If you're a Pokemon fan, there's no doubt you've at least heard whisperings about an elusive breed of so-called "shiny" Pokemon. Some people think you need to cheat (e.g. use a hacking device) to obtain them; others think you just have to be really, really lucky.
However, a select few Pokemon fans have discovered that you don't need to cheat to catch an army of Shinies (Pikachu sees you using Action Replay and it makes him cry). In this guide, we set the record straight on Shiny Pokemon and show you how to start catching them yourself.
Above: Finding a Shiny Legendary or Starter is just chance - there's nothing you can do to increase those odds
What is a Shiny?
Introduced in Pokemon Gold/Silver, a Shiny Pokemon is a rare Pokemon that differs in color from a normal Pokemon and can be identified by the red star to the right of its sprite on the summary screen. The difference can be subtle (Shiny Leafeon are only a slightly lighter shade of teal) or dramatic (Shiny Gyarados are a brilliant shade of red, as opposed to normal blue). When they emerge from a Poke Ball in battle they're accompanied by a brief glittery animation that makes them appear to shine (hence the unofficial term "shiny" - there actually is no official term for these rare Pokemon).
There are no other differences between Shiny Pokemon and normal Pokemon; i.e. they don't have any stat boosts or other abnormal attributes. Because they're so incredibly rare and the differences between Shiny Pokemon and normal Pokemon are purely cosmetic, they're considered to be the ultimate collector's item for hardcore Pokemon fans.
So how rare are they? The chances of encountering a Shiny Pokemon randomly in the wild are a dismal 1/8192. Until Diamond and Pearl, there was absolutely no way of increasing these odds (except for the Shiny Gyarados that appeared in every copy of Gold/Silver). However, with the right tools and approach you can increase these odds dramatically. Read on to find out how.