A few weeks ago, I started a Nuzlocke Challenge run of Pokémon Gold over on my Twitch channel, inspired by Daniel K’s Pokemon Blue Nuzlocke Challenge. For the unfamiliar, the Nuzlocke Challenge is a self-imposed rule set to make Pokémon games harder, with three main rules:
- In a normal Pokémon playthrough, when a member of your part is knocked out, you can either use an item to revive them right where you stand or heal them at the Pokecenter in the next town. In the Nuzlocke challenge, a Pokémon is considered dead if it is knocked out, and instead of being held gets released into the wild, symbolizing it’s funeral.
- You encounter a lot of wild Pokémon throughout these games, and you can normally catch as many as you like. With a Nuzlocke Challenge, you can only attempt to capture the very first Pokémon you encounter in each area of the map, and if you fail to capture them, you don’t get one for that area. I’ve modified this slightly, allowing myself to try for a second and third attempt if I only encounter Pokémon I’ve already caught, just to get some variety in my game.
- Each Pokémon that you capture must be given a nickname.
All together, these rules mean that you have a lot less Pokémon to use as you battle your way through the challenges set forth in the game, that you really build up a relationship with your individually named Pokémon, and that it then really, really hurts to see one of them die.
Which brings me to the unfortunate events of last night’s stream.
Since I’ve been playing this on Twitch, I’ve had members of my community helping out with naming my Pokéfriends as I go. The very first Pokémon I caught, a Rattata, was named “Boog Boog” by BadCandyGaming, a fellow streamer from the Pipe Dreamers community. Apparently frustrated that BadCandy hadn’t finished singing a George Michael song, another Piper, MidknightBlu, started trying to bribe me into taking out an assassination contract on Boog Boog by putting him up alone in a battle he’d have no hope of winning. I compromised and said I’d let anyone who subscribed demand that a particular Pokémon stay in the party (putting them at risk), but that it wouldn’t guarantee an untimely end.
As the night went on, Midknight really wanted to see BadCandy punished for his musical sleight, and we eventually got BadCandy to call into my stream via Discord so that he could perform the song live! It was magical and amazing and stupid and wonderful and that part of the audio has already been cut out of the VOD for copyright infringement, sadly.
And that settled it. BadCandy had made things right with a stirring musical performance, and the matter was settled.
And then came Bird Catcher Bryan and his goddamn Pigeotto.
Boog Boog died a tragic death.
We held a quiet, private ceremony in his honor.
We laid his body and spirit to rest, but his memory never will.
And then we killed two more Pokémon before the night ended.