Yay, Plague von Karma is back!
Alright alright, you're probably wondering where I was. I've been labbing Smash Ultimate recently with a bunch of friends, it's tied my hands a lot. However, I have come back with some stuff from the Asset Leak after chatting with friends about it.
So I've updated my MissingNo. Identification Sheet with the new beta Pokemon and also moved Gyaoon to its Asset Leak Index. You can find it here.
So, what was different between my original and latest research?
And some new facts:
I may cover some of this in more detail at some point.
With the emergence of the Pokemon Index List, the Capsule Monsters concepts, and so much more, many theories have been arising about Gen 1's development. From what Beta Pokemon became what to whether Magby and Elekid were in the game at some point.
But none would be more backed up than the belief Blastoise was originally a standalone Pokemon.
Sounds weird, doesn't it? But worry not, Papa Plague has you covered with all the information, continuing from an article I made a while ago. I originally thought that MissingNo. Index 181 could be two things: an unused evolution line from Spaceworld or an alternate Blastoise. Let's just say the prior theory was blown completely out the water.
You see, I was originally kind of confused about Mew's placement in the index, as the last 3 MissingNo. in the Index were used for sprites in Lavender Tower and the Pewter Museum of Science. I initially believed they could have been reused, but what if they were intended for this all along? We could simply come to that conclusion and it all makes a lot of sense. As for Spaceworld, well, I did say it was circumstantial in that original article.
So now, we arrive at the #AltBlastoise theory, with my old image to guide us through. We actually came across some very useful information to help validate this entire thing now too!
For starters, let's bring up the main points from before;
But now, we have a new point. You see, thanks to the NHK broadcast showing that sprite sheet, we have confirmation that Blastoise used Cry No.30, which corresponds to Index Number 181: MissingNo. Hex B5. Weird coincidence, is it not?
Suddenly we have some extremely strong evidence that Blastoise would have been separate from the Squirtle line at some point, backed up by design differences and general oddities spanning years.
Next article will be going into Omega in more detail, the Pokemon which Mew replaced in the final game!
Given how much history there is on Shellder and Cloyster at this point, I decided it would be fitting to discuss the entire history of the two lines. Linked by the claims of a "Spiral Shellder" being attached to Slowpoke so it becomes Slowbro, there's a lot to take in here. So, let's take a trip down memory lane to witness the development of some of Kanto's most interesting Pokemon!
Funnily enough, both Cloyster and Slowbro existed in the Capsule Monsters sprite sheets.
These sheets were taken at rather different times, but are nevertheless significant in devising the history of the two lines.
Slowbro was the 4th Pokemon conceived in Capsule Monsters going by the sheet, although it sits at Index Number 8 in the final game. Thus, the idea of a Shellder latching onto it is likely an afterthought or something. This also means that Tārban technically had its design made at this time, and could well have been saved for later as well. This is a bit of a reach, however.
Cloyster, as it turns out, thanks to the NHK report that was unearthed, was also made during this time period. But this is where it gets weird: it was named Shellder, not Cloyster. This could partially explain why the thing on Slowbro's tail is called a "Spiral Shellder" in Pokedex Entries nowadays, but it's still a bit odd. It gets weirder though, as in the final game, the Shellder we know fills the index number Cloyster should be at; Cloyster is actually Index Number 139 in the final game. This could explain why Shellder's sprite was downsized during development.
On a side note, Shellder held Scyther's index number for a period during development, before Scyther was moved to Index Number 26. This is reflected in the Popularity Poll (note that Scyther uses Index Number 23). As for how long and when this started, well, is hard to tell.
What these facts mean, well, there are a few theories and facts that can be derived from this.
Later on we find the Slowpoke line getting more love, with Slowking being featured in Pokemon The Movie 2000 and being one of the first Pokemon revealed for Gold and Silver in June of 1996. Nothing really changes here.
Later we see Tārban get added in the Spaceworld Demo as some bizarre...thing with only 3 moves. Incomplete, sadly it didn't get to fly and be seen in the final game. It answered so many questions and theories though, I'm glad we got closure in the end.
