Since the days of Red and Blue, Pokémon has been full of secrets and glitches. Legends still speak of the Mew that can be found under the truck near the S.S. Anne. Alas, such rumours have been proven false, but many more have since been confirmed, and countless technical exploits have been uncovered as well. The expansive worlds of Pokémon lend well to player discovery, and reward those who delve deep and push the game’s boundaries. Sometimes, however, these rewards can be outside of what the developers intended, and we owe it to dedicated hackers for twisting the game’s code well past its limits.
Game Freak has been dutifully releasing games since the 90s, even though the second generation was intended to be the swan song for the series. As we have seen, Pokémon has grown to be one of Nintendo’s most resilient IPs, and doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon. Each generation is chock full of secrets, far more then a single player could find in their entire gaming career. These secrets are varied. Some involve catching illusive monsters, some are clever in-jokes, and many are boundary-breaking exploits that have the potential to corrupt your entire save file, but more often then not the rewards are worth the risk.
Whether you're a casual player or competitive EV exploiting powerhouse, there is always more to discover in Pokémon, and we here at The Gamer have assembled a list that is sure to contain a surprise or two, and perhaps another reason to dust off those old cartridges.
25 Ride A “Skateboard” (Gold/Silver)
When Gold and Silver were first announced, Nintendo made quite a big deal about giving a skateboard instead of a bicycle to your character. This information was bandied about in all sorts of articles and announcements, and boasted it would allow you to scale small ledges, the bane of every player-character in Pokémon to date. But alas, part way through development the idea was scrapped for the already functional bicycle, though code for the skateboard still exists.
By using Gameshark and other hacking programs, the skateboard can be accessed in Pokémon Gold, though its functionality is somewhat limited. It does not appear on screen, and when you move you slide forward until you hit an obstacle, in much the same way that ice works in the game.
24 Keep Battling In Undella Town For Money (Black/White)
Currency exploits are a dime a dozen in video games, and Pokémon is no different. One such exploit is particularly accessible and useful in Black and White, and can be found in Undella Town, the self proclaimed “Town of Rippling Waves.”
The resort town has a collection of interesting denizens, including Cynthia, the former champion of Sinnoh. She can be battled every spring and summer, and of course, prize money will be awarded for your victories. But the true cash cow comes in the form of the Rich Kids of the Rich House, who will battle you once per day and give out increasing sums of prize money. This can be especially useful if you give a Pokémon the Amulet Coin, which doubles money earned from each battle. But be warned, the Rich’s Pokémon get stronger each day!
23 Find An Illusive Feebas (Ruby/Sapphire)
Magikarp was the running joke of the first generation of games, though this joke is turned around once the fish evolves into the fearsome Gyarados. The third generation recreated this dynamic with the hideous Feebas and the majestic Milotic. Everyone wanted a Milotic on their team. But to do you so, you first had to catch a Feebas, a feat much easier said than done.
Feebas can only be found in the river of Route 119, and only exists in six water tiles at a time. The tiles themselves are random, and other Pokémon can be found in those tiles as well. The only way to find a Feebas is to fish each tile one by one, and pray your get lucky. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire mercifully did away with this feature, allowing Feebas to found in any tile along Route 119, though the probability of landing one is still quite low.
22 GBA Cartridge Extras (Diamond/Pearl)
Original models of the DS had the unique capability of being able to hold two different game cartridges at the same time, and this lent itself to unique crossover potential. Certain DS games could be affected by GBA games, and Pokémon made use of this use of this capability like no other could.
If Diamond or Pearl was inserted in the DS slot, old GBA Pokémon games would allow for certain Pokémon to appear in various locations. Some of these Pokémon were very desirable, such as Solrock, Lunatone and Mawile through Ruby and Sapphire, Growlithe and Elekid through FireRed, as well as Vulpix and Magby through LeafGreen. Any GBA cartridge allowed for the capture of Haunter or Gengar in the Forest Mansion. The list of catchable Pokémon is quite extensive, and give a unique boost to any team.
