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Pokemon’s Greatest Glitches



Pokemon Glitches

Pokémon Red and Blue became the source of countless urban legends and rumors when it first came to the States in 1998. Some stories were the typical school yard fare, whisperings among kids about the secret legendary Pokémon Mew hiding under a truck in Vermillion City, and theories about what happened to the father of Red, the protagonist. Some myths were eerier and more sinister. A handful of these magnificent tales are actually true, tales about a mysterious non-Pokémon Missingno and wacky ways to catch Mew. For those who have never played Pokémon, are simply don’t remember, Red and Blue house some of the greatest game glitches and exploits of all time. With Red, Blue, and Yellow coming to virtual console on the 27th, I figured what better time to share some game-changing glitches?  Here is a little how and why concerning two specific glitches, the Missingno and Mew glitches.

The Missingno glitch is now one of the most infamous glitches in all of gaming. Missingno itself is a dual type bird/normal, glitch Pokémon. Eagle-eyed readers might have already noted that bird isn’t a type featured in Pokémon, leading many Missingno enthusiasts to believe that perhaps bird is a placeholder type, or was what eventually led to the real flying type. In terms of how bird type differs from flying type, it behaves exactly the same as normal type, essentially making Missingno normal/normal type. That’s not the only duality where Missingno is concerned. Missingno also has the move Water Gun twice! How great is that?

In terms of appearance, Missingno can look different to different people. Not that the sprite itself changes, but depending on the player character’s name, Missingno may take a different form. More on that later. The most common and iconic is the left-most sprite in the image below, a sprite that’s often referred to as Missingno’s normal form. Three of Missingno’s sprites are actually sprites from elsewhere in the game. The ghost-looking one is how ghost Pokémon are featured in Red and Blue before the player has acquired the Silph Scope. The other two are fossil versions of existing the Pokémon Aerodactyl (center-right) and Kabutops (far right). Not featured here is the Pokémon Yellow version of Missingno, as, while Missingno is in that game too, our favorite glitch Pokémon tends to be far more game breaking in Yellow, so I HIGHLY DISCOURAGE looking for Missingno there.


So how do you find Missingno? The easiest way to find the one and only bird type Pokémon is through the “old man glitch.”  All you need is a Pokémon that knows the move Surf, a Pokémon that knows the move Fly, and to have visited Cinnabar Island, where the seventh gym is located. Begin by talking to the old man in the upper part of Viridian City who taught you how to catch Pokémon. He’ll teach you how to catch Pokémon once more, but hear him out. Then, fly to Cinnabar Island. Immediately walk to the eastern edge of the island and use Surf. Then, skim the eastern coast of the island without ever leaving the border separating land from sea. You’ll probably encounter all sorts of unexpected wild Pokémon with totally random levels. If you persist, you’ll eventually encounter the elusive and majestic Missingno.

Before any of that however, if you’re intent upon hunting Missingno this way, you should ensure your name is right. Remember how I said your name influences Missingno’s appearance? It may influence Missingno appearing at all! Using the “old man glitch,” if in the player’s name the third, fifth, or seventh character is the end-name marker, G, H, J, M, S, T, :, ], a, b, c, m, o, p, or v, normal Missingno should appear. Using the same glitch, if w is the third, fifth, or seventh character in the player’s name, Kabutops Fossil form should appear. An x in the same slots should cause Aerodactyl Fossil form to appear, and a y Ghost form. As a consequence of all of this, many people initially thought Missingno could appear in any game. The glitch was taught to me by my brother, whose character name was Mark. Being a four-letter name, the end-name marker was the fifth character, so he encountered normal Missingno. I named my character after myself. Spelled properly, Tim, or in all caps, TIM, both result in encountering normal Missingno. To ensure you encounter, and in the form you prefer, simply make sure your character name follows these criteria.

Poke name

In case you are curious why the “old man glitch” works, the dumbed-down version is that the game is programmed to refer to Pokémon as specific variables, and in the code of the game these variables are stored as powers of two. With an odd 151 Pokémon, the game’s creators had to generate 105 excess variables to reach the first usable variable, 256, as that’s a power of two. Missingno, or “Missing Number” isn’t a Pokémon that was removed from the game, as many assumed, but instead one of many filler variables when the game can’t decipher what Pokémon a player should encounter. When would this occur? Well, when a player is taught how to catch a Pokémon, their name impermanently changes to “Old Man,” only to be restored to normal upon the next encounter. In the mean time, your original name gets stored alongside the Pokémon variable data. Consequently, when the player Surfs the eastern border of Cinnabar, which mysteriously lack pre-programmed encounters, the game fills in the gaps by using the players name, allowing them to encounter these excess Pokémon variables, including the Ghost sprite, Kabutops Fossil sprite, and Aerodactyl Fossil sprite which are saved there.

