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What is the Nuzlocke Challenge and what the hell is a ‘nuzlocke?’

If you’ve come to this site and don’t know, chances are you’re asking yourself this question right now.

The good news is that it’s relatively simple—there are only two rules! But before we get into that, let’s get into how it all started.

It was finals week of winter quarter 2010 for a bored not-yet webcomic artist at UC Santa Cruz. Having taken nothing but bullshit classes that quarter, he decided to entertain himself while everyone else was studying by starting a new file in his old copy of Pokemon Ruby.

But he had grown tired of his old Pokemon games; they had become repetitive and unchallenging after many play throughs. Deciding to make the experience more interesting, he set two rules for himself:

1. He could only capture the first Pokemon he encountered in each new area.
2. If a Pokemon fainted he would consider it dead and release it.

The results were unexpected; rather than simply increasing the difficulty, these rules caused him to care for his monster companions more than ever before. He found new appreciation for Pokemon he would have previously never bothered to capture, and worried deeply for his team, knowing any knockout would mean goodbye.

Wanting to share his experience with others, he drew up a few crude comics of his adventure and posted them on the 4chan /v/ideogame board, where he had enjoyed many vidya-related comics in the past. The doodles were met with surprising approval, especially towards the Seedot/Nuzleaf that bore the image of LOST’s John Locke.

These /v/irgins dubbed it the “Nuzlocke Challenge” and the sensation was born.

Since then countless “Nuzlocke runs” have been attempted, completed and failed by denizens of the Internet, many of them recorded in comics or stories. This is the true magic of the Nuzlocke Challenge: everyone has a story of triumph and loss to tell.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am that bored student that so many refer to as Nuzlocke. Here you can follow comics of my own nuzlocke journey (Pokemon: Hard-Mode) or countless others created by fans, many of which are better than the original.

So go forth and experience the Nuzlocke Challenge, either by reading these comics or taking on the challenge yourself. But be warned, challenger, there is no victory without loss.