Mystery Gift and Decorations
If you're looking for the tool that determines what Mystery Gifts your trainer ID can give to others and receive in Stadium 2, head over to the TID Mystery Gift Calculator!
An Introduction to Mystery Gift
If you're more familiar with modern Pokémon games, you may know of Mystery Gift as the name given to special Pokémon and items distributed as events from Game Freak themselves. However, in the second generation of Pokémon, where the term "Mystery Gift" was introduced, it served an entirely different function.
The Game Boy Color was upgraded from the original Game Boy to have color, of course, but it also contained an IR (infrared) sensor to allow for wireless communication between consoles and even accessories! Mystery Gift is the main feature utilizing the GBC's IR sensor. By accessing the Mystery Gift menu and putting two GBCs close to each other, they will give each other a gift! This gift can be either a decoration for the player's room, or a normal item that goes into the player's inventory. Mystery Gift functionality is also present in Pokémon Stadium 2 and the Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS virtual pet accessory.
Despite being a fairly unique feature exclusive to the generation 2 Pokémon games, documentation on this subject tends to be pretty sparse. My hope is that by the time you're done reading this comprehensive article, you may have learned something new about this little-talked about feature!
Decorations (And Why You Want Them)
In Gold, Silver, and Crystal, decorations can be obtained through Mystery Gift (and a couple other methods) that can then be shown off in the player's room. Some decorations are much rarer than others. It can take a rather large time commitment to collect them all, but it can be a fun challenge for a completionist! They don't do anything other than look cool, but having a lot of decorations is reason to show off.
While in-game, the player can alter what decorations are in their room by accessing the PC in their room and scrolling down to the Decoration option. While in Stadium 2, the player can instead organize their decorations by visiting "My Room" in White City and pressing A. All of the decorations will be seen in full 3D!
Possible Mystery Gift Items and Decorations
Mystery Gifts are divided into four different rarity categories which I've given unofficial nicknames - commons, uncommons, rares, and super rares. The decorations listed have their in-game sprite as they appear in the player's room next to their name.
These items are exclusive to Mystery Gift and cannot be obtained any other way: Eon Mail, Morph Mail, Music Mail, MiracleBerry*, Scope Lens
*Technically, the MiracleBerry can be held by wild Celebi and Mew, but given that Celebi is an event-exclusive static encounter and Mew isn't even encounterable in GSC, it's practically nonexistent outside of Mystery Gift.
The following list does not include gifts acquired through other means - more on those in later sections.
How the GBC Decides What to Gift
When using Mystery Gift between two Game Boy Colors, the decoration or item received is random. Some simple math is used to achieve this.
First, there is a 50/50 chance that the game will attempt to send a normal item or a decoration. Afterwards, it runs through the following steps:
- A 10% chance is rolled. If negative, the gift will be a common. If positive, continue to the next step.
- A 20% chance is rolled. If negative, the gift will be an uncommon. If positive, continue to the next step.
- A 20% chance is rolled again. If negative, the gift will be a rare. If positive, the gift will be a super rare.
If the 50% chance for a decoration is rolled, but the decoration chosen is one the player already has, it will select a normal item instead.
In practice, this means that there's a 90% chance of a common, an 8% chance of an uncommon, a 1.6% chance of a rare, and a 0.4% chance of a super rare. However, it's not as straightforward as Mystery Gifting with the same two games over and over until all of the decorations or items are received!
There are 16 commons, 8 uncommons, 8 rares, and 2 super rares for both items and decorations. When gifting, a save file can only give a set 8 commons, 4 uncommons, 1 rare, and 1 super rare based on trainer ID. This effectively means that any individual common gift has a 11.25% (90% ÷ 8) chance of being selected, and any individual uncommon gift has a 2% (8% ÷ 4) chance of being selected, not including the initial 50/50 item/decoration roll.