I do think that the Slowpoke Line inspired Mantine's later design, going from a sea slug-inspired beast to a ray with a remoraid attached to it. Perhaps Tārban inspired the concept of a Mantyke with Remoraid in the party becoming Mantine! After all, Sinnoh appeared to use heavy inspiration from the Spaceworld Prototype.
It's amazing to see how such an interesting line of Pokemon have such intricate history. While there are still mysteries to solve, it's cool to look at now and try to come up with theories to figure them out.
Helix Chamber released some more info on Capsule Monsters Sprites after a shock report, featuring more early designs of the Pokemon. It confirms a multitude of theories, so I'm going to cover this with some speculation thrown in. Before we continue, these numbers on the paper are cry numbers, so you may want a list to gather an idea of how they sounded.
From left to right, these are the Pokemon shown;
This is a very interesting sheet, as it not only shows a beta Pokemon, but it's a Beta Pokemon that has been bugging us historians for a while. You see, there's been a thing called "The Mystery O" among the thing, where we have a shred of a name of a Pokemon but nothing else. It just happened to be on this sheet!
So here I just made a very poorly made reconstruction (using Helix Chamber's of the part as a basis) that I totally didn't make in 2 mins in MS Paint. Anyway, meet Omega, the ultimate E-Series Robot- wait, that's not it...I mean, the original user of Blastoise's cry!
Yeah, this Pokemon looks pretty weird and early, much like the rest of the Pokemon there. It's not really much, just another Pokemon to add to the dinosaur list (likely why it was cut in my opinion). It's overall another Pokemon to go with the likes of Deer and Crocky, as it lived and died in exactly the same span of time.
It's funny how this design didn't even get reused in the Spaceworld 1997 Demo. Seems they definitely did not like this Pokemon and killed it before it laid eggs. The name was so cool though!
Next up we have Scyther, who I will say has the best sprite in the history of Pokemon in the Blue JP / Red and Blue Int games. I will die on this hill, you cannot prove me wrong. Anyway, we can agree that Scyther had very humble beginnings in Pokemon. Crappy sprite in Capumon, looked ugly in Green, had no Bug Moves and the only Flying STAB was 35 Base Power Wing Attack...yeah. Game Freak did not like this poor boy. To be honest, that initial sprite makes me think it was originally a Bug/Dragon Type, with the face and all. All speculation though.
Gyarados was very different originally, seemed the original idea was to bring in something from Tremors or whatever. It may shock you, but yes, that name is Gyarados'. It looks a bit like Omanyte or Omastar, but a closer look will tell you that spiral is actually it dipping down or something. Hard to describe. But yeah, this explains why Magikarp is so far ahead at Index Number 133. The designs were originally very separate! Perhaps this inspired Eelektross at some point? It's all very interesting!
Now, the Cloyster thing is pretty weird, so bear with me. Index Number 23 has quite a bit of history to it now.
Blastoise being shown here so early also shows it is even more likely that it wasn't meant to be an evolution for Wartortle, strengthened by its placement in the popularity poll and the MissingNo. entry coming after Wartortle (as shown in another one of my articles). I believe this is a very plausible theory now.
So yeah, that's some crazy info that we have here now! I've also updated my research document with this new information, so feel free to check it out!
The Satoshi Taijiri Manga is pretty famous among us beta researchers, and really, it's a goldmine for information. So let's talk about some Beta Pokemon from it, and in this case, unmasking a MissingNo. Index.
Now anyone who has read my research page for the Internal Pokedex Order in Gen 1 matches the Popularity Poll. In fact, it's almost a one to one match. And here, it's no different. The Beta Deer - literally called "Deer" - still has its spot in the data. It's just...blank. Technically it's not in the game, as MissingNo. takes its place. If you try to encounter it through the Mew Glitch with a Special Stat of 56, like with every other MissingNo., the game crashes since it's trying to load blank data.
So, what could Deer have been, and has it ever been reused anywhere? Deer, to me, could have inspired Stantler and Sawsbuck. In fact, Sawsbuck feels like a re-imagining of the concept of a grass deer. Here's my typical poorly made MS Paint representation for you all to see the comparison.
I'd say it's more of indirect inspiration. The idea of a deer Pokemon makes a lot of sense really, so it may have not inspired it at all. However, I can't help but think that Deer - the Pokemon - was most likely used as inspiration for Sawsbuck. Both clear Grass Type Pokemon, possibly Grass/Normal on Deer even.
