Boy’s story, the cardboard Nintendo console is unproven
The claim: Nintendo sued a young boy and his family for $ 200 million for making a cardboard Nintendo Gameboy
While families have remained homebound due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nintendo Switch has become one of the most popular technology products of 2020.
A viral Facebook meme claims that a 9-year-old boy named Paco Gutierrez always wanted a Nintendo but couldn’t afford it, so he made his own “console” out of cardboard and was sued.
“Using his creativity and with the help of his uncle, he created a cardboard Super Mario game, posted it on YouTube and the video went viral,” Facebook read on January 25. Publish from the Dank Meme page. “Through the video, Nintendo CEO Doug Bowser personally traveled to Venezuela to give Paco a cease and desist order and sue his family for $ 200 million.”
Above the text is a photo purportedly of the 9-year-old boy and an image of a cardboard version of the Nintendo game. The post has over 800 shares and 2,500 reactions.
USA TODAY has reached out to the Facebook page for comment.
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The cardboard game may be real
The cardboard console seen in the meme may have been created by a Venezuelan boy named Ruben, not Paco.
However, HoaxEye notes on Twitter on January 24 that there isn’t much evidence that a boy named Ruben actually created the game. The first version of the video appears in an Instagram from July 26, 2018, Publish by a rapper named Big Trueno.
Trueno wrote in the caption that the game “was created by a Venezuelan child who gathers in the same church as me, his name is Rubén”. According to HoaxEye, the artist does not live in Venezuela.
USA TODAY has contacted the artist for comment.
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There is no Nintendo trial
The part of the story involving legal action is a fabrication.
There is no evidence of a cease-and-desist order or a $ 200 million lawsuit, and Nintendo of America confirmed in a January 29 statement to USA TODAY that the lawsuit is not true.
According to Snopes, the meme makes a joke about Nintendo’s history over the years by attacking various fan projects that use their properties. Indie game hosting site Game Jolt has already had to remove 562 fan-made games after receiving legal notices from Nintendo, Business Insider reported in 2016.
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Our note: Missing context
It is true that someone made a Nintendo cardboard game years ago, however, it is not clear that the game was created by a young boy named Paco or Ruben in Venezuela. Nintendo of America has refuted the claim that the company sued a boy for making the cardboard game. We rate this claim as MISSING CONTEXT because parts of the story are plausible but unproven.
Our sources of fact-checking:
- YouTube, August 9, 2018, Kid Fake Gameboy
- Mirror, August 8, 2018, “A young ingenious man creates a Game Boy from cardboard boxes and bottle caps so he can play his homemade Super Mario“
- Big Trueno, July 26, 2018, Instagram post
- Business Insider, September 2, 2016, “Nintendo just shut down hundreds of fan-made games“
- Snopes, January 25, “Did Nintendo Sue, 9 years old, Paco Gutierrez for making a console out of cardboard?“
- Nintendo of America statement to USA TODAY
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Our fact-checking work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.