12 Jul 2016

Pokémon Go has gone crazy, but not that crazy

1:23 pm on 12 July 2016

No one is suing Pokémon Go because they were hit by a car - yet.

Exploring the real world with Pokemon Go.

Exploring the real world with Pokemon Go. Photo: Claire Eastham-Farrelly/RNZ

“Pokémon GO: Teen Kills Younger Brother Because He Thought He Deleted His Pokémon” “Man Sues PokémonGo Company For 500 Million After Being Hit By Car!” “Teen Playing “Pokémon Go” Stabbed And Mugged For His iPhone; In Bad Neighborhood.”

There has been some pretty crazy things happening since Pokémon Go launched last week. But if a story you read or hear seems too crazy to be true - that’s because it probably is.

One web developer in Philadelphia has been catching attention online with a string of Pokémon news stories which he openly acknowledges are made up.

Pablo Reyes is the owner and founder of the satire website Cartelpress.com.

At a first glimpse, Cartelpress has all the makings of a genuine news website - fitted out with advertisements, a trending now bar, news images, as well as those attention grabbing headlines complete with stories to match.

But Pablo says a lot of the audience that he shares his content with know that it’s fake and readers can find the terms and conditions at the bottom of the homepage, where it states “Welcome to the “Cartelpress.com” a satirical website owned by Huzlers.com.

Pablo says if people bothered to read the stories instead of just looking at the headlines they would quickly catch on to the fact his news stories are not legitimate.

”If you read the article, if you actually go to it, we quote medical examiners, we quote police officers in a way that - they’re not really going to talk that way so if you read the article you will understand that it’s completely fabricated - it’s humour.”

Take for example the story Reyes wrote about a US teen named Timmy, who brutally murdered his brother for deleting his Pokémon.

Pablo says a lot of news that people read in the mainstream media is fictitious anyway. He plans to relaunch his website to allow users to create their own fictional stories and share them on social media.

“You can create your own bullshit news, you can share your own bullshit news - instead of going to CNN and grabbing their bullshit news and sharing their bullshit news.”

But perhaps another reason why Pablo’s stories are getting so much attention is because they’re not too far from the truth - some messed up things have happened since Pokémon Go launched.

Although not endorsed by Pablo, on CNN’s website alone there have been eye-catching headlines such as: Dead body found by teenager hunting water Pokémon, Armed robbers use the game to lure lone players and Man's private home turned into Pokémon gym.

And Pablo says while the stories he writes are fictitious now, they are things that are very possible.


A New Zealand Police spokesperson says that while anecdotally they weren't aware of any reported incidents in Auckland directly related to the game, they were reminding players to be aware of their surroundings, wary of visiting unfamiliar places or of entering private property.

The call for safety was also extended to those thinking of playing while behind the wheel.

"Anyone that uses their phone whilst driving is putting themselves and other road users at risk, as is any pedestrian engrossed on a phone crossing the road."

WATCH: Here’s a real Pokemon Go news report from RNZ

Pokémon Go was released in New Zealand last week and is already top of the app store list and has been downloaded over a million times globally.

At lunchtime yesterday there was a constant stream of people visiting the Winter Gardens at the Auckland Domain - one of the game's local hotspots.

Many had gone there specifically for the game, while others were just passing through on their lunch break.

Optometrist David Kong, 24, had been playing for about two days. "It's like, on my hand all the time pretty much."

He used his day off to play the game and get out and about.

"Made a visit with my mate just to come here and catch some Pokémon."