Pokémon Moon Nuzlocke Challenge: Intro
July 12, 2017 • By Neal Chandran

I will shamelessly admit that I'm in my late 30s and I still LOVE Pokémon. The games are incredibly fun to play, the manga is enjoyable to read, and I've happily watched reruns of the Diamond and Pearl seasons of the anime on those rare occasions I had downtime (yes, I'm a Dawn fan, Donphan puns be damned). The original season 1 theme song ("I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was..."), brilliantly sung by Jason Paige, is my go-to song when I'm working out and is one of the songs I sing to get me up those steep hills when I'm bicycling. I feel like Pokémon is everybody's nostalgia these days, whether we're 13 or 31, and it fulfills that feeling of wonderment and discovery we had as children.

After reviewing Pokémon Sun and reflecting back on how much Pokémon and Hawaii have inspired my life since last year, it's only fitting to attempt a Nuzlocke Run of Pokémon Moon and write a playlog for the site. I'm all about trying something new, especially new spins on old favorites. The roads I travel in my car become completely different while on my bicycle. I notice things that I never noticed before, I discover hidden treasures, and a routine journey becomes an adventure. That's what I hope to get out of this Nuzlocke Run.

Pokemon Moon Nuzlocke Challenge - Alola Map

For those who are unaware, the Nuzlocke Challenge or Nuzlocke Run is a phenomenon that's taken the Pokémon world by storm. Basically, the Nuzlocke Challenge consists of two core self-imposed rules, with a slew of optional rules/clauses created by the community at large, meant to put a fresh spin on the Pokémon playing experience by increasing the challenge and improving the bond between players and their pokémon due to the higher stakes. The challenge was first created by a webcomic artist with the handle "Nuzlocke" back in 2010 (when he was in college) and has since burgeoned over the years into a cult phenomenon among Pokémon players. Check out his website with information on the challenge.

I have no idea how far I will even get. I may make it all the way to the Elite Four or I may crash and burn before my first Totem battle, but the journey should prove to be an interesting one, and you are all privy to this endeavor.

Pokemon Moon Nuzlocke Challenge - Starters

I will be following the two core Nuzlocke rules and a few optional rules as follows:

Core Rule 1) I can only capture the first pokémon I encounter in a new area. If it faints or flees, that's just too bad. (I also make the assumption that once I've captured a pokémon in that area, I can't capture there again, even if my original pokémon from that area dies in a future battle.)

Core Rule 2) If a pokémon faints in battle, it is considered dead and must be either released or put permanently in a PC box designated as a graveyard or cemetery box.

Unspoken Core Rule) I will nickname every pokémon I catch. (I'm quite looking forward to this)

Optional rules I'm using:

1) The starter pokémon I select will be based on my in-game Trainer ID number. If the last digit of that number is 1-3, I pick the grass starter. If the last digit is 4-6, I pick the fire starter. If the last digit is 7-9, I pick the water starter. If it's 0, I get to choose. And, obviously, I will not soft-reset to get a desired temperament for my starter. (As an aside, I plan to adopt this method for choosing starters in any future Pokémon games I play.)

2) I plan to use the "Duplication (Dupes) Clause" where if the first pokémon I encounter in a new area is one I have already caught (dead or alive) or part of a previously captured pokémon's evolutionary line, then I can catch the first one I encounter that's new to me.

3) I'm not allowed to use Mystery Gift, Giveaway, trade (including those given to me by an NPC in the game), event, etc. pokémon. Only pokémon I legitimately catch, and my starter, can be used. I generally don't use Legendaries anyway, so I don't plan to use Moon's (including Zygarde and the Ultra Beasts). In addition, I will be treating PokéPelago as "Pokémon Heaven," any wild pokémon who enter PokéPelago will be viewed as "gift pokémon" and released, because they weren't actively caught.

4) While I'm aware that the unwritten rule among the Nuzlocke community is that when the entire active party faints, the adventure is permanently over, I'd like to exercise the option that if I Game Over but still have alive/usable captured pokémon in my PC, that I can use those as my second string (after releasing/graveyard-ing the starting lineup ones that just fainted). Thus, my Nuzlocke adventure ends when I have no usable pokémon left: active or spare. To me, it's like sports. If my starting quarterback gets injured and is taken out of the game on a stretcher, then my second-string quarterback can fill in — I don't have to forfeit the game. Besides, in the original Pokémon: Hard Mode comic by Nuzlocke himself, he switched out pokémon from his PC when active party members died.

5) I plan to keep the Experience Share feature on because grinding for the Totem boss battles is no joke. That being said, I will turn it off if/when I feel like I'm getting too strong to catch wild pokémon.

6) Although I've never once encountered a Shiny, should I encounter one in my Nuzlocke Run and it's not my first new area encounter, I can still catch it but never use it.

Pokemon Moon Nuzlocke Challenge - Avatars

In the spirit of daring to be different, I will play using a male avatar. Anyone who knows me is aware that when given a choice, I always play RPGs as a female character, and Sun was no exception. In Sun, I played as a girl named Artemis, in honor of my Art3mis stage persona from when I used to play bass in the band Pool of Thorns. In this Nuzlocke Run of Moon, my avatar will be a boy named Lando. I chose this moniker because I dressed up as Lando Calrissian (from Star Wars) for Halloween last year and Free Comic Book Day this year. Because of this, several peers have nicknamed me Lando as a result. It's impossible to be as cool as Lando in the real world, but in the Pokémon world, I certainly can be.

I think that just about covers all the housekeeping details, and now it's on to Lando's adventures in Alola.

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