Since being introduced to the world back in 1996, Pokémon has gone on to become one of the biggest franchises ever in gaming history. As of 2016, the series has sold over 279 million games over 25 main titles and countless spin-offs. It has gone on to become a mainstay in the gaming world alongside other Nintendo titles such as Mario and The Legend of Zelda.
And as with all games, there are certain tricks and tips that will only be gleaned by those who have played from the beginning, as well as easter eggs that only diehard fans would understand. Often, these tricks are never mentioned explicitly in the games themselves, relying on strategy guides to inform players of their existence. In the case of some glitches and hidden areas, they’re not even mentioned in guides at all, but have instead been discovered by avid fans of the series through hours of playing and hacking.
Today we’ll be taking a look at the 25 most interesting of these tricks that span from the series first releases, Pokémon Red and Blue, to the latest, Pokémon X and Y. And because we know our audience isn’t the kind to stumble into a Pokémon game with no prior experience, we won’t be listing the obvious - so if you want an explanation of Pokémon types or the location of Rare Candies, it might be best to look elsewhere. Instead, read on to find out how to change the colors of your Pokémon through nicknames, create acid rain, and - my favourite - capture the elusive MissingNo. Enjoy your adventures!
25 Duplicate Your Rare Items
This trick makes use of a glitch in Pokémon Blue and Red which was fixed by Pokémon Yellow, but for those of us enjoying a trip down memory lane, it’s fun to see that it still works!
To begin, you need to put the item you want to duplicate in the sixth slot of your inventory. Next, use Fly and talk to the man in Viridian City who will teach you how to catch a Weedle. Fly to Cinnabar Island and use Surf to the east of the island until you run into a glitchy block of graphics called either ‘M’ or ‘Missingno.’ Resisting the urge to catch it, run away and you will soon notice that you have exactly 128 copies of your sixth item in your inventory! Not bad for an easy day’s work.
24 Use QR Codes To Locate New Pokémon
Island Scan is a brand new feature introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon which gives every Pokémon in the game a unique scannable QR code. By scanning each code with your 3DS, you can register Pokémon you haven’t even encountered yet into the Pokedex along with their location. This should allow you to complete your National Pokedex much more quickly and clue you in on where those pesky missing Pokémon may be hiding.
Sadly, players are limited to scanning only one QR code per day, but this is for a good reason. After scanning ten codes, a rare Pokémon will appear in the area you’re roaming in a process called an Island Scan. Some of them are so uncommon that they’re not even in the Regional Pokedex. Get to scanning, and you have no idea what you might find!
23 Use Totem Pokémon To Catch Shinies
Up until Pokémon Sun and Moon, catching Shiny Pokémon was a hard task. This changed in part due to Nintendo’s choice to make the odds of catching a Shiny doubly better, but also due to the trick that players quickly came up with involving Totem Pokémon.
To begin, teach your Totem False Swipe and make sure to have some Adrenaline Orbs on hand. Once a Pokémon attacks you, use one of your Orbs to make your Totem appear more fearsome, while using False Swipe to make your enemy call for backup. Without knocking out the original Pokémon, KO the backup as many times as you can. The more of the backups you knock out, the greater the chance the next one that appears will be shiny. Now you just have to catch it!
22 Change Your Pokémon’s Colour With Nicknames
If you’re a 90s kid like me, you’ll remember Pokémon Stadium, the Nintendo 64 game which allowed you to battle Pokémon in 3D. But you may not have known about the trick that allowed you to create your own Shinies just by using different nicknames.
The Stadium colour variations were decided by a combination of your trainer ID, which is assigned to you in Pokémon Blue, Red, or Yellow, and the nickname you yourself chose for your pal. For example, by naming a Pikachu “pikachu,” it would be lighter than usual. And by naming it simply “PIKA,” it would be more orange than normal. Other variations can be achieved by reversing the name (aka UHCAKIP) or inserting hyphens (aka PIKA-CHU). If only creating Shinies was this easy in the main series of games!
21 Change Your Pokémon’s Gender Through Evolution
When Azurill was first introduced in the third generation games, people were often a little bewildered when it evolved into Marill and changed its entire gender in the process. Far from being a glitch or comment on transgender individuals, however, Azurill’s transition was part of a strange code that has since been phased out.
The oddity occurred because Azurill’s gender ratio, which allows it to be female 75% of the time, does not match that of Marill’s, which asks it to be female only 50% of the time. Thus, when it evolved, a female Azurill had a ⅓ chance of turning into a male Marill, depending on its unique personality value. This was remedied from the sixth generation onwards, where Azurill will retain its original gender when evolving no matter what.