This means that not all Mystery Gifts can be obtained through just two GSC save files. The list of possible items and decorations for a save file to give is based on trainer ID, and as such, to get access to more gifts, more save files with different trainer IDs must be used. Because of this complication, I've provided the TID Mystery Gift Calculator here on BMF to show you what gifts your trainer ID can give.
How to do Mystery Gift on GBC
When starting a new game in Gold, Silver, or Crystal, Mystery Gift is not turned on. You must activate it manually by making your way to the Department Store in Goldenrod City and talking to the girl on the fifth floor. This area is accessible after obtaining the second Gym Badge from Bugsy and traveling through Ilex Forest and Route 34. After talking to the girl, the Mystery Gift option will appear on the same menu screen as where you continue your save or make a new game.
Keep in mind that Mystery Gift is region locked! While initiating Mystery Gift, the game will check for the region code of the other game and will fail the whole connection if the region codes are not the same. As such, don't try connecting a Spanish copy of Gold with English Silver, etc.
To perform Mystery Gift, line up the IR sensors of two Game Boy Colors with either yourself or a friend and head to the Mystery Gift option on the main menu. The IR sensor should be at the top left of the GBC. When prompted, press A to make a connection. You should hear a beeping sound and it should tell you what gift you received! (Since an IR sensor also exists on 3DS, doing this with Virtual Console GSC is also possible!)
A single Gold, Silver, or Crystal game can only receive gifts from a save file once per day. The amount of save files that can be Mystery Gifted with in one day is capped at five. To do multiple a day, you'll need multiple games to connect with. Keep coming back everyday for the chance of something new!
If your Mystery Gift is an item, it won't immediately show up in your inventory. You'll have to pick it up from the guy behind the counter on the second floor of any Pokémon Center. Assuming you have space in your inventory, he will give you the item when talked to.
Additionally, Mystery Gift cannot be performed on non-GBCs because of the lack of IR sensor. The option won't show up in the menu and the girl in the Department Store will remark that you need a Game Boy Color to do Mystery Gift.
Stadium 2's Mystery Gift
Stadium 2 is notable for its Mystery Gift functionality, which allows the player to receive one free Mystery Gift from the Goldenrod City Department Store girl, also known as Carrie, per day. To do so, the Transfer Pak must be attached with a copy of Gold, Silver, or Crystal inserted that has already unlocked the Mystery Gift feature from Carrie in Goldenrod Department Store. Afterwards, the player can navigate to the Mystery Gift option on the Stadium 2 menu and get a gift. Of course, this is super useful, especially if you don't have two GBCs or games or friends to Mystery gift with! The time and day shown is based on the time saved to the GSC cartridge, and Carrie's dialogue will vary based on the rarity of item that she receives, or you receive. If a normal item is received, it can be picked up through the Game Boy Tower in the Pokémon Center or from the Lab area.
Similar to when gifting with the GBC, the pool of gifts that Carrie is able to give the player is limited to 8 commons, 4 uncommons, 1 rare, and 1 super rare. This is based on the player's trainer ID, but the internal math to determine which gifts are in the pool is slightly different from the internal math the GBC uses, causing variety between the two. This means that Stadium 2 cannot solely be used for a completionist set of decorations! To find out what gifts you can receive from Carrie, you can use the TID Mystery Gift Calculator.
The logic for determining what is gifted to the player is nearly identical to when gifting over GBC, but decorations specifically, not items, have their rarity categories adjusted. Stadium 2 is programmed with the intention of the decoration odds being 86% common, 10% uncommon, 3% rare, and 1% super rare - a pretty significant boost to the rarer categories! This is likely to accommodate for the inclusion of Stadium 2 exclusive decorations, which are listed below.
- Pikachu Bed
- Unown Doll
- Tentacool Doll
However, there's a reason I use the word "intention" - Stadium 2's Mystery Gift odds are broken! Because of this, despite what sources have been saying for two decades now, all three of the Stadium 2 exclusive decorations are completely unobtainable. It's pretty unfortunate, since this means the only way to get these elusive decorations is through save editing, hacking, or glitches. No wonder there was no pictures or footage of anyone receiving these decorations from Carrie for all this time! The reasons as to why these three decorations are unobtainable is pretty interesting, though.
