Watch: Real-life Pokémon hit humans with giant Pokéballs, see how they like it

Watch out.
Watch out.
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Christensen
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

In a dark reversal of one of the world’s most popular mobile games, life-sized Pokémon are hunting pedestrians in a new video campaign for the city of Basel, Switzerland. The marauding creatures target people who are absorbed in their phones, probably playing Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go: The Revenge is a hidden-camera short that debuted Aug. 3 on Facebook. Created by Swiss digital agency Fadeout, the video features four adults dressed as Pikachu, driving around the serene Swiss city in a van. They’re armed with giant inflatable Pokéballs and a slingshot, which they use to knock more than a few unsuspecting pedestrians sideways, and one man backwards into a fountain.

The video is deliciously cold-blooded, not unlike Pokémon Go itself. In the game, players hunt Pokémon by hitting them with the red-and-white Pokéballs. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works:

Unlike the original games, you don’t battle wild Pokémon in Go. Instead, you jump straight to capturing them, which really just means flicking a Pokéball on your phone screen at a Pokémon. Toss it too near or too far, and the Pokéball won’t do anything. You have to get it just right by actually hitting the Pokémon.

Pokémon Go: The Revenge was commissioned by the city of Basel to boost tourism, and the Pokéball attacks are intercut with cinematic wide shots of its river and bridges. (A special website also pitches the city’s attractions as good places to hunt Pokémon.) Basel is already an art mecca thanks to the annual fair Art Basel, and if the city hopes to catapult its brand beyond the art world and into international pop culture, it’s made a good start. In just two days, more than 60 million people have watched the video on Facebook.