21 Using Assist To Determine Traded Pokémon Egg Types (Black/White)
Ever receive an egg through a trade and just wonder endlessly what type of Pokémon will hatch? Now with the help of a Skitty or Delcatty, and their signature move Assist, you can get some sort of clue!
Assist is a unique move, as it executes a move from within your team at random, and can even utilize moves of fainted Pokémon. First, learn all the moves of your Pokémon, so you recognize them if they are called forth by Assist. Enter several battles, and use the move until an attack you don’t recognize appears! If the move is type specific, such as water gun or ember, you’ll know what type of Pokémon will emerge from your egg, and will have much more to look forward to.
20 Catch A Spiritomb (Diamond/Pearl)
Spiritomb is a curious Pokémon. Most encounter it for the first time when battling champion Cynthia, and discover that its dark/ghost typing make it a resilient and deadly foe. Pokédex entries describe it as a combination of 108 spirits that are bound to an Odd Keystone for 500-year-old misdeeds. Grim stuff indeed.
Catching this mysterious Pokémon in Diamond and Pearl is very doable, though far from intuitive. First you must dig up an Odd Keystone in The Underground, then place it in the well at the base of the Spirit Well Tower on Route 209. After that, the player must return to the Underground and speak to at least 32 other players exploring the caverns. Why such a specific number is anyone’s guess. Then once you return to the well, a Spiritomb shall be waiting!
19 Braille Secrets (Ruby/Sapphire)
Braille is a mode of communication that solely relies on the sensation of touch, yet, curiously, it was chosen by Gamefreak to be a code language within all the GBA entries in the series, as well as within Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The GBA games came with a cipher in the manual, and with it you can read the various Braille messages hidden across the games.
The Braille code in Ruby and Sapphire guides players through the caves that hold the Legendary Titans. The inscriptions are usually cryptic, but also offer direct instructions on how to proceed, which is a welcome gift after the labour of translating each message. The Braille returns once more in FireRed and LeafGreen, and is used to find the Ruby and Sapphire, which allow players to trade Pokémon between all the GBA games.
18 Catch Manaphy (Diamond/Pearl)
Nintendo is notorious for including Pokémon in their games that cannot be captured by regular means. They often require a trade, or worse, a timed event, which gives you only a short window of opportunity to download a certain creature. This makes catching em’ all a much harder feat then advertised. Manaphy is one such Pokémon in the fourth generation, but can be obtained through a Pokémon spin off game.
The game in question is Pokémon Rangers. After beating that game, go to the Net screen and type in a region specific code, and the “Rescue The Precious Egg!” mission will appear. Once completed, you will have the option to “Check The Egg” on the Net screen, and can “Send Message” to another DS with your copy of Diamond or Pearl inserted. Once you do so, a Manaphy egg will appear in any Pokémart for you to pick up!
17 IGN’s “7.8: Too Much Water” Reference (Sun/Moon)
Back in 2014, IGN released their review of Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, the faithful remakes of the popular GBA titles. The main criticism the reviewer offered up was “too much water,” both in terrain and Pokémon types. Though the observation was apt, the inclusion of so much water was a conscious choice by developers, and many commenters took chagrin to the review. Thus, a new meme was born.
And once again, Nintendo decided to poke fun at the culture they helped foster. In Hau’oli City in Sun and Moon, there exists a beachside Poké Finder that allows you to take pictures of Pokémon and receive in-game comments on them. If you snap a photo with water or a water type, occasionally a comment will appear that cheekily says “7.8/10 Too Much Water” coupled with a shrug emoji. Seems Nintendo is as confused about the criticism as we are.
