Important question about MissingNo and permanent game corruption beyond repair

#1GensokyoPosted 4/10/2012 3:40:42 PM(edited)
So I've been using the Cinnabar Island MissingNo glitch a lot of times to duplicate items ever since I first found out about it as a kid, not knowing about the risks of doing so.

Only in later years have I learnt what could happen to my game. So I've been studying this glitch thoroughly, looking up every piece of information I could find, meaning I've become pretty knowledgeable about what causes the glitch and how it works and such.

But there are some things I haven't been able to find a definite answer too, so I thought I'd just try and ask about it here.

I've seen a lot of people commenting about how certain MissingNo and 'M are harmful to your game, while others aren't. Some people have been able to encounter countless MissingNo and 'M without problems, while others (like gunbladelad77 on this board) seems to have completely ruined their game beyond repair after just one encounter. But I've never found any definite answers to whether this is true or not (about only certain MissingNo/'M ruining your game), or if MissingNo/'M ruining your game or not is just about luck.

So I've been wondering if the people who had their games ruined just happened to run into one certain MissingNo/'M that ruins the game (perhaps because of their names), while others have just been running into harmless ones.

For example, I've always used the same name in my Pokémon Red, and according to the various FAQ's on this site, the only MissingNo and 'M my name generates are the

null: 0 'M
end-string: 80 Missingno

taken from one of the FAQ's. I've run into these two several times and have never encountered any problems.
Does anyone know if my game is at risk when running into these two and that I've just been lucky so far, or if these two are guaranteed to be harmless, meaning my name does not pose any threat to my game when using the Cinnabar Island glitch? Because I haven't been able to find a good answer to this anywhere.

I also found this topic on the Pokémon Blue board:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/907714-pokemon-blue-version/61666859
Here, gunbladelad77 seems to state that the name I pick for my character does indeed determine whether my game is at risk or not.
Also, RJones' Strategy Guide on this site states that only using special characters in the species determining slots of your name gives you the risk of running into potentially harmful MissingNo/'M.

And like I said, I've always been using the same name for the glitch and haven't had any problems. Would changing my name potentially make me risk running into any harmful MissingNo/'M, or does it not matter?

I've also been wondering if the glitch being harmful or not just depends on the actual hardware in the game card itself. Like if some of them can handle the glitches, while others just can't...I've never seen anyone mentioning this before, so probably not though.

If any knowledgeable person could help me clear this up, I'd really appreciate it. Though as I've never seen any information about which ones being harmful and not, and how to avoid the harmful ones, I'm guessing noone actually knows for sure...
#2TheGreatDebatePosted 4/10/2012 7:23:09 PM
I have never encounted anything harmful in my game. I've never even lost a save file because of it.
---
There's a difference between just believing in Jesus and actually following him. Jesus says to follow him, not just believe
#3GunbladeladPosted 4/11/2012 7:18:51 AM
I'll be honest - over the 13 or so years I've been on GameFAQs, I've heard about 10 or so other "reports" of irreparable damage, and all but one other I've heard were fixed by resetting the game data. The one that didn't, the player had admitted the cartridge hadn't been looked after and he'd been manipulating the game with a cheat cartridge.

For myself, I'm the only person who's been confirmed to have a game rendered unusable from a single Missingno encounter. Naturally the game was exceptionally well looked after, and I didn't even get close to a cheat cartridge until a couple years later.

Personally, I reckon you should be pretty safe - 1 game rendered unusable by missingno compared to millions? I was likely insanely unlucky and had the Missingno glitch wind up overflowing into data that should never have been altered.
---
Where logic won't work - I will
PAL Gamers unite - http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/277-pal-gaming
#4Gensokyo(Topic Creator)Posted 4/11/2012 7:49:35 AM
That's what I thought...

I know it's very rare for it to ruin the game completely. I just wanted to see if someone had found out a way to know for sure whether a MissingNo/'M would ruin the game or not. But I guess it's all about luck then...

