Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Nuzlocke Challenge, Day 1

Pokémon Black Version 2 arrived in the mail last week. I have never been the biggest Pokémon fan. In fact I have called out the series for being unethical and an agonizingly slow monstrosity that never evolves (get it?). Yet there is a joy to building a team of warriors and friends, something special and worthy of praise. With some optional rules, maybe I could enhance the positive feelings I have toward the game, even if it means creating a more difficult experience. So I made my choice: I would embark on the Nuzlocke Challenge.

Basic Nuzlocke Challenge rules via Bulbapedia

The rules to the Nuzlocke Challenge are simple:
1) If your pokémon faints, it is dead. You must release it from your inventory.
2) You may only catch the first pokémon you encounter in an area. If you fail to catch it, so be it.
3) You must nickname all your pokémon to form a stronger bond with them.

 My mother asked me if I wanted to catch and train pokémon. "No," I said. She asks again, so I reluctantly respond yes. I have decided to play the role of an angsty teenager. I begrudgingly agree to carry a pokedex around with me and briefly consider naming my starter pokémon, Tepig, something insulting, like "porky" or "bacon". I go with Sam instead.

Those bushes are far more foreboding when playing "permadeath Pokémon". Who knows what monstrosity I'll encounter in the tall grass? Maybe it could kill my Tepig in one blow and put a quick end to my adventure! The first pokémon I find and capture is a Patrat. Dammit. It had to be a lame rodent. I name it Rudy. The second pokémon I capture is another Patrat. I name this one Patty. OK, not going well so far. I'm stuck with two over-sized squirrels and a pig.

After a few battles, I have already picked my favorite. Patty can carry her own after all. Rudy, on the other hand, is my third-stringer. Entering the fourth area, I can't wait to replace him with someone more powerful. Then in walks Azurill, a water-type pokémon whose absolute uselessness shows in that terrible frown on its face. Still, who knows, maybe Azurill evolves into something amazing. I decide to name him Bebop and slowly work on leveling him up, Bubble Beam after Bubble Beam.

Sam (Tepig), Rudy and Patty (Patrat), Bebop (Azurill), Maggie (Magnemite)

I find my next true warrior in a Magnemite I appropriately name Maggie. This is my star, someone who can hold their own against the next gym leader. I play smart, leveling up in the bushes, working on my game before facing the next big challenge. Even Bebop is still seeing some action. And then it happens. I leave Bebop in battle when I know I should have pulled him out. An enemy Magnemite fires at him with an electric attack, frying him and his weird blue sack sack with a powerful jolt of energy. In one hit, Bebop has fallen.

 I never wanted you Bebop. But I'm sorry I let you die. I led the weak to war and you paid the ultimate price. Now only four remain. It's time to take this seriously.

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