How A Lost Reference Became An Internet Community

Pokémon is a pretty simple game if you stay out of the competitive scene. Those who grew up with the games can find it pretty easy, since it’s very easily exploitable. Whether through patience or simply knowing the right techniques, many Pokémon players can find themselves bored while playing through an old classic.


One such player decided to change it up a little bit.


This simple little comic if a stick figure playing Pokémon Ruby with some interesting rules attached ended up becoming a very popular trend among the Pokémon fans.


As the above picture demonstrates, the rules of what would come to be known as the Nuzlocke challenge are simply that you can only catch one Pokémon per area, and that any Pokémon who faints in battle is considered dead and needs to be released.


These rules cause the game to become so much more harrowing, as any battle could turn sour and cause you to lose a faithful companion. It causes the player to use Pokémon they never would have considered using before, and to value ones that they previously overlooked.


After the first comic “Ruby Hard Mode” was created, others started attempting the challenge as well, even making their own comics detailing what happened. These comics can be found here for anyone curious.


Unlike Pokémon Réburst, these comics do focus on the bond between trainer and Pokémon. In fact, it’s hard to imagine any Nuzlocke that doesn’t highlight just how tightly-knit these fake teams can be. Despite being pixels in a game, these players become connected to their teams, and genuinely mourn the loss of their beloved Pokémon as if losing a friend.


The Nuzlocke community is more than just a bunch of people drawing their adventures in Pokémon with a few added rules. These comics contain stories that range from funny to dramatic and from bizarre to serious.

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