Lala the Siamese fighting fish finds something fishy in the Seafloor Cavern.

The Pokémon video games are designed more for lighthearted fun than serious-gamer challenge, and so ordinarily setting out to beat one wouldn’t be such a Herculean undertaking. Making progress towards becoming an in-game Pokémon master is much more impressive, though, when it’s not a human playing the game, but a fish.

So we’ve been watching with shocked appreciation as Japanese Twitter user/YouTuber Mutekimaru Channel chronicles his pet fish playing Pokémon Sapphire, the franchise’s 2002 installment. Since fish don’t have hands, they obviously can’t hold a controller, so Mutekimaru Channel visually divides a fish tank up into sections corresponding to different parts of the controller (up on the control pad, the A button, etc.). Then he sets up a camera to film the fish as they swim around and automatically convert their position in the tank into controller inputs.

After some early difficulties, there was cause for celebration in July when the Pokémon-playing fish defeated not one, but two Gym Leaders, earning a pair of gym badges for their boss battle victories. Now, though, the fish have done something that’s impressive in a whole other way by finding a glitch that no human player seem to have uncovered in the 18 years since the game’s release!

▼ The moment of discovery

As shown in the video, the glitch is triggered in the Seafloor Cavern, in a section where the player has to use the Strength ability to push boulders out of the way in order to proceed to the next area. But when the fish tries to push the second-to-last necessary rock out of the way, instead of sliding upwards it multiplies and another stone materializes out of it, making it impossible to clear a path to where the player needs to go.

Credit for the discovery goes to Lala, a betta/Siamese fighting fish who’s part of the four-fish gamer team (they play in shifts). After noticing the glitch, Mutekimaru Channel briefly took over to see if he could replicate it, and demonstrates the method in the video here.

First, the boulders need to be arranged like this.

Then walk all the way down to the bottom wall of the room…

…and then walk back up. When you do, you’ll see that the boulder on the left in the very top row has slid down one space, and the boulder on the right of the top row has disappeared entirely.

Now when you try to push the second boulder from the right, it’ll stay where it is while creating another boulder above it.

▼ And you can make the same thing happen with the second boulder from the left too!

With Pokémon being one of the most popular video game franchises of all time, with a gigantic and extremely passionate fanbase, there are hundreds of documented glitches that gamers have found. Lala’s glitch seems to have gone undiscovered until now, though, and commenters have been quick to heap praise on the fish for the discovery that was nearly two decades in the making.

“We just all witnessed history.”
“Rock: ‘Thank you, Lala. I’ve been waiting 18 years for someone to find this.’”
“I’m a professional debugger, but this fish is better than me.”
Game Freak should hire some fish to playtest the next Pokémon game.”
“You really do have to do make all sorts of random inputs in order to find bugs.”
“In the future, I hope the speed-running community figures out a way to exploit this glitch, and someone livestreams their record run while shocking everyone by saying ‘This glitch was originally discovered by a fish.’”

While the entire premise of Mutekimaru Channel’s project is incredibly silly, that doesn’t mean he takes the welfare of his fish lightly. In addition to having them play in shifts so that they’re not constantly on camera, he makes sure their sperate tanks are clean and well-maintained…

…and he’s also reflected deeply on pets’ status as living creatures, and the respect they thus deserve

So just like a good parent, Mutekimaru Channel understands there’s no harm in some leisure-time gaming, but that maintaining a healthy balance in life is the most important thing.

Related: Mutekimaru Channel YouTube, Twitter
Source: Twitter/@Mutekimaru_ch via IT Media
Images: YouTube/むてきまるちゃんねる -Mutekimaru Channel-
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