fake news that it was hard to discern the difference between fact and fiction.
One that stood out significantly more prominent than the others is the fake news report that a Pokémon GO player was fatally shot when he trespassed onto private property. Despite originating from fake news site National Report, this story spread like wildfire, being shared heavily across multiple social media channels. Other fabricated stories include a player causing a serious traffic accident while Pokémon-ing and driving, a brother stabbing his younger brother because he thought his Pokémon account was deleted, and that the game was built for Satanists.
23 No Church In The Wild
Every Pokémon player has a special Pokémon that’s close to their hearts. Usually, these Pokémon that hold a special place near and dear to our hearts is one of our starter Pokémon. After all, they’re who we start our journey with as a 10-year-old wide-eyed Pokémon catcher. And with over 700+ Pokémon out there, this is a true bond.
When choosing 1 of the 3 starters, usually a Fire, Water, or Grass type, choose wisely as you can’t select the others, despite the rumours and speculations. With the exception of Pokémon GO, the only way to get the other starter Pokémon is through trading with your friends or cheats via Game Shark. There is no possible way to get a starter out in the wild. Sorry to burst your Poké Ball.
22 You Spin My Head Right Round
As Pokémon GO continued to grow, rumours and false facts grew along with it. And unlike other Pokémon games, Pokémon GO encourages players to *gasp* actively participate to progress throughout the game. This meant heading out in the real world and interacting to catch Pokémon and grow your Pokémon levels to do battles and earn gym badges.
Of course, this was too much for some and such players sought ways to benefit and reap rewards without the work. A video soon emerged showing a Pokémon GO hack. In this particular video, the idea was put forth that putting your phone on a record player and allowing it to spin meant you were logging in steps necessary to progress throughout the game. Of course, this was 100% false as Pokémon GO works on your general GPS location. This still didn’t stop players from trying.
21 Joining The Mario Party
Much like the Injustice franchise and Marvel vs. Capcom games before it, crossovers in video games often throw fans into a tizzy. Whether it’s a gimmick or a way to bridge rival video game bridges together, crossovers are an exciting opportunity for gamers and fans who have always wanted to play characters from their rival video games.
The Pokémon franchise is no exception to this rule considering the long-standing connection to Nintendo; despite being developed by Game Freak not Nintendo. As such, when the first gen games launched, fans of Nintendo were chomping at the bits to not only catch all 150 Pokémon but also other Nintendo characters. Nintendo didn’t help their cause when they published an April’s Fool joke hinting at the existence of Yoshi in the Pokémon game. Sadly, Yoshi and co. never did crossover to the Kanto region.
20 Size DOESN’T Matter
Up until Pokémon GO, a Pokémon’s listed height and weight didn’t matter. In fact, fans paid little heed to such statistics. The advent of Pokémon GO and their curious addition to list height and weight so predominantly spurned a lot of theories regarding their importance. Many suggested the impact such listed height and weight on a Pokémon’s ability in battle. Could such dimensions affect Combat Power and Hit Points?
Considering that these listed attributes were completely random, it would be pretty absurd attribute combat ability based on their physical prowess. Eventually Niantic Labs had to confirm that a Pokémon’s listed height and weight were simply useless bits of trivial data. The only thing these stats impact are achievement medals. So go ahead, catch that mouse-sized Snorlax and feather-weight Graveler.
19 Call Me BILL!
The Secret Garden was a children’s novel published in 1911 that soon spawned movies, television serials, and even a musical. In short, The Secret Garden is a story about transformation, and the eponymous garden. Pokémon Red and Blue had their own version of the secret garden. Sadly, unlike Mary Lennox’s secret hideaway, this secret area was nothing more than schoolyard urban legend.
During your exploration of Kanto region, the player stumbles upon a strange gap behind the Sea Cottage that NPC Bill resides in. The tale goes that accessing the secret area behind Bill’s cottage opened the doors to a world of rare and exclusive Pokémon. Of course the strange gap behind the Sea Cottage was purely video game graphic limitations and a glitch. That of course didn’t stop the millions of Poké-fans from finding the doorway to this secret garden.
18 Drone Attack
When a video was released by a real, bonafide drone company offering a solution to help the crazed fans of Pokémon GO cheat, many were intrigued to say the least. Sadly, this attempt to cash-in on the craze never really got off the ground. Not does Nintendo have legal issues with third-party companies trying to cash-in on the “Poké,” Niantic Labs has gone to great lengths to ensure cheaters don’t prosper. TRNDlabs, the drone company attempting to assist fans catch ‘em all, has only shown a proof of concept. And as articles of this gadget were released over a year ago, it’s safe to say that the Pokédrone failed on its promise to help catch ‘em all.
