High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 3

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

This is chapter three of my Nuzlocke. If you missed the first chapter or want to be reminded of the rules, feel free to go back to that post. Or, if you missed chapter two, that post is right here. Hope you enjoy this piece!

Pokemon | Nintendo | Video Games | Gaming | Nuzlocke | Nuzlocke Challenge | Doublexjump.com

Chapter 3:

Current Team: Bond the Sobble, Piccolo the Blipbug, Ryder the Rookidee
Body Count: 0

It was bittersweet watching the landscape of Wedgehurst — with Postwick in the distance — blur as the train lurched out of the station. My stomach tumbled and I suddenly felt homesick despite just giving Mum a hug goodbye not ten minutes ago before leaving.

Hop nudged my foot under the table at our seats and I turned my attention from the window to him.

“This is going to be fantastic,” he said, his face in his Rotom phone. “We’ll conquer the gym challenge together, Kris. Galar will soon know who we are.”

“Oh, I’m part of this?” I teased. “I thought I was just helping to further your legend.”

He scoffed. “Of course you are,” he said, “which means you’re very important. You’ll be my closest rival, like how Raihan is to Leon!” He flipped his Rotom phone around so I could see the social media posts he was scrolling through.

Raihan was one of the gym leaders of the region. He was one of the strongest, in fact, and I remember Hop passing along stories that he heard from Leon about Raihan challenging Leon to a battle here and there. Vaguely, I wondered if it was due to those stories — of Raihan always calling himself Leon’s rival — that Hop was so adamant that we were rivals.

Hop chatted away, our conversation during the train ride easing my nerves about the upcoming gym challenge. It would be a great time, I was sure of it, but I was also constantly reminding myself that I was never too far away from home. I could go back anytime. Mum would be delighted to see me whenever I walked in the door.

…I really needed to get out more.

I gazed back out the train window as we slowed during a lull in the conversation, understanding that this would be the best thing for me. And I would be with my best friend, who…

…was no longer in his seat.

I glanced around. “Hop?”

“Kris, we stopped!” He was near the front of the traincar and, indeed, we had stopped. Puzzled, I noticed no buildings or anything out the window and hurried to catch up with Hop. He paused long enough for me to reach his side before he caught one of the conductors’ attention. “What’s going on?”

“Sorry, young man,” the conductor said, tipping his hat. “There’s a herd of Wooloo on the track, so we had to stop for them. We’re at the Wild Area now. If you wish to disembark, you can cross the Wild Area to Motostoke. Otherwise, our delay may be about an hour.”

I shrugged. “An hour’s not bad–”

“This is great!” Hop, in one breath, thanked the conductor, dragged me off the train and out of the station, and rambled about all the Pokemon we would encounter.

I gasped at the landscape before us. The rolling hills and the lakes nestled between them. The rows of trees on our left, a dark tower emerging from the horizon. The beginning of Motostoke across the way, far away enough that I seriously thought it may take a day or two to reach it from the Wild Area station.

Arceus, how did Leon get through this place when he took on the gym challenge? It could take weeks for a normal person to explore the entirety of the Wild Area. For someone missing his sense of direction, who knows how long it took him to get around the place?

Hop was ecstatic. “Imagine what kinds of team we can build!” he was saying. “Look at all of the Pokemon!”

“Look at that Onix!” I hid behind Hop, spying the giant rock monster casually slithering towards the trees on the left. It’d be able to eat my team and myself in one gulp. “Shouldn’t it be underground?”

Hop cleared his throat and shifted more so towards the right, taking me with him. “Heh, yeah, maybe we’ll go a different way to Motostoke…”

“Don’t bother it and it won’t bother you.” Sonia appeared behind us, twirling a strand of her hair around her fingers as she gazed at the Onix as well. “…Well, probably.”

“Probably?” I echoed weakly.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” Hop asked her, apparently already forgetting about the Onix.

Sonia sighed. “Gran saw how enthusiastic you two were to go on a journey and thought it’d be a great idea for me too.” In a rather impressive impression of the professor’s warbled voice, Sonia said, “‘Those two young trainers are setting off on a journey, but what are you doing with your life?’”

I winced. “Ouch.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Sonia said, waving away my sympathy. “Besides, I’m interested in that Pokemon you guys said you ran into in the Slumbering Weald, so it’s good timing. Maybe I’ll discover something new and exciting enough that’ll make Gran admit I have some talent!”

