The Nuzlocke Challenge is a long-standing tradition that makes Pokemon even more difficult

The Nuzlocke Challenge is a long-standing tradition that makes Pokemon even more difficult ...

Pokemon has long been regarded as a family-friendly franchise, with its adorable creatures and their proven turn-based combat system. Since the first Pokemon Red and Green came out in Japan in 1996, the franchise has largely remained true to its original goal of catching and defeating Pokemon.

While the franchise's attractiveness and straightforward approachability are likely to have contributed to its popularity, it can also leave a lot of room for longer-time players. For adults, the challenge in Pokemon games may not be available in more adult-oriented modern RPGs. That's where the Nuzlocke Challenge comes in. It's a popular method of playing that allows players to self-impose rules in order to have a more difficult time while playing Pokemon.

What is a Nuzlocke Challenge?

A Nuzlocke Challenge is a game that involves the players themselves in imposing their own rules. There are only two primary rules to a Nuzlocke Challenge.

The Nuzlocke is a game that has many variations. Some players nickname their Pokemon so that they feel more connected to them. Others play modded Pokemon games that alter the spawns of Pokemon so that a wider variety of Pokemon appears in the grass, such as Zigzagoon, its changed so you have a chance of seeing a stronger Pokemon like Kyogre.

How do I start a Nuzlocke Challenge?

All you need to get started with a Nuzlocke Challenge is a fresh save file on a Pokemon game, and you need to follow a set of specific rules. Then, executing the challenge will be more difficult. Here are some general recommendations to get you started:

  • Pick a game youre familiar with. Youll want to know as much as you can about the game so you can adequately prepare for potentially dangerous events like a rival battle or particularly challenging trainer. That way, youll also know which Pokemon are available on which routes, so can anticipate which Pokemon you might catch and you can make sure to keep the right Pokemon at the front of your party to optimize elemental matchups.
  • Make sure you level up your Pokemon as much as possible; that way, you have a higher likelihood of success in battles.
  • Carry antidotes. You dont want a Pokemon to faint from poison damage (especially when its a permadeath!) while walking around, which can happen in gens 1 through 3.
  • Switch your Pokemon out of battle if youre the slightest bit worried. If you have a Pokemon thats low on health, then swap them out. Dont risk it; always switch out sooner than you think you need to.

Nuzlocke University has other great resources for Nuzlocking specific Pokemon games. These guides will assist you in choosing a starter Pokemon, which is an especially important choice in Nuzlocke, and will highlight specific trainers or Pokemon to be aware of. Another great idea is to watch successful Nuzlocke streams of the game you picked.

What is the origin of the Nuzlocke Challenge?

Nick Franco, a webcomic artist known as Nuzlocke, created a series called Pokemon: Hard Mode and created a comic illustrating the concept in 2010, utilizing the Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire as the base.

The challenge goes against the series' promise of catching em all. Nonetheless, the challenge has since become a fan favorite way of playing. Although popularized with Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, fans continue to use the challenge with older generation Pokemon and have even extended the concept to other video game franchises.

Why is it popular?

Its not just that training is more difficult, it's also that it makes Pokemon more strategic. Rather than catching a bunch of baddies who can wreck the floor with any gym leader, you need to know specifics, like whether your opponents Pokemon have superior physical or special defense abilities. In fact, even a simple trainer battle can have you fighting for your life depending on the scenario.

Franco described what he thought was the fundamental appeal of the Nuzlocke challenge in an interview with Know Your Meme. He said that the core Pokemon game isnt that interesting in itself, but that after each challenge, people have stories to tell.