There’s A Mew Underneath The Truck Next To The SS Anne

Before we dig into this, I need to spend a paragraph or two conveying the knowledge of a twelve-year-old in 1996. Of course, most Hackaday readers were twelve at least once, but we’re just going to do this anyway. The payoff? This is an arbitrary-code-execution virus for Pokemon, and maybe the most amazing Game Boy hack of all time.

In the first generation of Pokemon games, there is a spectacularly rare Pokemon. Mew, the 151st Pokemon, could learn every move in the game. It was a psychic type, which was overpowered in the first gen. You could not acquire a Mew except by taking your Game Boy to a special event (or to Toys R Us that one time). If someone on the playground had a Mew, they really only had a GameShark.

There was a mythos surrounding Mew. Legend said if you went to the SS Anne and used Strength to move a truck sprite that appeared nowhere else in the game, a Mew would appear. Due to the storyline of the game, you didn’t have the ability to get to this truck the first time you passed it. However, if you started a new game – thus losing all your progress and your entire roster of Pokemon – you could test this theory out. Don’t worry, you can just trade me all your good Pokemon. I’ll give them back once you have a Mew. Screw you, Dylan. Screw you.

Now the Mew truck trick is real. You can do it on a copy of Red or Blue on an original Game Boy. If this hack existed in 1998, kids would have lost their god damned minds.

The basis for this hack comes from [MrCheeze], who created a ‘virus’ of sorts for the first generation of Pokemon games. Basically, given the ability to manually edit a save file, it is possible to replicate this save file over a Game Link cable. The result is a glitchy mess, but each Pokemon game has the same save file when it’s done.

Combine this virus with arbitrary code execution, and you have something remarkable. [MrCheeze] created a save file that allows you to move the truck next to the SS Anne. When the truck is moved, a Mew appears. It’s exactly what everyone was talking about over the sound of their sister’s Backstreet Boys marathon.

The new ‘Mew Truck virus’ is not as glitchy as the first attempt at a self-replicating save file. In fact, except for the music glitching for a few seconds, nothing appears abnormal about this Pokemon virus. It’s only when the Mew truck trick is attempted does something seem weird, and it’s only weird because we know it shouldn’t happen. Combine the self-replicating nature of this virus, and you have something that would have drawn the attention of Big N. This is a masterpiece of Pokemon-based arbitrary code execution and a hack that may never be equaled.

You can check out the video below.

26 thoughts on “There’s A Mew Underneath The Truck Next To The SS Anne

    1. Well, I have an old Gameboy Color with broken Pokemon Silver (saving doesn’t work anymore because the NVRAM battery died). Being able to transfer and run code using the SPI link port and an exploit in the game would be nice for quick debugging and for using the Gameboy as a chiptune synth (send instructions to write to sound registers in real time). Perhaps a MIDI-to-Pokemon-link cable or a firmware for Arduinoboy?

          1. you can hold a lighter to an old plastic pen and quickly press it on the screw… gives you a 3-4 times use special torxlike tool :) but no pressure.

  1. Ok! So I’m confused. Does the mew actually exist and this glitch merely expose something that was locked off. Or does this insert code and make the mew a thing. I only ask because if it’s a rewrite of code and basically just makes the game do what you want then it’s just rewriting to do what you and could be done a number of other ways. However if it’s something that was locked off in the original and then by some buggy script, uncovered the mew then that means the myth was always true,

    That leaves the question of how the myth started and everybody knew this should happen but didn’t. Also how did this myth get started and spread in the days before forums and such showed all this.

    1. Nah, they are reprogramming it. Arbitrary code execution is basically reprogramming the game to do something it’s not supposed to, either through glitches that basically allow you to mess with the game’s code, or through some other tampering. It’s fun to watch.

      If you ever watched Awesome Games Done Quick, you may have remembered stuff like reprogramming Super Mario World to play snake and pong. (Video: )

      There were also some Pokemon Arbitrary Code Insertions like having the event’s Twitch chat show up in game. (Video: ), and Shenanigans actually did something similar to the ‘virus’ posted in the article and tampered with the save before hand to have a Mew under the truck. (Video: )

    2. No, the mew isn’t originally there. It was just a schoolyard rumour. And do you *really* think rumours and legends only started after the internet?

      This is *not* a typical hack, which requires modifying the game rom. This is a virus that copies itself from game to game over the link cable and adds *persistent* new functionality to the game. It’s an insane achievement.

      1. Persistent until the NVRAM battery dies. But in the meantime this virus can do anything from adding free Pokeballs to booting a stripped down copy of Tetris from an SPI flash chip connected to the link port. And it has access to the sound registers so it could play a rickroll too.

      2. I know rumors and myths came about before the internet. What I was wondering about was how they got around so profoundly. The fact that such an idea as a mew behind a truck in one weird part of a game is so well known yet, still not be true is astounding though. Rumors and myths are usually a multi generational thing or from a small locale. Traditionally these were isolated to a small area. The fact that such an idea can propagate and spread especially in such pre-super highway information age is astounding.

        I also refer to the simple fact that blowing into an nes cartridge was something we all knew. Many people say it never worked nowadays. Regardless, we somehow all knew. I refer to this.

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