“Yikes,” Hop said. “Being an adult has got its own challenges, eh?”

Deadpanned, I said, “Hop, you’re making it sound like we’re ten-years-old or something…” He grinned and winked, and I rolled my eyes.

“I’m looking forward to being on the road again,” Sonia said. “It’ll be great to camp out and rough it. If you guys are going through the Wild Area, be careful. Some spots are prime areas for wild Pokemon to dynamax.”

“Alright, I’m off to beat as many of them as possible!” Hop darted away, going the opposite way of the Onix, I noticed. Before he was completely gone, he shouted back, “Meet you at Motostoke…!”

“What cheek!” Sonia gazed after him, hands on her hips. “He really should be careful, or at least think to dynamax his own Pokemon if he does encounter a wild one…”

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” I said. “Didn’t you know? We’re witnessing the beginning of a legend.”

She gave me a withering look but said nothing. We chatted a few more minutes and she showed me a couple of more tricks with my Rotom phone before we parted ways. She returned to the station for a bit of shopping and I made sure the Onix was far enough away before I ventured further into the rolling fields.

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Nuzlockes and Wonderlocks with Adventure Rules!

Pokemon | Nintendo | Nuzlocke | Challenge | Video Games | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

krismii
If you’ve been following along with our Twitch channel and our blog, you probably noticed that both Rachel and I are doing a couple of Nuzlocke runs with Pokemon Sword and Shield, respectively. We’re both enjoying our runs so far, and today we brought along a friend who has a couple of Nuzlocke runs up his sleeve as well. Please welcome Ian from Adventure Rules!

MiiIan
Thank you! I am really excited to be here (virtually, that is) chatting with the two of you, particularly about Pokemon. Even more particularly about Nuzlockes, because that’s the aspect of Pokemon that most draws me into the games these days. As soon as I finished Sword and Shield I was thinking about what it would be like to Nuzlocke the game, both from the perspective of how fun it would be but also any new game elements that might complicate the challenge. Were there any parts of it that you all were worried about or unsure about as you thought about Nuzlocking these games?

rachmii
We’re happy to have you here, Ian. I played through Shield first and I knew right away I wanted to do a Nuzlocke for Sword. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Nuzlocke (and actually followed through with it) so I figured now was the perfect opportunity to do so. As for rules, I looked up the general rules online and then checked to see how I could tweak them for the game. The Wild Area for one was a big concern. How exactly do you make that fit into a Nuzlocke?

krismii
Nuzlocking isn’t something we do normally, so I was excited for this new challenge. When trying to figure out the rules for our more basic Nuzlockes, the Wild Area rules did get modified a bit after I started my challenge. It’s actually stated on the first chapter of my Nuzlocke a few weeks ago. Originally I was going to have each section of Wild Area be a new “area” so to speak for a new capture, but seeing how vast the Wild Area is made me rethink it. Now, I allow myself one new capture from a new Wild Area zone after each gym badge. Ian, you’re not doing a regular Nuzlocke. Yours is a Wonderlocke (or Surpriselocke?), correct? How has that been working out? Do you like it better than the regular Nuzlocke rules?

MiiIan
It’s hard to say right off whether or not I prefer a standard Nuzlocke to a Wonderlocke – I think they offer different experiences. The classic Nuzlocke I would say is a bit harder, but if the aspect of Pokemon that is most exciting to you is meeting new Pokemon and having lots of variety for your team, then a Wonderlocke can have a bit more to offer. Particularly if you’ve already played the game recently, during a regular Nuzlocke you can find yourself ending up with a team that is pretty similar to what you’ve already used. I didn’t want to be using Corviknight, Inteleon, and Coalossal again, for example. But the Wonderlocke does come with some different challenges also.

rachmii
That’s true. Whenever I play a new Pokemon game I aim to have my team be all brand-new Pokemon. So, playing a Nuzlocke immediately after completing the main game some of my Pokemon are the same. I don’t mind though. I’ll need all the help I can get and it’ll be nice to know how certain Pokemon already work. I’d love to try a Wonderlocke for my next challenge though… what are some of the challenges you’re facing with that?

