There are many kinds of self imposed challenges in the Pokémon games, and the granddaddy of them all is the Nuzlocke run.
Started by a college student during a cool down period in between classes, the web comic artist known as ‘Nuzlocke’ started a new file in his copy of Pokémon Ruby. However, to make it more challenging, he imposed two rules on himself: He could only catch the first Pokémon he saw in a new area, and if a Pokémon faints, it’s considered dead and must be released. Nuzlocke then turned the adventure into a web comic and posted them on Tumblr, where they were very well received and gave Nuzlocke his namesake based on a Nuzleaf modeled after John Locke from the hit show LOST.
While the concept of death is implied in the Pokémon universe with the likes of the Pokémon Tower in Lavender Town, which is a giant gravesite, the Nuzlocke challenge brings that concept to the forefront. Since you’re not allowed to use items such as Revives to bring your Pokémon back, you have to think strategically, especially since you’re only allowed to get the first Pokémon you see in a new area.
This is a surprisingly hard challenge, and the payoff isn’t all that great; it’s mostly bragging rights. Still, that hasn’t stopped people from making comics out of their own challenges, such as the aforementioned Nuzlocke and the DeviantArt user Epifex.
I’ve even attempted a few Nuzlocke challenges in FireRed, SoulSilver, and Platinum, albeit unsuccessfully. The closest I came was the battle with Lance in FireRed, where his Aerodactyl landed a string of critical hits on my team. Even though I’ve never won the challenge, I found the experiences to be quite memorable.
Think you have what it takes to face the Nuzlocke Challenge? If so,be prepared for the heartache and intense moments.