The famous/infamous Nuzlocke Challenge

Keeping up with anticipation for Black and White, we get another Pokemon related post today! I feel like talking about the phenomenon that came out of the internet, and seems to be Pokemon-only, the Nuzlocke challenge. It seems once upon a time, someone named Nuzlocke thought the games were a little too easy. Which makes sense, when you’ve spent way too many hours on the previous games, and trying to play through Pearl, as well as having access to make the most awesome starting team ever…it’s a little repetitive, even for obsessive compulsive me, who’s brain gets off on repetitiveness. I can imagine anyone not OCD would look to spice up the game a LOT sooner.

First version

As the well known story goes, Nuzlocke came up with a very restrictive set of rules that ended up causing him to become attached to his pokemon, and using pokemon he’d never otherwise use. He put a couple comics on 4chan. It was a hit. Others started doing it. The rest is history. At this point, requesting for a comic should anything interesting happen has become part of the rules.

Current version. It's very flexible.


I didn’t hear about Nuzlocke until December 2010 when some people on facebook were talking about it. Something about it being awesome, that they couldn’t play a game without nuzlocking it, and that this was how the games should be made. At the time, I didn’t pay much heed, as it seemed a little, well, cruel to me, and I already had my hands full with competitive training. I’ve never been able to fully take attempts to make Pokemon darker seriously when in one of issue of Nintendo Power I read when I was 8, in response to a letter asking what happened to fainted wild pokemon, Nintendo assured us that kind trainers and Nurse Joy took care of them. Suuuuure Pokemon die.

In Nuzlocke, they do die. If you read the comics, you'll cry buckets.

But that would not be the last time. Nuzlocke would continue to pop up. First during a Pokemon related gathering, a single comic from A Petty Nuzlocke Challenge was posted, where I was instantly hooked. Then Nuzlocke went on to be a confirmed meme on Know Your Meme. Following that, on the Pokemon communities I followed for Black and White news, there was all lot of discussion about Nuzlocke challenge, with many people sharing stories. I was surprised by how many people had done it, and admittly, felt a little lame for not having gave it a shot.

Plus, everytime I saw this guy, I thought he was judging me.

At this point, is seems unusual not to try it. At the least, I couldn’t write this post without spending a few hours giving it a try. I’ll share my experience tomorrow, but having done it, I can understand why it’s so popular. It does add an adrenaline rush and an edge to the game that wasn’t there before–that, and if you do it, you get bragging rights.

Shut up Iolo

My favorite part of the Nuzlocke challenges are the comics. They come in all times. Through them, I get to see many different people’s interpretation of the world of Pokemon, different interpretations of the storyline and characters. Some of them are simply about a boy or girl on an adventure to be the very best, while some have extremely complicated plotlines. Some are silly, some are serious. And some are amazing, while some really suck. One author, Hale, has a plot that is suppose to go over four Nuzlocke challenge games.

I don’t know how long the Nuzlocke challenge will remain popular, but I don’t think it’ll die out completely. After all, the challenge really does give the game a whole different feel, and it’s not one that people get bored of it easily. Plus, with a whole new world coming out, there will be a whole bunch of new stories people will want to tell–and I don’t think we’ve run out of stories to tell in the other games either.

This is from Hale's comic. You should read Hale's comic.

Points of Interest

Nuzlocke Site

A collection of Nuzlocke comics


Mr. Nuzlocke’s First Hand Account of What Happened


Filed under Pokemon

4 responses to “The famous/infamous Nuzlocke Challenge

  1. My god. I haven’t played Pokemon in months :L

  2. Can’t believe I never heard of the Nuzlocke Challenge in all my 12 years of being a Pokemon fan XD It’s not something I want to do, since I have plenty of fun playing the games my own way (I sort of challenge myself by not EV training and completing my Poke-dex legitimately), but it sounds like a good way to spice up the game for interested players =)

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