MiiIan
The biggest challenge is one I just ran in to my last play session. You know how there’s a limit – managed by your badges – to what level Pokemon you can capture in the wild area? Along with that limitation there is also a limit to what level your traded Pokemon can be when you level them up. So if you’re training a Pokemon that used to belong to someone else and it goes above a particular level, it will start to disobey you until you get the appropriate badge. Before you have any badges, that level is 20. But Milo’s ace is also level 20. So I trained my Pokemon to level 20 to be able to deal with Milo, but they hit 21 before I made it to the gym. Long story short, most of my team doesn’t obey my commands half the time now. So that’s definitely an issue unique to the Wonderlocke.

krismii
I honestly never even thought of the leveling aspect of traded Pokemon when you first mentioned you were doing a Wonderlocke! Considering I don’t do much trading — aside from when Rachel and I were trading to complete our Pokedexes in our original run-throughs of the games — I forgot about the accelerated growth rate of traded Pokemon. Are you worried about losing more Pokemon in a Wonderlocke than a regular Nuzlocke? For my regular Shield Nuzlocke, I’m finding that the heightened levels of the wild Pokemon, especially those in the Wild Area, to be dangerous when it comes to training my Pokemon. Trainers aren’t so bad, but wild Pokemon can get the best of my team. Rachel, are you finding any special challenges in your Nuzlocke, or any you’re anticipating?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Oh, that’s tough. It makes it all the more challenging though. You’re using similar rules as a Nuzlocke, right? If a member of your team faints, it dies? That must be frustrating when they don’t listen to you but interesting all the same. As for me, I’m not too far ahead in the game at the time of writing this post. So, as for right now, I’m not finding any special challenges. Unless you count me needing to pay attention more. There were a handful of times I forgot I was doing a Nuzlocke and derped around the routes while trying to level-grind.

MiiIan
Kris’s point about the wild Pokemon being higher leveled has absolutely affected my approach as well, particularly in the wild area. Where the area is broken into separate smaller “regions,” when you cross the line from one region to another the Pokemon levels can jump significantly. At one point I crossed a line where I went from facing level 12s at most to regularly facing level 15s, and I nearly had a loss there. To answer your question, Rachel, having a Pokemon faint does still mean a permanent loss for me, and so far I have had one. I switched a Deino into an ice type thinking the level difference was enough for her to survive the hit, and that turned out not to be true. Have you all dealt with any losses yet?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Ouch, that hurts. I think Sword and Shield upped the ante a bit this time around when it comes to the catch rate and even the damage. I find that when I’m a few levels higher than my opponent, it’s still tricky to get their health down. In past games, it was an automatic one-hit KO and it’s not like that anymore. This isn’t a bad thing, but when it comes to doing a nuzlocke, it really adds to the challenge. Luckily for me, I haven’t had to deal with any losses… yet.

krismii
I really enjoy that, even when my Pokemon are a few levels higher than wild Pokemon, it’s still a challenge to take down your opponents. Unfortunately, I have had a few losses, a couple that actually happened one right after another. Having to deal with the loss of a potentially awesome Pokemon teammate and then trying to level up another Pokemon to take their place can be troublesome. In a regular game, I always do my best to not allow any of my Pokemon to faint for friendship purposes — and because these guys are my teammates! — so I’m absolutely disheartened about these few losses already. I’m also doing my best to not heal during battles, but it’s not a hard rule for me so who knows if I will do so in a pinch, haha! When the Nuzlocke Challenge first became a thing in the world, the only two rules were to nickname your Pokemon for a stronger bond, and fainted Pokemon are to be considered dead. That was it. Since then, there have been tons of modifications, new versions of the challenge, and extra rules to make the challenge even more difficult. Considering that, are there any other personal rules that you guys have instigated in your challenges?

MiiIan
The most common optional rule I bring in is the Dupes Clause – if I get a Pokemon I already received in a trade and kept previously, I retrade it until I get something new. For me, all the fun of a Wonderlocke would be out the window if I just had six Charmander on my team. What excites me most is the variety of interesting Pokemon I could encounter and use, so having a rule that helps forward that purpose is valuable for me.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Having the Duplicate Clause in effect is a good idea. I too have that rule in my own Nuzlocke right now. Though, I’m sure it would be challenging enough to have an entire team of Galarian Zigzagoon. Maybe someday, but for now, we thank you for joining us on the blog today, Ian. Good luck with your Wonderlocke and I’m sure we’ll do this again soon.