TRNDlabs has commented that they hope to work with Niantic Labs in the future to get this project off the ground, but with so many legal issues surrounding this particular topic of conversation, not to mention phones requiring to be jailbroken to work, this is merely a project paved with good intentions.
17 I Choose You, Pikablu!
In 1998, an anime short appeared in Japan featuring a blue water mouse Pokémon. Of course, little was known about this obscure Pokémon. Many soon dubbed this Pikachu look alike as “Pikablu,” thinking it was the next evolutionary step for Raichu or even a mythical legend like Mew. Of course eventually, everyone would learn that “Pikablu” is actually Marill, a gen-2 Pokémon that would make its debut appearance in Pokémon Gold and Silver. But it would take another year until Gold and Silver’s Japan release and 2 years until its U.S. release.
But rumours do what they do best, spread like wildfire. And soon, players were chasing down schoolyard legends of this mythical Pokémon. Many were convinced this mysterious blue Pokémon was hidden somewhere in Red and Blue, with everyone having their own story on how it could be obtained. Bill’s Garden, anyone?
16 The Grass Have Eyes
Since the early days of Pokémon, this adventure RPG has always had unobtainable areas inaccessible even with cheats or hacks. And one mainstay in the Pokémon franchise has always been the ability to select one, and only one of the three starter types. The inability to find the other two starters in the wild, coupled with these inaccessible areas spurred the growth of the idea of hidden, wild starters in the grass outside Pallet Town.
And like Jack and his fabled beanstalk, this rumour grew overnight. After all, no one would trade away their starters, and the desire to capture the other starters made this false fact a somewhat believable. Players tried to find a way through this invincible wall to access these “so-called” wild starters. Even using a hack to walk through these “walls” resulted in the game crashing.
15 Poké Beatdown
Much like the original three starters, the Elite Four is a mainstay and continuing trope of the Pokémon franchise. The Elite Four, are four Pokémon trainers regarded as best and toughest in their respective regions. The only way to challenge the Elite Four was to win all eight Badges in that region.
While the Elite Four themselves are not a false fact, the rumours swirling around them are. Some are downright ridiculous, while others teetered on the brink of believable. Online forums are filled with the idea that if you beat the Elite Four x amount of times, a special reward would unlock. A few examples of this false rumour included beating the Elite Four 50 times to get “Pikablu,” beating them 100 times unlocked cave filled with rare and exclusive Pokémon, and beating them 150 times meant a wild Mew would appear.
14 Pokémon... Online?
If there was ever a video game series that would make the perfect candidate to transition towards the world of MMORPGs, Pokémon would be it. It has the perfect combination of elements to stand among the giants within the genre. Pokémon has a rich lore, massive map, customization options, amazing and unique artwork, and action-based gameplay.
And with the current Nintendo offering of Switch, rumours soon begun to spread of Game Freak taking Pokémon online. Sadly, this is just wishful thinking. Though that hasn’t stopped the rabid fan base from creating their own online role-playing game. At the moment, the only WoW-inspired Pokémon world comes as a courtesy of a fan-made Pokémon MMORPG called Pokémon World Online. It’s not exactly what the fans have been hoping for, but it’s a start.
13 The Mew Legacy
One of the biggest rumours in the early days of Pokémon, particular one with strong staying power has starred the ever-elusive 151st Pokémon, Mew. Despite Nintendo stating numerous times that there was no way to catch Mew in the first gen games, fans didn’t stop trying every trick and cheat in the book. Remember the infamous truck by S.S. Anne or Bill’s Secret Garden? Other ways that fans of the franchise have tried to capture a Mew the Level 49 Magikarp trick and capturing all 150 Pokémon.
For the uninitiated, the Magikarp trick involved putting a Magikarp in the daycare without it getting experience. Then, wait until it reaches level 49. Once it does so, level it up with a Rare Candy, and instead of evolving to a Gyarados, you get a bonafide Mew. All work and no play makes Mew a mythical legend.
12 Starships Were Meant To Fly
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced fans to a complete new region in the Poké-verse, the Hoenn region. It is in this region where our next false fact takes place.
