Last week, shortly after the latest Nintendo Direct presentation, fans around the web started stumbling upon a seemingly prescient Twitter account called WaddleDeeKnows (named after the ever-present and adorable Kirby enemy). In a series of tweets with an authentic February 7 timestamp, the self-described “industry insider working deep within Nintendo” showed an apparently deep foreknowledge of details that Nintendo wouldn’t officially reveal until the evening of February 9, two days later.
Somehow, WaddleDeeKnows seemed to know just about everything about a new Wii Sports and a Super Mario Strikers sequel, as well as specific details about Xenoblade 3 and even “Valve games coming to Switch,” all days before the games’ official public announcements.
That short track record was enough to get over 2,000 new followers (and countless other watchers) buzzing when WaddleDeeKnows started tweeting about “a few more leaks for the rest of the year” on the morning of Thursday, February 10. That second round of tweets included exciting predictions about coming Switch ports for Goldeneye 007 and Half-Life 2, more Legend of Zelda HD remakes to come, and even “an Encanto game developed by Bandai Namco” that no one had seen coming.
Wii Sports is back
— Waddle Dee Knows (@WaddleDeeKnows) February 7, 2022
Which is all to say that a lot of people had their hopes dashed on Thursday evening when the WaddleDeeKnows account pulled off its fake insider mask. “This account was an experiment to see how easy it is to fake it and make it,” the freshly revealed charlatan said in a tweeted update. “I wanted to see how easy this was and unfortunately it’s very easy.”
Casting a wide net
WaddleDeeKnows creator Jon Cartwright, who produces content as part of the Good Vibes Gaming collective, laid out how the scam works in an excellent video published last Friday. WaddleDeeKnows was just the latest example of a common Internet scam that can make random users look clairvoyant in retrospect, and the account serves as a cautionary tale for observers to be wary of predictions.
The key to WaddleDeeKnows’ “insider” knowledge, it turns out, was the liberal use of Twitter’s delete button. After creating the account on February 7 (and setting it to “private” so nobody else could see what was happening), Cartwright started tweeting predictions for every possible Nintendo Direct announcement he could think of. That included a few that turned out to be true but also many wilder predictions like a Super Mario Odyssey 2 with co-op play between Mario and Peach or sequels to Luigi’s Mansion, Punch-Out!!, ARMS, and even Labo.
Once the Nintendo Direct presentation was over, Cartwright simply went through his account and deleted dozens of incorrect predictions. This left only apparently correct predictions for later followers to find. “I could delete as much as I want, and no one would notice because no one could see these tweets,” Cartwright said.
This kind of prediction scam isn’t new to the Internet; Andy Baio published what might be the definitive explainer on the general scheme way back in 2014. But large chunks of the Internet can still get taken in by similar self-selected “proof” of psychic abilities, such as an apparent prediction of the 2016 World Series posted in 2014.