The character agency is the Pokémon franchise is part of what makes it so great. There’s no right or wrong way to take on every gym leader. No right or wrong way to train your Pokémon. No one telling you how long you should spend playing the game before actually beating it. You can spend your time finding and catching every new Pokémon you encounter, and train them at your own pace. You can beat the game without having to fulfill the daunting task of completing your Pokédex. You’re in complete control.
While there are a ton of areas that you can explore and trainers to battle, sometimes the craziest stuff to do in Pokémon isn’t a part of your journey at all. You can have a run in with a group of people sitting around their desks that are making a game for a company called GameFreak (sound familiar?), you can nickname your Pokémon and directly affect their appearance in another game, or for the heck of it you can break the game and take the risk of reaping the rewards that ensues.
For the first generation of Pokémon games, Red, Blue, and Yellow set the trend in America for the coming of age for the highly popular game from Japan. With the millions that have taken the journey to “Be The Very Best”, there were discoveries that even the game’s developers hadn’t thought players would encounter. These are the 25 awesome things you had no idea you could do in Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow.
25. Who Needs The Lift Key Anyways?
During your adventures in Celadon City, you’ll find yourself in the city’s own form of a casino, The Game Corner. If you make your way to the back right of the building, you’ll find a secret entrance to the notorious Team Rocket’s Hideout. Even though there’re a number of trainers to fight and items to collect in this secret underground base, you’ll ultimately need to find a Lift Key in order to find the Silph Scope, which is needed to make it to the top of Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town. Once you’ve ventured far enough into the depths of the base, you’ll find a member of Team Rocket hiding alone in the upper left corner of the floor. Fight him, and he’ll drop the Lift Key that you’ll need in order to make it to the lower floors of the hideout. Before you talk to him and prompt the key to drop, make sure you stand over to his left before speaking to him. He’ll drop the key alright, but the item won’t show up immediately as your character is in the spot that the item drops. This bug in the game is only doable in the Blue and Red versions, as the latter special Yellow version fixed the issue before it was released.
24. You’ve Earned This Diploma
You’ve heard it in the theme song from the cartoon hundreds of times, “Gotta Catch ’em All!” To catch the original group of Pokémon was something that I, along with all of my friends, lived for. Given that the Red and Blue versions of the game had exclusive Pokémon that you couldn’t catch in the other one, we’d find ourselves trading and evolving Pokémon to no end. Alas, none of us every really did catch them all.
But what actually happened if you did catch every single first generation Pokémon? What could the reward for essentially “one hundred percenting the game” possibly be? Well if it isn’t one of the most anti-climatic things in a game! You’d receive an on-screen diploma, congratulating you for completing your Pokédex. But don’t worry, if you had a Game Boy Printer and link cable, you could print out a copy of the diploma on a tiny piece of paper. For all the hard work we’d put into trying to complete our catalogs, it was almost refreshing to see that the reward for doing so wasn’t as great as we’d thought it’d be.
23. The Glitch Known Around The World
As I previously mentioned, the highest mountain to climb in the first generation of Pokémon games isn’t beating the Elite Four and your rival, and isn’t catching Mewtwo… but to complete your Pokédex catalog to become the master at your craft. But be warned! There is not one, but TWO more Pokémon that you can catch in the game outside of the vanilla list (read further down for the second mystery Pokémon). One of those extras actually isn’t a Pokémon, but a part of the game’s program that can be activated by triggering a number of events in order to encounter MissingNo, an apparent bug in the system. Aside from its pixelated appearance, you can choose to fight, run away, or even catch the ‘Pokémon’. If you take the chance to catch MissingNo however… be warned…
22. This Seems A Little Weird…
If you’re one of the daring ones who decides to trigger the MissingNo to appear and catch one, your entire game is going to be on thin ice whether it be your save file being corrupted or random errors throughout the game. One of the areas that you can notice frequent errors is in the Hall of Fame section, where you can go through a see all of the Pokémon you’ve collected and times you’ve taken out the Elite Four. If you happen to have caught a MissingNo by the time you go to check out your “collection” per say, your catalog is littered with rampantly misplaced pixels and character all over the screen (much like what you can see above). I’m one of the ones who will tell you it’s probably not best for you to catch this bug, but who am I to stop you…
21. Starting From Scratch
You’re probably noticing a trend here with MissingNo. For the all of the venturing and catching of Pokémon you’ll find even in the first generation, you can wipe all of it away with a bug. If you’re one of the few that takes the leap and catches a MissingNo over 100, congrats! You’ve already broken the leveling system in the game. So how far can you really go with its level? Turns out if you have a ton of rare candys, you can max out MissingNo’s level all the way up to 255! But if you use a rare candy at it one more time, it’ll reset all the way back to zero. That’s what you get for cheating!
