Pokemon has long established itself as a family-friendly franchise with its cute animals and a solid turn-based combat mechanic. Since 1996, the Pokemon franchise has largely remained true to its original goal of catching and defeating Pokemon.
The franchise's wide appeal is likely to be attributed to its long-term popularity, but it may leave a lot of room for experienced players. Pokemon games have no built-in hard modes, therefore players have invented their own strategies to up the difficulty; that's where the Nuzlocke Challenge comes in. It's a popular game that allows players to self-impose rules in order to make a better experience while playing Pokemon.
What is a Nuzlocke Challenge?
A Nuzlocke Challenge is a way of playing Pokemon that is enforced by the players. There are only two primary rules to a Nuzlocke Challenge.
The Nuzlocke has a wide range of variations. Some players nickname their Pokemon so that they feel more attached to them. Others play modded Pokemon games that alter the spawns of Pokemon so that a wider variety of Pokemon appears in the grass so you have a chance at seeing a stronger Pokemon like Kyogre.
How do I start a Nuzlocke Challenge?
The only requirement to get started with a Nuzlocke Challenge is a fresh save file on a Pokemon game, and to follow a set of specific rules. The actual execution of the challenge will be more difficult. Here are a few general tips 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 more detailed information and guidance on Nuzlocking specific Pokemon games. These guides will help you choose a starter Pokemon, which is an especially critical decision in Nuzlocke, and will flag specific trainers or Pokemon to be aware of. Another great idea is to watch successful Nuzlocke streams of the game you chose.
What is the origin of the Nuzlocke Challenge?
Nick Franco, a webcomic artist known as Nuzlocke, coined the term Pokemon: Hard Mode and made a comic illustrating the concept in 2010, utilizing the 2002 Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire as a base.
The challenge goes against the series' promise of catching em all. However, the challenge has since developed into a popular game genre. Fans continue to use the challenge with older Pokemon generations and have even transported the idea to other video game franchises.
Why is it popular?
Its not just that it's more difficult, it's that it makes Pokemon more strategic. Rather than catching a batch of baddies who can wipe the floor with any gym leader, you need to know specifics, such as whether or not your opponents Pokemon have superior physical or special defense attributes. Even a simple trainer battle can have you fighting for your life depending on the scenario. Getting used to chess is more involved.
Franco described what he thought was the fundamental appeal of the Nuzlocke challenge. He said that after each challenge, people have to tell their stories to the world.