Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go fans crowdsource hunt for game’s final, elusive Pokemon, Ditto

Fans of mobile-phone game based on Nintendo characters have poured hours and hours into the hunt for pocket monsters, but one remains elusive. They figure collective action can track Ditto down

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 September, 2016, 1:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 September, 2016, 1:44pm

Tens of millions of Pokemon Go players worldwide are catching Pokemon and exploring the game's limits at all hours of the day, all over the planet. You'd think someone would've found Ditto by now. Yet no one has.

He's the elusive #132 in the Official Pokemon Pokedex – the encyclopedia of all official Pokemon, and the backbone of Pokemon Go. His number slot is there in your in-game Pokedex, and folks have even dug into the game's code and found plenty of evidence that he's in the game.

The chief executive of the studio behind the game, John Hanke, recently said: “I couldn't tell you how to find Ditto, because it wouldn't be any fun if I did. It will happen for you, I promise.”

Excluding Legendary Pokemon – which are said to be coming at some point, likely in a bigger way than simply being capturable – Ditto is the only Pokemon of the original 151 represented in the game that's yet to be found. 

Fans of the augmented-reality mobile phone game think there's a good reason for that: the nature of Ditto. Look no further than – what else? – the Pokedex for more on this logic.

“Ditto rearranges its cell structure to transform itself into other shapes. However, if it tries to transform itself into something by relying on its memory, this Pokemon manages to get details wrong.”

Of course! As Reddit user “validproof” explains, when Ditto was introduced originally (on the Pokemon cartoon in the 1990s), it was a sort of mutant Pikachu.

“What is interesting is that it is unable to fully transform in the beginning, and so it says ‘Pikacha’/’Pikachan’,” validproof wrote on Reddit.

All of which is to say: Ditto is almost certainly hiding in plain sight.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Eevee Easter Egg?

It's a simple trick: before evolving your Eevee, give it one of these three names, and it'll evolve into one of three different types of Pokemon. The names are pulled from an original cartoon episode. And in a panel at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, the folks behind the viral game confirmed that more Easter Eggs are waiting to be found by players – Easter Eggs like the Eevee one.

As a result of those two things, fans on Reddit have devised a massive crowdsourced campaign to find Ditto.

Video games often feature esoteric Easter Eggs, and it's no surprise that Pokemon Go has its fair share. That players are trying seemingly ridiculous things to suss out those mysteries is no surprise – the Eevee one is an awfully deep cut of a reference. 

For now, however, no one has succeeded. Ditto remains a mystery, which is a delicious irony to savour while it lasts.