Have you heard of Pokémon Go? Of course you have. And chances are, you’re just as obsessed as the rest of the world (well, the parts of the world who are lucky enough to have it). As is true for all things popular, rumors are floating around, and they may or may not be true. We'll try to round up the most common ones, and let you know the real scoop behind these Pokémon Go myths, and leave you with our final verdicts. Have you been bamboozled? Or will you be elated to learn something that could make the game more enjoyable for you?
True or False: Pokémon Go Myths
1. If You Miss, You Can Retrieve a Pokéball by Tapping It
Running out of Pokéballs isn't a problem for many new Trainers, but it becomes a real issue when you get up to the higher levels. Pokémon get harder to capture, and veteran Trainers often find themselves running out of Pokéballs. No Pokéballs means no Pokémon captures, and no Pokémon captures makes for sad Trainers who've been looking everywhere for that rare Ponyta that finally showed up right after they'd wasted their last Pokéball on some stupid 108-something CP Oddish they didn't even need anyway except for it having a higher CP than the Oddish you'd already caught. Thanks for nothing, Oddish, I hope you get hit by a—wait, where were we? Oh yeah. Right.
The myth goes that right after your Pokéball fails to connect with a Pokémon, you could tap the screen to recapture your Pokéball. If you're fast enough, the Pokéball will re-enter your inventory, and your Pokéball count won't go down. This myth is so popular it's even perpetuated by internet gaming colossus IGN, but as much as we'd like to believe there was a way for us never to run out of Pokéballs, this myth has been debunked; touching a missed Pokéball does nothing, as in, the goggles, they do nothing, nothing! "But it totally happened for me! Look at my inventory!" you heard the neighbor's kids saying? Well, chances are if you threw a Pokéball and missed, but your Inventory still reads that you have the same number of Pokéballs as before, that's just probably your game lagging. Move back into a good wifi spot, wait a few seconds, and check your Inventory again. What do you see?
Yeah, that's what I thought. You see disappointment.
Final Verdict: False
2. People Have Died Playing Pokémon Go... You Could Be Next
It's all over the Facebooks, the Reddits, the Twitters, and all those other socially-networking sites on the interweb superhighways the kids are using these days. Headlines like "Jerk driver stops in middle of highway to catch rare Pokémon, causes multi-car pileup," "Teen murders kid brother in his sleep because he deleted his Pokémon Go save file." And the death count seems to climb the more popular Pokémon Go gets.
There's no breeding ground more efficient for rumors like these than the internet. News sites, especially news sites that don't normally have anything to do with gaming, have been dominated by stories of how Pokémon Go has led to more unbelievable acts of public insanity than a Team Rocket audition. There's the story of the four armed robbers who set up a beacon to lure unsuspecting Pokémon Trainers to several locations where they were robbed at gunpoint. Other players have come across loaded guns and even a dead body while on the hunt for Pokémon. And you've probably heard the story about those two Pokémon Go players who pretty much walked off of a cliff. But so far – the important words here are so far – no one has actually died because of Pokémon Go.
However, people have come close, like the two teens in California, who were shot at for playing Pokémon Go. Reportedly, the teens were out cruising in their mom's car, hunting Pokémon at 1:00 am (because who needs sleep?!) in a residential neighborhood. When approached by an armed homeowner who thought they were burglars, the teens thought it'd be a good idea to floor their car, nearly running over the homeowner. Understandably, the homeowner's reaction was to shoot at the fleeing vehicle. The teens got away with nothing more than a flat tire and a rear fender riddled with bullet holes. Lucky Psyducks.
Sure, these teens came extremely close, and there have been many more cases where people have proven extremely careless while playing Pokémon Go. But so far, the death count for this game remains at zero. Any other headlines you're coming across are probably hoaxes, either simple Photoshop jobs or downright fake stories published by less-than-reputable sites just to get hits. Just like everything you see and read on the internet, only trust news stories from major sources, and do your research to confirm if other reputable sources are reporting the same thing.
Final Verdict: False
3. You Can Control What Your Eevee Evolves Into
By and large, Pokémon only have one form they can evolve into, but the rare Eevee is special; Eevees have three evolutionary forms. What form your Eevee evolves to is random... but what if there were a way to control how your Eevee evolves?
Pokémon Go players have credited the birth of this rumor to a bunch of popular Youtubers who reported that by assigning a particular name to your Eevee, you can control which form it evolves into. Due to the tight-knit, fan-sharing community that Youtubers enjoy, the rumor spread like wildfire all over the internet, and soon everyone lucky enough to have caught an Eevee began assigning them those particular names.
This myth is an interesting one, as it see-sawed back and forth between reality and fiction at least a few times before it was finally proven to be real. As with any game of telephone, the facts behind this rumor become more obscured the more times it’s retold, with many Pokémon Go players claiming to have "debunked" this myth because it didn't work for them. Here are the facts: if you name your Eevee Rainer, Sparky, or Pyro, you can guarantee that your Eevee will evolve into Vaporeon, Jolteon, or Flareon respectively. Reportedly, this trick only works if you don't already have a duplicate: that is, if you already have a Vaporeon in your inventory, naming a newly-caught Eevee 'Rainer' won't do anything special, and your Eevee will evolve randomly.
