“PokeGod” MissingNo. Laid Off By Nintendo

TOKYO, JAPAN (via GatorAIDS) — “Legendary” Pokemon Red and Blue cast member MissingNo was officially relieved of his duties by developer Game Freak with the North American release of Pokemon Black and White, officially ending his 15-year streak as a back-end crew member of the games. His Pokedex slot, #000, has been commandeered by the promotional Pokemon “Victini” effectively replacing the space occupied by the Red/Blue veteran. MissingNo, whose name is a truncated version of “Missing Number” (with accompanying Japanese name Ketsuban having the same literal translation), was perhaps most well known for his appearances at Cinnabar Island that fueled intense speculations and rumor mills in the budding Generation I online Pokemon communities. At the peak of his popularity MissingNo was featured in special segments of Nintendo Power‘s Pokemon Corner and the official Pokemon website with stark warnings to aspiring trainers mentioning his game-ruining “powers” which were later proven to be untrue by industrious researchers. [Editor’s Note: The editorial staff at GatorAIDS cannot actually ascertain the gender of MissingNo so we have defaulted to the generic “he” to refer to it.]


And thus, a legend was born.

With the release of Pokemon Black and White starting “Generation V” of the Pokemon franchise a special giveaway was held where trainers could download the new Pokemon Victini onto their Nintendo DS handhelds at select GameStop and other video game retail stores. Victini’s Pokedex number is that of MissingNo’s (#000) effectively filling this slot with a “more complete” file seeing as how MissingNo’s employee record was curiously devoid of personal information and seemed forged considering a mis-match between his height and weight. MissingNo originally assumed his role as the original #000 with the release of 1996’s Pokemon Red and Green where he was known under the aforementioned Japanese moniker Ketsuban, a role he reprises in the North American translations with his more well-known pseudonym. Trainer encounters with MissingNo were a rarity, usually involving discussing the finer points of capturing Pokemon with elderly people before taking an immediate vacation to the nearest beach, though with the advent of the Internet such “battles” between MissingNo and his accompanying cohorts became far less of a rarity even being encouraged by other Pokemaniacs and bird watchers.

It is unknown whether or not MissingNo will be receiving a severance package from Nintendo but our correspondents at PMZ have received word that the angular Pokemon has recently filed for government-based unemployment assistance and the impact his lay off has had on his credit rating is said to be severe but expected for such an intense lay off. During his 15-year stint as a back-end hand for Red & Blue MissingNo ran interference with fatal errors from garbage encounter data, effectively maintaining the integrity of the franchise’s virgin installments. MissingNo is one of about 40 such Pokemon all occupying the same slot and purpose, however the category also encompasses three MissingNo that are able to maintain their jobs through special loopholes brought upon by their highly specialized work. These three MissingNo (Kabutops Fossil, Aerodactyl Fossil, and Ghost) were spared in the layoff due to their duties in the art and graphics department of the franchise, though without official Pokedex numbers it is uncertain if they will be eligible for standard Nintendo employee benefits such as health and dental.


Not everybody was affected by the lay-off.

“It’s a damn shame,” said Ernest Friarson, better known under his unofficial nickname as The Man on the Cinnabar Island Gym Roof. “I was there when MissingNo was first signed onto this job. His specific department, the eastern coast of Cinnabar Island, was basically caddy-corner to where my position was, which was on the roof of the gym. Doesn’t seem right that [Nintendo] is giving Missy the boot but I guess it’s just a sign of the hard economic times we’re all currently facing. I was laid off at the release of Pokemon Yellow and since then I’ve been living off of my retirement… but Ol’ Missy lost his pension plan when the banks started closing.”

“[MissingNo] was a part of the family, the original founding family of the Pokemon games, and it’s always hard to see another one of us underappreciated folks go by the wayside,” stated Chris Feasly. Feasly was also left without a job when the truck he left parked at the deck of the SS Anne was towed for being in a no-parking zone for an extended period of time. Police confiscated a Poke Ball found underneath the truck at the time of the towing.

Sarah Anderson, a resident of the valley behind Bill’s House, also stepped up to offer condolences and even a place for the wayward and estranged Pokemon to stay, but due to the housing market bubble her home was foreclosed on by her bank and she is now presently living with her friend from the town nicknamed “Glitch City”, named as such after a flood caused by a missed Surf attack submerged the town and left heaps of destroyed houses and uprooted trees strewn about everywhere that have yet to be removed from the properties due to high expenses.

Despite the unfortunate turn of events for the popular “glitch” Pokemon, MissingNo is not the first to lose his place due to replacements relieving him of his duties. “PokeGods”, as they were called on the Internet in the late 1990’s, such as lesser known stand-ins “H POKe” and “4B 8 4 8” immediately lost jobs to Gengar and Poliwrath, respectively, with the release of Red & Blue. Both stand-ins, as well as others from the same generations, vanished from the radar never to be seen again. They are presumed dead and if alive are most likely living in impoverished conditions getting by only by cashing in on their shortlived appearances in the hit Pokemon franchise. Also affected by the layoff was M (also known as M Block), another installment to the MissingNo category occupying only one data slot: the very first one in the cartridge. Though he’s known by a slightly different name M is another unfortunate soul roped into this newfound bout of unemployment. He faces even harder times as his name is virtually unpronounceable and the spelling of it changes inconsistently.


Photograph courtesy of VCPD.

Professor Pine, the inventor of the Mist Stone, commented on the news regarding MissingNo stating “he and I worked together on many occasions, usually by means of manufacturing. That was something MissingNo was always good at: making things. He could build you a copy of anything you gave him assuming you had at least five other things to keep him interested long enough. Thanks to his virtually indefatigable work ethic when it comes to building things I have high hopes that MissingNo can find new employment in an industrial setting.”

MissingNo’s legacy certainly left a memorable mark on the Pokemon franchise as future back-end cast members such as “??????????” and “Bad Egg” are frequently referred to as “MissingNo” despite being completely different counterparts. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind as to his importance in the long run of Pokemon and its ongoing history after having become an integral part of the franchise folklore by cementing himself in the inner workings of Red & Blue. For all of his work, however, Nintendo never welcomed the L-shaped figure as an official member of the company family; MissingNo’s name was left untrademarked and he was not cut royalties from sales of the game. MissingNo was also not offered a merchandise deal despite the allure of having a possible “double zero” Pokemon jersey to go with the Pikachu/25 and Charizard/06 clothing line in the late nineties. With the release of the Pokemon Trading Card Game the triple-zero hero found himself with the short end of the stick once again and did not make an appearance in the card series’ Base set, Jungle set, Fossil set, or any other release. Despite being left out of such lucrative options MissingNo managed to keep his head above the water with the support of his underground fans using his almost cult-like status to secure him a stable source of income and even professional-looking mock-ups of what his merchandise could look like despite his unfortunate corporate label as “non-canon”. Not one to be forgotten, MissingNo was also remembered by Pokemon porn aggregate AGNPH and is featured in exactly one instance of “Rule 34”.


MissingNo was popular in international markets, too.

GatorAIDS field correspondent Payton made a trip to Cinnabar Island, home of the newly laid-off Pokemon, to hear his side of the story. MissingNo was late to the encounter by approximately one second but upon his arrival he was more than approachable to questioning, though the only thing he said was a long and unintelligible string of strange sounds. Upon returning to the GatorAIDS news van Payton discovered the vehicle had been filled with exactly 128 coffee cups identical to the one he had picked up during his break in Viridian City.

Stay tuned to GatorAIDS News Network for future updates on this current issue.

– Dracophile