Pickymon, Chapter VI: If It Seems Too Good To Be True, You’ve Probably Ruined Everything

Based on a concept from @ZombieHam on Twitter, Pickymon is what happens when you decide to play the original Pokémon Red with a simple twist – you only get one team of six for the entire game. The rules are simple:
  • Including your starter, you may only catch or purchase 6 pokémon throughout the entire game.
  • No glitching!
  • Trading is not allowed, and you can’t release a pokémon to catch another – once it’s in your team, it stays in your team to the end.
  • This includes Hitmonlee/Hitmonchan, Kabuto/Omanyte and Lapras – if you pick them up, you keep them.
  • Evolution is not only allowed, but required – you can only obtain Flash (HM05) by having ten pokémon in your Pokédex!
  • The game is over when you catch or defeat MewTwo.
Our intrepid writer Charles has taken the challenge. This is his story.

It was going so well.

The stunningly inept Team Rocket operation in Celadon had been destroyed. My team was getting stronger every day but staying even, with nobody getting left behind. I was cruising at a comfortable pace of just under 1 badge per day.

It was going, like, really well.

Let’s go back to Saturday. A simpler time.

I start off in Celadon, basking in the glory of my newly-acquired Rainbowbadge. My next urgent business is back in Lavender Town, where my also-recently-acquired Silph Scope will let me progress to the very top of Pokémon Tower. So off I go, and up I go, taking out the now-visible Gastlies to keep the XP rolling in. Before the stairs to the last floor…

A wild horror trope appeared!

The Silph Scope does its job…

‘Salad KOs it with one Razor Leaf, then I remember I could’ve just ran from the battle and left it be. OH WELL. I’m a dick.

On the top floor, I see that while Celadon was the stomping ground for Team Rocket’s Baffling Exposition-Vomit division, the Tough-Talking Cowards Unit has been deployed to Lavender Town:

The battles themselves weren’t much of a challenge, with my 3 lowest-level team members sharing out the XP. I then come to the rescue of Mr Fuji, who claims he went there of his own free will all along, then usurps full credit for “becalming” Marowak’s spirit allowing it passage to the afterlife. Figuring it’d be kind of mean to tell a kind old man that he did nothing and I solved the problem by knocking out a dead animal, I keep quiet and follow him back to his house, where I’m rewarded for apparently doing nothing with a magic recorder that will apparently help me raise my pokémon with love.

Fuckin’ hippy

I take a second to figure out my next move, and it suddenly hits me that I could be making things a lot easier on myself. I head over to a TOP-SECRET LOCATION by stealthy means…

Do doo doo doo doo doooooo, doodleoooo

…and grab HM02, Fly! FlappyNerd, having learnt Wing Attack back at Pokémon Tower, gets another string to her bow both on and off the battlefield, and I can suddenly get around Kanto a WHOLE lot easier.

The world is my Cloyster

Firmly bitten by the HM-gathering bug, I remember I now have 10 pokémon in my ‘Dex, and can pick up HM05, Flash! FlappyNerd swooshes me over to Vermilion City so we can take the scenic route – Diglett’s Cave should provide a bit of easy XP for Steevee.

Okay man thanks for clearing that up

Now obviously, this being a naturally-created marvel and a habitat to many pokémon, I want to treat it with the utmost respect and reverence.


The Cave proves, unsurprisingly, to be full of Digletts, which allows me to mine some XP for Steevee. At the other end, a guy bemoans how hard it is to get through Rock Tunnel without Flash. Loser.

I pick up the HM from Oak’s Aide in the Gatehouse anyway, because the later dungeons where it’s needed are probably gonna be a bit trickier.

Oh man.

I wrote that sentence in my notes on Saturday.

It has taken on something of a meaning since then.


I Fly back to Lavender and head south on Route 12. I almost forget to check out whether there’s anything to get in the Gatehouse, and end up grabbing the very useful Swift TM, a move with guaranteed 100% accuracy which I teach to FlappyNerd. Because having to fight the ghost of an orphan’s mum wasn’t harrowing enough, the trainer who gives me the TM informs me that they “don’t need this anymore” because their pokémon also died. What a fun childrens’ game this is.

My new Pokéflute means I can shift this lazy-arse:

You look bigger on TV.

It proves a pretty easy battle. I nip through to Vermilion Pokémon Centre for some item-shifting, and on my way back, I decide it’s time for a major point in one party member’s story.

Steevee now powers my teevee.

With her new Electric type in play, I teach her Flash and Thunderbolt.

I also pick this up:

It’ll become important soon.

I continue battling my way down Routes 12 & 13, two of my favourite areas of the game.

As striking as it is impractical for day-to-day life.