That’s the short version of why the “old man glitch” works, and where Missingno comes from, but that doesn’t answer why players actively seek Missingno out. Practically speaking, by catching Missingno and using it in battle, the item in sixth bag slot will be duplicated, increasing by 128 unless that number already exceeds 128. That means unlimited Master Balls, Rare Candies, you name it. On a far deeper level, I think encountering Missingno is fun because it is something that’s not supposed to be there, something exceedingly strange and potentially powerful, as Missingno can appear at levels that exceed 100. Plus, with so many urban legends surrounding Pokémon (see the link in the first paragraph), and three of Missingno’s sprites being dead things, it is perfect fodder for spooky, bizarre stories explaining an abnormal circumstance.

old man

The “old man glitch” isn’t the only way to encounter Missingno, however. Another popular way is the “Mew glitch,” which players most often use as an easy way to obtain Mew in game. This glitch is less known overall, and if you haven’t ever heard of the glitch, it may be because, according to Bulbapedia, the glitch wasn’t recorded until 2003, five years after the games originally came out.

The glitch is relatively easy to execute. It merely requires a “long-range” trainer, one of the trainer’s who can see a player immediately as they enter the screen from a longer distance than most trainers, and a Pokémon with the move Teleport or Fly. The earliest point at which the glitch can be attempted is on Route Twenty-Four near Nugget Bridge, to the north of Cerulean City. It’s important to do this before you challenge the second gym, and being so early in the game, it requires Teleport, as Fly isn’t available yet. Luckily, Abra, whose only move is Teleport, can be found on the same route, twenty-four. To begin, clear the trainers on Nugget Bridge. Then, ensure the last Pokémon Center you used was Cerulean. Head back  toward Nugget Bridge, and after the bridge is crossed, head west until you hit the nearby wall. Walking down a few paces will reveal the Jr. Trainer we’re about to utilize one step to the right, and a few steps down. You may want to save here, just in case something goes wrong. Head up several steps, then step to the right one step and travel down. As soon as your character is in line with the water, the Jr. Trainer will see you. As soon as you are level with the water, hit Start, select Abra, and Teleport. As you vanish, an exclamation point should appear above the trainer’s head. Don’t worry if you can’t use certain buttons – it’s simply because the game believes the player to be in a battle at this point. If you’re in search of Mew, head right of the Pokémon Center at Cerulean, to which you should have teleported to, to the gym just beside it, and battle the first trainer visible inside the gym. After beating this trainer, exit the gym and head to the north toward Nugget Bridge once more. Once on the bridge, the Start Menu will automatically open, and closing it will result in a battle with Mew.

Mew Glitch pic 1

The glitch is essentially tricking the game in to believing the player to be in a battle, a battle that the player escapes from, resulting in the game reading incorrect values that it anticipates to be there. For the glitch to work properly, another trainer must be battled, as that is what the game initially expected to happen. Consequently, nothing will happen if the player enters a battle with a wild Pokémon. By battling a different trainer, however, the game misreads values, borrows the Special stat value of the last Pokémon battled and replaces it with an index number, in the this case twenty-one, which corresponds to Mew. This is where the glitch gets fun, as battling different Pokémon after escaping the Jr. Trainer west of Nugget Bridge results in different wild Pokémon appearing typically at level seven, a result of the last Pokémon battled’s attack stage modifier. This can result in some humorous encounters, including some with fully evolved Pokémon at level seven, way earlier than they should be encountered. I highly recommend experimenting and battling random trainers to see what wild Pokémon you encounter.

To manipulate this, players can control the Special stat of one of their own Pokémon and then battle a ditto who’ll transform in to a copy of the player’s Pokémon, matching its Special stat with that of the player’s. This way, the player can encounter specific wild Pokémon with an index number than matches the Special Stat of a different Pokémon. By using a Pokémon with a special stat that exceeds 190, a player can encounter different glitch Pokémon, including Missingno in all of its forms, giving us another method to encounter our favorite glitch Pokémon.

mew pic 2

Pokémon Red and Blue are phenomenal games, and no great game is complete without some equally great glitches. The Mew glitch gains players access to a mythical Pokémon only available via distribution otherwise, as well as some unexpectedly under-leveled Pokémon. The old man glitch, on the other hands, allows players to encounter the mysterious Missingno in levels that exceed previous limits. So, when Red and Blue come to the 3DS on the 27th, I sincerely hope you keep these glitches in mind as you train to be the very best, like no one ever was. What better way to prove your Poke-prowess than to catch all 151 original Pokémon and then some? Happy hunting, and a very happy Pokémon Day.

