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Reminiscing on Pokemon's culture of rumor

kamomesan

Son of Seiso
As a child, I was a member of a small group of dedicated Pokenerds at my elementary school. Although we all had internet access, I still remember our discussions of the games still were mainly word-of-mouth playground rumors. For whatever reason, I managed to convince my friends that you could transfer Pokemon from the Mystery Dungeon games to Diamond and Pearl.

Time went on and we all became a little more internet savvy, we would trade stories about Pokemon creepypastas and older fan's fake stories from forums. I would borrow my father's copy of Red to try and move the infamous Mew truck, and spent hours in Lavender Town trying to hunt down 'White Hand'. It was such a waste of time, but it was fun to imagine that there was some hidden truth in the games that was just waiting to be discovered.

Now whenever a game comes out, its easy to find accurate walk-throughs, people will generally call out misinformation, and Nintendo does a lot to spread news about their events. The closest thing we have to 'rumors' are Game Theory-style speculation that pieces together canon information into overall narratives. Its just difficult to find/create any secret that stay secret for long in the newer games.

So I thought I'd try to start some discussion about the culture of game rumors for funsies. Here's some questions for consideration:
  • If information about games still spread by word of mouth, what rumor would you start/imagine would spread today?
  • If you were part of those old playground Pokemon rumors, did you ever make any up?
  • What were the most memorable rumor (not theory) you've heard about or read?
 
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LucarioIsMegaEvolving

A single misplaced step
There's a lot of rumours that I'm fascinated by, most of them before my time, but there were a lot around the time that X & Y came out. There were a lot of rumours and theories about the Power Plant, the Hex Girl, and a lot of weird occurrences in those games that never really got explained.
Some of the most memorable rumours I've heard about are the Pokégods rumours in Red and Blue. I remember constantly rereading a really long and detailed article by a website called RageCandyBar about the rumours, and it fascinated me that this entire subculture and many different consistent Pokémon names and designs could arise just due to playground rumours. I also like the Bill's Garden myth from those games as well.
 

Divine Retribution

See who you are, where from, what of
1) I wouldn't. I don't think deliberately spreading misinformation is a productive thing to do. Personally, as nostalgic as it is to remember old rumors, I far prefer the modern climate where accurate information is easily available instead of speculation and hearsay.

2) No, but honestly Pokemon wasn't all that popular at most of the schools I went to when I was a kid anyways, and the friends who I did play with were generally more interested in trading than talking about rumors. The one thing I remember is that at one point I was pretty convinced there was a "Pokemon Green" version where you could start with Mew. Turns out there is a Green version that was only released in Japan, but obviously didn't have Mew as a starter.

3) Probably the Mew under the truck rumor. Way back in the day there were a thousand different theories and rumors about how you could get Mew but this one was always the most persistent. Even to this day there's still people who are convinced it works.
 

NovaBrunswick

Canada Connoisseur
Oh yes, we all know about Mew under the truck, being able to fly to the moon and catching Deoxys in R/S/E after a certain amount of successful launches and finding Jirachi underneath that mysterious white rock, but some people here may also remember "PokéGods", which were supposedly even more powerful forms of certain Pokémon that required some ridiculously hard tasks just to be able to encounter them, like beating the Elite Four 100 times or talking to Professor Oak 50 times. I think I also remember hearing a rumour (before Diamond & Pearl came out) that the Sinnoh starters would break the traditional Grass-Fire-Water cycle and instead be Fighting-Psychic-Dark. That probably inspired the Kalos starters' final forms' secondary typings, and the "flying to the moon" thing probably also inspired the Delta Episode in OR/AS, where you do get to fly into space and catch Deoxys, albeit on Rayquaza rather than a spaceship.
 

Captain Jigglypuff

Leader of Jigglypuff Army
The only rumor I kept hearing were about the secret Pokégods and which Pokémon they supposedly evolved from. The only two names that I remember everyone using was Nidogod which was for Nidoking and Nidolord which was for Nidoqueen which really doesn’t make much sense given that a “lord” is a male title. I heard that Marill aka Pikablu was the Pokégod of Pikachu but not much else and that didn’t last too long as a rumor once the first movie came out.
 

BCVM22

Well-Known Member
Culture of gullibility. There's a direct line from "Pikablu and the Poké Gods" to today's content producers who are happy to rebroadcast whatever baseless, aimless rumor they find, and if the harvest is a little short, they're even more happy to generate their own.

As the OP said, today's resources, and generally better communication and accountability, make it considerably harder for wide-scale in-game falsehoods to circulate, and that's not a bad thing.
 

kamomesan

Son of Seiso
I remember constantly rereading a really long and detailed article by a website called RageCandyBar about the rumours
Wow, I managed to find an archive of the RageCandyBar site. Looks like they documented the Poké Gods and other early phenomena fairly well. Thanks for putting me onto it, friend!
 

Missingno.Fan

Well-Known Member
I would never deliberately start rumors, but I loved the listen to them. I remember Pikablue one clear as day. I also remember someone (I think it was my cousin) said that if you lost to the elite four 100 times you would loose the Pokémon you had in the PC. I don’t think whoever told me that one wasn’t trying to pull a fast one, but was misinformed. I also remember hearing a rumor that if you get 100 hours on your game the SS Anne will return.
 