On an island in the eastern edge of Hoenn mainland, players will stumble across Mossdeep City. A generic city by all accounts, one thing that stood out in Mossdeep City was its Space Center. Used by Team Magma to launch a rocket into space, a rumour began to spread regarding this supposed spaceship launch. According to the schoolyard legend, if the player interacts with the NPC outside the Space Center, they’ll be told about the spaceship launch number. Once a certain number is reached, the player can hop on the rocket as it launches into space.
The rumour that spread around this rocket launch hinted at the possibility of the player battling and catching the legendary Pokémon Jirachi or Deoxys in space. Of course, much like the truck sitting next to SS Anne and Bill’s Secret Garden, this was a rumour that failed to launch.
11 One Poké Ball To Rule Them All
This rumour was passed around and handed down generation by generation like second-hand clothes. And much like other generational rumours, it failed to catch any truth.
The Master Ball is not only the rarest of Poké Balls but also the strongest. While they appear in limited quantities throughout each game, a Master Ball is significant in that it captures a single wild Pokémon without fail. And as Master Balls appear in limited quantities, players searched high and low to accumulate as many such balls as possible. Of course, the rumour soon spread that you could make a Master Ball out of any Poké Ball by simply employing certain combinations. Each Nintendo console had a different combination. One such combination was Down+B, A+Right, L+Left, A+B+X+Y, Select+Start+A+B. Another A+B+X+Y+Select+Start+L+R+Up+Right. None of these combinations ever worked, meaning your catch rate remained the same and you were stuck with the same old, bland Poké Ball.
10 Eeveelution Confusion
Of the original 150 Pokémon, Eevee was the little engine that could. It was the only one that featured a branching evolution path and many fans drew excitement from transforming Eevee into one of its three forms using a Water, Thunder, or Fire Stone. But as there were five evolutionary stones, fan theories took a life on their own and many in the fan base created various types of imaginary “Eevee-lutions.” It didn’t help that the Pokédex indicated in the possibility of new forms of “Eevee-lutions” as well as the presence of new evolutionary stones.
Of course, fans would be proven correct in subsequent releases. With the Moon and Leaf Stones playing significant roles in future “Eevee-lutions.” But when the first gen of Pokémon came out, the amount of fan theories that came out where as varied as the Eevees themselves.
9 Who’s That Pokémon?
Pokémon isn’t the cultural icon it has become simply due to the popularity of its games. To this day, “Who’s That Pokémon” is an Internet and meme legend. And the catchy Pokémon theme song had many adolescent children dreaming of being the very best, like no one ever was. With the delays between Japanese and English releases, many fans of the franchise hurt themselves in their confusion. And unfortunately, it was super effective!
This led to the rise of many hoax Pokémon, humourously called Fakémon. Though as many online forums pointed out, Hoaxémon would have been a better name. If you recall, Pikablu, is one such rumoured creature. Other popular fan theory was the rumoured creature “Mewthree,” upon hearing its name mentioned in the first Pokémon movie.
8 Surprise Attack!
Moves or techniques are an integral part of any Pokémon game. Some moves are even integral outside of battles, allowing players to remove obstacles in their way or explore new areas. As such, certain moves are unobtainable by specific Pokémon. As previously stated though, rumours spread due to various other merchandise linked to the Pokémon games. One such rumour was Pikachu being able to learn Surf due to a trading card existing depicting such an idea. A similar rumour regarding Surf revolved around a leveled Magikarp (also false).
One particular false fact about moves surrounded TM39, or Swift. The myth suggested that Swift hits without fail. This is actually false, particularly if the opposing Pokémon used Fly or Dig or if their Evasion level was raised with the Double Team move.
7 A Wild MissingNo Appears!
There are many false facts about MissingNo. One is that MissingNo. is actually a Pokémon. Hint: it’s not. In fact, as Kotaku explains, MissingNo. is all but a glitch, a programming fail in the first generation games. But that’s not the rumoured oddity in question here. What is, is the idea that MissingNo. can potentially erase your save file.
Once obtained, MissingNo. could be used in a variety of ways, with many fans using MissingNo. to duplicate inventory items. The only problem was, once you’ve obtained MissingNo. things in your game got a little screwy. Screens would appear scrambled and many players reported Pokémon being deleted from their parties. The worse part was players suggesting that MissingNo. erased entire save files. No known cases have been proven and Nintendo has even gotten involved by issuing a statement that your game simply needed to be restarted if such issues occurred.
