We don't talk about Nintendo much. The publisher does its best to pretend that the App Store doesn't exist. On the rare occasions when it does acknowledge the existence of iPod Touches and iPhones, it's just either to (a) re-state that it isn't interested in moving into the mobile space or (b) take a shot at the App Store's pricing model.

On the other hand, you can't have a conversation about an unofficial Pokemon app without at least referencing the company. On Friday, a clone of Pokemon Yellow hit the App Store, and even though it doesn't work at all, people have been scrambling over the thousand or so one-star reviews in order to give it a spin. It's the number three paid app, in fact.

Undoubtedly, most people downloading this know that this game isn't official. But, this isn't stopping them from giving it a spin. Bigger picture, this is a great example of how many consumers want Nintendo games on their phones, and how they'll try to get it anyway they can. Usually, we talk about this in the context of people going nuts over a highly derivative title, like a 2D platformer with plumbers and squishy monsters. This scenario is different.

To be clear, Pokemon Yellow is beating out Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Cut the Rope, and the world's latest darling, Clear. Money is being made here, and it's the significant variety. Oh, how we wish this could be used to lure the Big N to the Store. We wish we could just scream, "Hey, guys, look at this, you could be making this instead of some guy who couldn't even release a clone correctly! Let's do this!"

That's dreaming crazy dreams. This won't persuade it to join mobile. It's too married to hardware, too convinced that continuing to release new platforms and supporting them with the Zelda, Pokemon, and Mario are the only way to be profitable. It's a bummer, really.

Nintendo or the Pokemon Company doesn't seem to be too concerned with pulling Pokemon apps, by the way. There are more than a handful on the store, all unsanctioned, and from what we can tell, unchanged since their initial appearances. The chart positioning is ultimately going to get Apple's attention, however. We expect Pokemon Yellow to disappear within hours of this posting.

Pokemon Yellow on Gameboy.

We gave this a download, and can happily report that it crashes out immediately after its splash screen crops up. Users in its reviews have reported that it crashes on every device under the sun, so please don't even try this out.

We actually wouldn't be too surprised to learn if the game's code even had anything to it beyond that splash screen and a buggy bit of UI. It makes more sense, if you know that you're going to get your app pulled, to spend as little time as possible on it. Why bother with more than a splash screen?

We'll keep our eyes on Pokemon Yellow and the game's developer, who has a blog right here and has a history of publishing broken apps pitched as clones, as evidenced by its publisher page on iTunes.

Again, though, don't download this, or hey, even the other Pokemon app that cropped up recently. These people are preying on you, and when you download these blindly or in some silly hope that they'll magically work, they win.

UPDATE: After hitting the number two spot on the paid charts, Apple pulled Pokemon Yellow around 8:00PM EST.

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

    Honestly, if Apple's review process can't catch obviously fraudulent apps like this, what is the point?

    • http://www.facebook.com/asiwjee Abbass-Ali Siwjee

      Though apple gets a crap load of the profits... so in a way, why wouldn't they want to stop this going through if they knew it would be profitable. 

      • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

        Apple can get in more trouble than the profits are worth, especially with stepping on toes of a company like Nintendo.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/BBTDKD2P75GRROMMPAITETLCSI Raconteur

        Think about what you're saying for a minute. Apple is worth billions and billions and billions of dollars. They aren't going to conspire to bilk their customers for $25,000 with a fake pokemon game, why would that in any way be worth it to them? Can you imagine the public backlash and legal trouble they'd face from Nintendo if they purposely engaged in something like that?

        Like most conspiracy theories this goes back to laziness and incompetency. Apple simply dropped the ball here, they don't have some stupid-ass scheme to make a handful of change.

      • diemer

        The problem with what you're saying is the assumption that Apple pays the "developer" the second an app is sold. In reality it can take over a month, and that's not even considering that Apple usually doesn't process payments the moment a purchase is made. They generally wait 2-3 days to lump multiple purchase on one credit card transaction (saving them a bundle in processing fees). That gives them plenty of time to cancel and refund all purchases made in cases like this (though I have no proof that they will actually do that).

  • Anonymous

    That's dreaming crazy dreams. This won't persuade it to join mobile. It's too married to hardware, too convinced that continuing to release new platforms and supporting them with the Zelda, Pokemon, and Mario are the only way to be profitable. It's a bummer, really."