Well, thanks a lot for your answer. I'd be really surprised if the glitch would suddenly decide to ruin my game after using it so many times anyway.
#5TheGreatDebatePosted 4/11/2012 8:54:33 AM
[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
#6Zafire063Posted 4/13/2012 9:08:26 PM
Just curious Gunblade...What was the name you issued your character on the corrupted game? Likely doesn't matter, but I still wonder. XD
#7GunbladeladPosted 4/14/2012 11:16:56 AM
In all honesty, it was that long ago, I don't even remember for sure, but it was possibly "Hugh" - my first name.
---
Where logic won't work - I will
PAL Gamers unite - http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/277-pal-gaming
#8MaskedSheikPosted 4/15/2012 12:34:33 AM
I wonder if somebody skilled at this sort of thing could find out how and why Missingno. could mess things up permanently.
---
YOU DON'T KNOW MEXICO SON THEY WILL BEAT YOU DOWN
#9GunbladeladPosted 4/15/2012 9:26:31 AM
To my knowledge, only one person's ever come up with a theory on it, and that was Jolt (aka - R Jones" in the FAQ lists, or "SadisticMystic" as he's known elsewhere)

He postulated that it was theoritically possible for Missingno to - on exceptionally rare occasions - to "overflow" its corruption into areas of memory that aren't intended to be altered.
---
Where logic won't work - I will
PAL Gamers unite - http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/277-pal-gaming
#10zoogelioPosted 4/23/2012 11:27:36 PM
I too have wondered about this question. I looked into MissingNo., but mainly for the history. I thought that Nintendo Power issue first introduced the glitch to people. It didn't; it only popularized it to a much wider audience. My notes are elsewhere but I think it went back to at least Oct 1998 and from what I could tell, the 1st people talking about it online were getting it from some kind of magazine but I couldn't deduce which one/which issue.


Anyway, I did wonder why some people told horrifying tales of destroyed Pokemon carts who tried to vigorously warn people away from the temptation of MissingNo. and others who never used the glitch but tried to keep Pokemon players on the straight & narrow, people who latched onto this as "proof" of the dangers of going to the dark side of Pokemon. No one seems to know definitively, but a good methology can perhaps determine this. Let me put my scientific education to use:

Possible variables: You seem to have most of them covered.
- Name. This may not be as simple as the 1st letter, it could be a combination of letters across all of the key slots. This is the most testable.
- Game. Is there a difference between Red & Blue? Yeah, they are more or less nearly identical, but they are not perfectly identical. Is that small difference in coding key in triggering the deadly overflow?
- Cart. Maybe it's a certain batch of games. Maybe some component was defective. This was infamous for those exploding batteries in some companies' laptops ~2005/6 or so and I think some NES Castlevania carts had a game-locking hardware error with the Grim Reaper battle. This would be quite hard to test unless you have people who can remember when they got it. Gensokyo- in your research, what's the earliest report of a killer glitch?
- Existing save data. This would be the hardest to determine due to the volume and high number of combinations. Does existing save data, either in that file or the sum of all other saved files interact with the glitch to produce a fatal error?

It could be a combination of these even, a certain letter combo in a certain game cart from a certain production wave.

Gunbladelad77, do you remember what Pokemon cart it was that you had the destructive glitch on, Red or Blue?

The Pokemon community is large and very technologically adept. I would recommend getting an extra cart or two and testing combinations of letters first (that's the simplest explanation here and the most testable). Having a few testers divide up the load would make it go faster.



And some related points kinda:
The Mana Sword glitch in Secret of Mana is similar. It was very obscure until Nintendo Power published it, yet it goes way back online, to 1994 or 95, though few people believed those who were getting the Mana Sword this way and some of the process was uncertain even to those who discovered the pathway. It was arcane until NP, unlike MissingNo., who was very well fleshed out in terms of the technique of finding it by Nov 98.

I'd like to add this is broadly the case with many things. The R=U hypothesis in Final Fantasy VIII goes back to Sept/Oct 1999 (the 1st month of release). Many big points of debate in games spawn right around the release window of a game (+ however many weeks it takes to get enough people with the game). I may have actually pinned down the original few posters that generated the theory (the theory seems to evolve out of a few speculated points, just like how 1 episode of a popular cartoon series got leaked online before airing. You can see it grow and then break through).