16 Shiny Ditto Breeding (Gold/Silver, Red/Blue)
Shiny Pokémon are arguably the most illusive and sought after treasures in the Pokémon series. Introduced in Gen 2, Shiny Pokémon exhibit different colour schemes from their counterparts, and are extremely hard to find. The probability to encountering one in recent games is 1/4096, an improvement from the 1/8192 of previous generations. Shinies are determined by stats in Gen 2, and through this, by breeding a Shiny Ditto, the odds of hatching one become 1/64.
To catch a Shiny Ditto, catch the Red Gyarados, teach it Mimic, and trade it into Red or Blue. Encounter a wild Ditto on Cinnabar Island and allow it to use transform twice. The double transformation solidifies the stats of the Shiny Gyarados onto the Ditto, and once you catch it and trade it back to Gold or Silver, it becomes Shiny as well, and can be bred to create even more Shinies.
15 Z-Splash Boosts Attack Stat (Sun/Moon)
Splash was always the punchline to the joke that is Magikarp. The Pokémon’s attributes are abysmal, and to add insult to injury, it comes equipped with a move that does absolutely nothing. A Pokémon using Splash simply flops there helplessly, flailing around in some misguided attempt at aggression.
But with Z-Splash in Sun and Moon, everything changes. When you perform the move, you a given the same message as always: “but nothing happened.” Upon further inspection, however, this proves to be a ruse, for Z-Splash increases the users attacks stat by a whopping three points! Z-Splash can be combined with countless moves, and has the potential to turn even the weakest Pokémon into a hard-hitting powerhouse. Where was this for poor Magikarp seven generations ago?
14 Pokérus (Gen 2 Onward)
The Pokérus is the rarest phenomenon is the Pokémon series. The chances of encountering or hatching a Pokémon with the virus are 1 in 21845, making it even harder to come across than Shinies. Though the virus may sound detrimental, it’s anything but. A Pokémon infected with the Pokérus gains double the Effort Values than normal, allowing your trained Pokémon to become much stronger, much faster.
And best of all, the Pokérus is contagious! After a few battles, the virus will spread to each of your party members, though the contagious effect will stop after one to four days. The virus can be contained in the PC where its contagious effects won’t diminish until its withdrawn, and you can cycle your Pokémon out until each of them is a carrier.
13 Fast EV Training (X/Y)
EV training can be a slog, but thanks to horde encounters introduced in Gen 6, you can streamline the process greatly. Things move even faster if your Pokémon have Pokérus, but the virus is not mandatory to make use of the exploit.
Getting the power items necessary for the EVs of the Pokémon you want to train is highly recommended. A Pokémon with Sweet Scent is also useful, for it guarantees a horde encounter will occur. Certain Pokémon give off certain EVs and which hordes you choose to fight depends on the EVs you are trying to build. This handy list shows the types of Pokémon that appear in each area, and the values they give off. If you use EXP Share while fighting the hordes, all Pokémon in your team will get the EVs as well.
12 Cloning Glitches (All Games)
How many times have you traded a Pokémon, and wished you could somehow keep the creature you just gave away? The thought is a common one, for throughout the generations, exploits have been found that allow players to clone Pokémon as they are traded.
In Gen 1 and 2, cloning was achieved by disconnecting the link cable after the first Pokémon was transferred. This method occasionally results in a corrupted “bad clone,” which can be used in other glitches. Gen 3 improved the link cables, making the previous method impossible, but the exploit returned with Link-Battle mode in Emerald. When signing up for Link-Battle, interrupting the save at the right time results in the save being corrupted, and your party Pokémon reappearing in you PC. Interruptions to the Global Trade system and infrared connections allowed for cloning in Gen 4 and 6 as well.
11 Celebi Egg Glitch (Gold/Silver)
Celebi, like Mew, was a secret Pokémon that could only be obtained through an event. If players missed the event, there was no way to obtain the illusive time traveler… until the Celebi Egg Glitch was discovered.
