In celebration of the latest Mew event in Scarlet and Violet, I decided to compile a list of ways to get Mew in every main series Pokémon game, from Red/Blue/Green/Yellow to Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. Please note that this isn’t an exhaustive list so I’ll have missed some things (if I’ve missed anything major, leave a comment). I’ll be referencing cheats and glitches but not for each generation as some of them are self explanatory (you just get a device and put the right code in). I also don’t want to give those codes away on the site so if you’re looking for cheat codes, go back to Google.
There were two ways to get Mew in the first generation of Pokémon games: at an event or using cheats or glitches. According to Bulbapedia, there were 26 Gen 1 Mew events across 11 countries between 1996–2000. I recommend you check their list to find them all.
The first Mew distribution
The very first was Legendary Pokémon Offer Mew in Japan. Initially, Mew was created as an in-joke between Shigeki Morimoto and his Game Freak colleagues, with the blessing of Satoshi Tajiri. However, people soon found it in Red and Green and, to divert any unwanted negative press, they distributed Mew officially.
CoroCoro Comic was the host of the first Mew distribution, revealing the Mythical Pokémon in their May 1996 issue. To get one, you had to send a postcard application to the magazine and be one of 20 players selected to receive it. Guess how many people entered? About 78,000 applicants. Talk about exclusivity! Winners found out if they were selected in the July issue and had to send their cartridges in to receive the mysterious Mew.
Morimoto generated the Pokémon from his PC, gave them Trainer IDs from 00001–00020 and the Original Trainer name as コロコロ (which translates as KoroKoro, the Japanese name of CoroCoro), and finally traded each Mew to winners’ cartridges using a Game Link Cable. I adore that process so much.
The Mew was Level 5, knew the move Pound and, if traded to a Generation 2 game, held the Bitter Berry.
The Mew glitch
If you had access to a cheat cartridge, you could use a code to trigger a wild Mew encounter and catch it. Easy. But there was another way to do it using an internal glitch, now known as The Mew glitch (although the glitch itself can be used to get other Pokémon or even trigger the hidden Professor Oak battle). I recommend you watch the above video to find out more about how to do it.
Again, there were two ways to get Mew in the second generation of Pokémon games: at an event or using cheats or glitches. However to Bulbapedia, there was only 1 Mew distribution in GSC: the Gotta Catch ‘Em All Station! in New York Pokémon Center in 2002.
The Gotta Catch ‘Em All Station!
The Pokémon Company set up a distribution device called the Gotta Catch ‘Em All Station! at the New York Pokémon Center in, you guessed it, New York City. This came with its own advantages and disadvantages. From TPC’s perspective, they could centralise the distributions and run multiple events from the same place—and they did as they gave away 136 different Pokémon between 2001–2003—but the obvious downside was location. This would be the first and last time Japan wouldn’t get a national Mew distribution before TPC moved from physical stations to WiFi.
Mew was available between 22nd–28th November 2002 (apropos of nothing, I got Crystal on 22nd) along with Celebi. But this distribution was different—this Mew could be shiny. The rate was 0.5% and, given the 6 days you had to try and get it, the location, and the one per cartridge rule, this made it one of the most exclusive Pokémon in history.
This Mew was also Level 5 and knew the move Pound.
The 8F glitch
This is technically a Gen 1 glitch but since shinies didn’t officially exist until Gen 2, I’m putting it here. There is a way to glitch in the Shiny Mew from the Gotta Catch ‘Em All Station! distribution using a very convoluted method involved 8F. The likes of Austin John Plays and Osirus have done it and while it can take hours to get right, it’s worth it to get something so exclusive 21 years later. The good thing about Gen 2 though is cloning, meaning you could create as many as you wanted and effectively create your own distribution. If you wanted.
There were again two ways to get Mew in the third generation of Pokémon games: at an event or using cheats or glitches. Bulbapedia lists 9 Mew distributions for this generation, in the following countries:
Of those 9 distributions, there were four Mew:
- Hadō Mew – distributed to players who pre-ordered tickets to see the movie, Lucario and the Mystery of Mew between 16th April–15th July 2005. You could get exchange tickets for the Hadō Mew between 25th June–31st August.
- PokéPark Mew – distributed to players at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi stores in Taiwan from 10th May–4th June 2005 to promote the touring PokéPark in the country.
- Mystery Mew – distributed to players at Toys “R” Us stores in the US for, get this, 3 hours only. The distribution took place on 30th September 2006 between 12:00–3:00pm and players had to wait in line to get one but if they were still there after 3pm… they wouldn’t receive one. It pains me to even write this and I didn’t have the ability to obtain one! Like Hadō Mew, the distribution was in conjunction with the (English) release of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew as well as Geoffrey’s birthday, the Toys “R” Us mascot. But there’s more! You could only get this via a trade and if you had Emerald, you couldn’t get it unless you had the National Dex. All these restrictions! There were 426 Mew in total to give away. If you were one of the lucky ones, a genuine congrats to you.
- Aura Mew – distributed to players in Italy, Spain, the UK, Germany, and France over various dates between July and December(?)
The Old Sea Map
This is technically involved a distribution but it was the first time you could get a Mew with a triggered in-game event. The Old Sea Map was a Key Item that you needed to find Faraway Island, a location only found in Pokémon Emerald. Once you reached Faraway Island, you would find Mew.
To obtain the Old Sea Map, you had to be in Japan or Taiwan, own a Japanese copy of Pokémon Emerald, and visit Pokémon Festa (Japan) or PokéPark (Japan and Taiwan) at specific periods between July and September in 2007. The Old Sea Map was never available to other language versions so you had to get one via one of the above distributions. However, there are ways to trigger the event that gives you the Old Sea Map if you have the right tools.