The Tentacool Doll and Pikachu Bed
Stadium 2's code reveals that the Tentacool Doll and Pikachu Bed were supposed to be added to the pool of potential super rares. The Tentacool Doll is supposed to be available at an overall 0.6% rate in Round 1, and the Pikachu Bed is supposed to be unlocked after beating Round 1 and getting to Round 2, in which the Tentacool Doll becomes a 0.3% chance and the Pikachu Bed becomes available at a 0.3% chance as well. It's a pretty neat reward for getting to Round 2, in theory! The issue is, the random number generator is faulty here. The Mystery Gift code doesn't take full advantage of Stadium 2's random number generator, leaving behind only a meager handful of possible rolls, and erroneously, none of these rolls result in the Tentacool Doll or Pikachu Bed. It's like being given a 6-sided die and being told to roll a 10 - it'll never happen. Pretty unfortunate!
That being said, even though they aren't receivable, The Tentacool Doll and Pikachu Bed have full assets in Stadium 2's room viewer, and there's even special dialogue set aside for either being gifted. This can be viewed by forcing either decoration to drop in an emulator. The screenshots below are courtesy of RainingChain.
The Unown Doll
So, what about the Unown Doll? No unfortunate glitches here - the Unown Doll isn't even fully implemented into Stadium 2! Like the Tentacool Doll and Pikachu Bed, a sprite for it exists in GSC and a 3D model exists for it in the Stadium 2 room viewer, but otherwise, it practically doesn't exist. It's not so much as mentioned in the code for Mystery Gift and the dialogue that appears if forced to gift it through emulator is unfinished, reading "DECORATION" instead of "UNOWN DOLL" when given to the player. Once again, screenshots courtesy of RainingChain!
Whether or not the Unown Doll was meant to be reserved for an unreleased real life event or Mobile System GB distribution of some kind, we'll likely never know.
Due to Stadium 2's RNG weirdness, the true odds of received gifts is not exactly as intended. These can be boiled down to as follows (These values are rounded slightly):
The exact functionality of Stadium 2's Mystery Gift feature was a mystery for over two decades, and as such, the meager resources scattered across the internet from before 2023 are prone to being wrong if they haven't been updated since. Be mindful while checking out other pages on the topic!
There are a handful of special decorations that are not obtained through Mystery Gift of any sort, and instead through other means.
For one, there's the decorations that are only obtainable through the player's Mom. When saving money is enabled with the player's Mom, sometimes she will buy items for the player once certain amounts of money have been saved up, that include doll decorations! Once bought, she will call the player telling them that she bought something for them, the cost being removed from savings. These consist of the following:
|Big Snorlax Doll||100000||22800|
The other notable special decorations are the Silver Trophy and Gold Trophy . When the Gym Leader Castle is defeated in the first Pokémon Stadium, a Pokémon will be rewarded as a prize. When one of these special gift Pokémon is traded to a generation 2 game, it will either be carrying a Normal Box if it was rewarded for Round 1 or a Gorgeous Box for Round 2. When opened from the inventory in GSC, the player will unlock the Silver and Gold Trophy respectively.
3D Room Gallery
As mentioned earlier, all of the decorations available in GSC are viewable in full 3D in Stadium 2 - even the unobtainable Stadium 2 exclusive decorations have models! Below you can preview how any decoration you want looks in Stadium 2 using the dropdown.
The Trainer House
It's worth noting that when performing Mystery Gift, the team of the last person Mystery Gifted with will show up in the basement of the Trainer House in Viridian City to be battled once per day. Held items, stats, and gender are not carried over in the process, but things like moveset are. When battled, any Pokémon on the opposing trainer's party that isn't registed in the Pokédex will be registered as seen!
The Trainer House can be useful for EXP or stat experience farming, because ideally, one could set up a team with maximum EXP or stat experience gains, but no attacking moves, and then Mystery Gift with their own save file using two consoles to have a permanent grinding spot, assuming usage of a passcode generator to change the time and bypass the one battle a day restriction.