    You can't really blame Nintendo.  The 3DS is their fastest selling handheld to date.  I'm sure if the sales numbers were abysmal they would consider releasing games on the App Store.

    • Austin Riddle

      There must be something different in the water, because I have yet to even see a 3ds on display at a store here in Vancouver Canada, and I can honestly say I'm never even seen a 3DS is public.  This is coming from a guy who takes 4 buses every day with an hour commute.  I'm not saying the statistic is at all false, it's just really strange when I've already seen a bunch of Vita's

      • Anonymous

        Stranger still is that Vita sales HAVE been really poor.  The PSP is currently beating it in Japan.  Though, much like with the 3DS, things are bound to pick up later this year.

      • GDSage

        Anecdotal is just that, it means very little.

        The fact is the 3DS has been the fastest selling videogames system. In another month or so it will be nearing twenty million units sold worldwide and at this rate (unless Nintendo messes up big time) it might match what the DS ended up selling (over 150 million). It's probably your area. The presence of the hardware isn't going to be the same all over the place.

      • http://twitter.com/add119 adam

        i seen alot of people in new york city with 3ds at least 20 to 30 ppl a days. Maybe in canada it isnt but in usa it is.

  • http://twitter.com/touchgameplay TouchGamePlay

    It`s obviously that the Review System of Apple is currently having so many holes similar to an Swiss cheese when an App like this One could get passed it.

    Knowing that an App has to sell between 30.000 - 50.000 Daily to get into the Top Ten of the US iTunes Store it`s always Impressive how long those Apps stay actually on the iTunes Store till they get finally removed.

    I don`t know if Apple is actually paying out in an Case like that but if they do somebody just made in less then seventy-two Hours $100.000 and that`s more then some Kickstarter Projects get in an hole Month or some Contest Winner at American Idol to earn in his first Year each Month.

    Let`s Face it:

    If someone does actually that Trick at least four Times a Month he could earn more Money then the current President of the United States or some new CEO at Coca Cola or...

    I don`t want to get deeper into that topic since it`s impressive and also shocking at the same Time and I hope that Apple do not pay out in an Case like that and ban those Accounts finally and start to clean up the iTunes Store since it can`t be that Apps like Pokemon Yellow or similar App are listed for Days and nothing happens.

    • http://twitter.com/olikester Oliver Reynolds

      So if they aren't paying out then where is the money going?
      This slipped through because Apple knows it will sell big and they can take their cut. If they aren't paying the developer then that's a 100% cut!

      • Adams Immersive

        Apple’s cut of one app (even 100%) is peanuts to them, not worth sacrificing their REAL money-making strategy: insuring a good experience for their users. There is no intention by Apple to “let someting slip" because of the fraudulent money they can take from their users.

        This is an Apple mistake, not an Apple conspiracy.

      • http://twitter.com/touchgameplay TouchGamePlay

        Back to the Customers?

      • olikester

        As far as I know, Apple only refunds if you contact them directly. I doubt they will refund the perhaps hundreds of thousands who bought the app. And as for contacting them, will many people bother for $0.99?

    • Jollylands

      Hi TouchGamePlay,
      I am very interested in your post. You say "Knowing that an App has to sell between 30.000 - 50.000 Daily to get into the Top Ten of the US iTunes Store"

      Is there somewhere this information is reliably published? 

      Thanks in advance


  • Yuchen Zou

    This is silly.... just jailbreak it and get the emulator. Problem solved.

    • Carl

       Just remember though, it's only legal if you own a hard copy of it. I have a hard copy of some GBA SP games, so I could legally download and play them.

      • http://twitter.com/try2bcool69 Jay G

        Legal, Smeagol...no risk, no reward!  😉

      • Noah

        Actually, that's not true at all. It's been illegal since the 80's. Google "Atari v. JS&A".

      • Carl

         I'm in Canada.

      • Noah

        See my other comment below about Canadians.

      • Carl

         The comment about us not being smart? What a troll.

      • Carl

         The DMCA allows for Roms to be used legally in Canada... unlike our American brethren such as yourself.

  • GDSage

    It's not that Nintendo sees it as the only way to be profitable but rather as the best way to remain profitable in the long-term.

    Nintendo's Iwata has spoken on numerous occasions that at this time and the near future keeping their wares exclusive and to their own pricing models is the best way to keep said series viable and not undervalued (this extends to their back catalog). Iwata also stated that other avenues like social network gaming are reviewed on a continual basis (as are other competition including television) and if a time comes when they see it complimenting Nintendo's core business they will adopt it. So it's not quite as cut and dry as you're making it out to be.

