Teach a man to fish, and he will never go hungry again. Teach a fish to play Pokémon and it will eventually commit credit card fraud. Such was the surprising lesson a Japanese man received from his pet betta fish.
A Japanese YouTuber came up with the whimsical idea of introducing his pet betta fish (Siamese fighting fish) to Nintendo Switch. Naturally, it is hard to play without opposable thumbs, but there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome by a sufficiently determined man who clearly has nothing better to do with his time.
For clarity’s sake: YouTuber “Mutekimaru Channel” did not actually teach his fish to play Pokémon. But he wanted to see how long it would take them to beat the game by making random moves.
So he set up a webcam in front of his fish bowl, while motion-tracking software monitored the fish as they swam across an overlaid grid populated with controller inputs. Whenever the fish stopped or changed direction, the software would register the fact and “click” the correlating controller input in-game.
Mutekimaru did it once already with an earlier iteration of the game. It took his bettas about 3,195 hours to beat Pokémon Sapphire. An actively playing human could do in it around 30. So it was less of a speedrun and more of a slowswim.
Mutekimaru could have left it at that, but like a crazed scientist, a sort of piscatory Victor Frankenstein or an ichthyic Doctor Fu Manchu, driven to insanity by his genius and delusions of grandeur, he pressed on with his mad experiment.
Pride always comes before the fall.
The heist occurred when Mutekimaru left his fish to continue with their game. At the 1,144-hour mark, the game crashed.
And so the fish continued doing their fishy thing, which is swimming. And the software continued to do its softwarey thing, which was registering the inputs.
The random inputs (yet, were they really?) resulted in the fish first changing his Nintendo account name from “Mutekimaru” to “ROWAWAWAWA¥”.
Having succeeded and doubtlessly revelling in a freshly acquired sense of their own impunity, the fish proceeded to break into Nintendo eShop (twice) in an attempt to use Mutekimaru’s saved credit card details to purchase 500-yen-worth (under USD 4) of in-game points.
It was super effective!
While doing so, they also inadvertently exposed his credit card information to hundreds of users watching the stream. Although there are hopes those watching were more focused on the absurdity unfolding before them rather than taking notes.
And it did not end there.
The fish used some reward points accumulated on Mutekimaru’s account to purchase a new avatar, download the N64 emulator, and somehow got PayPal to send him a setup confirmation email.
This went on for several hours before the fish, evidently satisfied with the havoc they wrought, turned the Switch off.
Mutekimaru must have been filled with surprise when received an email from PayPal and when he realised somebody was making purchases with his card he must have been shocked all the more, imaginably rather unpleasantly. Just think of the kind of bewilderment upon figuring out how it happened. And also that his credit card information has been leaked by the little finny scamps.
Mutekimaru contacted Nintendo and oddly enough received a refund of his 500 yen. And that after truthfully explaining to customer support how the purchase actually happened.
The customer support must have been a bot in the betta stages of software testing.
Up until that point he had played for 20,000 hours and entered the Hall of Fame in six Pokémon franchise games. Be that as it may, after the incident, Mutekimaru decided to retire his fish from their illustrious streaming career, and leave them in the care of his parents.
Better than being flushed by a frustrated owner in a toilet.
Sayonara and godspeed you, Betta-san!
You still think this story sounds fishy, don’t you? You don’t believe us?
Well, see for yourself!