For those interested in seeing how Deer could have looked and played in Pokemon, there's a ROM Hack of Red that significantly improves the game! It also has a version with the Taijiri Manga Pokemon in it! You can find it here, it's really good! If you want to simply see the Pokemon, there's a Dex Test here.
I'll be covering Crocky and other Taijiri Manga Pokemon in separate pieces to give more elaborate opinions.
But what do you mean, Papa Plague? We got Pokemon Blue! Hold your horses there, pardner. Because that Pokemon Green you keep talking about? You already played that, it's Pokemon Blue International bar the sprites. Yeah, as you can tell, this will be a very complicated article.
So, let's talk about Gen 1 some more. I like Gen 1, you probably know it for the hilarious glitches. But did you know that we never got the definitive experience? Pokemon Blue JP, as I call it, is the Japanese Pokemon Blue. You see, we never actually got Blue: we got Green.
I have a lot to talk about here, since there are also some sprites that never got released too. I was going to do this in 2 articles, but the sprites are pretty minor overall, and I didn't enjoy writing that small Game Boy Camera article.
So as you can see, Corocoro has a small oddity going about. You see, Blue JP was initially released through there on October 15th 1996, a while after Red and Green were released that same year. However, in the two later magazines - November and December - show entirely different sprites. I have not seen a copy of Blue JP with these sprites, so I am assuming that there is an error here. However, this could also imply the existence of copies of Blue JP with these sprites. I cannot clarify this however. What we do know, however, is that Mewtwo was packing some SASS in that beta sprite.
Anyway, what's this about Blue JP being a different game? Well, it's quite the interesting debacle. You see, Blue JP (as said in that research image), was used for the scripts in Red and Blue International. Thus, we got those trades implied. You know, the Raichu and Poliwhirl evolving and such? This is because Blue JP was essentially a 3rd version, with different in-game trades to boot. Those version differences you see between Red and Blue, well, there were more in Blue JP. Ditto in Rock Tunnel, Rapidash in Cerulean Cave, Golem can be obtained via In-Game Trade, etc. There are many, but Bulbapedia sums it up quite well.
I'd say that Blue JP is among the most friendly games to players. You can get Tauros, Golem, Gengar and Kangaskhan via In-Game Trade, all of which are amazing Pokemon. Hell, Tauros, Golem and Gengar can form a very good Gen 1 OU Team on their own. Kangaskhan was even nicknamed Rodan: a Godzilla reference! This is also the only way you can get a Lickitung in the wild: via the Safari Zone. Jynx can also be found in the Seafoam Islands. It is among the most complete of the Gen 1 Games, with only the Arbok Line, Ninetales Line, Primeape Line, Victreebell Line, and Magmar and Electabuzz missing. Nidoran wasn't available early game though (and Mankey completely gone), so have fun killing Brock with Charmander. Not too shabby, really. Hell, Porygon was cheaper in the Game Corner. It also fixed some minor glitches, such as Sabrina Skip.
There is a patch available replicating the version differences, but I'm not sure if it patches out the glitches Blue JP did. No translation patch is directly available, however.
Anyway, if you're interested in the version differences across the board, Papa Plague can provide!
The release schedule of Gen 1 was so hilariously bad, that it forgot a whole game. How fantastic is that?
If any of you have read my previous articles, you would know that there are some details of Pokemon Red and Green's development history dating back to Late 1989 Early 1990. Though very difficult to find, it does exist. Luckily, Helix Chamber documents even the most obscure details, so we have access to this information at any time. The Taijiri Manga Article has some details on a certain sprite sheet near the end, for example.
I decided to order the Sprite Sheet by Index Number, to match with my Index Number Research Paper. This makes life a bit easier. Original piece is here as well, just in case some want it.
So as you can see, there are 17 sprites here if we include Rhydon, who is Number 0. There are 16 designs who got in: notice Gyaoon being here in Rhydon's eventually spot. I'm assuming Gyaoon got cut during the Popularity Poll, since it's the only area where it makes sense: there is no MissingNo. at the start of the index numbers. Unless Gyaoon wound up inhabiting Index 21, which would become Mew. That would confirm the data filler that Game Freak talked about, which has so far been impossible to verify. For those who have read my Tyranitar Article, you'll know that Gyaoon later either inspired or became Tyranitar.
