Pokemon Missingno. An Overview (Part 2)

By Jill/Redterror117

This article is a continuation of “Missingno.: An Overview (Part 1)”, which follows the overview and details of one of the most well-known glitches of the Pokemon franchise. In this section, I will cover the side effects of encountering Missingno. in the game, the response that Nintendo gave when news about Missingno first started to surface, and some other interesting tidbits about this Pokemon.

The appearance of any version of Missingno. will cause a few additional effects to occur, on top of getting a placeholder Pokemon. First of all, the item in the sixth slot of the bag will duplicate itself 128 times. The reason for this is somewhat simplistic: in the game’s data, there is a pair of values which determine whether or not a Pokemon has been seen, similar to an on/off switch. Missingno.’s ‘seen switch’ is shared by the item quantity of the sixth item in the player’s bag, and so when encountered, this switch is turned ‘on’, the item quantity goes up 2^7 (2 to the power of 7, 7 coming from the 7 bits of data needed to represent 99+ items). On top of item duplication, Missingno. has the tendency to scramble the data of the Hall of Fame (if the player has already completed it), and after its stats are viewed, it can also scramble the sprites of trainers and Pokemon, though viewing a non-glitched Pokemon can reverse any graphical damage. In Yellow, the yellow and red version of Missingno. can be rather nasty, though only if its caught. On top of scrambling the Hall of Fame and causing other graphic effects like its Red and Blue counterparts, the Yellow-exclusive Missingno. can cause the player and all NPCs to be duplicated, the duplicates then walking around on the screen at random.

Not long after the discovery of Missingno., Nintendo decided to step in and make an official claim about it. While they did eventually accept its existence in their Customer Support section, their recommendation to solve the graphical errors that followed were useless to the situation. The information about Missingno still exists in Nintendo Support, and states the following:

“MissingNO is a programming quirk, and not a real part of the game. When you get this, your game can perform strangely, and the graphics will often become scrambled. The MissingNO Pokemon is most often found after you perform the Fight Safari Zone Pokémon trick.

To fix the scrambled graphics, try releasing the MissingNo Pokemon. If the problem persists, the only solution is to re-start your game. This means erasing your current game and starting a brand new one.”

However releasing Missingno. does nothing to solve the problem. The only way to fix the issue (short of restarting the game) is to view the stats of a non-glitch Pokemon. And despite the fact that this is a well-known solution, it has yet to be added to their customer support.

Now as promised, a few more facts about Missingno.. As its appearance changes, so too does its moveset. The basic glitch block Missingno. has three attacks: two Water Gun attacks (yes, two) and a Sky Attack. The Yellow-exclusive version has Pay Day, Bind, and Water Gun. Finally, the two Fossil Missingno. and Ghost Missingno. have the moveset of the Pokemon last viewed before capture. There are also over thirty different variants of Missingno., all of which are slightly different (though share most of the same characteristics, such as appearance). The glitch Pokemon also has a sibling glitch, ‘M, which shares similar characteristics to Missingno., such as appearance and type. However when encountering ‘M, you capture it twice: after successfully capturing it once, the battle still continues. The ‘M captured the second time will register as a Ditto, and if ‘M is sent to the PC, the game will likely crash. As a final tidbit of information, Missingno.’s existence in the game is essential. As each Pokemon is assigned a variable, and there are 256 possible variables (in the computer language, these variables go from 00 to FF), there has to be something in place of the 105 unused variables. Therefore Missingno. exists in the game as a placeholder for those unused spaces, its existence in the game intended as well, considering the fact that it is the only glitch Pokemon with a proper name (Missingno. having an actual meaning).


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