    Whether you agree with it or not is another matter but Nintendo has shown time and agaib in software sales numbers (and the price those titles go) that their core business is hard to argue against (and the doom and gloom sayers of the media soon shushed up with such talk). If that core business could be complimented elsewhere without longterm drawbacks like series fatigue or declined value is unknown right now but it's clear at this time Nintendo does not think it best.

  • Anonymous

    This isnt even the most egregious Pokemon app. I sent a tip about one that was way worse, charging 4.99 for some pictures of a pokemon game, and 4.99 is the introductory price! 'Get it while it's hot' the description says. Complete scam artists on iTunes 🙁

  • http://www.jshamblin.com J.Shamblin

    I'm not surprised. Zanda (GameSalad template) is still available in the app store. I just checked and now there are two of them.

  • http://twitter.com/stevenmatarazzo Steven Matarazzo

    The screenshots aren't even of Pokemon Yellow, they're of the GameBoy Advance series... this needs to be pulled and everyone needs to be refunded. Nothing but a scam.

    • http://twitter.com/try2bcool69 Jay G

      So, as usual, people want to place all of the blame on the big corporation instead of blaming the ignorant masses that flock to scams like this one, like moths to a flame.
      Snake-oil salesmen were around a long time before Apple, and they'll be around long after it's gone.

  • http://twitter.com/tfobf  tfobf

    Why does your entire article not mention the real party at fault here; Apple. They provide this "walled garden" service supposedly to protect us, and yet they let stuff like this through. It's absolute bullshit that apple do it and touch arcade should be pushing for app store reform every chance it can get. Shame on you TA.

    • GDSage

      Exactly, what should be the actual point of discussion is how Apple's control is all over the place, as not only has a Pokemon app somehow gotten through it's also a broken app. How two great failures in the same product managed to bypass Apple is the true pressing question.

    • http://twitter.com/MrCheeseballs Mike Crumpley

      Completely agreed, it's a shocking article and completely fails to cover the MAIN problem in this whole situation. Everyone knows Nintendo are picky bastards when it comes to their games and the fact that this "slipped through" the almighty Apple review process is not only embarrassing, but could get even more ugly for them. This app isn't "functional" in the slightest, and never will be. Cute way to make a quick buck though, I won't lie.

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    Top three is very impressive for a nonworking app!  Wow. The Apple approvals are clownshoes, I just hope some heads roll over there!

    Also, it's hard proof that Pokemon > Angry Birds. Finally, something that can defeat those damn birds.

    • Noah

      The game works great for me!! Love it. I'm going to see if I can't buy it AGAIN on another account because it's just that good!!

      • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

         You're insane... But feel free to keep the economy going haha!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003102152876 Floris Hazewinkel

    If it hit the top 3, while not even working and rated 1 star by most, Nintendo could make a sh*tload of money by selling their games for iOS!

  • chamuscao

    Did you read the AppStore description?
    "Fantastic and addictive gameplay. Six stars." 5/5 <--- Six stars and 5/5?
    That's way too funny.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7UKJQTJNEVE4QGS3CXD3OZHKU4 Vic Viper

    Jeez man, I've gotta get in on this! Imagine how much people would pay for a non-working compilation of Pokemon games... and why stop there? I could rip off other sought after games like Final Fantasy VII!

    • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

       I want in on that action too. I can make you splash screens all day, let's clean house!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for writing this.

    I literally stumbled upon the Game via Appshopper last night and then saw the overwhelming amount of Negative Reviews. Not being a Pokemon fan, I was never going to buy but initially I thought the Big N might be softening.

    As stated, the Devs other "Apps" are also bunk based on the Victim Reviews and the blatant Dev posted "5 Star" review on two games and by the same Revie...I mean Dev.

    • Schnapple

      You really thought it was from Nintendo even when the company name was not "Nintendo"?

      • theundertow

        Tell me what the word "initially" means or might be alluding to in my post.

  • http://twitter.com/JDudez14 Johnny D

    Please, read their blog. Pretty much every sentence stinks of lies, and superficial dreams.

    • http://twitter.com/thebenchwarmers BenchWarmers Clique

      LOL why, they seemed like sincere fellows to me...

