Long time Pokéfan with an interest in 1st gen. glitching is now an engineer, ready to research and be a part of this unique community.
The year was 1999. I anxiously awaited the delivery of a certain kiwi green handheld device paired with blue colored cartridge, the two of which would provide me with many hours of fun and excitement, many new friendships and strengthen many existing ones, many discussions, quibbles, and even tears, and many years of learning and satisfaction. Along with these came a strategy guide, filled with instructions on getting the most out of the game, illustrations and explanations that brought the characters to life, and statistics and numbers that gave a glimpse of the mechanics underlying the games design.
And so it began. My first playing session started with picking Bulbasaur as my starter (probably at the advice of friends for rapid progression into the game) and capturing a Pidgey, the two of which would be form my primary team for the rest of the game. I got through somewhere in Mount Moon and finally stopped for the day after 3 or 4 hours.
It was the first of many, many more playing sessions and after several months finally managed to defeat the elite four, although certainly not on the first try. I never took much to heart the mission of capturing all 150 monsters, but having completed the primary storyline began to try finishing the quest I began with. Also during that time I was trying to raise my Venusaur to level 100 through repeated runs through the elite four. I finally succeeded, and began to try to do the same for my Pidgeot. It seemed as though the game was beginning to get stale.
I soon found out how wrong I was. Early in the new school year, with a new teacher and new classmates, I heard about something that would forever change my views. The rumor was that there was a way to duplicate items in the game, and it involved the long forgotten NPC at the beginning of the game who provided a tutorial on catching Pokémon. Even more mysterious was that it involved a Pokémon named MISSINGNO., whose sprite was supposedly composed of a bit of every other Pokémon.
As soon as I got home that day I rushed to check it outand it was true. Seeing MISSINGNO. for the first time was an experience that made the game more fresh than the first day I played it. It opened up many possibilities which I realized I could no longer take advantage of at this point in the game (for example, I had already used my Master Ball to capture MEWTWO) and so I decided to select the NEW GAME option (something that would soon become a vice) the next time I played. With this newfound technique in hand, I played the game quite differentlyI made sure to collect all the rare items that could not be purchased in Poké Marts and to duplicate them, ensuring an abundant supply. I also decided that leveling up my Pokémon in wild grass was a waste of time with the advent of hundreds of Rare Candies (I was not yet privy to the negative impact this had on their statistics).
Throughout this time however, MISSINGNO. still remained a mystery. What it actually was and why it had the impacts it did were the subjects that pervaded the discussions on the playground and we came up with many theories to answer these questions. I specifically remember once encountering the CHIEF trainer class with a party of glitches, with a slowed version of the final rival battle theme playing. It would be many years before I started to make sense of it all.
Later that fall saw the release of Gold and Silver versions, which certainly took my mind off the glitches in Red and Blue for a while. While playing through the far more polished game that Silver is and learning about all the new mechanics introduced, glitches began to slowly fade into my long term memory. However, at this time the internet began to become more available to me as a resource for information on games. Soon I discovered that even Silver had some glitches that could be exploited. After a friend introduced me to GameFAQs, I immediately found out about duplicating Pokémon (and held items) using the PC Box system. Again I reset my game several times playing through using the technique to my advantage. At some point around this time, during a day home sick from school, I found out about ROMs and emulation. This brought up questions of ethics and legality, for I could now get several copies of the games I owned (or did not own) for gratis. Nevertheless, they also began to give me a more thorough understanding of how the games worked and got me closer to making sense of mysteries brought up by glitches.
By this time, there was some notion shared by many close friends that doing anything with glitches was cheating and thus should be avoided to get the most out of playing the games. I, of course, did not share this view which was the source of many arguments. Later I got a GameShark, which further introduced me to the basic topics of Computer Science behind how the games work. Also, it allowed easy access to further glitching and I was playing Blue a lot again. Due to a lack of care or maybe just poor quality of the GameShark itself, I somehow corrupted the GameShark as well as my save file. At this point I started to share the view that glitches should be avoided and decided to give up cheating.
Several years later, after several changes in life during which I had little involvement (but still interest) in Pokémon glitches, I found TRsRockin. This is when I first truly began to make sense of the mystery of MISSINGNO. and learned what causes it. Also, I found out about glitch city itself and the mew glitch. All of a sudden, it seemed that there was so much more to be discovered about RB and I got back into it. I probably found out about GCL around this time, but do not recall registering and certainly not being an active member. The rom hacking scene was also very fascinating around this time, and while I never seriously pursued making a hack of my own, I learned a great deal from others hacks about the structure of the games and more about their design.
Soon, I embarked on a journey that would last for five years: a couple of degrees in electrical engineering. While at the university, I learned so much about the arts of electronics, computers and programming and gained the vision to see the Game Boy and the Pokémon games from the eyes of the engineer. During this time I also discovered Skeetendo, which is a particularly inspiring forum on hacking the first and second generations with a focus on completely disassembling the games engines. Also, while in graduate school I really had the opportunity to understand what research is and how to use what we know together to collectively architect a body of knowledgeto explain todays mysteries tomorrow.
It is with this background that I arrive here todayeager to get back into glitching once again, to meet all the people inhabiting this forum, to contribute to researching those glitches we still have not understood, to make sense of those obscurities that have been planted in my imagination as a child. In the words of Lawrence III:
And so itbegins.