20. Everyone’s Fainted
There’s a way to walk around the world of Pokémon without having any able-fighting Pokémon. Sure, this goof-up was fixed in the Yellow version of the game, but the Red and Blue games can take advantage of the exploit. If you have a party that consists of one able Pokémon and one that’s fainted, you can deposit the able Pokémon into your PC at a Pokémon center. Now the game will allow you to take three total steps with a party of all fainted Pokémon (making it impossible to get even halfway to the door outside) before you’ll black out. What you may not know is that if you save and restart the game, the step counter resets, allowing you to technically travel anywhere in the world with all fainted Pokémon. If you take a fourth concurrent step or get into a battle of any sorts however, your character will instantly black out and reset.
19. Brock’s Pretty Weak, Anyways
Brock’s always been an important part of the Pokémon universe whether you’re talking about the friendship with Ash in the cartoon, or as the very first gym leader you’ll ever face. But what if you fancied a crack at fighting Misty first instead? Turns out there’s a way to get past the youngster at the west end of Pewter City that will stop you from leaving until you’ve defeated Brock. With a simple save/reset gameplan, you can revert the effect of leaving Pewter City and cause the youngster to disappear, leaving you venture beyond the beginnings of the game. Of course you’ll have to go back eventually and defeat Brock, as you’ll need to have earned the trusty Boulderbadge to get past the first checkpoint of Victory Road.
18. Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Bikes
Of all of the routes connecting towns, caves, and cities in the Kanto region, Cycling Road is one where you’ll feel like your running the gauntlet of trainers left and right. Now normally (and as you could assume by the route’s name) you wouldn’t be surprised that a bike is required to ride on the route. However if you resist the guard’s stubbornness at the northern checkpoint enough, you can squeeze past him and get onto the route without a bicycle. Normally after the guard stops you at the checkpoint, your character will automatically turn back. If you try enough times while holding down the left button though, you’ll get past the point where the trigger to block you is, allowing you to continue forward onto Cycling Road. The best part? Once you’re outside, a bike will spawn for you, essentially giving you a free (area limited) bike to ride.
17. Keep Your Friends With You Forever
New to the Pokémon universe in recent history is Pokémon Bank, a service that allows users to transfer captured and trained Pokémon between games for a player without having to recapture them. With the release of the 20th anniversary versions of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow on virtual consoles, the 3DS Pokémon aficionados finally have access to every Pokémon generation on the handheld. Shortly after the launch of the virtual console editions in February 2016, Pokémon Bank opened up the option for players to transfer Pokémon from the first generation title all the way to the most recent games, Pokémon Sun and Moon. Sorry, O.G. cartridge players, you’re out of luck on this one.
16. Sometimes, You Just Don’t Wanna Fight
As you progress through the Kanto region in Pokémon, you’ll have to pick up the Hidden Machine 02, Cut, in order to unlock the next gym in Vermilion City and other numerous areas in the game. Though it’s obvious when are where in the game you’ll need to cut down obscurities in your path, you can also use it to keep yourself from having to fight. Tall grass is obviously littered all around the world’s routes. But, if you choose to do so, you can cut down tall grass with the HM02 one section at a time if you really, really, really don’t want any random encounters. Just make sure you know your set path, because once trimmed down areas go off screen, they’ll regrow once you turn back.
15. This Ship Has Sailed
As cool as it was to explore the S.S. Anne in Vermilion City, it was just as upsetting to see that the ship would never return in the game once you acquired the Hidden Machine Cut. Like most of the exploits in the game, you’re going to be quitting and restarting the game in order to make it work. Once the ship has sailed, the man at the dock will stop you before whenever you try to walk past him. All you have to do is move up on step so that you’ll diagonally across from the man, save the game and restart it, and have one of your Pokémon use the HM surf once you jumped back into the game. If done correctly, you’ll be able to move past the guard and get to the next screen and HEY! The S.S. Anne has returned!
14. Cheating At The Casino
Before (or even after) you overtake Team Rocket’s underground base, you can go ahead and try your luck with the Game Corner slot machines. It may look as though that your odds of winning in Slots is based entirely on chance, and that’s true, but there is a sort of algorithm within the game that you can take advantage of that increases your chances of winning. The odds for each machine will be different every time you switch to a different one. However, if you can find one that will give you two wins in the first four tries, you should stick to that machine because of its more than favorable odds. That machine’s got the hot hand so gather all the coins you can!
