SoulSilver Nuzlocke Chapter 1: She wants to dance like Uma Thurman bury me till I confess

I’ve said so before, but until Pokemon Go I had never played a single Pokemon game. I was gifted a used 3DS and played for the first time on Pokemon Sun, which as many of you know has a good quality of life interface and is generally pretty easy. No need to remember type matchups when the game will literally just tell you.

I mean, it is a game designed for children, but that’s not the point.

Because I like my games a touch trickier and darker, especially turn based ones, I thought I would give the Nuzlocke challenge a go. The rules of my Nuzlocke challenge are as follows:

  • You may only catch one pokemon per route or area.
    1. Static pokemon, such as Shiny Gyrados or Legendaries are excluded (MERCY RULE)
    2. Shiny pokemon are excluded (MERCY RULE)
    3. Starter pokemon is based on trainer ID number- if the last two digits are 00-33 it will be a fire type, if it is 34-66 it will be a grass type, if it is 67-99 it will be a water type.
    4. One pokemon may be kept from in Safari zone, BUT I may choose which to keep, the rest shall be unkeepable types and will be in the box of fainted pokemon (MERCY)
  • All pokemon must be nicknamed.
  • No duplicates: If you catch a duplicate, you may catch another pokemon on that route or area.
  • If a pokemon faints, it is considered dead and must be permanently boxed.
    1. If a wild pokemon faints, and it was eligible to be caught, no pokemon may be caught in that area.
  • Rules do not begin until pokeballs are obtained.

Because it is my first real attempt at a Nuzlocke challenge, I’m keeping some mercy rules. I decided to go with Pokemon SoulSilver, since it has a fairly small pokedex and is said to be more forgiving than some of the other titles. I did actually make an attempt on HeartGold, but didn’t track it very well and allowed for more mercy after I got wrecked in the Blackthorn Gym. The HeartGold file remains for me as a sort of trial run, but only my SoulSilver run will be tracked. Fair warning, I did remember to get my screenshots in HeartGols so if you see the wrong colours or a loose Totodile from the other run, don’t fret.

Without futrher ado:

woman are you ready

The game starts us in our home of New Bark Town. Because my trainer ID is 10229, I picked up a Cyndaquil who I named Uma. Yes I was listening to a Fall Out Boy track when it came time to name my first pokemon, but I’m pleased with it. Uma Thurman always plays someone fierce, and that is exactly how my Cyndaquil is. Like her character in Kill Bill. Or should I say…

cyndaquil bill
CYNDAQUIL BILL

Let the record how I neither regret that pun nor my terrible MS Paint drawing. I even did the katana and everything.

treat them with utmost kindness

But anyway, Uma and I set off on our adventure to Mr. Pokemon’s house and then back to town for the pre-storyline shenanigans. Once I returned I reported that my rival had been up to no good and received some pokeballs to start my quest. Along the way I received some wisdom from an NPC. Treat all pokemon with utmost kindness. That’s pretty much the point of a Nuzlocke. Death is permanent. I’m not about to go making lateral comparisons between pokemon and real life, but my Cyndaquil is to be my partner. I will treat her and all my other pokemon well, and not let them be used as punching bags. I do not want them to sacrifice themselves for my safety.

 

Now’s where the game begins. I caught a pidgey along route 29 who I named Felicity, and then quickly jumped into route 46 to grab my pokemon for that route: a spearow named Colin. I’m super excited, because these pokemon are actually pretty good to have for the first few gyms and in Soul Silver you can get Fly pretty early on (compared to other games).

But then I did something stupid and lost Colin to a crit from a ratatta on Route 30. It’s a pretty cruel reminder that in nuzlockes you have to be SUPER CAREFUL. Pay more attention. Don’t disappoint that NPC. I put Colin in a graveyard box and continued playing. Before anything interesting happened, I caught a weedle on Route 30, a hoot hoot on Route 31, and a bellsprout on Route 32. So Baxter, Axel, and Ridley came along with me to train before taking on Sprout Tower in Violet City. In Sprout Tower I added a gastly named Cobain to my party.

For simplicity’s sake, I put Axel the hoot hoot into a box for safe keeping. This game is dangerous and I do not want to make a mistake and lose Felicity, but I also have to be prepared in case that does happen.

violet city party
My Violet City Gym Party

After some grinding everyone to around level 10 and running into my Rival, I took on the Violet City Flying Gym. It was pretty straightforward: Cobain, Uma, Felicity, Baxter, and Ridley took on the weak flying types with no problems whatsoever. I mean, I didn’t even use all of them. Ridley (bellsprout) would have been useless against flying types, and there’s no way I’m going to send in Baxter (kakuna) to harden indefinitely.

