More Rules=More Fun

Nuzlocke is a famous trend of self-imposed rules into the franchise of Pokémon handheld games.

The primary rules are that you must catch the first Pokémon you encounter in a route, beginning after you obtain poke balls. And if the Pokémon faints while in battle, then it is “dead”. It must either be released or placed into a box in the PC, like a graveyard.

There are rules and clauses that can be added. Every caught Pokémon must be given a nickname. This is to strengthen the bond and make it more personal when/if the Pokémon does “die”. Next, Shiny Pokémon may be captured and used. Some might consider shinies an exception to the one-Pokémon per route. Then, there is the Duplicate or Species clause that says you are allowed to bypass Pokémon you’ve already caught on a route. And lastly, the No Legend Clause simply states that Legendary Pokémon may not be used.

This form of gaming has become popular and evolved into the Let’s Play culture. These self-given rules provide an extra challenge, even for the casual gamers who are looking to test themselves – the type of people who are looking for challenge but not looking to enter Pokémon competitively. It was exactly what I needed.

This set of rules makes me care more about the game. It makes me play a bit more cautiously and have more strategy. I recently started a Nuzlocke in my Alpha Sapphire. I had to delete my old save that I had managed to get the 3rd badge in. I had been one of the people excited and even cheering to get the remake of the Hoenn Region games. I only managed 3 badges in my first normal play through with a play time of just under 20 hours. I can’t say my Nuzlocke has gone or even will go much further than that. If I lose all my Pokémon at the third gym, it’s over. But after 8 and a half hours, I’ve managed to get 2 badges.

I’ve mentioned in a previous article that I’ve been playing Pokémon since Crystal. I’m over a decade older than I was at the time I first played Crystal. The Pokémon games themselves are still advertised to those younger audiences. They are relatively easy to follow and simple. They allow for multiple play styles, and the Nuzlocke is the newest one.

The limit to the amount of Pokémon that can be caught means needing to focus on what you have. I’m not worried about catching specific Pokémon or all the Pokémon in the area, just catching the first and then every other encounter I just use for training. It takes away that particular struggle and just lets me focus on training and making the current team I have the best it can be. Since thanks to these rules there is now the added risk, each decision could lead to a loss. My current line-up includes:

  • LVL 20 Surskit named Cid
  • LVL 25 Beautifly named Bait
  • LVL 24 Plusle named Reynn
  • LVL 25 Skitty named Skittle
  • LVL 24 Mightyena named Dusk
  • LVL 23 Makuhita named Uso

So far, I have experienced 2 deaths. First, being my Shroomish named Jiitake. The second, my Combusken named Chica. Both were hard losses as they had been my highest level. Not to mention Combusken allowed for fire coverage. Still I am enjoy this type of play. The only thing that will stop this run, besides a wipe of my team, is Pokémon Sun & Moon.

I don’t see that stopping my Nuzlocke desire. I plan to Nuzlocke my version of Moon to the best of my ability. Only not in a way that would make me quit and start from the beginning if my team were destroyed. My plan is to follow the Nuzlocke guidelines, and any “dead” Pokémon I will put into a PC grave. Then, if I have a moment where I lose all my Pokémon, that will be the official end. That will be how far and how long I managed. I will still continue the save file and possibly still choose to continue limit myself going forward. This form provides an extra challenge and makes even a casual player like myself more keen on training, stats, move sets, and type coverage. While they were always present, they weren’t always a larger as a concern when I looked to build a team of my favorites.

Have you attempted a Nuzlocke? Do you plan to? Share your experiences below!