MiiIan
Thanks for having me, it was a lot of fun making my first ever Double Jump cameo!

krismii
We’re so glad we were finally able to make this cameo happen! Thank you again for joining us. If you want to check out more of Ian’s work, give his blog Adventure Rules some love and you can also check him out on Twitter!

What kind of nuzlocke have you done in the past? What are your personal rules? Let us know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 2

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

This Friday, we are continuing my Pokemon Shield Nuzlocke, “High Hopes.” If you missed the first chapter or want to be reminded of the rules, feel free to go back to that post. Otherwise, hope you enjoy this piece!

Pokemon | Nintendo | Video Games | Pokemon Nuzlocke | Pokemon Shield | Doublexjump.com

Chapter 2:

Current Team: Bond the Sobble
Body Count: 0

My first experience with the overgrown grass in Route 1 was tripping over a Blipbug.

I decided to blame Hop. He had taken off down the route towards Wedgehurst, saying how we needed to meet the professor, and I was just trying to catch up. I was lucky I didn’t land on and squash the poor thing. Instead, it ran right into Bond, who was startled enough to Pound it with a tongue-lashing. Considering it was dazed, I tossed a pokeball and caught it.

“Well, what do you know,” I murmured to Bond as I picked up the Blipbug’s pokeball. “We got ourselves a new teammate.”

Said new teammate was dubbed Piccolo and — after reaching Wedgehurst, meeting the professor’s assistant and granddaughter Sonia, and receiving a Pokedex from her — was then almost eaten on Route 2 by a Rookidee.

At my shout, Bond leaped to Piccolo’s defense, soaking the offending Rookidee with a Water Gun. The Flying-type gave off a shrill scream before flapping up into the air, avoiding Bond, and diving at Piccolo again. On reflex, I chucked a pokeball at the bird, both the ball and the Pokemon colliding together.

As the pokeball stilled, signalling another capture, Bond, Piccolo, and I all took a collective deep breath.

“I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this,” I muttered, returning my Pokemon and picking up my new Rookidee’s pokeball. I backtracked to Wedgehurst, figuring that Hop and Leon could wait a bit longer for me. I wanted to get appropriate food for my Rookidee so he didn’t try to eat Piccolo again.

Heading back to Route 2, there were a few other beginning trainers that gave my team some experience, and it wasn’t until it was nearly sunset that Professor Magnolia’s house appeared on the horizon. Hop was there in front of the property, gazing towards the lake, but he gave me a grin when he spotted me finally showing up.

“‘Bout time,” he said. “I thought you got lost, but I figured if Leon could figure out how to here, then you’d be just fine.”

“It’s a straight way from Wedgehurst to here,” Leon said dryly, catching Hop’s words as the pair of us caught up to the champion by the professor’s door. Leon ruffled his brother’s hair, adding, “I’m not that bad.”

“He kinda is,” Hop whispered to me as we followed Leon into the house, and I stifled my chuckles as we were introduced to Professor Magnolia.

She was a nice old lady, talking about the wishing pieces and dynaxing Pokemon, and spoke up for Hop and me when Leon seemed hesitant about endorsing us. To be fair, I was as hesitant as Leon, but before I could blink, it was decided that Hop and I would battle to see if we were worthy of the champion’s endorsement. As Hop and I got into position on the makeshift battle arena outside of Professor Magnolia’s house, I wondered if Hop would hate me if I told him that I really wouldn’t mind if Leon didn’t endorse us for the Galar Gym Challenge.

I mean, sure, it would probably be a good time. Growing stronger with my Pokemon wouldn’t be a waste and it would be a good excuse to go off and explore the region more thoroughly. Yet, unlike Hop, I didn’t feel that pull to become the next greatest trainer in the region.

I’ll play the role of rival in The Legend of Hop and support him as well as I could, but if Leon could only endorse one of us after our battle, I wouldn’t be heartbroken if it was Hop.

“C’mon, Kris!” Hop was stretching from the opposite side of the makeshift battle pitch, his grin infectious. “Come at me with everything you got!”

“Alright, alright,” I said, making a show of brushing off imaginary lint from my shirt and giving my friend a crooked smile at his excitement. Glancing over at Leon, I saw Professor Magnolia join him on the sidelines, the older woman interested in seeing how well Hop and I battled. 

