A YouTuber’s pet betta fish accidentally stumbled into a rock duplication glitch in Pokémon Sapphire that doesn’t appear to have been previously reported.
Lala, who belongs to Japanese YouTuber Mutekimaru, was wandering around the 2002 Game Boy Advance game’s Seafloor cavern when it made the discovery. The fish was pushing boulders around with the help of the HM Strength ability for several minutes when, eventually, the boulders started to multiply when pushed. “Moving in a specific pattern you are able to reset some of the Rocks and instead of moving them around you can create duplicates,” Pokémon modder eclipse_tt, who shared a clip of the discovery, explained on Twitter. Mutekimaru was able to later to go back and recreate the glitch:
Finding previously unknown glitches in decades-old games is rare for humans, but pretty much unheard of for fish. So how did Lala discover one? Back in June, Mutekimaru used a tracking camera and a circuit board to calculate inputs for the game based on which quadrant of the fish tank their fish swam to. The YouTuber then put Lala and three other fish to work playing Pokémon Sapphire to see if they could, given enough time, eventually clear the entire game through random luck.
The effort draws inspiration from past projects like Twitch Plays Pokémon, and is also based in part on a similar fish-tank gaming interface dreamed up back during the 2014 HackNY hacking festival. So far though, this appears to be the first attempt that’s ever led to a genuinely new gameplay discovery. It only took Lala and co. 2,333 hours to find their first glitch. Who knows what else they’ll uncover over the rest of their journey?