Without having ever used Mystery Gift, a placeholder trainer named Cal will reside there with a team of the fully evolved starter trio, Meganium, Typhlosion, and Feraligatr. After using Mystery Gift at least once, Cal will disappear.
- Body Slam
- Light Screen
- Quick Attack
- Flame Wheel
- Scary Face
When Mystery Gifting with Stadium 2's Carrie, Carrie will show up in the Trainer House, too! She can bring one of three teams at random, and will use Ethan's sprite to represent herself, even in Crystal where a female trainer protagonist exists. Fighting Carrie is also the only way to see Scizor or Porygon2 in the Pokédex but not catch them, since no other trainer in Gold, Silver, or Crystal uses either Pokémon.
Click the buttons to preview Carrie's different Trainer House teams.
- Razor Leaf
- Body Slam
- Take Down
- Dream Eater
- Future Sight
- Night Shade
- Confuse Ray
- Wing Attack
- Double Team
- Hydro Pump
- Perish Song
- Focus Energy
The Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS
The Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS is a virtual pet accessory that was released in 1999 as a sequel to the original Pokémon Pikachu device, where the virtual pet is of course, Pikachu. I will only go into its Mystery Gift functionality here until I can write a full article at a later date about the device. In the meantime, you can read more about it on Bulbapedia if you'd like.
The Watts earned by walking with the device can be "spent" on items by connecting it with Gold, Silver, or Crystal over Mystery Gift. The Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS is unfortunately region locked. Don't try using a Japanese one with an English game for instance, it won't work! Unlike usual Mystery Gifts, the items given aren't up to random chance, but instead how many Watts are saved up and sent over. These are the items available (there are no decorations):
|# of Watts||Item Received|
Utilizing the Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS is notably the only way to receive a Rare Candy over Mystery Gift.
Below are a few random facts that didn't fit anywhere else in this article!
Depending on what Game Console decoration is hooked up to the TV, different games can appear on screen when entering "My Room" or when swapping decorations out. The possible games are listed below with their associated textures. They're super tiny!
|Super Mario Bros.|
|The Legend of Zelda|
|Super Mario World|
|The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past|
|Kirby Super Star|
|Super Mario 64|
|Wave Race 64|
|Star Fox 64|
|The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time|
Leftover and unused graphics in Gold and Silver's code suggest that there may have once been two more types of carpet for the player to decorate their floor. The unused tiles can be seen here at both their original and 4x size:
For some reason, while the items Bluesky Mail and Mirage Mail are programmed as possible Mystery Gift items, they were never made available with any game or device. The only way the Bluesky Mail and Mirage Mail were distributed was through the Japanese-only and now-defunct Mobile System GB service in Crystal. As a result, the only way to obtain these items in the modern day is through glitches or cheating. (If you own a flashcart and want to force the two unavailable mails to be sent to your game via Mystery Gift, a custom-coded GBC rom can be found at the bottom of this forum thread over at Project Pokémon. Thank you forum user bayleef!)
Thank you to the following people and resources for assistance with researching this topic:
- The lovely people over at pret for being kind to me and answering questions about GBC Mystery Gift despite me being very confused about assembly code, and for disassembling GSC in the first place!
- This thread, written by bayleef on Project Pokémon that was heavily referenced multiple times in this article.
- RainingChain for his insight into Stadium 2's Mystery Gift mechanics and his more technical write-up which can be found here on Project Pokémon!
- Lincoln for his initial disassembly of Stadium 2's Mystery Gift functionality, which can be found here on GitHub. None of the Stadium 2 mysteries would have been solved without his hard work.
Last updated 9/9/23. Redid the entire Stadium 2 section to account for newly discovered information, changed the wording of a few other things, added the Stadium 2 decoration gallery, added the Trainer House section, and added images to the TV screen trivia. The tool to identify givable gifts has been moved to its own page.