20 Use Flutes To Strengthen Your Pokémon
In Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald (as well as the remakes Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire), flutes are unique items. They cannot be bought: players must collect volcanic ash in their Soot Sacks while walking around the field and trade it in for them at the Glass Workshop. However, once players have them, they can be used for a variety of purposes, such as to reduce or increase the encounter rate or cure a Pokémon of sleep, infatuation or confusion. And the best thing about them is that they can be used as many times as you want, making expensive items like Awakenings obsolete.
Sadly, Flutes were phased out from Pokemon X and Y onwards, with any pre-existing Flutes just becoming rather valuable items. Bummer!
19 Create Your Own Acid Rain
Most people will already know that weather plays a role in Pokémon battles, damaging Pokémon to different degrees depending on their type. Weather is sometimes environment-based and sometimes called upon by the player, but the effects are always the same.
However, there is a glitch in Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver which will allow for the simultaneous occurrence of every single weather effect at once, damaging every Pokémon on the field. This has been dubbed by fans as “acid rain.” The glitch occurs when a type of weather is already in effect, and the player uses Pursuit on an enemy that is switching out on that turn causing it to faint. When a new Pokémon is sent out, the weather will have changed, and all four types of weather will be occurring until the battle ends.
18 Receive An Endless Supply Of Premier Balls
Despite their name, Premier Balls function in exactly the same way as a standard Poké Ball, meaning they have no better catch rate than what you’d normally expect. They are simply a gift with purchase given with the buying of every ten Poké Balls, hence the name.
In X and Y, this can be used to your advantage at the Thrifty Megamart on Akala Island. All you have to do is purchase ten Poké Balls and get your free Premier Ball; then sell the ten Poké Balls back. The Premier Ball will stay in your inventory, allowing you to grab as many as you want. Use them in battle or just sell them for extra coin and you’ll be a millionaire in no time!
17 Pay Attention To Your Balls
Master Balls are the god tier of Poké Balls, designed to catch any Pokémon in any game without fail. Unluckily, they’re incredibly rare, with some games only holding one per playthrough and most of them being incredibly difficult to find. In the absence of a Master Ball, however, you shouldn’t always resort to Ultra Balls. There are a plethora of other Balls available to try, and sometimes they’ll work even better than an Ultra Ball.
For example, in X and Y Mewtwo is conveniently located in a cave after you beat the Elite Four. This means that while Ultra Balls can be effective, a Dusk Ball is going to be much more useful as it is designed to work better in caves or at nighttime. Timer Balls can also be used for most Legendary Pokémon as they tend to make for long battles, which Timer Balls are designed for.
16 Keep Your Pokémon Easily Healed During The Elite Four
In Pokémon Black and White, beating the Elite Four can be even more of a challenge than usual. Caitlyn’s Psychic-type Pokémon can be a real killer; and as per usual, you aren’t allowed to visit Nurse Joy to heal your Pokémon in between battles. Luckily, there’s an easy way to heal your Pokémon in between Elite Four members - although it may require a friend's help to use.
Using the Infrared Trade function on your C-Gear, you can trade your entire party for another one that’s already on a different device. This means that you can trade your Pokémon to another game, heal them, and trade them back to your original game in a matter of minutes. This also means that you can tailor your team to each Elite Four member and their weaknesses before the battle. Pretty neat, huh?
15 Rebattle Gym Leaders For Extra Experience Points
Battling gym leaders has been one of the core mechanics in Pokémon ever since the series began, providing challenges to trainers as they traverse their regions and often exposing them to new Pokémon. But traditionally they could only be defeated once, which is a shame given how weak some of the early ones were and just how many experience points they gave out.
All that changes in HeartGold and SoulSilver. In those games, gym leaders venture from their workplaces just one day a week in order to explore the outside world. If you can find them during their days off, you can exchange phone numbers with them in order to call them for a rematch later at the Fighting Dojo. The leaders will have vastly improved teams, and defeating them will get you not only a huge experience boost but also bragging rights. Happy battling!
14 Diversify Your Team With Wonder Trade
When Wonder Trade was first introduced in X and Y, players immediately started taking advantage of the feature to irritate other gamers. Wide-eyed newbies would give up one of their long-trusted level fifty Poképals just to get a boring old Zubat in return, making the feature a pain to use.
