The first games in the Pokémon series were notoriously glitchy. Pokémon Red & Green were so full of bugs, that they received an updated rerelease, called Pokémon Blue, which formed the basis of the international versions of Pokémon Red & Blue. Even these improved versions of the game were not free from many dangerous and infamous glitches. While the later Pokémon games have improved upon this, they still had technical issues of their own.
We are here today to look into the bizarre glitches that were created from the oversights in Pokémon‘s programming. From the chaotic city that was created from nothing to the Lovecraftian Pokémon that should never have existed.
Here are the 15 Most Insane Pokémon Glitches!
15. Glitch City
The original Pokémon titless were notorious for creating something new to fill in the gap caused by a bug, rather than simply crashing the game. It is because of this that it is possible to make Pokémon Red & Blue create an entirely new city from scratch.
In order to access the Glitch City, you need to have reached the point in the game where you can enter the Safari Zone. You need to start a game in the Safari Zone, try to leave, then select “no.” Once you reenter the Zone, you need to save and reset the game. You should leave the Safari Zone and walk 500 steps. The game will think you are still in the Safari Zone, even though you are somewhere else. You will then be warped to Glitch City.
Glitch City is a corrupted version of whatever area you were in when the Safari Zone game ends. It will contain a random mixture of buildings, landmarks, and natural obstacles. The only way to escape from Glitch City is by using a Pokémon that knows Fly or Teleport.
14. The Frozen Zoroark
The fifth generation of Pokémon games introduced Zoroark to the series. This is a Dark-type Pokémon that comes with the unique Illusion ability. Illusion allows the Zoroark to look like a different Pokémon in your team when it is first released onto the field.
In the Japanese version of Pokémon Black 2 & White 2, there was a particularly nasty bug, known as the “Frozen Zoroak Glitch“. Once the player defeats the Champion, they can visit N’s Castle. To find it, they must follow N’s Zoroark through a secret path in the Victory Road. Should the player leave the area before following Zoroark to the end, then the Zoroark will wait at the front of the entrance… and never move again. The Zoroark can no longer be interacted with, and will not allow the player to visit N’s Castle. If you fall victim to this Glitch, then you cannot catch any of the game’s mascot Pokémon, or acquire the DNA Splicer items.
13. Surfing Into The Abyss
Ever since Mew was hidden in Pokémon Red & Blue, the Pokémon series has featured legendary creatures that cannot be found in normal gameplay. The Pokémon existed within the files of the game, but they could not be encountered under normal circumstances.
In the Japanese version of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, it was possible to use a glitch in order to meet the hidden legendary Pokémon. Once you reached the Elite Four, you could use Surf within the door of Aaron’s room. This allowed you to access the void beyond the normal game map. By following specific directions, it is possible for the player to access Newmoon Island and the Flower Paradise, in order to catch Darkrai and Shaymin. This would normally be impossible, without acquiring the special event items needed to access these locations.
The Door Surfing glitch was fixed in the international versions of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl. It is still possible to access the void, using a glitch known as “Tweaking“. This way, you can still catch Darkrai and Shaymin without needing the required items.
12. Celebi Egg Glitch
Celebi was one of the most difficult to acquire Pokémon for the longest time. The player would have to travel to a live event with their game cartridge, and acquire a Celebi from a special machine, as was the case with Mew in Pokémon Red & Blue. It wasn’t always feasible for players to attend these events, so they would not have the chance to complete their Pokédex.
It was possible to breed a Celebi in Pokémon Gold & Silver, with the aid of the “Celebi Egg Glitch“. You need to breed a Pokémon that knows Beat Up as its third move. This is due to the fact that Beat Up has an index number of 251, which is the same as Celebi’s Pokédex number. By screwing around with Pokémon cloning and mating, it is possible to make the game use Beat Up as a reference for what Pokémon will come out of the egg.
11. Skipping Brock
Depending on the game and your choice of starter Pokémon, Brock can either be a pushover, or one of the most frustrating fights in the series. In Pokémon Red & Blue, picking Charmander would set you up for one of the most challenging Gym Leader battles in the game. This isn’t helped by the fact that you are stuck fighting weak opponents in Viridian Forest if you want to level grind.