Leon said, “Listen up, you two,” and gave us a pep talk about always learning from every battle. I mulled over the few battles I’ve had with other trainers on the route when heading towards Professor Magnolia’s house, trying to figure out if there was anything I learned aside from paranoia whenever my Pokemon took a little too hard of a hit. Leon snagged my attention again as he added, “So show me something good in this battle!”

“You got it!” Hop wasted no more time as he tossed out his first Pokemon. Predictably, his Wooloo bleated as it emerged and shook itself.

I knew his Wooloo. It was gentle and sometimes showed a little more common sense than its trainer. Taking a deep breath, I called out my own Pokemon.

Piccolo blinked her big eyes as she stared at the Wooloo before her. My Blipbug didn’t seem too surprised, probably from having seen plenty of wild Wooloo on Route 1. What Piccolo was surprised about, apparently, was me commanding, “Struggle Bug.”

Whether she was surprised I was reminding her of the only move she knew or just to attack in general, I wasn’t sure. Being tiny meant that Piccolo hadn’t spent too much time helping Bond and Ryder the Rookidee battle the few other trainers on Route 2.

Unfortunately, her pause meant that Wooloo, who had no such problems with listening to Hop and attacking, barrelled into Piccolo with a Tackle.

Oh, shit.

Piccolo flipped backwards with a somersault as Wooloo rolled right on over her and back to position in front of Hop. She gave a delighted bleat as I debated on whether to return Piccolo already. My Blipbug, however, shook off the Tackle and charged as fast as her species could — which, really, wasn’t wasn’t that fast — at her opponent. Wooloo stared at Piccolo as she went closer.

Hop didn’t waste time in commanding a second Tackle, and I preemptively winced. Wooloo, again, ran over Piccolo, but Piccolo hung on to Wooloo this time around.

Wooloo tried shaking itself to dislodge Piccolo, but Piccolo nearly buried herself in Wooloo’s thick wool, biting as she used Struggle Bug on her opponent. In a desperate move to get Piccolo off, Wooloo rolled right into the stone wall surrounding Professor Magnolia’s property, knocking itself out.

“Great try, Wooloo,” Hop said, returning his Pokemon. Piccolo stumbled back towards me as I congratulated her. Immediately, I returned her when Hop tossed out a Rookidee.

“Ryder!” My own Rookidee exploded from his pokeball, eager to battle again, and dove at Hop’s Rookidee with a Peck attack.

The two birds traded Peck attacks a couple of times until Ryder broke off and honed his claws against the professor’s stone wall. Hop’s Rookidee chased it, getting another hit in, but Ryder’s sharper claws snagged it so Ryder could get one more good Peck in.

“Ryder, enough!” I called my Pokemon back as Hop called his to return. Together, Hop and I sent out our starters to face off once again.

Scorbunny set the battlefield on fire with an Ember and Bond nearly panicked. He leaped onto one of the nearby trees, using Water Gun to put out the few flames that Scorbunny kept kicking up.

“Aim for the rabbit!” I said, ducking from one such wayward Water Gun.

Bond got the hint and directed his next attack at Scorbunny. Scorbunny’s ears flopped with the water and it shivered before Hop commanded it to Tackle my Sobble. Scorbunny dashed up the tree, its feet connecting with Bond enough to make both of them tumble back to the ground. Bond got up first, using his tongue to Pound the Scorbunny even further into the field before his Water Gun met Scorbunny’s next Ember attack.

Another Tackle to Bond, another Pound to Scorbunny, an Ember, and one last Water Gun revealed Bond — and me — as the victor.

“Heh…” Hop returned his Scorbunny, giving me a lopsided smile. “I’d expect nothing less from my rival.”

“It was a good battle,” I said, hoping that I could avoid every other wild Pokemon and trainer on Route 2 to get back to the Pokemon Center.

“Well.” Leon came up to the pair of us, pausing only to stomp on one last little ember on the battlefield to snuff it out. “After seeing a battle like that, I’ve little choice but to give you both an endorsement as Champion.”

“YES! Thanks, Lee!” Hop cheered, and I thanked Leon as well, before Hop turned to me. “Alright, Kris! You and me are going to train up against one another to aim for that Champion’s title!”

I paused, but Hop’s enthusiasm was contagious. I couldn’t let him down.