But Wonder Trade continued into Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire and Sun and Moon, and people started putting a lot more effort into what Pokémon they put up for trade. That’s largely because Wonder Trade allows you to trade Pokémon between regions, meaning that if you’re not yet at a point in your game where you’ve found a lot of a certain Pokémon type, you can simply import it from another game. Best of all, you’ll also get the added experience points that come with any trade.
13 Use Ditto As A Breeding Machine
If you’re already familiar with breeding then this won’t be news to you at all, but for those of you who are getting into the addictive mini-game a bit later, you’ll want to hear this. We all know Ditto as the 'Transform Pokémon' which can change into its opponent at will and replicate their moveset to a tee.
However, when it comes to breeding, Ditto is really the be all and end all. Ditto can breed with almost any other Pokémon (excluding only Legendary Pokémon and for some reason itself), and it's also the only Pokémon to be able to breed with ‘Gender Unknown’ type Pokémon. Ditto is basically a breeding machine, so it's worth investing the time to find one early on in each game to use.
12 Breed Selectively Shiny Pokémon
We’ve already covered how to increase your chances of catching shiny Pokémon in X and Y, but using that technique there’s no way to guarantee just which Pokémon is going to appear with unique colouring. If you’re looking to find a Shiny Pokémon of a particular breed, the Masuda Method is the way to go.
First coded into the games in Diamond and Pearl (and present ever since), the Masuda Method is named for the game programmer Junichi Masuda who created it. It involves breeding two Pokémon created in games of different languages - for example, one from a game with English set as the language and one from a Japanese game. Using this method, players can raise the chances of breeding a Shiny Pokémon from 1/8192 in Generation V up to 1/683 from Generation VI. Is it just us, or is this getting a little too easy?
11 Slice Down Tall Grass With Cut
The HM Cut has been a mainstay in the Pokémon franchise ever since the first generation, continuing to frustrate new players as they try and find the elusive move that will help them progress past the insurmountable bushes in their way. But because most people only use Cut by examining the shrubs themselves and not by accessing the main menu, many missed out on a cute little easter egg which allowed players to cut down the tall grass Pokémon hide in.
To cut down tall grass in Generations I to III, all you have to do is stand in a field of grass and access the main menu. Select the Pokémon you taught the HM to and have it use Cut from this setting. The grass around you will be sliced down in an animation reminiscent of old school Zelda games. I’m actually shocked that as an avid Pokémon enthusiast from age five I never noticed this on my first playthroughs!
10 Channel Your Inner Supermodel And Pose
Pokémon Sun and Moon allows for a stronger bond between player and avatar than ever before, thanks in large part to a resurgence of the character customization first introduced in X and Y. So it makes sense that each character should have their own little pose that they can perform to the camera on demand.
To channel your inner supermodel, all you need to do is quickly spin your character in a circle using your gamepad. They’ll take over and perform a cute little spin before ending their dance move with an adorable pose. It might not really do anything to help you or your Pokémon party progress through the game, but it should provide you a moment's amusement during the games slower patches.
9 Up Your Roller Skates Game With New Tricks
The roller skates are a new item in Pokémon X and Y which supplement the bike as the new groovy way to get around town. Using the Circle Pad, players can skate quickly down routes and even access unique rails they can't get to any other way.
But there’s also a variety of tricks that can be learned which will make your roller skating experience a lot more fun. Grounded 360s, parallel swizzles, and drift-and-dashes can be performed as soon as you grab your skates, but midair 360s, backflips, and cosmic flips must all be taught to you by NPCs that are roaming Kalos. The tricks don’t really do anything in terms of plot, but it’s still pretty fun to live out your skater fantasies in a game like Pokémon.
8 Jam To Hidden Soundtracks
If you’re getting sick of the standard, repetitive soundtrack in Black and White, there are some pretty simple ways to fix it. For the first time in the series, there’s a variety of different tunes you can find to get the main soundtrack out of your head for a little while.
Whether it’s a band in Accumla Town who will play piano, a man in Nacrene City who’ll play the accordion, or a man in Opelucid City who’ll play techno beats, chatting to different people will cause different soundtrack changes, which can be a welcome relief from the same old tunes. Moreover, music will change with the seasons; and if you’re in a cave, moving down to a different floor will cause the music to get slower. We might actually play with the sound up for once!
7 Stay In Touch With Your Mom
The first time you play a Pokémon game, you might be a little put out by just how ready your mom is for you to leave the house. But just like all mums, she cares for you deep down, which is why it’s good for you to give her a call or a visit every once in awhile. You might even get a present or two out of it!