6 Hey You, Pikachu!
Console rivalry is not a new thing. It’s not even a falsied fact. One classic rivalry is Sega vs. Nintendo. Sega released some nasty ad campaigns in the 90s, comically calling Nintendo, “Nintendon’t.”
Well, Nintendo responded in kind. Remember the short-lived N64 game Hey You, Pikachu!, the virtual pet video game which utilized the N64’s Voice Recognition Unit (VRU)? Think Tamagotchi with voice-activated moves and Pokémon action. Well, a rumour so happened that if the player says “PlayStation” or “Sega,” Pikachu would show his displeasure and react angrily. The only problem was, no proof outside of a few uploaded videos proved the truth of this rumour. Even the game’s voice library had no indication of such words in its vocabulary. If this rumour proves anything, its that console rivalries are a tale as old as time.
5 Pokémon Is A Peaceful World
Pokémon triumphs as a franchise because many viewed the creatures as good-natured and pacifistic at heart. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the whole series, including the extension of its franchise was geared towards children. But, this was just a sugary-sweet cloud, a myth that hid the darkness lying just below the surface. Need a few examples of just how dark this so-called “peaceful” world is?
Take Gorebyss for example. The very essence of beauty and elegance, until you learn just exactly how it battles. When a prey is spotted, Gorebyss shows its cruel nature, inserting its needle-like mouth into its prey’s body draining it of its bodily fluids. Or how about Yamask? The name itself belies this creature’s dark nature. Each mask that a Yamask carries was once a human. Yamasks even cry when it looks at its mask, longing for its next victim. Let's not even get into Cubone.
4 Pokémon Black: Killer Edition
There’s no false rumour about it, Pokémon Black is as real as they get. Part of the fifth generation of the franchise, Pokémon Black was released in 2010 in collaboration with Pokémon White. But there’s a Pokémon Black that you know and a version that you don’t. The former is a bonafide part of franchise and the latter turns you into a cold-blooded killer.
Pokémon Black, the creepy version, starts in the same way as Pokémon Red and Blue, though includes a fourth starter; GHOST. If you select this fourth starter, GHOST started off with just one move; Curse. And unlike attacks, Curse doesn’t just incapacitate other Pokémon, it kills them. Soon, the fun and friendly Pokémon world you know turns into a graveyard of death. It may be an urban legend, but this doesn’t stop it from being one truly creepy tale.
3 Splash Down
Magikarp has been the long-lived punching bag of the Pokémon franchise. Not only is Magikarp the weakest Pokémon in terms of CP, he also requires the most candies to achieve evolution. He’s Mario before he consumes a magic mushroom, but once he does, he becomes a powerhouse, transforming into Gyarados, exponentially growing 15 times stronger. Mind you, no other Pokémon gets such a massive power boost.
Magikarp probably served better as a paperweight than as a Pokémon. Still, many players kept this useless Pokémon for one primary reason, the ability to devastate their friends with the most useless Pokémon attack: Splash. Rumour had it that Splash had a 0.001% chance to deliver an insta-kill attack. As other moves had the same ability, particularly Fissure or Guillotine, this became such a believable notion that players kept Magikarp in their party longer than necessary.
2 Pushing Your Buttons
Like athletes, many video game players subscribe to a particular type of logic. This gamer logic made people believe the could dictate the course of the gameplay through various forms of superstitions. Ever lean forward to get +30% concentration? What about tilting your head to see more of the playable area? Or how about tilting your body to get your character away from danger? Pokémon had its own version of such gamer logic. Down+B.
Many players believed that when you threw a Poké Ball, if you held Down+B, your chances of catching a Pokémon would increase. And the harder you held down these buttons, the higher your chances became. Years later, many players still swear by this false gamer logic. It may have simply come down to a certain placebo effect, but even the most rational and intelligent player tried this move, once or twice.
1 The Curse Of Lavender Town
No Pokémon article on false facts and rumours would be complete without including the Lavender Town Myth. If you haven’t heard the story, here’s a quick refresher. Following the release of the first gen games, an Internet tale popped up on a number of reported suicides in Japan linked to Lavender Town, Pokémon’s ghost town. Certain elements combined such as the music, made even the most intelligent and rational player believe this false story.
This story, and others similar to it are of course false. Though something similar was reported on by The New York Times. According to the article, a cartoon in Japan used “different-colored lights” to create a “sense of tension.” This tension caused convulsions, vomiting, and seizures among children watching the TV show. The name of the show? Pokémon. Creepy, right?