Original Pokémon developer casually mentions when the series began, and players realise it's been an Easter egg since the start

Mew in Pokemon.
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Junichi Masuda is not only one of the Pokémon OGs, one of the three co-founders of Game Freak along with Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori, but as the years have gone by has become the most central figure behind the games and franchise. He is currently chief creative fellow at The Pokémon Company and, yesterday, casually dropped a fact about the series that has exposed a long-dormant Easter Egg.

A July 5 tweet from Masuda contained an image of the building initially used by Game Freak, founded in 1989, and said (via machine translation): "On the 5th of July, Pokémon was born in Japan, and this is where Game Freak once lived."

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From one angle this is just Masuda celebrating an anniversary, most likely the anniversary of the original Capsule Monsters pitch to NIntendo. But as quickly spotted by Pokémon archivist and Youtuber LewTwo, this has in fact been in the games from the start as something of an Easter Egg, and one that revolves around the most mysterious Pokémon of all (certainly in the early days), the fabled Mew.

As Lewtwo notes, the OG Pokémon games (Red/Green in Japan, Red/Blue elsewhere) contained a diary entry that details the first discovery of Mew in the world of Pokémon. The creature was discovered in Guyana on July 5th. Mew is notable for being the first mythical Pokémon and is said to contain the DNA of every single other Pokémon contained within its body. Finally, in Pokémon lore, Mew was discovered by a character named Miyamoto, a reference to Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, who greenlit and oversaw the development of Pokémon (Nintendo actually turned down the initial pitch; Miyamoto saw something and persisted).

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This is not Earth-shattering news but the fact a Game Boy game is still serving up little secrets 27-odd years later is incredible. The fact it's Mew that 'hides' the origin date of the entire thing is just one of those perfect little confluences of lore and reality, while the Miyamoto nod (added later) is the icing on the cake. Or as Lewtwo puts it: "the fact this has been under our noses this entire time is actually just fucking insane."

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."