For example, in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, visiting your mom will often trigger some new dialogue or give you a brand new item such as a mega stone for a pair of certain Legendary Pokémon. Plus, if you visit her at a certain point in the game, you can get extra starter Pokémon just by entering and exiting her house. Moms: they’re good for more than you know!
6 Piss Darwin Off And Put An End To Evolution
This is actually mentioned at a few points throughout the series, but it's worth bearing in mind for those who may have missed it. If you decide for whatever reason that you don’t want your Pokémon to evolve, you can give it an Everstone to hold — but they can be hard to find and take up a valuable hold item slot.
For an easier solution, when your Pokémon is in the middle of its evolution animation, button mash B as hard as you can. Your Pokémon will stop changing mid-evolution, and you’ll be able to keep it as a baby forever. Just make sure you do this every time your Pokémon levels up or the game will forget that's what you want and evolve your Pokémon automatically!
5 Collect All The Mega Pokémon
Mega Evolutions were first introduced in Pokémon X and Y as a way to revitalise some of the older Pokémon from the series. By equipping Pokémon with special items called 'Mega Stones' and accessorizing your own character with a 'Key Stone,' the bond between the Pokémon and the trainer will be strengthened, and the chosen Pokémon will temporarily evolve into a much stronger version of itself.
So far, there's a grand total of 46 Pokémon that can Mega Evolve, with two of them - Charizard and Mewtwo - having two different Evolutions each. However, these Pokémon stretch over both X and Y and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, so you'll have to play both games if you want to catch em all. Naturally, Mega Stones are hard to find, so you’ll have to search far and wide if you want to collect them.
4 Explore The Hidden Sevii Isles
The Sevii Islands appear in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, and can only be visited after defeating the Elite Four as part of some post-game fun. There are nine islands to visit in total, and among them, they hold a pretty astounding four Legendary Pokémon: Moltres, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Deoxys.
However, there were originally a few more islands to visit in the game which were scrapped late into production. With the help of hacking devices, Sevii Isles 8 and 9 can be visited, both of which have fully programmed maps. Eagle-eyed players will also spot beta versions of Sevii Isles 6 and 7, as well as text data for the unrealised Sevii Isles 22, 23 and 24. There’s not a whole lot to do on any of the islands, but it’s still interesting to consider what might have been.
3 Take A Trip To Glitch City
If you’re still enjoying Pokémon Red and Blue but have yet to access one of the many infamous glitches in the game, there’s a pretty achievable one which will lead you right to Glitch City, population 1.
Start by joining a Game at the Safari Zone before immediately attempting to leave. When asked if you want to leave early, respond “No,“ and you’ll automatically head back into the Safari Zone. Then, save and restart your game. Attempt to leave again, and you’ll be asked if you want to join a Safari Game, to which you should once again respond “No.” Leave through the south exit and take 500 in-game steps either in Fuschia City or elsewhere. Once you’re done, you’ll be automatically warped back to the Safari Zone gate. By leaving through the south exit, you’ll enter a glitched version of whatever city you were just in. Weird, but wonderful.
2 Catch The Mysterious MissingNo
We’ve already discussed how to use the glitch MissingNo in Red and Blue to duplicate your rare items, but now we’ll discuss how to catch the elusive Pokémon. Start by Flying to Cinnabar Island and entering the Pokémon Research Laboratory, trading with anyone in the first room. Then travel back to the east of Cinnabar Island and Surf around until you encounter MissingNo. To catch MissingNo, use around level 30 - 40 Pokémon with weaker attacks, because even though MissingNo is at level 80, it has a very low defense. After capturing MissingNo you’ll be able to use it as you would any other Pokémon, and it will even be listed in the Pokedex as #000.
For an even weirder glitch, give MissingNo a Rare Candy, and you’ll notice that it will turn into a Khangaskhan. I wonder what the connection there is?
1 Clone Your Favourite Pokémon
Cloning glitches are nothing new in the Pokémon series, appearing in almost every game since way back in Generation I. Most of them involve setting up a trade, either through a —GameLink, Infrared, or Wi-Fi— and interrupting the trade by shutting down the device just after one Pokémon has been sent.
The Generation VI games are the latest to include this glitch, and work in very much the same way. Start by hooking up two 3DS systems for a trade via Infrared, and prepare to shut down your device at around three seconds. Depending on how you time things, you may either clone the first Pokémon, have a successful trade, or lose the first Pokémon; however, there’s a low likelihood of your entire game being lost. It may feel like cheating, but for those of you who want a team full of Mewtwo, it’s really the only way to roll.