I returned his grin. “Absolutely.”

Who knows? Maybe becoming Champion wouldn’t be such a bad goal after all.

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High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Rules & Chapter 1

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

If you didn’t get a chance to see it, Rachel started streaming a Pokemon Sword Nuzlocke over on our Twitch channel. While you can watch hers live or on a VOD, I’m joining the challenge with a Shield Nuzlocke of my own in fanfiction format. I hope you enjoy it!

Pokemon | Pokemon Nuzlocke | Nintendo | Pokemon Shield | Video Games | Fanfiction | Doublexjump.com

Shield Nuzlocke Rules:

  • Fainted Pokemon are considered “dead” and must be released.
  • Nickname all Pokemon to form deeper bonds.
  • Only the first randomly encountered Pokemon may be caught.
    • Duplicate clause: if random encounter is a Pokemon species that was already caught, you may try again with the second random encounter.
    • In areas with no random encounters, first wild Pokemon fight counts.
  • After the initial trip and first random encounter through the Wild Area, one new Pokemon may be caught in a new zone after each gym badge collected.
    • This was amended from a previous rule being that only 3 Wild Area Pokemon could be caught before Motostoke and before Hammerlocke; since 3 Pokemon were initially caught, the new rule will be instigated after the 4th badge is earned.

Chapter 1:

Current Team: Bond the Sobble
Body Count: 0

“Hop, this was a terrible idea.”

“Pretty sure this was your idea, mate.”

“Was not.” I huffed, squinting my eyes as if that would help me see better in the thickening fog.  “You would have gone straight into the Slumbering Weald after the Wooloo no matter what I said, and you know it.”

“Come off it,” Hop’s voice said from somewhere in front of me on the overgrown path, his outline just barely visible. “There was no hesitation from you when I asked what we should do when we saw the broken fence.”

I glared in Hop’s general direction. The Slumbering Weald had always been off limits for us. I thought it was just due to the wild Pokemon in the area, but if it was always foggy like this… Well, point taken, Mum.

“Bond, where are you?” I paused and glanced down at my feet just as my new Sobble smacked into the back of my leg. He placed a little hand on my calf, his few digits trembling despite the physical reassurance of my presence. I scooped him up and he heaved out a sigh.

“This is mad. I can’t even see my own hand in front of my face!”

“And I can’t see you,” I said in response to Hop’s voice, quashing down my own panic. Bond whined in my arms, and I tried to be brave for both of us. “Hop, come back!”

“Kris, I’m right here.”

“You are not,” I said, reaching forward blindly with my free hand. “We should have asked Leon to go and save the Wooloo…His Charizard would have been able to blow away this fog or something…” My hand collided with denim and I snatched it. “Please tell me this is you, Hop.”

“As long as you tell me that it’s you gripping my sleeve,” my friend said. His own hand reached out from the fog and nearly smacked Bond in the face. I grabbed Hop’s hand before he could.

“Let’s stay together,” I said.

“Yeah, sorry about going a little too far ahead,” Hop said as we walked together. “I’m just worried about the Wooloo. Can you imagine if we had sent Leon in here? With his sense of direction, he’d end up in Unova or something–”

A gust blew and with it came an eerie howl. My Sobble hiccuped in my arms as Hop and I stepped closer together. The howl washed over us, seemingly coming from every direction, until the fog opened up before us.

Stepping forward was a canine-like creature, crimson and blue fur standing out amid the silver fog. I had to crane my neck up to see its golden gaze scrutinizing us.

“Is that… Is that a Pokemon?” Hop asked, the pair of us trying to walk backwards before he tripped over my foot. He tumbled to the ground, me being yanked down with him, and Bond fell out of my arms.

The creature howled again, the sound vibrating through the air. Despite his shivering, Bond shot a blast of Water Gun at it. The attack only reached the creature’s ankles, if it had hit…

“It has no effect…” Cold dread sat in my stomach at the realization and I reached forward for my Pokemon. I just got my Sobble maybe half an hour ago, and I had no interest in it getting hurt by some ghost canine thing! We’d have to try to run.

The creature’s gaze was fixated on us, even as Bond tried a second Water Gun. I grabbed onto my Sobble as the creature howled again, its voice thickening the fog. Hop’s hand scrabbled for my sleeve.

