With Pokémon Go sweeping the nations, destroying families, and leaving a path of ruin and destruction in its wide wake, it’s no surprise that even the most mainstream of mainstream TV networks reported on it. Earlier this week, CBS ran a report on the phenomenon featuring a clip that, let’s say, alarmed some viewers.
I love this clip. Everything about this rules. The way the dead-eyed Pikachu stares at you with his beady little eyes. The look of ecstasy as Bulbasaur attempts to climb/hump a tree. The way Charmander’s foot clips through the rock as he spins on a singular axis. It’s phenomenal, and it haunts my days and night without end.
Now, having borne witness, you too are cursed to see these faces whenever you close your eyes, for the rest of your sullen, pitiful life.
But how did these pocket monsters, no longer a delightful misnomer, come to be? Using advanced web forensics, I managed to find all three models on the website TurboSquid, which allows users to upload and sell their 3-D models. Searching for each of the Pokémon names brings up search results, and each of the models used by CBS.
Total cost: $45.95.
Kudz46 is a ghost, but I managed to track down chopnut — real name: Ernani Danting — to ask him about the clip. The model, uploaded in 2010, mostly sat dormant. “I was learning how to model at the time, and made a Pikachu, put up on sale on TurboSquid for [a] measly $6,” Danting recalled. “And I got a sold message from TurboSquid after a long, long while. I didn’t really put a lot of thought into how people will be using it.”
He mostly took issue with the fact that the models were presented without being animated. “It does look like they didn’t put a lot of effort doing anything with it,” he said. Pikachu’s arms-out stance is because the model is rigged, meaning it was meant to be programmed with animation. “Seeing it used like that kinda made me bit disappointed. I rather like seeing it animated.”
CBS’s folly, however, is our collective gain. I for one hope that they keep using these amateur Pokémon models for all reports, or really, for any news reports that need a little spicing up.