With PokémonGo being the topic all around I decided to add a little bonus chapter to the usual webcomic chapters here about an old phenomenon regarding the normal Pokémon games:
The Nuzlocke Challenge
The Challenge itself doesn’t have anything to do with webcomics, but I’ll get to that soon. First let me explain:
What is the Nuzlocke Challenge?
The Nuzlocke Challenge was created in 2010 by a bored student that by now refers to himself as “Nuzlocke”, when he wanted to change the experience he had with the Pokémon games.
Originally he set up these rules:
1. Capture only the first Pokémon you encounter in a new area.
2. If a Pokémon faints you consider it dead and release it.
To accompany his run for the Ruby-edition he started a webcomic called Pokémon: Hard-Mode. He shared this comic in different communities and they created the name “Nuzlocke” as a wordplay on the fan favourite Seedot/Nuzleaf of the run that he occasionally drew like John Locke from Lost.
Inspired by this, many others took up the challenge and modified the original rules and added a few more rules:
1. If a Pokémon faints you consider it dead and either release it or put it in a “Dead” Box on the PC.
2. Capture only the first Pokémon encountered in a new area, unless it’s a duplicate, then you have 1-3 more tries. You may re-catch a Pokémon that previously died.
3. All caught Pokémon must be nicknamed.
4. Healing items can/can not be used. Pokémon Centers are a must.
5. You can/can not catch any Legendaries.
6. If you encounter a shiny all rules are nullified.
This of course is not a complete set of rules as Challengers individualize them, so every run has slightly different rules, but you get the gist of it.
I put this into the webcomics category so I’ll introduce you to a couple of Nuzlocke runs that turned their experiences into comics. This is only a collection of the ones I enjoyed reading there are plenty more – even some that turned it into diaries.
There are some things – besides the challenge – they all have in common:
- None of them are finished and they update irregularly.
- The protagonist is either able to talk to their Pokémon or at least the reader is able to see their thoughts.
- Each update has about 10-20+ panels.
- Nearly all of them can be found on DeviantArt
Pokémon: Hard-Mode – Nuzlocke
The Original run I mentioned before was for Ruby. By now he added a run for Fire-Red and is currently running one for White, but you should read the others before that. The art improved greatly over the years and also the story telling. At first it’s just headwords/phrases that are drawn, later there is actual plot behind it. Still, some of the jokes are quite lame, but that’s also part of the charm of these runs.
As a start into the whole Nuzlocke business I’d recommend it, it is the original after all.
Tales of Sinnoh/Myths of Unova – ky-nim
One of the first runs I encountered.
While Tales of Sinnoh (Diamond) follows some rather unusual way of story telling with a foul mouthed and sometimes reckless heroine and some pretty weird plots (Team Gaga and Dialgaga), Myths of Unova (White) is an entirely different story.
It feels like Ky-nim put a lot more effort and planning into the comic-version of this run. She created whole new stories and legends about the in-game tales about Ancient Unova, she even used her own language system for telling them. Additionally to that are her character portrayals great. You come to like Nina and her team for all their different quirks and charms and you suffer with her, when one of her team members is left behind.
From all the runs I read, this is still one of my favourites and I’m fairly certain that if Ky-nim/Kylee ever decided to start her own webcomic, she’d do so awesomely – at least I couldn’t find an original comic on her pages.
Tala’s Nuzlocke Adventure – TalaSeba
A bit strange at first Tala’s Nuzlocke (Silver or Gold) evolves into something with an interesting sub-plot regarding the trainers origin and motivation, and an interesting twist to the normal storyline of the game. The art also improved greatly between the updates, as does the story telling.
The characters feel unique and have interesting designs and personalities.
Fire Red Nuzlocke – french-teapot
The art of French’s Fire Red Nuzlocke is quite cartoonish, but at the same time adorable.
It has funny characters and a twist to the usual Team Rocket story line, though that part has still to be explored further – it had only recently begun to fully include the consequences.
The seriousness of some other Nuzlockes isn’t as present here, as the focus isn’t too much on the catches and deaths, but more on the overall run and team – especially as some updates are a bit rushed and composed of notes, though that doesn’t really make it worse.
The Pokédex Project – Effsnares
A different approach to the Nuzlocke Challenge is the Pokédex Project (Leaf Green) by Effsnares. This run doesn’t focus on the actual story, but creates its own by making the characters not rivals but good friends/colleagues in the completion of the Pokédex, using their different talents to do so.
It’s also different as the main character is gender neutral – something that is still a rare thing in most media.
Additionally, is this one of the runs where you can only read the Pokémons thoughts/conversations, but the trainer can’t understand them.
And to top this all up: The art is quite beautiful. The way Eff draws the different Pokémon is simply amazing.
These runs are quite short but with a lot of potential:
- Fiasko by Nekiwii: Adorable Silver Nuzlocke (so far)
- Cross Out by Protocol00: Interesting X Nuzlocke that hopefully wont be abandoned like it’s predecessor.
These are special Nuzlocke comics that turn the involved Pokémon into Gijinka’s – anthropomorphic Pokémon – some of them have an interesting background as to why/how this is possible, others simply use it as fact. In these runs there is either a Trainer capable of recruiting Gijinka’s or Gijinka’s getting together to build a team without any humans.
Until I came across these, I’m not sure I even heard about the concept – at least not by this name.
So if you want to try something different, you may want to give these a try:
Doubt and Trust – Nyapapa
Doubt and Trust by Nyapapa is a really interesting Heart Gold/Soul Silver run.
This one does not have any humans in it, but a few original Pokémon and a nice back story as to why some things are the way they are.
The characters and their designs are great. They all have their own story and back story – and some still untold stories and secrets.
I also like the explanation of how the Gijinka change their outfits after evolution. 😉
That comic about that one kid – dejasquietplace
That comic about that one kid by dejasquietplace is a (sort of) Leaf Green run.
It not just has interesting character designs, but also great interactions between them. The different personalities are refreshing – again no real rivals but friends helping each other.
The concept how Trainer and Gijinka work together is interesting (synchronising and sharing experiences) and that not all Trainers have to be human. 😉
The narration and the art style are great, not only for the Gijinka, but also for the few real Pokémon that are still around.
I’m really looking forward to this story being continued.
- Conticent by Jonquilladin: A Platinum Classlocke (Nuzlocke variation) with an interesting concept behind the reason why and how Trainers and Gijinkas fight together.
- Journey of Runaways by Kittiled: A Heart Gold/Soul Silver run, that still has to show how Trainer and Gijinka are connected.
The very first Nuzlocke comic I read was Mira’s Leaf Green Nuzlocke by xXDeath-N-HellXx. It is/was a great run, but it hasn’t been updated in three years, so I left it out of the list above.
I hope you enjoyed this little look into different Nuzlocke Challenge comics.
Have you ever tried the challenge or read any of the comics?
Do you know any other comics of the kind?
See you around
© For the picture lies with its creators. I merely used it as example of their work and hope that’s okay.