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The Nuzlocke Challenge is an increased difficulty run of any Pokémon game. Originating from comics posted on 4chan's /v/ board by Nuzlocke (also known as Ruby), since its inception it has become a popular trend and has been attempted by thousands of other players.
The challenge (original known as Pokémon Ruby: Hard-Mode) was started in the winter of 2010 by Ruby/Nuzlocke who created a new save file on a old copy of Pokémon Ruby to pass the time. As he played the game, he realized that they had become boring and repetitive; so he created two rules that he would follow to make the game harder:
- He could only capture the first Pokémon he encountered in each new area.
- If a Pokémon fainted he would consider it dead and release it.
Instead of just increasing the difficulty, the rules caused him to care for his Pokémon more than before. It allowed him to appreciate new Pokémon he might have never used and it made him care for his team.
Wanting to share his experience with others, he drew some comics of his adventure and posted them on the 4chan /v/ board, where they were met with surprising approval, especially towards the Nuzleaf that used the face of John Locke from Lost; giving the challenge its name, the Nuzlocke Challenge (a combination of Nuzleaf and Locke).
After the success of Pokémon Ruby: Hard-Mode, countless other people attempted their own Nuzlocke challenge, some posting it in comic form or on video form and it has become a popular challenge in the Pokémon community.
The Nuzlocke Challenge started off with two basic rules: the player character may only catch the first Pokémon on each route, and if a Pokémon faints, it is dead and it has to be released or stored it in the PC.
Additional rules have been added by fans once the challenge picked up a following, this is a list of some of those "un-official" rules:
- Limiting the use of the Poké Marts and other stores within the game, or not using them at all.
- Limiting the use of the Pokémon Centers, or not using them at all.
- Limiting/preventing the use of items, or sometimes just healing items.
- Limiting the amount of Poké Balls the player character is given. Sometimes, the player character can only use the first five he or she is given.
- Dupes Clause: If the first Pokémon that has appeared one that the player character has already caught, the player character can find a new Pokémon in that Route.
- Nicknaming Pokémon to form a deeper bond with them.
- Limiting what Pokémon can or can't be caught and used. Legendary Pokémon and Starter Pokémon are mostly affected by this.
- Limiting the Pokémon that can only be caught in that Generation.
- Randomizer Nuzlocke Challenge: Each Pokémon on each Route is random.
- In any Nuzlocke challenge, one must follow the original two rules (one can choose wether or not to use any additional rules).
- Nuzlocke/Ruby has gone on to create two other Nuzlocke comics once his Ruby series ended, Pokémon FireRed and White.