If you cannot be bothered fighting Brock, then you can skip him. It is possible to bypass the Youngster who won’t let you leave Pewter City, by screwing around with the Save menu whilst standing in front of him. This skip is very useful for Charmander players, as it allows you to go a catch a Paras in Mt. Moon, so you can return and wipe the floor with Brock and his Rock-type Gym. You could also take advantage of the higher level trainers in Mt. Moon so that you can more quickly evolve your Charmander into a Charmeleon.
10. The Sketch Inheritance Glitch
Smeargle is one of the most deceptively useful Pokémon in the entire series. It has awful stats, but it makes up for its shortcomings with a unique move, called Sketch. By using Sketch in battle, it is possible for Smeargle to learn almost every move in the game. If it weren’t for its horrible stats, Smeargle would be the best Pokémon in the game.
In Pokémon Gold & Silver, it is possible for Ditto to learn every move as well, through the use of something called the “Sketch Glitch“. If you use Ditto in a battle against Smeargle and transform the Ditto into Smeargle, then Ditto can use Sketch. That same Ditto will keep any move that is copied through Sketch at the end of the battle. This allows Ditto to pass this move on to other Pokémon through breeding. By using this method, the possibilities for teaching Pokémon new moves can be exploited heavily. The Sketch Glitch was rectified in later games.
9. Infinite Nuggets
Money is rarely an issue in the Pokémon series. Chances are, you will have more than enough cash to buy a decent range of healing items and Pokéballs, that will help make your journey easier. The only point when you usually need cash is in the store that is closest to the Elite Four. This is because you will have to face four powerful trainers consecutively, and you will need all of the healing items that you can get your hands on.
In Pokémon FireRed & LeafGreen, it is easy to make more money than you will ever need. All you need to do is defeat the initial five trainers on the Nugget Bridge but lose to the Team Rocket member at the end. Every time you speak to him before the battle, he will give you a nugget. Just take a low-level Pokémon into the fight with you and keep losing. You can sell these nuggets for five thousand dollars each.
8. Lumiose City Save Glitch
This is one of the most recent and most damaging glitches in the Pokémon series. It was fortunate for Game Freak and Nintendo, that this glitch happened on a console that could download and implement patches onto games.
When Pokémon X & Y was first released, it shipped with something known as the “Lumiose City Save Glitch“. The glitch would activate if the player saved within either the North or South Boulevards of Lumiose City. If they switched the game off, then the game would freeze upon loading their save file. The player would have to restart the entire game.
There are certain glitches on this list that were present in the Japanese versions of the game but were fixed for the international releases. This is because the Japanese version would usually be released several months earlier than the rest of the world. As Pokémon X & Y received a worldwide release, it affected everyone at once, and Game Freak had to scramble in order to come up with a solution. A patch was released for Pokémon X & Y that resolved the issue.
7. The Sky Drop Paralysis Glitch
In recent years, the main format used in competitive Pokémon battling is Double Battles. This means that each player has two Pokémon on the field during the fight. Double Battles have caused players to totally rethink their strategy, as certain moves become more or less useful when facing multiple opponents.
Double Battles managed to introduced a significant glitch into Pokémon Black & White, which was so prevalent that it was outright banned in competitive play. The “Sky Drop Glitch” could prevent one of the enemies Pokémon from acting in battle. To perform it, you would need one Pokémon that knows Sky Drop and another that can use Gravity. The first Pokémon has to use Sky Drop on the enemy that you want to paralyze. When your other Pokémon uses Gravity, then the enemy Pokémon will be unable to act, until either it or the user of the Sky Drop is knocked out.
6. Catching Mew
The hidden presence of Mew in Pokémon Red & Blue inflamed the imaginations of the kids who were fans of the series in the late ’90s. Everything about Mew seemed like a playground rumor. It was a Pokémon that existed within the files of the game but could not be found through regular means. The Internet was once filled with false guides on how to catch Mew, which involved the most archaic and idiotic methods that you could imagine.
No one knew it at the time, but there was actually a glitch that would allow you to catch Mew in Pokémon Red & Blue. The method for accomplishing this was not discovered until 2003.
The easiest way to encounter a Mew involves catching an Abra in the area next to the Nugget Bridge and using its Teleport move to escape from a battle with the Jr. Trainer in the same area as he approaches you. You then need to defeat the first Swimmer in Misty’s Gym. Once you return to Route 24, a battle with Mew will begin. This glitch works on the Virtual Console versions of Pokémon Red & Blue released for the Nintendo 3DS.
