The MissingNo. Notebook

TMNN_Banner

Originally a small part of PokeFreak’s sub-page on The Twilight Zone, “The MissingNo Notebook” was an expansive collection of independent research into the inner workings of the Pokemon Red and Blue video games that ran from an indeterminate pre-Twilight Foundry date to approximately 2002. The website focused entirely upon game glitches, exploration via GameShark, rumor debunking, and hex value lists generated through trial and error. It took part of its name from “MissingNo”, the most well known and popular glitch in the Generation 1 Pokemon games and arguably one of the most well known video game glitches of all time; the second half of the site’s title was derived from a literal “MissingNo notebook”, a spiral notebook that PokeFreak kept his findings and ideas in. The MissingNo Notebook was the first project site managed through Twilight Foundry; it was hosted on PokeFreak’s personal Homestead account and was linked to on the Twilight Foundry homepage.

In the early 00’s, PokeFreak was responsible for discovering a glitch that allowed players to the game into playing bicycle music while walking. In 2008, after a several year hiatus from researching and documenting glitches, PokeFreak also discovered a glitch derived from the original MisingNo trick to permanently rename the player “OLD MAN”. The first of these two glitches was revealed on The MissingNo Notebook, the latter was given a video debut on YouTube as part of a failed reboot of the MissingNo Notebook project.

While comprehensive, The MissingNo Notebook was not without its flaws and unintentional misinformation. Due to the relative infancy of in-depth ROM inspection tools and the haphazard “firing blind” effects of GameShark codes a notable portion of the site’s content was inaccurate. Specifically, the hex value table of Pokemon used for wild encounters was incorrect because while a large portion of these encounters store trainer data, there are still ways to force the game to read these trainers as glitch Pokemon; this information was absent from The MissingNo notebook as it was declared these data slots were “trainer only”. Continuing forward, the website was also incorrect on a number of entries in the hex value list for attacks given that without a ROM decompiler there was no way to correctly calculate the complete stats of every glitch attack and its effects.

The young age of the Pokemon glitch community also played a role in making certain kinds of glitches unavailable, namely the famed “Mew glitch” that uses event breaking to trick the game into triggering a legitimate encounter with a wild Mew. Future game decompilers and programmers have revealed dummied out debug items and script-writing utilities that were previously listed as “garbage” on The MissingNo Notebook due to the fact that they had no easily discernible function. Finally, the existence of the “Charizard M” glitch was also unknown at the time due to it being written off as garbage game-crashing data occupying hex slot “FF” in the ROM; this glitch would later be pioneered to clone and “hide” Pokemon from game events and scripts. While not technically “incorrect”, The MissingNo Notebook contained information for the various rumored “PokeGods” but made no declaration as to their legitimacy.

Despite getting a good many things wrong unintentionally, The MissingNo Notebook was once a solid repository for general glitch information and may possibly have played a role in the ongoing documentation of Generation 1 glitches. While the website was online its most notable feature, hex lists aside, was the “rumor debunking” category where PokeFreak took a look at popular rumors for obtaining Mew or other rare Pokemon (the S.S. Anne truck, Bill’s Secret Garden, PokeMon diploma) and provided a lengthy disassembly of the rumors along with why they would not feasibly work. Rumors that were testable within a reasonable amount of time, or that could be easily tested via known GameShark codes, had more intricate debunkings provided. Hilariously, the steps required to perform the noted “Mew glitch” read like a ploy to get players to waste their time on needlessly intricate steps and details; the glitch was not known at the time of the site’s existence, however it’s likely the website could have provided an incorrect debunking based upon the bizarre process alone.

Website updates stopped some time around 2002 and the site itself went offline when Homestead ended its free website hosting service. In 2007 there were plans to reboot the website straight from the original notebook records, however there were many other websites online at the time that essentially had the same information as The MissingNo Notebook and presented it in a more efficient manner (TRsRockin, Bulbapedia, GlitchCity.info, etc.) so the project was abandoned.

Currently, there are no plans to revive The MissingNo Notebook. Below is a collection of scans and observations taken from the very notebook that started this project as well as any relevant archival records from the era: