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Source: istock/distractify

12 Tidbits About MissingNo., the Glitch Pokémon of Our Nightmares

By Mary Grace Garis

Like adult acne and high heeled crocs, MissingNo. should not exist. Perhaps one of the most infamous Pokémon — and perhaps not a Pokémon at all — MissingNo. was found lurking around the Cinnabar Island coast to my absolute unparalleled horror. Sure, encountering MissingNo. in the Blue or Red version was an essential part of the Old Man Glitch, and those rare candies, Master Balls and nuggets weren't going to duplicate themselves. But MissingNo. and his graphics-distorting powers definitely gave us all the wiggins as little kids, and his legend looms large today. Even still, the most unsettling part of the legend goes back to how this creature, this "Misssing Number," should not exist. 

However, MissingNo. does exist, and though we've yet to decrypt that existence in full, here's a little bit of data on the iconic bundle of bytes.

1. The appearance of MissingNo. is largely based on your trainer name.

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Source: Nintendo

Believe it or not, MissingNo. was not created the day someone at Nintendo pitched, "Well, we have a Pokémon based on a cat and a Pokemon based a dog, what about a Pokémon based on a Limewire virus?" "Genius, Phil, genius." 

The how/why behind MissingNo., however, is a complex explanation peppered with "IDK" and phrases like "hexidecimal numeration." That sounds like math, and that's not why I came to the internet today.

What we do know, however, is that MissingNo. appears when your trainer name has either a G, H, J, M, S, T, :, ], a, b, c, m, o, p, or v as the third, fifth, or seventh character. When you go through the Old Man, your trainer is temporarily overwritten with "OLD MAN," and your name is stored somewhere else. The half-land, half-water strip of Cinnabar Island is technically capable of spawning Pokemon but definitely has an identity crisis and doesn't know what kind to spawn. So when you go up and down the coast of Cinnabar Island, you're now able to draw Pokémon based on your name, and MissingNo. (or some other glitch) appears as a placeholder.