For this generation, we got 3 ways to get Mew: events, cheats/glitches, and a side game.
Bulbapedia lists 13 Mew worldwide distributions:
- Fukuoka PalCity Mew – distributed to players in Japan from 15th–17th July 2007
- Makuhari PalCity Mew – distributed to players in Japan from 3rd–5th August 2007
- Nagoya PalCity Mew – distributed to players in Japan from 10th–12th August 2007
- Yokohama PalCity Mew – distributed to players in Japan from 17th–19th August 2007
- Osaka PalCity Mew – distributed to players in Japan from 31st–2nd September 2007
- Nintendo of Korea Mew – distributed to players in South Korea from 21st–22nd March 2009
- Susumu Mew – distributed to players at Nintendo Zones, DS Download Stations, and over Wi-Fi (for the first time!) to celebrate Pokémon Gold and Silver’s 10th birthday. It was distributed twice, from 11th–23rd November 2009 and 29th January–14th February 2010.
- Fall 2010 Mew – distributed to players over Wi-Fi to celebrate Pokémon Gold and Silver’s 10th birthday in Europe. Only one distribution this time, though, between 15th–30th October 2010.
My Pokémon Ranch
My Pokémon Ranch was a WiiWare title released in 2008 as an “accessory for owners of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum”. It wasn’t super popular (IGN went as far as calling it “the ugliest Pokemon game — to hit any videogame system”) but it did allow you to obtain Mew if you met certain criteria. Gotta balance the ugly out somehow.
Pokémon Black/White/Black 2/White 2
Oh dear, there weren’t any Mew distributions for this generation! The only legal way to get Mew into these games was to transfer it from Generation 4.
Pokémon X/Y/Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire
Generation 6 had 2 different Mew split over 6 distributions:
- Pokémon 20th Anniversary Mew – this Mew was given out via a serial code on various dates between 27th January and 31st August 2016 to celebrate Pokémon’s 20th birthday. Despite it being Level 100, it only knew Pound but it came in a Cherish Ball and had the ability Synchronize and the Classic Ribbon.
- Game Freak Mew – there were 3 different Game Freak Mew:
- One was distributed to players via infrared in South Korea between 27th–28th February 2016 to celebrate Pokémon’s 20th birthday. This Mew was Level 5 and, you guessed it, only knew Pound.
- One was distributed to players via a serial code that came with a special edition Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, or Yellow Nintendo 2DS. These could also be redeemed on the Virtual Console versions of Red, Green, Blue, or Yellow and were available for both games between 27th February–31st March 31 2017.
- One was distributed to players via a serial code in Japan and Taiwan which was given away to a limited number of players who pre-ordered Pokémon Sun or Moon on 16th July 2016. The lucky few who got one had between 16th July–18th December 2016 to obtain it (I was not one of them).
Pokémon Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon/Let’s Go, Pikachu!/Let’s Go, Eevee!
There were 3 Mew distributions in this generation (and I’m counting one of the Virtual Console ones in this):
- Nintendo UK’s Pokémon Festival Mew – this was distributed to players who were at Nintendo UK’s Pokémon Festival event in London on 22nd November 2016. People who attended had between 5:00–10:00 pm to obtain it and tickets to the event were limited. This was only for the VC version of the Gen 1 games.
- 2017 Korean World Championship Series Mew – players got two opportunities to get this Mew, both via infrared. They could obtain one at:
- if they attended the 2017 Pokémon World Championship Korean Qualifiers held in South Korea from 5th-7th May 2017.
- The Pokémon Team Battle TCG event and the Pokémon All Out Festival from 19th–20th August 2017 held in South Korea.
The Poké Ball Plus
I think TPC were stretching it when they called My Pokémon Ranch an “accessory” but there was no mistaking their Poké Ball Plus accessory for Let’s Go! Eevee/Let’s Go! Pikachu. Released in 2018, the device came programmed with a serial code which you could use to redeem Mew in Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! It was a controversial move as it meant you effectively had to pay to get Mew, even if that wasn’t the specific thing you were paying for (argue amongst yourselves about that). What’s more, you could only redeem this once per Poké Ball Plus so getting Mew via a preowned one was practically impossible unless the previous owner never redeemed it. Naturally, I skipped that one.
While there wasn’t really a Mew distribution for this game per se, the Poké Ball Plus was also directly compatible with SwSh so you could obtain it in the same way as referenced above. Otherwise, that was your lot (bar transferring any number of Mew from previous games via Pokémon Home).
And finally, Pokémon Scarlet/Violet! From yesterday (8th August 2023), you could obtain a Mew via a serial code (GETY0URMEW) as part of the Get Mew & Mewtwo! event. The password is redeemable until 18th September and has a 1 in 18 chance of being any Tera type. And, before you ask, this Mew is shiny locked. Sorry!
So there you have it, every way to get Mew into every main series Pokémon game. I’ve skipped a lot of the specifics in terms of distributions at risk of just copying and pasting from Bulbapedia (shout out to the staff for those resources) but you can read about them via the links provided. If I’ve missed anything significant, please let me know and I’ll add it in.
Although I’m not a fan of such exclusivity, I understand the need for Mew to be so elusive in terms of obtaining it over the years. It’s meant to be mysterious and hard to get. I’d love to hear from anyone who got any of those distributions and what the experience was like. Leave a comment if you were one of the lucky few!