The player must first get an egg that will have Beat Up in the third position upon hatching. The player must also get a bad clone through the cloning glitch. Give the bad clone to the day care lady and retrieve it to get glitch Pokémon ?????. Put the ????? at the top of the party, then withdraw a Pokémon using “move Pokémon without mail” and you’ll have seven creatures in your party. Give ????? back to the day care, deposit your first and second Pokémon, withdraw the egg, deposit the rest of your party, and withdraw a Pokémon not used in the glitch. Hatch the egg, and a Celebi will be yours!
10 The Old Man Glitch (Red/Blue)
The Old Man Glitch is extremely curious. It allows for the discovery of glitch Pokémon and trainers, and all depends on the letters, numbers and symbols used in the player’s name.
To perform the glitch, talk to the old man located north of Viridian City, and allow him to demonstrate how to catch a Pokémon. Next, fly to Cinnabar Island. That's all there is to it, and from there, things can get interesting. If you begin surfing along the right hand coast where the water meets the land, wild Pokémon will appear, though they won’t be normal. Your name determines the species of Pokémon as well as their level, which is usually well over 100. If you encounter trainers while the glitch is activated, they will become glitch trainers, a use a team that also responds to your name.
9 MissingNo. (Red/Blue)
MissingNo. is undoubtedly one of the most famous glitches in the Pokémon series. Its name stands for missing number, and the data was likely a Pokémon being programmed that got deleted before release.
Unbeknownst to many, there are multiple forms of MissingNo., and each form relates to the character in the third, fifth, and seventh slot of the players name after performing the Old Man Glitch. MissingNo. can be found and caught by surfing along the edge of Cinnabar Island. The most common form is the static laden, elongated, backwards looking L. The MissingNo. in Yellow is a broken up form of Pikachu, and causes the game to freeze and break down if captured. There are also forms that appear as fossil Kabutops and Aerodactyl, and as the ghost encountered in the Pokémon Tower.
8 Catch Even More Glitch Pokémon (Gold/Silver, Red/Blue)
As it turns out, MissingNo. is not the only glitch Pokémon you can obtain. There are dozens of others, all with bizarre, unfinished looking sprites and names that are formed mostly of symbols and random letters. The best way to obtain them is through the Time Capsule Exploit.
The Time Capsule Exploit allows you to trade Gen 2 Pokemon into Gen 1 games, where they revert to a certain glitch Pokémon, depending on its index number. The player must first get a ????? by giving a bad clone to the daycare in Gen 2. Once you have a ?????, place it above any Gen 2 Pokémon in your party, and the creature will be “hidden” by the bad clone, and can placed in the time capsule to be traded back a generation.
7 Catch Decamark (Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/FireRed/LeafGreen)
Decamark, or ??????????, as it appears in the game, is a stable glitch Pokémon that can be captured, and even has moves it can use. It has a sprite of an encircled question mark, and the only way to find one is through the use of Gameshark or Action Replay.
A Gameshark code can be activated that levels up Pokémon quickly in the daycare. If the Pokémon is in daycare before the code is activated, it will produce an egg, and this egg will hatch into a level 0 Decamark, that takes a whopping 1,000,000 experience points to get to level 1. If traded to Emerald and put in the daycare, it will instantly grow to level 100, and can learn HM moves. Furthermore, Action Replays can be used to move players to areas they are not supposed to be in, and Pokémon encountered in these areas will be Decamarks.
6 Catch Trainer Pokémon (Ruby/Sapphire)
One of the cardinal sins in the Pokémon universe is catching another trainer’s Pokémon. Doing so makes you a vile criminal, and one with the insidious ranks of Team Rocket and her imitators. As Pokémon is no Fallout, you are unable to create your own morals, and are restricted from stealing other trainers' Pokémon. But with this little glitch, you can finally live your dreams of being Giovanni’s protégé (sort of).