  • http://www.facebook.com/WereChihuahua James Gerbino

    Apple is actually playing with fire letting this kind of thing through a review system. By pretending to review and approve apps they take implicit liability. If Nintendo decided to get ugly... and I would... The old blame them to us wouldn't hold any water in court. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/frasermorgan Fraser 'Beesting' Morgan

    It's hit number one in Canada... 🙁

    Pure desperation.


    • http://twitter.com/Elmo_l_ Elmo Noriega

      No on cares about Canada.

    • Noah

      I always knew Canadians weren't too smart...

      • http://www.facebook.com/frasermorgan Fraser 'Beesting' Morgan

        Note: Comments must be civil, respectful, and on-topic. If a
        comment does not add to the conversation, if it contains spam
        advertising, or inappropriate language or content, it will be removed.
        Comments containing links may be held for moderation. Relax, enjoy, and
        share in the discussion.

      • Noah

        Noah (edit profile)

        You forgot the rest of the copy & paste.

      • http://www.facebook.com/frasermorgan Fraser 'Beesting' Morgan

        I don't like how you roll, troll.
        What's your goal? To destroy my soul?


      • theundertow

        "Blame Canada? Blame Canada! They're not even a real Country anyway..."
        P.S. - leave Canada out of this...

  • Ben Ruddock

    People are incredibly stupid to fall for stuff like this if you ask me. If you're so desperate to play pokemon on your iDevice that you resort to incredibly shady looking rip-offs and scams, why not just Jailbreak and get an emulator?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IMPWGG25OM3ICOZODPSNUFZ6EQ ROBERT

    Probably botted, scammed an hacked it's way up the charts where people are now being fooled in to buying it. App store links should be removed from this post so people do not just click without reading the post

    • mclifford82

      I don't think TouchArcade should be responsible at all for people that don't read the post and just click the link.  Especially with a title that says very clearly it is NON-FUNCTIONAL.

  • Anonymous

    I can't imagine Nintendo is actually making sales on copies of Pokemon Yellow anymore, why don't they actually release it?

    Since it won't be competing with their current gen devices and newer pokemon games, it will be pure profit, they even have their market research covered, since this ridiculous non-working app made thousands of dollars in mere hours without providing anything but the name and a picture.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rjgill1 Ryan J Gill

    1). This is such a joke. I cant believe this went through. One major problem I have with this platform for gaming is how cautious I have to be (though, obviously, THIS example is fairly blatant). If you think I'm being harsh, ask yourself if how many XBLA/PSNI have a 1st gen Xbox 360 and it works with the same games someone buying a slim would buy.

    2). Brad you still confuse me. Nintendo isnt going to publish for iOS...and neither is Sony or Microsoft. I still dont get why you write such praise and hope for Sony, and here complain that a 1st party hardware dev isnt producing for mobile phones. Is Sony? You just had that recent Vita pricing market where you backhandedly slammed Nintendo while praising Sony for game pricing, despite the two systems having nearly identical price models.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MO6U7PYMQPXQYV5XTEZLV32X6M Travis

    Buy a Nintendo system for Nintendo games.

  • Anonymous

    So, we humble internet folks have known about this for 6 hours, wouldn't someone at Apple have noticed what the current top app is and looked into it by now?
    How is it still up?

    • Schnapple

      Yesterday was a holiday in the USA, is my guess. Ever notice how app updates never hit on weekends?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustin-Garrett/515238031 Dustin Garrett

    The creator of this fake app should be banned. There is another rip off i read about today for 4.99 but it at least tells you in the description that its just pics. I knew it was fake because nintendo is never going to put the games on ios but the guy writes this is pokemon. How did this get approved? People should check out the one star rating before buying it.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X4CHZ5AAQNERB42YPFVXQRCI44 Howard

    *Signs onto Toucharcade*  Hmmm .... POKEMON APP?!?!?!?! WTFLMAOBBQ!!!!  I MUST HAVE IT NOW!!!!  *Salutes Toucharcade as he runs off to download it*

    • Anonymous

      How'd you like it?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_X4CHZ5AAQNERB42YPFVXQRCI44 Howard

         I've been BAMBOOZLED!!!  :(... and here toucharcade was nice enough to even supply me the link to download it :(.

      • theundertow

        Bah dude - I thought you were joking. Send an email to Apple/iTunes Support - explain your were caught in this...ask for refund...spend dollar on a Mechanical Ride for your kid (or yourself).