Tim is not the droids you are looking for. He resides quietly in the Emerald City where he can often be found writing, reading, watching movies, or playing video games. He is the Xbox editor for Goomba Stomp and the site's official Pokémon Master.

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PAX Online: ‘Unpacking’ and ‘Infernax’

Our PAX Online coverage continues with a game the calm and relaxing Unpacking and the not-so calm and relaxing Infernax.



Unpacking and Infernax

Our PAX Online coverage continues with a game that takes a hated activity and somehow makes it relaxing and another game that will leave you clenching your buttocks.


Unpacking game

Platforms: PC
Release: 2021

As someone who is coming fresh off of moving just a little over a month ago, you couldn’t have blamed me for being a little skeptical going into what was dubbed a “zen puzzle” game based on the final stretch of the process. Unpacking is just that, though. It’s a calming, almost therapeutic exercise that happened to serve as a wonderful way for me to unwind at the end of a day.

Unpacking is exactly what it says on the tin. There are no scores, no timers, no leaderboards, just you, and a few boxes with various items in them that need to be placed somewhere. The demo starts with a single bedroom in 1997. There’s nothing in the game that tells you where something should go, only your own taste and intuition; a locked diary would probably go in a desk-drawer while a soccer trophy would probably be displayed on a shelf.

As I slowly unearthed items one-by-one, I gradually got a feel for what the room’s new inhabitant was most likely like. The endless supply of stuffed animals implied someone of younger age while the numerous art supplies indicated someone inclined to right brain thinking. It’s rather engaging to learn about this person’s life purely by their belongings.

Every item taken out was like a delightful surprise and would sometimes even make me feel a little sentimental such as when I took out a small device that was clearly a Tamagotchi. More importantly, Unpacking nails that sinking feeling of when you feel like you’ve used all your available space but still have boxes left. Reaching the point of just throwing stuff wherever it fits is such an immediately relatable feeling that I was almost offended. And that was only for a single bedroom!

Unpacking game

The demo’s second stage was a little more involved with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen in the year of 2004. The hilarious moments of finding a boot in your kitchenware box or a bra with your toiletries also felt like a call-out to my own hodge-podge packing methods. It’s something I can’t help but let out an exasperated chuckle at.

It was also neat to see how this person has grown since their earlier abode. Much fewer stuffed animals but more art supplies and a brand new computer imply this character is maybe entering the working adult world. I’ve never actually seen this character, but I can’t help but feel a connection to them already, and that was only after two moves. The full game will have eight total moves to follow them through and I am genuinely curious to see how our nameless and faceless protagonist grows throughout them.

Now if only unpacking in real life could be this soothing.



Platforms: PC
Release: TBA

Some players may recognize Berzerk Studio for their excellent 2018 bullet-hell, rhythm game Just Shapes & Beats. Coming hot of the heels of that hit they immediately pivoted in the new direction with Infernax, a delightfully edgy 8-bit adventure platformer that takes cues from old-school Castlevania titles.

Our hero returns to his land after a successful crusade only to find it overrun by horrible monstrosities in every which direction. With nothing but mace in hand, he sets out on a quest anew to rid the land of the undead filth. Immediately apparent upon starting is just how tightly the game controls; anyone fond of earlier NES titles will feel right at home with Infernax. I quickly got a handle on my exact attack reach down to the pixel and began mowing down the zombies in front of me. It emphasized how much joy a game is possible of eliciting from simply a jump and attack button.

Getting to that proficiency is important too because the game doesn’t waste any time in taking off the training wheels! Even the base enemies shaved off half my HP if I got careless and that difficulty ramped up at a rapid rate as new enemy types were introduced at a decent clip such as flying evil eyes and jumping rodents. Not only do these foes burst into tasty experience points and gold to be spent on upgrades, but also into extremely satisfying fountains of blood.

Infernax isn’t particularly shy about turning up the gore factor, but it’s still impressive by just how creative they get with it using simple pixel art. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you are killed. Every single enemy type has a unique kill animation when they deal the final blow to our hero. From the chump ass pillbugs to the big bad bosses, all of them mutilate you in a different way and it’s honestly morbidly mesmerizing to witness. It made me want to suicide against every enemy I came across just so I could see what creative way they took my life.


Depending on your playstyle you might not want to do this, though, as Infernax features two different ways to respawn when you die. Hardcore respawn sends you all the way back to your last save point, just like in those classic NES titles. Casual respawn lets you restart right where you left off with no loss in progress, but choosing to do so locks you out from Hardcore the rest of the game. It’s a sort of mark of shame that I was glad to wear during the demo after I came up against the final boss and promptly got my ass handed to me. It sounds a little cheeky on paper but is actually very consistent with the game’s overtly edgy tone.

