A History of Pokémon through the Internal List

Some of you may have heard that there were originally 190 Pokémon planned for the original Japanese Red and Green versions, 39 of which (perhaps 40 – more on that later) were scrapped because of memory issues just before debugging began.
The primary evidence for that is found within the internal code of the games – more specifically, in the internal Pokémon ID list – where most of the details for each Pokémon are stored.
At first glance, this list may look completely random: it starts with Rhydon at 001 and ends with Victreebel at 190, the evolutionary lines are often fragmented, third stage evolutions are listed before their respective previous stages, the starters and the legendaries occupy random slots, and so on.
As messy as it may look, this list also evokes a feeling that something hides deeper within – as if the order of the Pokémon adheres to a sort of mysterious logic. Interviews with the developers seem to hint at the fact that the list follows the very order in which the monsters were coded into the game,  teasing the curious with the promise of a glimpse into Game Freak’s creative process, and therefore, into the development history of the first ever Pokémon games.  Continue reading →

A History of Pokémon through the Internal list – MissingNo. Descriptions

Finally, we arrive at one of the most speculative and experimental parts of researching Generation I. In this article we will summarize the MissingNo. patterns and also list a bunch of hypotheses for each, from most to least plausible.

Another general shared pattern among every MissingNo. is redundancy, so we might expect that some monsters had been deleted because they were too similar to others. We can also assume the existence of several cut evolutionary relatives (about one fourth according to our estimation), since, as Nishida and Nishino stated in the 2018 interview with Famiuri, when they had to make the final cut, they ultimately favored diversity above long evolution lines. Enjoy! Continue reading →

A History of Pokémon through the Internal List – 1

The Generation 1 Pokémon Internal ID list might look random, but it can be broken down into 5 different “Periods” that we are now going to analyze along with first-hand sources and vestiges in the game data, in order to produce a guide to identify some of the 40 MissingNo.’s key characteristics. During our journey, we will also learn about the reasoning behind the design of the first Pokémon games themselves, and possibly discover connections that aren’t obvious in the final release, as many changes happened throughout the turbulent 5-year long development period.  Let’s start by analyzing the first Period of Pokémon development! Continue reading →