Anyway, you've probably seen a Pokemon I have labelled Spearow. Yes, it doesn't look very much like Spearow at all, although you can see the resemblance in areas. It kind of looks like Farfetch'd in areas, but it's definitely Spearow due to matching index numbers. Index Number 0 was pretty much completely erased in the final game, although MissingNo. does claim to have it in the game (he's lying). This design sort of explains "Kenya" the Spearow you can get via trading in GSC.
Now for Clefairy, who also has some weird dev history. It didn't exactly look like the cute Fairy Type who evolves into The Queen of Gen 6, does it? Anyway, the sprite was changed later obviously, and then scaled down when Clefable was added at Index Number 142. At least it wasn't cut, and instead refined into one of the most iconic and cute Pokemon in the series!
As you can see, Nidoking has what seems to be a Back Sprite here. I believe this may link into the early battle system sketches which you can find in the Tyranitar Article. When the concept for a Godzilla-like Pokemon was in vogue, they left a strong hint as to what the battle system would have looked like aesthetically. Possibly like Telefang's, with how they only had front sprites. This may have refined the concept to have back sprites, but overall remain the same. Anyway, if only we got those sprites...
Ivysaur actually used Venusaur's design early in development. Venusaur and Bulbasaur were added around the 150 mark, which is where Ivysaur's design changed. Very unusual history that I definitely want to go over in a later article.
Gengar looked quite different, not quite having that smile or those quills that we've come to know and love. He was a bit sheepish, no? Not much else to say here: he changed a lot, much like many of the others.
Exeggcute and Exeggutor didn't change much at all, and were pretty much done. Only a few tweaks on the eyes and the shading were done. All in all, they were the most complete. Rhydon didn't have the drill horn that has since defined the line, but apart from that only changed the eyes. Slowbro has its arm poses tweaked for the final game but apart from that didn't change either.
So yeah, that's the first 16. Not much else to say about the rest, but this is some interesting history that I do want to preserve.
Turns out we already did have some content from the Pokemon Gold and Silver Spaceworld Demo! These being from the Game Boy Camera, and the Mew Distribution Cartridge from the same event!
So. let's start with the Game Boy Camera. As some of you know, Pokemon Green Sprites were also featured on the device. However, two sprites of previously unknown origin were also on the device.
As it turns out, Chansey and Pikachu's sprites were actually from the Spaceworld Build of Pokemon Gold and Silver! They didn't have any color on the Game Boy Camera, but the resemblance is clear. There are no differences here, so it is unknown as to what actually happened here.
However, why did they not simply replace all the Pokemon Green or Pokemon Blue JP (AKA Red and Blue Int) Sprites with the ones from Beta GSC? By this point, the redrawing of all the sprites should have been finished. Or was it scrapped and did the rebuild begin? Nobody knows. It appears that they may have wanted familiar sprites for users, but why did Chansey and Pikachu use these sprites? It is quite unusual, no?
Now, what about the Mew Distribution Cartridge? Well, we happen to have clear-cut footage of it. We have to thank Porygon for this, as the Electric Soldier Porygon Episode resulted in a huge amount of smear campaigns. One of these campaigns resulted in a 40 Min News Coverage segment which showed the Mew Distribution Cartridge in full!
This may be as a result of the footage, but the sprite does appear to have some minor differences. I am not sure whether what was used to bring Mew over was a Spaceworld Prototype or anything, really. Trade Experiments have proven that you CAN use the Prototype to trade with Gen 1 Games, as the trade mechanics are the same. Given the frame here, it can be theorized that a Spaceworld Prototype was used for the Mew Event.
Some trivia for those who didn't read that whole link: you can actually send a Spaceworld Prototype Pokemon from the Gen 1 Games all the way to Gen 7 if you transfer the saves from the Gen 1 cartridges. Another way would be to use a Gen 1 VC and replace the ROM with one of these prototypes and use the trade room feature. Regardless, you can send Spaceworld Pokemon over, as they are virtually the same as any other in Gen 1 terms.