13. Cloning Has Never Been So Easy
Take note that in order to execute this trick properly, you’ll need a second Game Boy and link cable. Also, one of you needs to have a Pokémon that they’re willing to lose in order for the trick to work. You’ll essentially need to have to keep an eye on each other’s screens once the trade sequence has begun. When the Game Boy that is receiving the bad Pokémon’s “Waiting” message disappears from the screen, shut it off. Then, when the “Trade Completed” message pops up on the screen, you’ll need to shut of the other system. If you’ve timed it right (that’s all it comes down to), you should have a copy of the good Pokémon, while the bad Pokémon is now lost in digital space forever.
12. Who Could Abandon Pikachu?
Pokémon Yellow took a cool twist from the cartoon series and made your starter Pokémon Pikachu follow you around outside of his Poké Ball. What’s surprising about the three different ways that you can get Pikachu to stop following you is that they can actually be done naturally, though it will eventually break the game to an extent. There are three locations in the game that Pikachu will stop following you: falling asleep to Jigglypuff singing inside a Pokémon Center, in Bill’s house while he’s still in the Pokémon’s body, and the Pokémon Fan Club when he sees a Clefairy. In you go to the far end of the respective building and walk back and forth for a few minutes, Pikachu will somehow be moved to a space outside the buildings natural walking area. Now does this mean that he’ll just reappear behind you once you leave the building? Yes it does. But it’s a nice way to keep the little guy off your back for a short while.
11. Ghost Marowak Is Scared Of Dolls
In order to venture to the top of Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town, you’ll need to have acquired the Silph Scope from the Team Rocket Underground Base in Celadon City. The Silph Scope normally would be used to reveal the Ghost Marowak that blocks your path from going up the tower’s final set of stairs. But if you bought yourself a Poké Doll from the Celadon City shopping department, you can actually bypass the requirements of the tower’s final test. In the Blue and Red versions of the game (it was later fixed in Yellow‘s release), the Poké Doll can be used to let you instantly escape any wild encounter you may be in. The Ghost Marowak, though in a set location, is considered a wild encounter in the game, so the Poké Doll exploit is totally doable, causing the Ghost Marowak to get out of your way.
10. Did The Safari Pokémon Escape?
The Safari Zone in the original games was a catching frenzy for those eager to fill in their Pokédex catalogs with dozens of Pokémon to capture. Sure you had to make your way through the area anyways in order to find an old man’s gold teeth in order to find the HM for strength, but you’re not playing the Safari Zone right until you’ve ran through and captured as many Pokémon in the area as you can. Though there are a select number of Pokémon that can be captured only in this area, you can work your way around it so that the same area-exclusive Pokémon will appear outside of the Safari Zone. If you enter the zone, try to leave, reenter, save your game and restart, then leave the Safari Zone, then make your way to the nearest body of water that you can surf in, you’ll be able to encounter Safari Zone Pokémon while on water. Odd, for sure, but if you can work your way around it without breaking the game, then catching the Safari creatures just got a whole lot easier.
9. A Nice, Refreshing Vending Machine
In order to actually get through the major checkpoint areas in the game, Pokémon forces you to actually buy a drink from one of the vending machines in Celadon City to give to one of the guards that’s stopping you from getting to Saffron City. Even though the most practical reason to buy a refreshing soft drink is to be able to progress farther into the game, you can actually give the drinks to your Pokémon as well to restore their health. The amount of health that the drinks will restore varies of course, based on whether you’ve bought a bottle of water or a can of soda. Financially, it may not be worth it to restore your Pokémon’s health this way compared to actually buying potions from the town mart, though.
8. Evolution Stones: Who Needs ‘Em?
Disclosure: Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow is exempt from this trick. If you’ve ever wanted to evolve one of your Pokémon that requires an evolution stone without actually using a stone, then this one’s for you. It’ll require some contrasting Pokémon types to particular stones (example: Onix is needed with a water stone), and a Pokémon that’s close to leveling up. Upon entering a trainer battle, start with the Pokémon that requires a stone to evolve gain a level, before switching out for another Pokémon that also corresponds with the necessary evolution stone to finish the battle. You’re basically taking advantage of the way the game’s memory reads item usage, allowing the desired Pokémon to evolve while keeping your inventory intact.
