Know Your Meme Interviews Nuzlocke

nuzlocke's portraitKnowYourMeme’s AJ Mazur posted an interview with internet sensation Nuzlocke on last night.  Nuzlocke, a UC Santa Cruz student, has become noteworthy especially among pokemon fans for revitalizing the games by adding an additional challenge.  The history behind his popular strategy and webcomic is quite humorous.  Concocted one day out of boredom, his challenge requires players of the game to follow these rules:

1. Any pokemon that faints is considered dead and must be released.
2. The player must only catch the first pokemon in each area and none else. If the first pokemon encountered faints or flees, there are no second chances.
3. If all your pokemon faint, it’s over. Start a new game.
*As a personal requirement, Nuzlocke nicknames each of his caught pokemon*

What caused this challenge to become so popular was the way in which Nuzlocke transcribed his own experience…. Zigzaggoon is gone

Beginning through rough stick figure sketches in comic panels, Nuzlocke detailed a sweeping epic sharing every painful loss and joyous victory.  Rather than just telling a simple gaming experience, he intertwined his love and appreciation for ABC’s LOST, naming many of his pokemon after popular characters from the show.  His name is actually a portmanteau of Nuzleaf (pokemon) and John Locke.

Nuzleaf falls

The now-famous passing of Nuzleaf (aka Nuzlocke)

Nuzlocke transcribes famous LOST scene


The interview’s really great because you see how modest and cool this guy really is.  He’s just another internet geek/pokemon fan/art nerd who wanted to share his story.  As to why he thinks the challenge has become so successful, he attributes his unintimidating art style, the nostalgia factor, and that, “It adds risk and randomness to a series that can get repetitive and stale, and you always cherish things more when there’s a chance you could lose them.”  The amount of fan adaptions is staggering.  Fortunately, most of them have posted their runs, usually in the same comic format, on his site.

I’ve tried a Nuzlocke myself and failed miserably.  Though, what it taught me is that this challenge represents a meta-game to the whole pokemon property.  There’s enough fun things to do in the game but Nuzlocke’s right, it gets tired after a few versions of the game.  People have been seeking new ways to communicate their love for this fantasy game world.  That’s why they’ve turned to webcomics, parody videos, meta-games, and even costuming.  I think gijinka is one element of this meta-game, where people are taking their appreciation for pokemon outside of simply playing the game.  In a way, it’s like Star Wars fan culture.  More than just watching the movies, people write their own fan stories about the characters, dress up as them at conventions, and build a whole new meaning of the series through their own interpretation.  Gijinka is just one extension of that.  I think pokemon has just as much opportunity to last for decades as Star Wars because it captures the imagination of people at a very young age.

If you want to read more of the interview, click here

Free Lapras
If you want to check out more of Nuzlocke’s awesome comics, awaits.


2 Responses

  1. The depth that this franchise has still amazes me. It’s true that the evolution from game to game has been fairly slow, but the base game itself has so many possibilities.

    And that’s before we even consider the hacks.

    • Oh wow! That is such an awesome find. Although I admit, Quartz starts off as a really funny joke but then you start feeling kinda queasy the further you go into it.

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