So there we go! We did get to see some Spaceworld Content before the ROM even leaked! Incredible!
Tyranitar is a much loved Pokemon almost universally in the Pokemon Fandom, competitively and casually alike. Depicted as an engine of destruction in the anime and games alike, there really isn't much not to like about it. Well, maybe that Rock/Dark Typing that has started to bite it in the past few years is something to hate, but oh well. Let's get to the point.
So, Tyranitar's Dev History. Turns out, this is probably one of the first Pokemon to have ever been thought of: only in a different name. You see, concept of a Godzilla-like Pokemon goes back as far as the original thoughts on Capsule Monsters, as Godzilliante.
The other concept Pokemon here is Gorillaimo, which never got much further than this. Personally, I think that Tyranitar did not directly get derived from this. This is because this was the early days of development, and I doubt any of the characters were really thought about that much. This concept was to demonstrate the battle system more than anything else. However, I am not denying that this could have indirectly inspired Tyranitar.
Anyway, onto the time where a Godzilla-like Pokemon actually got added into a game in some form: Gyaoon, also known to some as Gyarth. The name is onomatopoeia for Godzilla's roar. So here's our first sighting of the first solid idea for it.
What we're looking at is the first Sprite Sheet printed of Pokemon in Capsule Monsters, circa 1990. Gyaoon is Index Number 1, which is next to Rhydon's beta design. We can see that it is very different to Tyranitar's final design, but it is clear that the concept of a Godzilla-like Pokemon was very much in vogue during development.
We later see Gyaoon in the Satoshi Taijiri Manga, which goes over Pokemon Red and Green's Development. Only this time, with a new sprite. This happened in 1992-1993.
The top of the image is purely a blur due to the way it was set up, but we can see that the sprite changed to show it leaning over roaring, rather than rearing its head. It looks similar to Croconaw and Feraligatr here, so maybe it indirectly inspired them in the future? It was Index Number "C", so most likely not fully decided on yet. I'm not sure what the letter means - nor does anyone else that I know of - but as we know, it was cut. Nobody has quite put together what the idea was for Gyaoon, but there are elements of the final product in there. From what I can see, it looks like it could have been a Dragon Type. However, this is purely speculation.
However, Gyaoon was never seen again after this. Cut, and likely never implemented. Perhaps the Dev Team wasn't fully in favor? I mean, Exeggutor won that poll, so it's clear their opinions were pretty terrible. However, justice was soon to come for this Pokemon.
Fast forward to April of 1997, and we see this cursed magazine: MicroGroup Game Review Vol.14. As I went over in a previous article, Ken Sugimori drew the Pokemon for this cover as simple throwaway designs. Tyranitar was on its knees at this point, ready to get cut. It wasn't in the Spaceworld Demo in November 1997, and it was not being shown anywhere but here.
However, thanks to Ken Sugimori's philosophy of polishing old designs as said in the Interview in that same magazine, Tyranitar got another shot. The Godzilla-like Pokemon idea that had been thrown around for 7 whole years finally came to fruition: Gyaoon may have failed, but Tyranitar came out of it...and boy was it a doozy. Rewarded for its wait, Tyranitar was introduced in Pokemon Gold and Silver in 1999-2000, as a Pseudo Legendary Pokemon that would dominate Smogon for many years to come. Maybe good things really do come to those who wait?
The thought that Tyranitar may have never come to GSC is a real shocker to me personally. It's been a meta defining Pokemon in almost every main series game, and was pretty much "The King of Gen 3" by the end of it. Hell, it's one of my favorite Pokemon to use: I even have a plushie of that angry dinosaur. But god am I glad it got included at the end of that 7 year battle. In the end, it finally got justice.
I'd like to thank Helix Chamber for their article on the Taijri Manga, since it allowed me to collect a lot of images I used to source the Capsule Monsters content. Having it all in one place is really helpful.
Ahh, MissingNo.. An age old topic that has had tons of controversy, conspiracies and numerous urban legends whizzing around it. Obviously these days we see it as nothing more than an item duplicator to steamroll Giovanni and the Elite Four in the International Versions of Pokemon Red and Blue, but there's more to it than just that.
