We tell the true-life story of a marriage brought to the brink of divorce by one man’s private Poké-passion!

It seems that the Pokémon GO craze has calmed a bit from the fevered heights of last month, when the game was finally released in Japan, unleashing a Pokédemic of staggering proportions. Still, many devotees continue to play the game obsessively (like this roving gang of nocturnal players scouring Ueno Park for Dratinis), proving that there’s something about the game that just clamps onto certain people and never lets go, like the pointy claws of an adorable Paras.

▼Sure it looks cute, but look at those razor-sharp claws!


While it goes without saying that you ought to be careful when wandering around and playing the game, another, more insidious danger lurks beneath the game’s colorful exterior and upbeat theme music.

▼ Seriously, this song won’t get out of our heads!

That’s right. In some extreme cases, the celebrated game has revealed itself to be a home-wrecker too. Don’t get us wrong! We’ve all been amazed by the game’s unique power to bring people together, inspire cool art and cuteness, but its undeniable appeal and immersive gameplay can prove to be too seductive for certain people.

▼ Foul temptress! Beware her siren’s song.

Our Japanese editor, Sato-san, knows one such individual, and shared his story with us—a cautionary tale of the value of honesty and openness in marriage, but mostly a good example of why you shouldn’t develop a secret, all-consuming obsession with Pokémon behind the back of your loved-ones.

The story begins, innocently enough, with Mr. A, an acquaintance of Mr. Sato in his 30s. An unremarkable, every-man type, Mr. A was only vaguely aware of Pokémon in the past; beyond Pikachu, this world was an utter mystery to him.

If only it were always so. Because one fateful day, he got his hands upon a copy of the hit game, Pokémon GO, and his life was transformed forever. At first he began innocently enough, playing it from time to time on his lunch break, but he quickly spiraled into the depths of a full blown obsession, his heart twisted and greedy like one of those guys from Team Rocket.

Before long, it became his singular objective to catch Pokémon at all hours of the day, and the game became an invasive presence in his life, harming his performance at work, depriving him of sleep, and even interfering with his relationship with his wife.

“No more! These pocket monsters are tearing us apart!” she presumably shouted. His wife, a casual player of the game, became disturbed by her husband’s compulsive playing. She banned the game from her home, in a desperate attempt to salvage their marriage. But that’s when the real trouble began.

At first, it seemed like Mr. A had kicked the habit, and was respecting the rule. But in reality, he had simply started to play in secret. The excuses piled up. Mr. A was working more overtime. Leaving to work hours earlier than normal. Making frequent trips to the corner store to pick up cigarettes. His wife became more and more suspicious.

Then the unthinkable happened. Mr. A was restless at home. Constantly looking at his phone–acting cagey and defensive. His wife mistakenly began to suspect he was having an affair! She began to ask friends for advice on her troubled relationship. Trust between the two was crumbling, and a gulf opened between them. What would he choose? To remain in this domestic prison, a pokéball of the soul, or to escape into the night, to embrace the wild life of a bachelor Pokéhunter?

At the moment it seemed all hope was lost, Mr. A confessed his secret addiction to his wife. She felt a pang of regret–was this her fault for banning the game? It seems, for the moment, at least, that their marriage was saved and Mr. A quit the game once and for all.

▼ The moral of the story…


Above all else, it’s always important to “stay aware of your surroundings,”  when playing Pokémon GO. That means no playing at work! Don’t discreetly play during meetings! And always include your family members–Pokémon GO is best enjoyed with the company of others, not in the solitude of a damp, dark room. That’s what normal video games are for!

Lesson learned!

Or was it? Rumor has it that Mr. A was forced to switch back to a flip phone.

Images: Niantic/Pokémon GO (screenshots by RocketNews 24)
[ Read in Japanese ]