Pokémon is one of the greatest game franchises in the world. As kids, many of us fall in love with the candy colored monsters and beg our parents for extra screen time so we can while away the hours doing the greatest activity the gods above gave humans: catching ‘em all. Then we grow up, and they make even more Pokemon, and they’re eve cuter and more candy colored and holy sh*t, some of them are shaped like swords. So we pick up a Switch and boot up the latest Pokémon title, only to realize… the game is far too easy. But there’s a solution. A way to make Pokémon so hard, you’ll beg for a Malenia battle. It’s called: The Nuzlocke Run.

Nintendo

Make this…

Nuzlocke is a set of additional, self imposed rules that trainers put on the game to up its challenge rating. And it is truly a devilish way to play the game. There are two basic rules that every run must have: (1) Any Pokemon that faints is “dead” and gets released. (2) You can only catch the first Pokemon you encounter in an area and no others. 

Yeah, it’s grueling. But you’ll bond with your Pokemon like they’re your actual pets… and feel almost as devastated when they pass on to the great gym in the sky. Amongst those who Nuzlocke, there are a few additional rules that almost everyone plays by.

FromSoftware

Feel like this.

For maximum emotional impact, you must nickname every Pokémon. Some (cowards) also allow fainted Pokémon to be stored away, instead of released. There’s some debate about Pokémon that the player acquires through trading or are given by in-game NPC’s, so that’s a Rubicon you’ll have to cross for yourself. 

For the truly hardcore, there are additional rules that make the game as punishing as trying to take on the Tree Sentinel right after you squirm out of the Cave of Knowledge. These players may randomize their starter Pokémon, forgo evolution, forbid the use of items, or even end the game and start over if their entire party faints. Whether the playthrough is for fun or just bragging rights, Nuzlocke truly allows you to become the Elden Lord of catching ‘em all. 

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