Thought: The Mew Trick

Long ago in the misty haze that is 2002, I was searching the Internet for Pokémon cheats and, as so often before, stumbled upon a ridiculous fake cheat. I scoffed at it, of course; I was no longer the naïve eleven-year-old trying to get seventeen Pokémon to level 100 so she could get a Pikablu. Fake cheats didn't fool me anymore.

According to this particular ridiculous cheat, you could actually fly away before a trainer noticed you in Red, Blue and Yellow (yeah, right), which would cause the exclamation mark to appear above his head while you're flying away (how does that even make sense?). If you then battled a particular random trainer with no significance and afterwards walked into the route with the first trainer, your start menu would suddenly pop up, and if you then pressed B, a level seven Mew (what a stupidly random level, I thought) would attack you out of nowhere. And just to put the cherry on top of the obvious fakeness, the person added, "I SWEAR THIS WORKS!!!"

I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and later created a section on my website called "Site Stuff I Hate", which ranted a little about websites with fake cheats. Especially those really pathetic cases where they add "I SWEAR THIS WORKS!!!" to something they obviously haven't tried.

Fast-forward to April 2003. A person called TheScythe at the GameFAQs Message Boards posted that very cheat, claiming he had found it somewhere, tried it and it had worked. Of course no one believed him - but then a couple of people tried... and strangely, they backed him up. Suddenly there was an explosion of confirmations. The cheat spread over the Internet like wildfire, and Pokémon fans worldwide suddenly experienced just about what people would feel if they were suddenly told that the Earth wasn't round after all. Countless people had for years been tirelessly going around explaining to the newbies that it was impossible to obtain Mew aside from going to a Nintendo event or using a cheating device - and suddenly the Mew trick was staring them right in the face.

I heard about it too from the PokéMasters forums, and indeed confirmed myself that it worked and put it on my website. It was only a while later that I began to realize that the trick had sounded familiar, and soon I remembered with dread that I had waved off the real Mew cheat, long before its revolutionary discovery.

I could have been the one to rediscover the Mew trick.

But really, of course I didn't - because the Mew trick just sounds so fake. And ultimately, perhaps that is why the real Mew trick escaped notice for so many years: in the sea of fake rumours, it fit in so snugly among the most ridiculous ones that no one with the presence of mind to realize its significance could take it seriously. It has it all - it prescribes a series of stupidly arbitrary player actions leading to nonstandard but apparently glitch-free game behaviour that eventually has you battling or catching a Mew of all things, without any obvious rhyme or reason behind why it should happen. Is it any wonder it lay unnoticed for so long?

Perhaps the great mystery is why it was ever discovered at all.

Page last modified August 12 2016 at 22:34 GMT