NovaBrunswick

Canada Connoisseur
I also remember hearing a rumor that if you get 100 hours on your game the SS Anne will return.
Ah yes, the old “if you play your game for an ungodly amount of time, the SS Anne will return” rumours. I think I heard one variant that said if you waited a year (in real life), the SS Anne would return to port, since the in-game NPCs say it will come back in a year’s time. Who actually waits a whole year for a pixel ship to come back? :rolleyes::p
 

pacman000

On a quest to be the best...
I saw an interview with Satoshi Tajiri where he talked about how he started developing games. He said he was obsessed with Xenvious, & that there were lots of rumors about the game which he had to try out. It's kinda appropriate then that a game he developed spawned a similar storm of rumors. I'm not in favor of rumors per se, but I still miss the mystery you'd get back in the day, & I'm glad, in a way, that similar rumors existed for later games like X&Y.

In our school there was a rumor that you could see Mew if you played the games for 100 hours straight.

I remember reading a cheat code which said you could find a path to Pallet Town's field by battling a Voltob in the Power Plant then finding a flashing rock & using strength on it.

Someone in Jr. High actually claimed to have found Mew under that truck; I remember another cheat code which said you could find a path to Johto under that truck. Sadly, I don't remember the exact steps to that one.

I remember searching the Unknown Dungeon for a stone which would evolve Mewtwo into Mew, & I remember.... chaet codes which were supposed to let you view Bill's garden or catch Marill or other Johto Pokémon in Blue Version.

And someone told me not to leave my Charizard with the daycare because the daycare man would teach Charizard fly. (Charizard couldn't learn fly in Red/Blue; I had Blue.)

Here's that RageCandyBar webpage: https://www.angelfire.com/pokemon2/animerpg/pokegodsindex.html
 
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Ophie

Salingerian Phony
The rumor culture is still around. It's just now moved to prior to a game's release, especially something as heavily hyped as a main series Pokémon game. In other fandoms, they're still around where the fandoms themselves aren't tech-savvy or look down on practices like data-mining.

Ah yes, the old “if you play your game for an ungodly amount of time, the SS Anne will return” rumours. I think I heard one variant that said if you waited a year (in real life), the SS Anne would return to port, since the in-game NPCs say it will come back in a year’s time. Who actually waits a whole year for a pixel ship to come back? :rolleyes::p
The same people who linger around for over an hour in Mario Kart 64's results screen so the different music will play.
 

Leonhart

Imagineer
I don't remember that many game rumors since I didn't have access to the Internet back when the franchise first gained popularity in the West, so few rumors reached my ears. I didn't hear about the so-called "PokeGods" until around the Gen III era when I researched information about Pokemon online. The only Gen I rumor that I remember hearing about is the "Pikablu" one, which turned out to be a fan-name for Marill.
 

NovaBrunswick

Canada Connoisseur
The only Gen I rumor that I remember hearing about is the "Pikablu" one, which turned out to be a fan-name for Marill.
I don't think it was actually a rumour, but when Black & White were about to come out, I remember one of the fan-names for Snivy was "Smugleaf", because it looked... well, smug. I wonder if people have named their Snivy Smugleaf as a joke, though. :p
 

pacman000

On a quest to be the best...
Apparently Topps used Pikablu & Buru instead of Merril & Snubbull on their promo cards for the 1st movie. Don't know where they got those names; I assume they got them from 4Kids or Nintendo, & that the names were changed before the film was dubbed. I never collected Topps' Pokémon cards, but I would like to have those for the weird name variants, if what I read is true.
 

Dephender

Gizakawayusu
Staff member
Moderator
I saw an interview with Satoshi Tajiri where he talked about how he started developing games. He said he was obsessed with Xenvious, & that there were lots of rumors about the game which he had to try out.
Xevious is general is pretty iconic in Japan as the game that really started the entire allure of hidden secrets that can be found by doing very specific and non-intuitive things. Back then you even had entire games designed primarily around this concept.
 

MrJechgo

Well-Known Member
You want a rumor? You can go way back to Mew. If it's not about using Cut on the truck's tires or Strength to move the truck, it can go further with the fact that Gen 1 always had 150 Pokémon... until Nintendo and GameFreaks started to mention something about Mew... which looked (and still looks) like Mewtwo's pre-evolution. That was also before the first movie was released, and before that, I lost count of how much merch did not feature Mew.
 

kamomesan

Son of Seiso
@pacman000 Thanks for droppping the RageCandyBar link. I tried to earlier but I got marked as spam. Idk what happened

You want a rumor? You can go way back to Mew.
That's an interesting take that yeah, this whole culture basically was born out of intentional, but obscure game design. In the early days, I'm sure the glitchiness of the games (i.e. Missingno) also helped contribute to the idea that there were hidden or even unintended creatures in the game.

Xevious is general is pretty iconic in Japan as the game that really started the entire allure of hidden secrets that can be found by doing very specific and non-intuitive things
Definite gen III Regis type vibes here. I wonder if Nintendo implementing "very specific action" secrets was a response to how popular "do 100 of X" style rumors were among fans. Then again, there was gen IV Spiritomb...
 

Auraninja

Try to understand.
Speaking of Missingno., I don't think that was ever meant to be the name of the glitch.

I think Missingno. was meant to be the names of hex values not related to Pokemon, but conjuring the glitch will result in a data dump with the value name being displayed next to it.

Why would Game Freak name a glitch anyway? If they knew of its existence, they could have patched it out.
 

Dephender

Gizakawayusu
Staff member
Moderator
Definite gen III Regis type vibes here.
No no, those were just optional puzzles. I'm referring to secrets along the lines of "don't pick up any items on stage 1, then proceed to lose all lives but one on stage 2 before shooting a specific part of the background to reveal an item that gives a million points" that were never hinted at in-game in any way.

Actual example there, btw.
 
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