Start by facing a trainer whose Pokémon you wish to steal, and lose to them. Next, find Latios or Latias without having another battle in between, either with trainer or wild Pokémon. Face off against the legendary, and defeat them. Then, curiously, Pokémon 2-6 of the previous trainer will enter battle. They behave as if wild, but the battle ends with the first Pokémon you capture, so choose wisely!
5 Cubone And Kangaskhan Connection (Sun/Moon)
Cubone’s tale is one of tragedy and woe. Known as the Lonely Pokémon, Cubone wears the skulls of its dead mother upon its head in eternal remorse, and has been known to emit sorrowful cries on nights of the full moon. Furthermore, the true identity of Cubone’s species has always been a mystery… until now!
The leading theory stated that Cubone was a Kangaskhan baby. It seems to have a body shape similar to that of Kangaskhan, and the horns of the bone helmet strongly resemble Kangaskhan’s ears. In Sun and Moon, when you fight a Cubone in the wild, it will often call for help. Usually another Cubone will appear… but occasionally, a Kangaskhan will appear instead! This establishes a caring connection between the two Pokémon, and a near certain confirmation of their relation.
4 Changing The Appearance (Red/Blue, Gold/Silver, Stadium)
Pokémon Stadium was the perfect companion piece to the original generation of games. With the right periphery, you could port the Pokémon caught on the Game Boy to the big screen, and watch them battle it out in glorious 3D.
There is a little known trick that allows you to change the colours of the Pokémon you bring to Stadium, and it has to do with the names you give them when they are first captured. Upper case letter names (PIKACHU) give you standard colorization, but the shades are shifted when you input the name in lower case. Reversing syllables, leaving out syllables, inserting hyphens, and abridging names also have certain effects. There is also a list of specific names you can give your Pokémon to alter their appearance dramatically.
3 Get All Three Generation 2 Starters (Gold/Silver)
Choosing a starter is always a stressful process in Pokémon, especially in Gen 2, where each starter is awesome in their own way. Do away with your worries, for now you can fudge the system and get all three starters for the price of one!
Start a new game, and save right before you pick your starter. The one you choose does not matter. Next, go through the motions to receive your Pokéballs. Catch a Pidgey, give your starter one the Pokéballs to hold, and deposit your starter in the PC. Then select change box, and turn off the game as the SAVING message appears. When you restart you will be back in the lab, can select a new starter, and withdraw the old one from the PC! Use the Pokéball it’s holding to catch another Pidgey, deposit your two starters, and repeat the process for the third.
2 “My Body Is Ready” Reference (Sun/Moon)
When he first uttered the famous phrase at Nintendo’s 2007 demonstration of the Wii Fit, Reggie Fils-Aime became a legend. Many people now speak the phrase without understanding its origins, the sign of a true cultural meme. His jovial attitude lends cadence to his Internet fame, and now Nintendo has opted to cash in on the unwitting comedic genius of their American CEO.
When you visit professor Kukui’s lab for the first time in Pokémon Sun and Moon, he is rather excitedly training his Rockruff. Upon approaching his lab, the text exclaims, “Oh yeah Rockruff! Lets go! Give it everything you’ve got! My body is ready. Woo!” A curious implementation of the phrase, no less, but Pokémon games have never been praised for their dialogue.
1 Battle Professor Oak (Red/Blue)
Doesn't it seem strange that we never got the chance to battle Professor Oak? He is the original Pokémon professor, the one who set us out on our first journey, our mentor and moral compass (no bikes inside, are you mad?!). It seems that Game Freak had the same idea, for data to battle Professor Oak exists in the game, and can be accessed through the Old Man Glitch.
If you perform the glitch with the MN symbol in the third, fifth, or seventh slot of your player name, you can battle Oak after talking with him. He is a powerful trainer, with a Tauros, Exeegutor, Arcanine, Gyarados, and fully evolved starter, all hovering near level 70. His Pokémon are very similar to his grandson Blue, which suggests he may have originally been intended to be the Kanto Champion.