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Many years ago when Pokemon Red / Blue was immensely popular, I attended a Pokemon tour in Melbourne. For attending you got a showbag with a Pikachu trading card (with a gold logo stamped in the top right corner), a book with Episode 1 of the TV show in a comic-book format, some stickers / temporary tattoos and if you brought your game cart along, you could get Mew using some specialised hardware they had.

From recollection (this was 15+ years ago now. Yikes!) the hardware ran a modified version of Pokemon red or blue (not sure which). You'd make a slot (first or last, can't remember) empty in your party, pop your cart in the top of the machine and they'd whack a button on the control pad (a SNES controller, I think?). Mew would transfer over, before the game would "lock up" and revert back to the initial "Press a button to transfer" screen. I don't remember if the revert was automatic or if the attendant had to press a reset button, but it was a rather quick and easy procedure.

I suspect this hardware maybe used two Super Gameboy 2's (which had a Game Link port, where the original SGB didn't) with a modified GB cart in one, and the other SGB2 modified so you could hot-swap carts so you didn't need to get people to head to Pokemon centers, hook up, start trading etc.

Does anyone have any more information about this hardware? I've got a keen interest in modified Nintendo Hardware (devkits, demo units etc.) and would love to know more.

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    As a side note, check out this link, you might find it interesting! I've tried the method it describes recently on my old copy of Pokemon Red, and can't believe that it was possible to obtain Mew all along. If only I could go and tell my 10 year old self about this glitch. ocf.berkeley.edu/~jdonald/pokemon/mewglitch.html – mikethirteen Feb 27 '15 at 15:46
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After you got me interested, I did some research.
Apparently, it was distributed through a machine called the Mew Machine (Celebi in Generation II):

The Mew/Celebi Machine

A person has posted on a forum about this machine, and his speculations are as follows:

I got a feeling that there are 2 Super Famicom's inside aswell as 2 Super Game Boy 2's that are linked with eachother.. but I'm not quite sure about the rest. Besides the monitor...

I'm afraid I can't find any concrete/official sources on this, but it seems like you were right about how it was controlled!

Additionally, I've found some sources stating that the Mew was simply traded (as I originally seemed to remember) in some regions. This was done using a "special" gameboy and game version, loaded with several level 5 Mews. It appears to be a regular gameboy with Pokémon Blue, though somehow modified or loaded with the Mews.

The Mew Distribution Gameboy

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    Thanks for the find! I never knew about the handheld version. Given that collectors have an assortment of not-for-sale consoles (like devkits as mentioned in my question or alpha hardware) someone has to have one sitting around. Perhaps an ex-Nintendo employee or video game store owner who lied & told Nintendo "Yeah, I TOTALLY sent it back to you / destroyed it. I swear!" – Grayda Feb 27 '15 at 14:09
  • It was fun researching the question! Pokémon rocks. – Ivo Coumans Feb 27 '15 at 14:18
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    Just to add more info to this, my searching (now that I'm looking in the right spots) shows that the Pokemon unique ID is incremented each trade (resettable, from the sounds of things), and the OT (Original trainer) is set by the machine operator on boot. This suggests a modified cart that perhaps boots to a menu for OT entry? Newer trades hardware / software generated the Pokemon on the fly, from what I've been reading. Fascinating stuff indeed. – Grayda Feb 27 '15 at 14:30
  • Nice find! That confirms that the cartridge was at least modded quite a bit, rather than just pre-loaded with a bunch of Mews. – Ivo Coumans Feb 27 '15 at 15:11
  • projectpokemon.org/forums/… has some neat info on the distribution carts for Pokemon Fire Red (I think?). It's more about how the Mews are actually unique than the actual cart itself, but contains some good information on how Mews are put onto some cartridges – Grayda Feb 27 '15 at 16:35

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