        I've never had a problem getting charges corrected/removed but you DO need to ask.

  • Anonymous

    Every penny made should go to Nintendo...plus compensation... for Apple being idiots.

    Apple really needs to sort out its app review process. Do they even use real people to assess apps, or is it all done through an automated system... as Ive seen examples of where the same developer might release 5 different apps, all claiming different gameplay, but then showing the same exact screenshots. Surely if the games are tested properly, the tester would see that gameplay doesnt match the screenshots and it would raise an immediate red flag. Its obviusly not the case though....

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4OJSEASXHUB7FACV6VQPNJCELE Deric

    Did people really think it was a fully functional pokemon game? on iOS? I mean come on....

  • Cameron Fenton

    It looks like it has been pulled now, but I just don't get how so many people get fooled by this stuff. There are so many signs that this is a scam. First, the supposed press reviews don't state which web site gave that review. Second, the publisher isn't Nintendo or The Pokemon Company. Third, the reviews are almost universally one star. Fourth, the screenshot is clearly not Pokemon Yellow. All you have to do is read the description to know that it's a fake.

    • https://profiles.google.com/103717480520264040783 overkill

      I don't always read the description of apps before I download them. If I saw an app on a friends phone or saw a youtube review or a description on toucharcade, I don't need the description. 

      Also, most people probably don't know that Pokemon is made by Nintendo or that it is unlikely that they would license it to someone to do a iOS port. If someone heard about Pokemon being a good game, he would probably just download it and not even notice the screenshots since he has never played it. So I do understand very well how people are downloading it. You can't expect people to check things they shouldn't have to. 

      This article might lead even more people to buying it if they don't really read the article and only watch the video (which is really misleading and has no place in an article like this, IMO)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134582760 Nicole Hunter

    The greatest sin in this is that this has happened many times before.  Remember mooncraft anyone?  If you don't it was a fraudulent game that advertised as being like minecraft and then was not.  Apple is constantly dropping the ball and doing nothing to fix it.  The worst part of the mooncraft thing was that it was at the top of the charts for months and people contacted apple and nothing was done.  To add to this was the fact that the website that they had listed as being there own lead to some random, unrelated site.  So fool a multi-billion dollar company once shame on the company.  Fool a multi-billion dollar company countless times without any attempt to fix the issue shame on apple.  Truly shame on apple.

    • http://twitter.com/try2bcool69 Jay G

      I don't believe Notch has a problem with Mooncraft (which is still available and is now called "lunacraft", BTW), he tends to not be bothered by clones as long as they don't use any assets from Minecraft.
      It's not a "fraudulent game" as you put it, it's not a very GOOD game, but I don't see  how it would be a fraud, and I don't know what website you are talking about, they don't have an "official" site, they never have had one, just a wikia page.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1134582760 Nicole Hunter

        The fraud is in false advertisement and false praise.  On the mooncraft now lunacraft they have a bunch of positive feedback attributed to no one (because no one ever said it)  And they have pictures of minecraft advertising as if the game would play like minecraft.  As it doesn't then it's false advertisement.  There is a section on every app on the market where hey say report an issue and they direct you towards the dev's website.  There is no website with contact info for the company.  Not a good game is forgivable if they had simply put REAL pictures of it.  Instead they put pictures up of a completely different game's pictures.  Fraud isn't really the right word.  It is however false advertisement. It has nothing to do with Notch and if he doesn't have an issue with it. It's more about the consumer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Hu/1050352510 John Hu

    Maybe as Nintendo lose more and more money, they can see their pride isn't worth billions of dollars.

  • Jordan L

    Lame. Old and lame. Pokemon Grey, anyone? 😀

  • http://www.facebook.com/rjgill1 Ryan J Gill

    The 3DS is at or nearing worldwide sales numbers that took the DS and PSP 2+ yrs to reach. In some countries, the 3DS is outselling consoles. They took an initial loss, but I'd say they're doing ok.

  • eviladrian

    On the bright side, downloadable games don't need a landfill to get rid of them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rjgill1 Ryan J Gill

    Hah Pokemon Yellow, with screens from Fire Red? Seems legit.

  • stoneymmoore

    So does that mean i should just delete the app. Although i still want my money OR the game...

  • cc.

    Is this game still up I'm gonna buy it. Just because.