“I can’t see anything,” he said, his shout wavering with panic. My head grew fuzzy as I tried to turn to him, but I couldn’t even respond when he asked, “Kris, are you ok? Kris…?”

The fog swallowed us.


“…ris…”

“…Kris…?”

“Kris, wake up…”

A groan reached my ears and I belatedly realized that the sound was from me. Something was shaking me by the shoulders and I lashed out.

“Ow!”

I blinked rapidly, trying to figure out where I was, only to see Leon in front of me rubbing his nose. Bond appeared in my view, my Sobble’s eyes wide and shiny with unshed tears.

“Uh… sorry?” I sat up gingerly, keenly aware that I probably punched the Champion in the nose. I reached over with one hand to rub the top of Bond’s head while the other held my own temple. “Did I just hit you?”

“Yeah,” Leon said, sitting back to give me more space. With a crooked smile, he added, “Think I was more startled than hurt. I’m glad you’re awake. You both seem to be okay.”

I glanced over to Leon’s other side, seeing Hop sitting there looking just as groggy as I felt. Just beyond Hop was Leon’s Charizard, its wings flared out protectively with the little Wooloo settled next to it, looking none the worse for wear. There was no fog competing with the shadows and flickering patches of sunlight peering down from the treetops.

“How’d you even get here, Lee?” Hop asked. “You’re pants with directions.”

“Gee, thanks,” was Leon’s deadpanned response. “I came looking for you two when you didn’t show to go to Wedgehurst. Let’s get out of here. You’ll be okay now that Charizard and I are with you.”

“Thanks, Leon.” I stood up, my legs only slightly wobbly but more than willing to leave the Slumbering Weald behind. I returned Bond to his pokeball, sure that my Sobble was more than spooked as well, and followed Leon and Hop out of the forest.

I only half listened as Hop told Leon about the creature we had encountered. Leon wondered if the rumors of the powerful Pokemon in the area was merely an illusion since Bond’s attacks went right through it. I bit my tongue to stop myself from arguing.

That Pokemon was no mere illusion.

“Hey, Kris.” Hop turned back to me with his usual grin as we reached Postwick again, the shadows of Slumbering Weald gone. “Don’t forget to tell your mum that we’re leaving for Wedgehurst. She’ll go spare if you leave without a word.”

“Don’t have to tell me that,” I said, already wondering how Mum would be just hearing that I stepped foot into the Slumbering Weald. “See you by Route 1.”

Mum’s heavy frown met me as soon as I walked into the house.

“Leon told me what was going on,” Mum said as a greeting. “I’m glad someone bothered to tell me! He mentioned how Hop and you were supposed to meet him to go to Wedgehurst and, instead, found the gate to the Slumbering Weald open.”

I took a deep breath and relayed what happened to Mum. “Hop and I have our own Pokemon now, more than just his Wooloo,” I reminded her. “We didn’t think it’d be that dangerous.”

“Kris, your Sobble is a sweetheart, but young,” Mum said, pinching the bridge of her nose as she tried to remain calm. “You both could have been seriously hurt.”

“…Yes, we can,” I said, my hand reaching to my belt where Bond’s pokeball was clasped. “Should we even go to Wedgehurst?” Bond and I could totally stay home with Mum. I’m sure he would like growing up amid Mum’s Budew.

Mum said nothing for a moment before I felt her hands cup my chin and make me look up at her. Her smile was small, but her eyes shone.

“Yes, you should,” she said after a moment. “Go out and see the world. You will make mistakes. You may get hurt. Your Pokemon, your friends may get hurt. It can be dangerous out there, but you’ll find plenty of opportunities and reasons to call the world beautiful.”

I took a deep breath and nodded. “Alright… Thanks, Mum.”

She kissed my forehead before shoving a small purse into my hand. “Here’s some pocket change and some pokeballs for Galar’s newest trainer. Go out there and follow your dreams.”

And Mum looked so excited, so proud of me that I could only think to say, “I will, Mum,” before giving her a hug and heading out the door.

I guess figuring out my dream would be my first goal of this journey.