Infernax feels like a game that was lost to time during the NES era and is just now being rediscovered. Those looking for for a game that harkens back to the simplicity of the olden days need not look any further.

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Indie Games Spotlight – Going Full Circle

We’re featuring five exciting indie games in our latest spotlight, including the internship roguelike Going Under and the cozy puzzles of Lonesome Village.



Journey of the Broken Circle

Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s biweekly column where we highlight some of the most exciting new and upcoming independent games. Summer may have come to a close, but that hasn’t stopped big announcements from rolling in. With events like PAX Online and the recent PlayStation 5 Showcase flooding the web with announcements, trailers, and gameplay footage, there’s been a constant deluge of news to keep up with. With so much coming on the horizon, we’re spotlighting five exciting indies that you’ll be able to play sooner rather than later. Whether you’re in the mood for a brutally addictive action game or a cozy adventure and social sim, there’s bound to be a game that speaks to you in this spotlight.

Moving Up Professionally in Going Under

Work is its own payment in Going Under. In this action game from developer Aggro Crab, you’re put in the shoes of an unpaid intern who must explore the endless ruins of failed tech startups while fighting off the monsters that spawn within them. It’s hard work to do without a single paycheck—but hey, at least you’re gaining valuable experience!

As a former unpaid intern myself, the writing in Going Under certainly resonates with me and it’s sure to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever felt underappreciated or overworked. Its vibrant and colorful 3D graphics, as well as its satirical story, only make it all the more enticing. It really should offer a great working experience when it hits all consoles and PC via Steam on September 24.

Animated GIF

Fill in the Gaps in Journey of the Broken Circle

Something’s missing in Journey of the Broken Circle. Like its name would suggest, this puzzle platformer follows a Pacman-like circle with a hole to fill. It wanders through a world that is whimsical and existential at once, searching for a companion to fill its gaps. As the circle rolls through ethereal environments, it encounters different shapes to use that allow for new gameplay mechanics.

Journey of the Broken Circle might be about an abstract shape, but in its quest to become whole, it strives to capture the human experience. It promises to be an intimate experience that clocks in at about five hours to complete. If you’re interested in getting this ball rolling, it’s already available now on Switch and Steam.

Prepare to Get GORSD

There’s a delicate balance between unsettling the player without being outright scary. GORSD treads the line here as a one-hit-kill shooter that stars humans encased in the skins of octopuses, dragons with human faces, and nightmarish environments. Something feels off about GORSD, but that’s exactly what makes it so interesting.

Brought to life with detailed pixel art, GORSD supports up to four players who can face off in chaotic matches in varied arenas. It also features a full-fledged single-player campaign with a vast overworld with dozens of unique stages. Its concept is inspired by its developers’ native Southeast Asian cultures, making for a unique gameplay and aesthetic experience. If you’re ready to dive in and see it for yourself, it’s available now on all consoles and PC via Steam.

Get Ready For a Foregone Conclusion

Saying Foregone is a 2D Dark Souls would be cliché, but accurate nonetheless. It’s a hardcore action game where you’ll fight against insurmountable odds to prevent monsters from overrunning the world. It has a brutally addictive gameplay loop—its difficulty may be excruciating, but because it offers a wide assortment of abilities to leverage, it’s immensely euphoric once you overcome the challenges before you.

This beautiful 3D/pixelated hybrid action game has been available on PC in early access since February, but at long last, it’s seeing its full console release in October. It’s been a promising title ever since its pre-release days, and now that it’s finally seeing its complete iteration, there’s never been a better time to dive in and give it a shot. It’s hitting all platforms on October 5, so there’s not long to wait!

Finding Good Company in a Lonesome Village

Mix Zelda with Animal Crossing and you might get something like Lonesome Village. This newly-revealed puzzle adventure game features Zelda-like adventure in a hand-drawn world populated by animal characters. Players control a wandering coyote who stumbles upon a strange village and decides to investigate its mysterious happenings by interacting with villagers, solving puzzles, and exploring its dungeons.

It’s more than a simple adventure game. In addition to puzzle-solving, you’ll interact with Lonesome Village’s eclectic cast of characters to forge relationships and unravel brooding mysteries. It’s showing plenty of potential with its cozy gameplay loop, and if you want to give it a shot, check out its official demo from its Kickstarter page! It’s already been fully funded in less than 24 hours, but if you want to help the developers out even further, consider contributing to their campaign.

