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Why The Rarest Pokemon Wasn't Supposed To Be Found

The ethereal creature prized above all other Pokémon, the face of mystery, the mythical, legendary catch who has been beloved by fans since day one ... it's none other than Mew! Cherished by gamers around the world for psychic charm, rarity, and of course, that oh-so-cute face, it's hard to believe Mew almost didn't make it into the original Pokémon games.


In an interview with Nintendo's former president Satoru Iwata through the Iwata Asks series on Nintendo's UK website, some of the most influential people behind Pokémon sat down and spilled some secrets about everybody's favorite purple-pink battle companion. Pokémon Center President and CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara and Pokémon Red and Green programmer Shigeki Morimoto of Game Freak clearly have plenty to celebrate, given the massive success of their creations. On top of that, they had a blast along the way.

Read on to learn how their camaraderie and playfulness led to the prank Mew fans are still celebrating. Prepare to open your mind (and your Pokédex) to catch 'em all!

How Mew's mischief went down

After developers were told to make no more changes to Pokémon Red and Green (later released in the U.S. as Pokémon Red and Blue), Morimoto had the last laugh as he used a mere 300 bytes of space to sneak Mew in. What was intended as an in-house prank players would never see actually ended up bringing Mew to the mainstream through a glitch, according to Morimoto. It's completely on-brand that this magical little being would find a way onto the game, even despite the odds (and the creators' plans!).


Of course, the minds behind Pokémon knew they were bending the rules, but they didn't think people would be able to access Mew. As Morimoto told Iwata, "What we did would be unthinkable nowadays!" And according to Ishihara, who still found humor in how Mew ended up in the game years later, "This is in spite of being told after debug ended that you weren't to tamper with even a single bit!" The fact that the 300 free bytes used to add in Mew used to be a debug feature? All the more ironic, and all the more iconic.

Pokémon fan frenzy

Though the logistics of Mew's origins weren't planned, players were ecstatic nonetheless. In the April 1996 issue of CoroCoro Comic, the Pokémon team introduced a chance for players to get mysterious #151. During the exclusive Legendary Pokemon Offer, 78,000 hopeful gamers entered for the chance to get Mew on their games. Only 20 were victorious. Clearly, Mew earned the legendary label.


Despite the way those odds look, hope is not lost! It is possible to find Mew in the game as some lucky, savvy players did back in 1996. While rumors about how to trigger his appearance are vast, it is possible through legitimate means. Your first hint: Mew is not under the truck!

Though the original Pokémon games feel like a lifetime ago, Mew is still as popular and rare as ever. Even in later games, you might have to look a little harder than you think. Outside of the games, Mew's just as popular, and this super-rare Mew DS is just one piece of proof.

So next time you find Mew, remember that since the beginning, nothing has fit #151 better than mystery, magic, and a happy helping of mischief.