Have you completed a Nuzlocke challenge? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Challenges

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

Did everyone see the newest Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee! trailer? We’re super excited for these games! Honestly, we tend to get excited for most Pokemon games. The core series are some of our favorite games, but we’re always interested in switching up our playthroughs rather than the standard “become the very best” story lines. Here is a list of some of the challenges we like to do.

frifavespkmnchallenge

Nuzlocke

The Nuzlocke Challenges is a classic. The two most important rules are to only catch the first Pokemon you encounter in an area and to release any Pokemon that faints, for once it faints it is considered dead. A little morbid, perhaps, but it makes you think more about your choices. The next most popular rule is to nickname your Pokemon to help develop a stronger bond. The stronger your bond, the more it will hurt when your Pokemon dies.

One Pokemon Run

A one Pokemon run is exactly how it sounds. Pick a Pokemon and use only that Pokemon in battle. It will be a little difficult in the beginning, with the need to grind and obvious type differences, but it certainly is fun to demolish your opponents later in the game with your inevitably-overleveled Pokemon!

Type Specialist

Like many of the NPCs, this challenge is to focus on using just a type or two for your main team. With over a dozen different types Pokemon can be, there are plenty of combinations for different runs.

Color Run

A color run is when you plan your team of Pokemon around a color. Pokemon are categorized by color on Bulbapedia, and think of how pretty your team will look when they’re all coordinated by color!

Do you have a favorite Pokemon challenge?

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Pokemon Nuzlockes

Double Jump Kris MiiWhen Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are released later this year, there will be nearly 30 core Pokemon games. While these games grant the player the ability to explore an entire region with whatever Pokemon teams they can imagine, sometimes the usual “defeat-the-bad-guys-and-become-the-champion” plot line can get a bit old. To alleviate that, there are some challenges out there and one of the most famous is the Nuzlocke Challenge.

 

The Nuzlocke Challenge was created only about seven years ago by a college student whose finals weren’t difficult enough to warrant the need for him to study. He restarted his Pokemon Ruby game and, to make things a little more challenging, gave himself two rules for his new run:

  1. Only the first Pokemon encountered in an area can be caught.
  2. If the Pokemon faints, it is considered dead and must be released or boxed for the remainder of the run.

By using these two rules, players not only end up caring even more for their Pokemon — since every hit could be their last — but it also forces players to use Pokemon that they normally would overlook. Plenty of other optional rules have been added to the players’ liking, such as nicknaming the Pokemon to increase affection for them, never using healing items, never using Pokemon Centers, duplicate clauses, and plenty more.

The original Nuzlocke challenger ended up drawing simple comics to document his adventures, and it’s become something of a phenomenon. There have been plenty of Nuzlocke comics that I’ve followed in the past, especially ones where the artists delve even deeper into the stories of the games to create fantastic plots. It’s also such a joy to watch the artist’s skills evolve (pun totally intended) the longer the comic goes on.

Some of my favorite Nuzlocke comics include:

What do you think of Nuzlockes? Have you ever done a Nuzlocke run on your Pokemon games?

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Level Up & Grinding

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

In the world of video games, grinding is defined as the process of engaging in repetitive tasks, usually defeating basic enemies to earn experience points and level up faster. What are your thoughts on grinding?

The game that I’ve been recently playing is Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. For those who may not know, Fates is the latest installment in the Fire Emblem franchise, a fantasy strategy series that enables the players to take control of an army. The classic mode of these games boasts permadeath — when a character dies in battle, he or she will not respawn.

In the recent Fire Emblem games — Fates and its predecessor Awakening — the casual mode was introduced, which enabled characters to come back to life after a battle. Many longtime fans have argued that it wasn’t a true Fire Emblem option, but for someone like me who can become so invested in the characters’ stories and supports, it’s a nice game mode. With that said, I’m not above grinding to be sure that my characters have high enough levels when it comes to the actual story game play.

Between Birthright and Conquest, Birthright is the simpler of the pair and is made for more beginner players. It allows grinding, while I heard that Conquest does not. With the game play and all the support conversations, grinding is a typical past time for a player like me. I’m the type to try to keep every character around the same levels, give everyone an equal opportunity, and Conquest may not allow me that.

While I’m looking forward to Conquest, especially in regards to the story, the lack of grinding will give me the challenge of picking and choosing the best soldiers for my army. It’s similar to Pokemon. Everyone grinds to level up their Pokemon for gym battles and the like, especially in Nuzlocke challenges. However, does grinding negate the challenge?

What do you all think? Does grinding help in a game? Or do you prefer to fly through the story, to take on whatever challenges you can without worrying about leveling up?