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PAX Online: ‘Inkulinati’ and ‘Pumpkin Jack’

The PAX Online celebrations continue with the strategy game, Inkulinati, and spooky Halloween themed Pumpkin Jack.



Inkulinati and Pumpkin Jack

The PAX Online celebrations continue with a strategy game whose tales are writ in ink and a game sure to put you in an early Halloween mood.



Platforms: Switch and Steam
Release: 2021

Preview in new tab(opens in a new tab)

Competitive strategy games stress me out. Chess? Stresses me out. Checkers? Stresses me out. Star Craft? Stresses me out. Managing that stress as a form of stimulation is what makes the best strategy games shine, though, and Inkulinati is so far demonstrating all the facets of such a game.

The titular Inkulinati are masters of a craft that brings their inked creatures to life on parchment, including a caricature of themselves. The two Inkulinati do written battle with each other until only one is left standing. The battles are carried out in a charming medieval art style that looks like it was taken straight out of a manuscript you’d find carefully stored in a library. These aren’t the masterpieces of Da Vinci or Van Gogh, but the kinds of scribbles you’d find the layman making on the edges of pages either out of boredom or mischievousness. The playful art makes for a playful tone and jolly times.

The core thrust of the gameplay is that each Inkulinati utilizes ink points to conjure units, or “creatures”, onto the parchment in a turn-based manner and sends them into the fray. There were a fair amount of creatures available in the demo — ranging from a simple swordsdog with well-rounded stats to a donkey capable of stunning foes with its trusty butt trumpet. Many many more creature types are promised in the full game, but I found even with the limited selection of the demo the gameplay was still able to be showcased well.

Your primary Inkulinati also has some tricks up its depending on the type you’ve chosen to take into battle. Instant damage to or healing a unit were the two shown off in the demo, as well as being able to shove units. Shoving is particularly useful as you can push enemies into the hellfires that encroach the battlefield as the battle wages on, instantly defeating them.

Doing battle with an opponent it all well and good, but what’s the point if it’s not immortalized for generations to experience down the line? Inkulimati understands this need and will record every single action of the battlefield in written word. It’s infinitely charming, and the amount of variations in how to say what amounts to just “X unit attacked Y enemy” is astonishing. How can you not chuckle at, “Powerful Morpheus killed the enemy and may those who failed to witness this live in constant pain and regret”?

Pumpkin Jack

Pumpkin Jack

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Steam
Release: Q4 2020

Halloween may be a little over a month away but that didn’t stop the 3D action platformer Pumpkin Jack getting me in the spookyween mood. The human realm is suffering from the Devil’s curse and have elected the aid of a wizarding champion to save them from it. Not to be outdone, the Devil also chooses his own champion to stop the wizard, choosing the despicable spirit Jack. With the tasty reward of being able to pass on from hell, Jack dons his pumpkin head and a wooden & straw body on his quest to keep the world ruined. The premise sounds slightly grim but make no mistake that this is a goofy game through and through, a fact only emphasized by a brilliant opening narration dripping with sarcasm and morbid glee.

The demo took us through Pumpkin Jack‘s first stage, a dilapidated farmland full of ambient lanterns abandoned storehouses. The visuals are compliments by a wonderfully corny soundtrack full of all the tubas, xylophones, and ghost whistles one would expect a title that is eternally in the Halloween mood.

We got the basics of traversal, like dodge rolling and double jumps, before coming upon a terrified murder of crows. Turns out their favorite field has been occupied by a dastardly living scarecrow and they want Jack to take care of it. One crow joins Jack on his quest, taking the form of a projectile attack that he can sic on enemies. Jack also obtains a shovel he can use to whack on the animated skeletons with a simple three-hit combo. There’s nothing particularly standout about the combat, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be this early on. More weapons such as a rifle and scythe are promised in the full game and should go a way towards developing the combat along with more enemy variety.

Pumpkin Jack

Collectible crow skulls also dot the map and seem to be cleverly hidden as even when I felt like I was carefully searching the whole stage I had only found 12 out of 20 by the end. Their purpose is unknown in the demo, so here’s hopping they amount to something making me want to find those last eight in the full version.

After accidentally lighting a barn ablaze and escaping in a dramatic sequence we came across the scarecrow in question. Defeating it was a rather simple affair that was just a matter of shooting it out of the air with the crow then wailing on it with Jack’s shovel. We were awarded a new glaive-type weapon as a reward but unable to give it a whirl in the demo, unfortunately. All-in-all, Pumpkin Jack shows promise as a follow-up to action 3D platformers of yore like Jak & Daxter, so here’s hoping to a solid haunting when it releases later this year.

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