5. Surfing On Land
The original Japanese version of Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire is probably the second most glitch-filled generation of Pokémon games (after the original generation). Luckily for the fans outside of Japan, most (but not all) of these glitches were fixed for the international editions of the games.
One of the most infamous glitches in the original version of Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire involves the ability to surf on land. To do this, the player needs to possess the Acro Bike and a Pokémon that can use Surf. The player can use the Acro Bike’s ability to hop into the water, which will give you a momentary window in which to activate the “Would you like to SURF?” message, whilst facing the land. If performed correctly, the player will then be able to surf on land, as if it were water. This glitch is easiest to perform on Route 118, though it can be done in several places in Hoenn.
4. Statue Fishing
Once the player is given their first Rod in Pokémon Red & Blue, it might feel as if the sea itself is going to drop all of the awesome Water-type Pokémon into your lap. In the case of the Old Rod, you will only be pulling Magikarp out of the depths. You will eventually get access to better Rods, that will allow you to catch more Pokémon. Most people don’t ever bother fishing, however, as you can catch the same kinds of Pokémon by surfing around.
In Pokémon Red & Blue, the player is not limited to bodies of water when it comes to whipping out their Rod. It is possible to fish within some of the statues that can be found in Pokémon Gyms, along with the ones found in the chambers of the Elite Four. Some of these statues won’t provide any Pokémon at all, no matter how hard you fish inside of them. The one exception to this is Magikarp, who can be summoned with the Old Rod in areas that possess no wild Pokémon data.
3. The End Of Berries
One of the most tragic facts about the original Pokémon games is that most of them have stopped working. The Game Boy Pokémon games relied on an internal battery in order to save data, and most of them have run out of power. It is possible to replace these batteries, but all of your old saves will be lost. Thankfully, the modern Pokémon games can be saved onto SD cards and your actual Pokémon can be loaded into the online Pokémon Bank service.
The first major issue with the internal battery of a Pokémon game happened in Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire. Once a save file was begun, the game could only keep track of a single year of time. Once this year had passed, the game could no longer update daily events. This became known as the “Berry Glitch“, as berries would cease to grow in Hoenn, due to their growth cycle being classed as a daily event.
Nintendo actually went to great lengths to patch out this mistake. You could send your cartridge to them for a free fix. Patching programs were also built into Pokémon Emerald, Pokémon FireRed, and Pokémon LeafGreen, which could be applied with a link cable. The Pokémon games on the GameCube also contained programs that could fix the glitch.
2. Acid Rain
The third generation of Pokémon games introduced the concept of weather effects to this series. It was possible for a Pokémon to summon an extreme bout of harsh weather on the battlefield (either through the use of a move or an ability). These effects would either damage all of the Pokémon on the field (except those who resisted certain kinds of weather, like Ice-type Pokémon being immune to Hail), or they would increase the power of certain kinds of moves. Due to weather effects lasting for several turns, it is possible to base competitive teams around their longevity.
In Pokémon Platinum, HeartGold and SoulSilver, it is possible to activate all weather effects at once, through the use of a glitch. This has been dubbed “Acid Rain” by fans. In order to cause it, a weather effect needs to be active on the field. One Pokémon needs to knock out the opponent’s Pokémon that is switching out, through the effect of Pursuit. When the next Pokémon is released, all of the weather effects in the game will become active at once.
MissingNo might be the most fascinating glitch in video game history. The very concept of the game creating a nightmarish Pokémon from nothing is like something out of the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
In order to meet MissingNo, the player needs to have reached Cinnabar Island and have a Pokémon that can use Fly and Surf. They need to return to Viridian City and ask the Old Man to show them how to catch a Pokémon. The player then needs to Fly to Cinnabar Island and use Surf on the eastern coast. This area of the game possesses no wild Pokémon data and will spawn a random Pokémon based on the character’s name. MissingNo is the most well-known form that this Pokémon will take.
Through careful manipulation of the MissingNo glitch, it is possible for the player to catch any Pokémon in the game, as well as receive infinite copies of any item (as Missingno will increase the number of the sixth item in the bag by 128). The rumors of MissingNo ruining your game file are unfounded, as its effects can be undone by visiting the Hall of Fame.
MissingNo is still causing problems to this day. If you try and transfer a MissingNo from Pokémon Red & Blue into Sun & Moon through the Pokémon Bank, then it will screw up the nicknames of any other Pokémon being traded along with it. Even after twenty years, MissingNo is still corrupting the data of the Pokémon series.