The Five Forms MissingNo Could Take On In The Original Pokémon Games

Welcome to the world of Pokémon, where cute creatures and fierce monsters live alongside humans as companions and battle partners. However, it's not always such a bright world -– there are some creepy Pokémon based on disturbing myths, including one that's even inspired by UFOs. One of the mysteries of the franchise is MissingNo, a Pokémon from the original "Pokémon Red," "Blue," and "Yellow" that's just as mysterious as its name. 


While it can definitely give off some creepy vibes at first glance, MissingNo is actually a glitch Pokémon. Dr. Wilma Bainbridge described it as one of the most popular gaming glitches to exist in her study of how glitches and cheats have been used creatively. According to the assistant psychology professor from the University of Chicago, MissingNo appears because of the games' programming. This means that there are different and seemingly random aspects that affect which version of MissingNo you encounter.

How to find MissingNo

This glitch is most famously known as the Old Man Glitch. Per Glitch City Wiki, there are a couple things you need in order to encounter MissingNo. The first is the ability to get to Cinnabar Island or Seafoam Islands. From there, you need two different Pokémon: one that knows Fly and one that knows Surf.


In Viridian City, you can speak to an older gentleman (the same guy that blocks your way earlier in the game because he hasn't had his coffee) who teaches you a method for catching Pokémon. When he asks you a question, say "no" and then get through his tutorial. From there, you'll fly straight to Cinnabar Island (or Fuschia City). If you went to Cinnabar Island, then you'll use Surf around the Eastern Coast of the city until you find a wild Pokémon, which will be MissingNo. If you went to Fuschia City, then Surf to the East outside of the Seafoam Islands caves.

The infamous backwards L

The most well-known version of MissingNo is the backwards L-shape, which is just a collection of pixels. This comes up as a Normal/Bird type in the "Pokémon Red/Blue" games. While there's no Pokémon type such as Bird naturally in the entries, the original games saw glitches where a Bird type existed (such as MissingNo), and some theorize that this could've been an early idea about Flying Pokémon that was never meant to make it into the final product (via Pokémon Fandom).


YouTuber GameboyLuke created a video tutorial for using the Old Man Glitch where this variety of MissingNo is found right at the beginning. This is the most common MissingNo players can find since it doesn't have any special requirements beyond activating the Old Man Glitch. It's also one of only two MissingNo Pokémon that actually looks like a glitch.

MissingNo in Pokémon Yellow

In "Pokémon Yellow," MissingNo appears as lines of what look to be a pixelated Pikachu mixed in with blank pixels. However, the Old Man Glitch doesn't work as it was patched out of the game. Instead, players have to use a Time Capsule exploit, a process that needs a Game Link Cable and another glitch Pokémon called ????? (which requires a pretty difficult process of breeding, luck, and dedication to obtain).


There's also a Mew glitch YouTuber AmazingArceus showed off that can make MissingNo to appear in "Pokémon Yellow." However, this glitch can cause the game to lock up if done incorrectly. Both of these methods can be used to find MissingNo in "Pokémon Red/Blue," but they're much more difficult and generally not favored because of the problems they can lead to. In fact, MissingNo's Normal form in "Pokémon Yellow" can spawn a ton of issues itself. The game will commonly freeze up or become impossible to play while battling the glitch Pokémon, something that doesn't happen with the Normal/Bird glitch in "Pokémon Red/Blue."

Fossil Pokémon and Ghost MissingNo forms

MissingNo can also take on the form of actual Pokémon (Kabutops, Aerodactyl, and the ghost sprite from Pokémon Tower in Lavender City) by altering the standard methods for finding the glitch.

For Kabutops, simply use the Old Man Glitch with a "w" in your player name as the third, fifth, or seventh letter. There's also a way to use the Mew Glitch if the ????? Pokémon has a Special stat of 182, or through the Time Capsule exploit by trading Pupitar.


For Aerodactyle, the Old Man glitch can be used with an "x" in your player name as the third, fifth, or seventh letter. The Mew Glitch works if the ????? Pokémon has a Special stat of 183, and the Time Capsule exploit requires a Tyranitar to be traded.

While the infamous Lavender Town legend was completely fake, the ghost that pops up in the Pokémon Tower is still pretty freaky. MissingNo can take this form if the player's name has a "y" as the third, fifth, or seventh letter. If using the Mew Glitch, then the Special stat needs to be 184, and the Time Capsule exploit requires a Lugia to be traded.