Overall, not a bad start. Next stop: Azalea town.

 

 

 

My love affair with Pokemon Go

 

As someone who grew up in the heyday of Pokemon, I hadn’t played any Pokemon games until Pokemon Go took the world by storm in the summer 2016. That’s right, despite being the prime age for cartoons when the Pokemon anime was debuting, or being surrounded by highschooler friends who would rather trade across their Black and White games than get up to trouble, I had never touched a Pokemon game. I had a DS Lite and everything, I thought I had avoided the fad entirely.

Fast forward to Pokemon Go, I was initially reluctant to even download it. I knew zippo about Pokemon, other than that I could spam my down special as Pikachu to annoy everyone I played Super Smash Brothers with. But when the PoGo release hit Canada, I had no choice but to download it- everyone else was playing it, and it’s not like I had to shell out money for a game cartridge. And then I was instantly hooked. I had the opportunity to discover the Pokemon world for the first time the way it was intended: outside, on my feet, surrounded by friends and friendly trainers.

Following the initial download, my partner and I took to the local park where a small summer fair was taking place. I already expected it to be packed- it’s not every day that it’s actually nice to be outside in Southern Ontario, but this wasn’t the same bustle surrounding the fair in years prior. Since there were Pokestops everywhere in the park, everyone was out and on their phones trying to hit them all. I ran into several friends all out and about, living their childhood fantasies of becoming trainers.

At first I didn’t get it. You walk around, you swipe your finger, you get the cute little monster. I caught my starter (a Squirtle!) a few Pidgeys and Zubats and Gastly.  It was the same stuff everywhere. Until, I saw something different. “What kind of Pokemon is that?” I asked, “And why is everyone storming over there to get it?” It was a Golduck. It looked cool, so my partner and I went to go catch it. He missed, I didn’t. Apparantly that was an evolved pokemon, so I just saved myself a lot of luck by getting it right away instead of collecting 16 or so Psyducks for candy. Awesome!squirtle

And that’s when my competitive side came out. It was a race to catch every type. Suddenly, I was very interested in this. Gotta be the very best. Gotta catch ’em all. From then on I was in the park every night, sometimes with my own friends, sometimes meeting people from the community. It wasn’t just college students like my group, there were families with children, adults of all ages, and even some senior citizens camping out on benches near gyms. I used to avoid talking to strangers at all costs; it’s not safe to go out alone at night, you never know what the other person’s intentions are. Yet with the glowing screens and clusters around Pokestops, that fear was minimized. They’re here to catch the Gengar and swap notes with the trainers doing rounds of the park! There may or may not be footage on an acquaintance’s phone of me in the middle of the park crying that I missed the Lapras. Very few onlookers judged me for that, it was pretty reasonable on Day 4. I eventually caught a Lapras on Day 6.

lapras
Smug little bastard…

Up until that point, I had been pretty indoorsy that summer. Outside was humid and buggy, and inside was air-conditioned and you didn’t need sunblock or bug spray. My coworkers and I would stay inside for breaks and lunch, and after work we would hang out at someone’s house. No longer. We would walk across town to the park, or go on a drive and discover hard to attack gyms (while hatching some 10k eggs, of course). It was one of the most social summers I had ever had. Maybe outside wasn’t so bad.

Fast forward almost 2 years. The game has evolved (no pun intended) from its initial release. There are now three generations of pokemon, quests, an improved gym system, and even legendaries. Raids have added a welcome refreshment of the social element, which has admittedly waned since the initial hype. Yet, I still see people of all ages coming together at libraries and other popular gym localities to get the most out of raid passes and lure modules. I’m also quite pleased at the weather update helping refresh the Pokemon that are naturally around so it’s not 90% Pidgeys, as well as some of the focus events helping players catch and evolve specific types. I’m still not quite done the Kanto pokedex (curse you, Alakazam!), but overall the game still has enough to keep me going.

The game certainly isn’t perfect. It still crashes some times, drains too much battery to make walking eggs efficient without a Go Plus, and still thinks I’m going to fast when I walk through a part of town with too many wifi locations to pinpoint where I am. But all in all, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I want to thank Niantic for giving me a great summer, an intro to the world of Pokemon, and most importantly, a sense of wonder and drive to explore.