Pokémon is something of a gaming cultural phenomenon, rife with takes of all sorts of odd glitches, rumors, and urban legends. The first generation of the series especially comes with its share of myths, given its relatively new, unknown nature during the time of its release in the late 90s.
With such vast, unexplored territory, many early adopters were seemingly ready to believe all sorts of whispers or rumors we'd now consider pretty silly. Still, these early Pokémon titles - in addition to the anime - did have their share of weird events and lore surrounding them, and there are some odd happenings, traits, and exploits that turned out true.
Let's dive right in and take a look at 5 of these rumors now, along with 5 that we now know are false.
10 Fake: Yoshi Can Be Obtained In The Game
Even most casual fans of Pokémon are now well aware of this cheeky April Fools prank courtesy of Nintendo Power. Still, back in the simpler, more humble era of 1999, when the internet was still pretty young, a number of kids did buy into this supposed glitch which would transform your Dragonite into a Yoshi, sporting the ID number of 999.
A spot in a '99 edition of Nintendo Power informed the reader of an elaborate, lengthy process that could land you this charming green dinosaur from Mario. You'd apparently have to swap a Dratini back and forth, train it so that it evolved into a Dragonite, and use a Fire Stone in the Unknown Dungeon near Mewtwo.
Hopefully not too many kids fell for this one, given all the work and grinding involved.
9 True: The Curious Case Of MissingNo.
Many players enjoyed the exciting prospect of seeking rare monsters previously unknown or undiscovered. Pokémon explorers and conspiracy theorists were eventually at least somewhat validated, as talks of a strange unknown Pokémon appropriately labeled "MissingNo" were confirmed true.
Like some sort of weird glitch in the Matrix, this mysterious Pokémon, which was the product of a data snafu, took the form of an ambiguous jumble of static. This event could be triggered by speaking to the old man in Veridian City and using Surf on the coast of east Cinnabar Island.
This essentially gets the game confused as its signals get crossed in the coding, and files meant to be obscured are now accessed, leading to the bizarre encounters you'll see in this location.
8 Fake: Hitting Down-B To Increase Your Chances Of Catching Tough Pokémon
Much to the delight of many playing Red & Blue, it was supposedly discovered that you could bump up your effectiveness of Pokéballs when attempting to catch a monster simply by holding "down" and "B" on your Game Boy. This would act as a sort of subtle "cheat code" that would make for a more likely catch, mitigating the need to spend on wasteful Ultra or Master Balls.
This rumor became so embedded into the minds of many gamers at the time that some - like this writer - still reflexively hold these buttons down even on modern renditions of Pokémon.
Unfortunately, this rumor turned out to be unverified and most likely false, as programers and hackers alike had tapped into the code and found no such exploit.
7 True: The Banned Pokémon Episode That Gave Kids Seizures
Pokémon is no stranger to controversy and bizarre stories surrounding it, particularly in the early days when people were still learning about these curious games and anime featuring weird-looking creatures. One eerie rumor that actually turned out to be true is the infamous incident of the season 1 episode of the Pokémon TV show, entitled "Denno Senshi Porygon."
If you're of the Western audience and have wondered why we never got to see Ash and friends encounter the cool, unique polygonal Pokémon, the reason can be traced back to an incident involving the Japanese airing of a Porygon-centered episode. An action-laced scene at the end showed some harsh flashing lights, which had actually triggered seizures in hundreds of Japanese viewers. Alas, this episode never found its way to Western shores.
6 Fake: "Lavender Town Syndrome" Drove Kids To Madness And Death
Despite the lighthearted and kid-friendly nature of most of Pokémon Red & Blue, there are a few moments where the game gets a tad eerie. Enter Lavender Town, a secluded, spooky area featuring a tower crawling with Ghost-types. The town's harsh, unsettling music, coupled with a particularly popular Creepypasta tale, has birthed a popular urban legend again involving tragedy amongst Japanese youth.
Unlike the Porygon episode, though, this proved much more serious and unsettling, as it was said a number of Japanese children listening to this music loudly and over extended periods were driven to commit acts of suicide. Unlike the Porygon fiasco, however, this was shown to be naught but a creative tale of fiction.
Still, there was a shred of truth to it...
5 True: The Lavender Town Music Was Changed For Being Too Harsh
While a simple 8-bit melody obviously hadn't triggered the madness and self-inflicted deaths of Japanese kids, it was reported that the original overseas version of this audio file had coaxed some headaches and discomfort.
As the music operated on just two frequencies, each of which repeated rather harsh, contrasting sounds, a number of gamers listening loudly with headphones experienced migraine headaches as a result of the odd combination of tones. Thus, the melody was actually changed to be more subdued for the English release.
4 Fake: Pikachu's New Water Form "Pikablu"
It wasn't long after the release of Red & Blue that fans started speculating about future evolutions for Pokémon, some of which may have even been hidden within this very iteration of the game. Various leaked screens of a strange new Pokémon that seemed to resemble a water-type version of Pikachu swiftly sparked a rumor that this was in fact a current or future evolution of this popular monster. This odd new blue mouse was dubbed "Pikablu" and was speculated to be manifested by using a Water Stone on the electric mouse Pokémon.
While this was soon proven to be false, we did get the eventual appearance of the monster this was meant to represent - the Water/Fairy-type named Marill. This little guy was in fact not related to Pikachu despite their similar appearance, but an evolution of Azurill.
3 True: Pokémon Black
This one can mainly be filed under true and false, as it involves another Creepypasta; this time featuring a possessed or "cursed" game cart. The legend has it that the game will prompt a series of odd events, centered around a mysterious Pokémon simply labeled "GHOST," sporting the ominously named move, "Curse."
Still, while the cursed, ghostly nature of this mysterious cart is, of course, false, there does exist an actual ROM which largely emulates the events told in the Creepypasta entitled "Pokémon Black." It's a rather spooky and jarring experience, revolving around the message of inevitable mortality.
2 Fake: Mew Is Under A Truck Near S.S. Anne Port
Mew has typically existed as this odd, mystical figure in the Pokémon world, particularly in the early days when fewer monsters existed and less was known about the series. The very nature of this largely unknown, mysterious creature naturally birthed plenty of rumors, both false and true, involving Mew encounters in Red & Blue.
One such rumor claimed this elusive Pokémon could be found hiding underneath an oddly placed truck near the port of the S.S. Anne. Through either a glitch or by use of the Strength HM, it was said that this truck could be moved or otherwise traversed to nab or engage in battle with Mew. While this turned out to be naught but wishful thinking, you can find a Lava Cookie just south of the truck in FireRed and LeafGreen.
1 True: Mew Glitch
Fans were surprised and delighted to learn that you could in fact nab the super-rate Mew if you were knowledgable enough to exploit one of the implemented glitches.
One of the more famous exploits involves a series of moves that initiate the rare encounter with Mew, which is begun by capturing an Abra (a tough task in and of itself). You'll then have to go to Route 24 where you must teleport just as the trainer nearby spots you. You'll need to arrive at Route 25 and beat the Younger and his Slowpoke. Returning to the Route 24 spot will initiate the battle with this mystical Psychic-type. Aren't glitches fun?