So, recently, Helix Chamber unmasked MissingNo. Index Numbers 159 and 160 as the Kotora Line from the Spaceworld Demo, thanks to an interview segment with Satoshi Taijiri. There is also implications that Steelix may be a part of this as well, but attempts to uncover it beyond a shadow of a doubt have been fruitless.
Inspired by this, I compiled an Index List that you can find in the About Section on this Blog, along with my other research papers that I'm using to create these Blog Posts (since discussion at length gives me something to do).
Now, what is this curious "Index Number 181"? Well, it's a curious one that came up during mine and Helix Chamber's individual research ventures. You see, Charmander and Squirtle were added VERY late into development, as were Wartortle and Charmeleon. Then there was Charizard. However, the index number after is simply a MissingNo.. Just what is this?
You see, Blastoise was added super early, and no evolutions were even considered until what was clearly years later. Hell, Blastoise was originally cannonless back in the Capsule Monster Days (yes, it goes back that far, all the way to 1989). Venusaur was originally Ivysaur, not having an evolution line decided until a lot later. Thus the Pokemon Red and Green Sprites being so similar. But that's unrelated, and chances are it'll have its own article eventually.
There was a pattern with Charmander and Squirtle. It was Charmander, Squirtle, Charmeleon, Wartortle, Charizard, then MissingNo.. Anyway, you're probably screaming for me to get to the point.
So this table just puts into perspective what I'm saying. After this, we have the three MissingNo. "forms" the game uses to show the fossils in Pewter Museum of Science, and the Ghosts in Lavender Tower, then the Oddish and Bellsprout Lines. So what is this MissingNo. for? Well, the theories need to be spoken about now.
The first derives from the Kotora Line in the Spaceworld Demo. This theory blends the MissingNo. in question and the Kabutops Form into a 2 Tier Evolution Line, and then the Aerodactyl and Ghost Forms into another. This is because after Kotora in the Spaceworld Demo and in RBYG as MissingNo.s Hex 159 and 160, there are exactly the same number of 2 Tier Evolution Lines. These being the Norowara Line, Houndour Line and Urufuman Line. However, RBYG has four of what would be 2 Tier Evolution Lines, so this theory falls through in that regard. That and it's extremely circumstantial. The releases of Red and Green, and the date of Spaceworld 1997 are also quite close, so such a quick change of plan for Spaceworld would be the only way this is valid.
The second is much easier to believe: an Alternate Blastoise. So before they settled on Blastoise, this would have been Squirtle's Final Evolution. What it looked like or what it even was, nobody knows. Mainly because this is just guesswork. Given that the Reused MissingNo. afterwards were used together while this one wasn't, it could be said that 181 was the Final Evolution while 182-184 were a 3 Tier Evolution Line. This theory is much more common sense and doesn't rely on circumstantial evidence, so overall I would say this is quite true.
Now, what could this #AltBlastoise be? Once again, nobody knows. Maybe it looked more like Wartortle? The fluffy tail disappearing for Blastoise was always quite weird to me, same with the lack of fluffy ears. The evolution even feels wrong when you think about it that way: from bubbles and fluffy stuff to water Bowser with Digimon Cannons on its back? The design change even makes sense when you think about it like that. This was definitely last minute.
So why would this change have be done? Saving storage space, less Non-Evolving Pokemon, convenience, and having two turtles would be weird. Then again, we have tons of bipedal dinosaur Pokemon in the game, so two turtles would sort of make sense? Perhaps they could have made it quadrupedal instead? Maybe it was, and then reused for the development of Torterra? Really, it could be anyone's guess on what it would have been, Given the winged ears on Wartortle I hope it was like those flying buzzy beetles from Super Mario Bros. 3. Those fuckers were cute as hell and I love them. If anything were to happen to one, I would destroy the world in response.
Anyway, there's nothing more to really say here. Until we see the full copy of Satoshi Taijiri's Pocket Monsters Kaiju Zukan, or possibly the full Popularity Poll from the start of development (which chances are, won't go that high in number due to being from 1992-1993), we will never see what Pokemon this once was.
So I really, really like researching Beta Pokemon information. I worked on a ROM Hack attempting to restore Pokemon GSC's beta for around 5 years before the Spaceworld Demo dropped on 4Chan. Both extremely happy, but also inches away from killing myself.