7. Breaking The Game With The ZZAZZ Glitch
This is one of the weirder glitches in the game, and it usually winds up actually breaking the experience and crashing the game’s program in the end. It’s triggered by using the game’s Ditto glitch, where you encounter a wild ditto while using a Pokémon with a specific special stat amount. Upon doing so, just about everything in the game world looks like a cluster of game sprites and pixels that are in no particular order. The more you walk around, the worse it continues to get, until the screen eventually blacks out. This glitch is up there with catching the MissingNo, in that it should be avoided at all costs to avoid any sort of game corruption.
6. They Created You
This is for sure one of the best Easter Eggs in the game. In the massive building that is the Department store in Celadon City, there are a bunch of floors to go up and talk to people in. If you make your way to the very top, you’ll find a few people sitting around their desks and computers. If you go and talk to them, you’ll notice that they’re actually portrayed as developers from Game Freak, the company that makes the game! It’s a nice little tip of the cap to the ones that have (and will continue) to expand the Pokémon universe for generations to come.
5. No, You Can’t Learn That!
Not to be confused with deciding for your Pokémon to forget learning a new move entirely, there’s a way for a Pokémon to miss the chance to learn a new skill if they’re leveling up too quick. We’ve all done it before, where we’ll set a weak Pokémon to the top of our list, only to switch them out for a stronger Pokémon once a battle has started so that they can get their split of the experience points. However, if a lower level Pokémon earns enough experience that they actually skip a level entirely (jumps from lv. 5 to 7, but learns a new skill at lv. 6), they won’t be able to learn the ability they were supposed to in that bypassed level. So as much as you’d like to get your level two Pidgey to its next evolution phase as quickly as possible, it’s best to take things slow in the beginning.
4. Changing The Way They Look, One Nickname At A Time
One of the coolest things you can do with captured Pokémon is give them nicknames. It gives your pocket monsters their own identity that makes them yours. What some people may not realize is that depending on what kind of nickname you gave your Pokémon, it may actually change their appearance if you transferred them to the Nintendo 64’s spin-off game, Pokémon Stadium. Now, you shouldn’t expect any crazy names to trigger a cosmetic change for your Pokémon, as the only known changes are simple character modifications in the original names of the respective creatures. For example, the skin tone of a RHYHORN (left) will be different from the rhyhorn on the right. There are a ton of Pokémon that are eligible for some of these changes, such as Koffing, Snorlax and of course, Pikachu.
3. A Battle With The Master
The game likes to tell you that the ultimate challenge of Pokémon Blue, Red, and Yellow is overcoming the gauntlet of the Elite Four and your rival at the end of the game. Seems right, but what if you had the chance to face off against the man that set you on your journey in the first place, Professor Oak? I won’t give the full rundown of what you’ll need to do to trigger the battle with Oak, but be ready to take on the famous Professor once you try to leave Lavender Town. Make sure you’ve got a strong enough team to take him on, because all of his Pokémon are in the 50s and 60s in terms of levels. So much for his training days “being over”.
2. The Most Elusive Pokémon Of All
You thought finding Mewtwo was going to be the highlight of your Pokémon collection?Not so fast! There’s lots of guides that show how to catch Mew later on in the game between Lavender Town and Celadon City, though you’ll need the use of a GameShark to get it (there’s no getting it without the use of cheats). If you’d like, however, you can actually pick up Mew before you even have to fight Misty for your second gym badge. Once you’ve completed the Nugget Road and your rival Gary, make sure you’ve got yourself an Abra that can teleport you back to the Cerulean City Pokémon Center. After fighting one of the trainers on the way to Bill’s house, teleport back to the center and head back towards Nugget Road. If you do it correctly, none of the trainers you had to face earlier will be there. Take a few more steps, and the menu should pop up automatically. Just exit the menu and Mew will appear! Who says you’ve got to wait longer to catch Mew?
1. Why Would There Only Be One Master Ball, Anyway?
Having to refrain from using a rare candy to boost a Pokémon’s level or throwing away the only Master Ball in the game can be a daunting challenge. You only have so many chances to get a free level boost for one of your Pokémon, and only be able to have a single wild encounter where catching the Pokémon is guaranteed. There are so many rare Pokémon that you’ll want to capture in the game, whether it be Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, or of course Mewtwo in the caves just north of Cerulean City. But what if you could have more than one Master Ball at your disposal, or dozens of rare candy items to boost your Pokémon’s level exponentially? As I mentioned earlier with the MissingNo “Pokémon” located along the east coast of Cinnabar Island, you can run away or cause it to faint with a strong enough Pokémon. If you do that, whichever item you’re holding in the sixth item slot of your bag will duplicate tremendously. So if you’re worried about whether or not you’ll be able to catch every Pokémon in the game without trouble, here’s your answer.
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