Final Verdict: True
4. Ultra-Rare, "Shiny" Pokémon Are Out There, Somewhere!
For many of us, one of our first fevered experiences capturing and trading Pokémon was in trading card form, during the original series run of the Pokémon TCG. In the TCG, there existed special Pokémon cards printed on shiny foil stock. These "shiny" Pokémon cards proved so popular that the trend was continued in later TCG prints, and it wasn't until Generation IV that the term "Shiny Pokémon" was officially coined. To this day, Shiny Pokémon cards are considered premium items for collectors. Since Pokémon Go is based on the original series run of Pokémon and (supposedly) contain all 151 Pokémon of Generation 1, wouldn't it be cool if there were Shiny versions of Pokémon that turned up in Pokémon Go, even rarer than the as-yet-to-be-spotted legendaries?
Sadly, the myth of Shiny Pokémon in Pokémon Go can be relegated under the heading, "Myths We Only Wish Were True, But Aren't--No Matter How Hard We Wish for Them." Many Pokémon Go players around the world have claimed to have encountered, or even captured, Shiny Pokémon like a Squirtle and Cloyster, but all that's ever been submitted is a few grainy Youtube videos and pixelated low-quality screencaps. And the nail in the coffin for this myth comes from programming-savvy users who report that by rummaging through the game's code and data-mining the game's beta version, it can be safely confirmed that Shiny versions of Pokémon don’t exist in the full game. But with many future updates slated for Pokémon Go, Shiny Pokémon enthusiasts might not need to wait long to get their wish...
Final Verdict: False (for now)
5. You Can Hatch Eggs in the Incubator Without Walking
If you're a homebody like I am (don’t judge me), who doesn't wanna travel to a whole different city or to the countryside to snag a Pokémon that's not readily available in your neighborhood, the option exists to buy a Pokémon Egg and place it in the Incubator. But to actually hatch a Pokémon in the Incubator, you need to walk: each egg has a kilometer requirement necessary to hatch it, and your kilometer progress is tracked using your phone's built-in hardware, much in the same way as a pedometer app tracks your footsteps and calorie burn. And some Pokémon eggs have enormous kilometer requirements, so much so that it'd take more than a week to hatch, even for more athletic types with a regular walking routine. What if I can't wait that long for my brand new Pokémon to hatch? What if I just want to catch my Pokémon without it making me burn calories and trying to subvert my couch potato lifestyle, thank you very much?!
Luckily, I'm not the only Pokémon Trainer who's asked this question. The easiest answer is the most obvious one: strap your smartphone onto anything that moves. Players have reported running Pokémon Go while their phones were strapped to fan blades, record players, or toy train sets. Some Trainers have even flown their phones around on drones. Other ideas for easy solutions are to keep Pokémon Go running while you're in the car, bike or train during your commute to school or work. But do any of these techniques actually work?
The answer: some of them do!
As it turns out, Pokémon Go is unable to track movement speeds faster than a run or a jog, so keeping Pokémon Go running while you're riding in a car, train or bike wouldn't work. The game simply won't be able to keep track with your pace, and thus won't count the distance you've traveled on a bike or in other vehicles as progress towards hatching an egg in the Incubator in-game. However, slower speed movements work wonderfully, including strapping your phone to a fan blade, a model train set, an old-fashioned record player, or even your dog during a game of fetch. All these will count as kilometers in the Incubator, and serve as an exercise-free method of hatching those eggs.
Don't want to take my word for it? Here's a guy who actually experimented to see what would happen if he attached his cell phone to his ceiling fan while running the Pokémon Go app:
Final Verdict: True
6. Hacking Your Phone's GPS Coordinates Allows You to Capture Rare Pokémon
It's a commonly-held belief that to complete your Pokédex, you'd need to travel the world, quite literally, to capture all 151 Pokémon, or get super lucky with your egg-hatching. While not actually a myth, some tech-savvy players believe that by hacking your phone's GPS, you're able to trick the game into thinking you're somewhere else, enabling you to find and capture Pokémon not usually available in your corner of the globe. There's good logical theory that this technique will probably work, but that doesn't mean you should try it yourself: Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, is quickly catching on to and banning players who are attempting to cheat the game in this way. Modifying (also called spoofing) your phone's GPS and other settings should not be attempted unless you're a professional who knows what you're doing. But we're kind of sure it's still a breach of your provider's terms of service.
Final Verdict: Not worth it!
The Bottom Line
We hope this information has been helpful to you. In your efforts to catch 'em all and be the very best, make sure you're not doing anything that could result in the banishment of your Pokémon Go account. I mean, how fun is it to cheat anyway? Doesn't that take away from most of the enjoyment of the game?
Have you heard of any other Pokémon Go myths that you'd like for me to investigate for you? Comment below and let me know, and I'll check it out!