I’m not sure why, but the memory of really enjoying the game in these areas during my very first playthrough as a kid has always stuck with me. Maybe it was the memorable design, maybe it was something to do with never before having experienced a world of this scale that was just mine to explore and love. Whatever it was, this corner of Kanto feels like home and a new frontier all at the same time, and probably always will. Sorry, there aren’t any jokes here, just a happy little boy in a grown-up’s life, stepping back into one of his favourite places in the world.

The Routes, filled as they are with Fishermen and Bird Trainers, are prime hunting ground for Steevee, who levels all the way up to 35. I manage to forget just how much more of a walk it is to Fuschia City, so I pull one tactical retreat to Lavender Town to heal up. I make a concerted effort to level up Smol, because Psybeam is gonna be vital in the Poison-type Fuschia gym.

After encountering this expert…

Maybe, I don’t know, stop doing that?

…the only trainer in the game who can be described as a good loser…

I don’t understand what you just said

…and one who perhaps takes losing to me a touch too hard…

Maybe I’m a 10-year-old miracle kid who’s casually fixing everything wrong with the world, so, like, chill?

…I reach Fuschia with my team looking like this:

For now.

See, I have two bits of business in the pink city. One’s the gym, which comes later. Now…


Again, I always feel a lovely buzz of nostalgia in this place…

Even though the pollen would kill me IRL
…but this time, given my limitations, I rush through in an attempt to pick up the things I desperately need – HM03 Surf, the Warden’s teeth which I need to get HM04 Strength, and…

To be fair, I did provoke it by dangling a metal hook into its house.

As you may know, Safari battles, where you’re without your pokémon and have to just chuck stuff and hope for the best, can be difficult:

It’s okay, I’m sure it knows I paid good money for this and will play fair.


I literally keep fishin’, and when I grab another one, I try a change of tactics and throw a rock. That allows me to finally hit Dratini with a ball, but…

…and after a few of those, I run out of Safari Balls…

…and get called back to the main entrance.


Fuck off.

The next morning (real time), I head back in for another crack. And sure enough, in just a few goes…


I struggle for a name, but after remembering this whole mess, I decide to name my new girl after an elite athlete and powerful woman, in the hopes that she’ll grow up to be the same.

Give ’em hell.

I teach her Ice Beam, which will hold us over until we can pick up the Blizzard TM later in the game.

Outside the Safari Zone, I take another important step in the game and pick up the Strength HM. With a goody of some kind hidden behind a rock in the Warden’s House, I decide to test it out straight away, before it becomes vital to get through Seafoam Islands and Victory Road later in the game. I boot it up and teach it to SuperSa-





Okay then


Give me a sec




So after some calm, collected researching (AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH) it becomes apparent that I do have someone in my party who can eventually learn Strength.


Dratini evolves into Dragonair, which evolves into Dragonite.

At level 55.


Did I mention that Seafoam Islands comes before the 7th of 8 gyms? 55 is about the level I usually have my strongest pokémon at when I beat the Pokémon League section of the game. Now I need Caster there to get further than three quarters of the qualifying stage.

Jesus. I was pretty confident of scoring one of the quicker run times in this whole project. Now I’m worried I’m not gonna beat my Xenoblade Chronicles X time.

Well. Nothing else for it. I guess we’re making Caster a stone cold badass.

I withdraw the four Rare Candies I’ve collected so far to get her a head start, and toss in some Iron, Protein and an HP up too. I also teach her an HM she can currently learn, Surf, then I Fly over to Vermilion so she can take down some Digletts for me to gauge her combat ability. A mid-grind trip to the Pokémon Centre gives me the satisfying shot of the healing machine at full capacity for the first time:

Mate, not as much as I do.

It’s easy pickings but slow progress in Diglett’s Cave, so I call it a night, and this morning I relocate to Celadon to make use of my Sleep Powder-switch tactic out on the as-yet-unvisited Cycling Road. I run into Snorlax outside Celadon.

Wait, can Snorlax learn Strength?


Cycling Road is full of Poison types, making it a happy hunting ground for Smol and her Psybeam. Her and Cas rack up the XP, which we need for both the Fuschia gym and, y’know, actually being able to finish the game. En route, I receive a much-needed pep talk:


Spoils of battle duly reaped, I heal up the crew and even dare to take on the first couple of trainers in the Fuschia gym. This leaves my team looking like this:

I’m sorry you have been forced to be this awesome.

And that was my long weekend. Next up, tomorrow if I can bear it, we take on the rest of Koga’s gym, which just happens to be…

Don’t make it too easy on me or anything.
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About Charles Wheeler

Charles Wheeler is a casual and proud. He has exclusively owned Nintendo consoles for Zelda and Pokémon-related purposes, and invites you to consider the subjectivity of art instead of judging him. He is also a spoken word performer, socialist activist, pro wrestling referee, and owner-father to four rats.
View all posts by Charles Wheeler →

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