Pickymon, Chapter IX: The Rarest Candy Is Leadership Without Ego

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.

To recap: we’re on Route 23. Victory Road is in sight. There are boulders in the way that I can’t move, because the only way I could teach one of my pokémon Strength was to grind Caster, my level 15 Dratini, all the way up to a level 55 Dragonite in the space of two gyms.

We’re almost there.

The grinding on Route 23 is going okay, with Caster mostly taking down the competition with 1-hit KOs with Blizzard or Surf (and occasionally Slam, getting some mileage out of it before Strength replaces it in her moveset). This steady progress goes awry when we encounter a level 38 Ditto and miss our first move, allowing it to pull out Transform, mimic Caster’s moveset, and take down her, FlappyNerd, FirePupper and Smol before SuperSalad finally takes it down, earning 331 XP as his prize for all that effort. Christ.

Post-healing, our problems with the Ditto population continue. Dragon is a weird type in that it’s offensively strong and defensively weak against itself, and while Caster has no Dragon-type attacks to use or copy, it’s weak against Blizzard, an Ice-type move (which is why that’s so valuable for the Elite Four). The upshot is, the vast majority of damage Caster sustains here is from Dittos she can’t take out in one hit.

At least they don’t have creepy eyes like in the anime.

Can I borrow your soul

But while they slow us down, they can’t stop us, and eventually, the grind of all grinds is over:


Which means I can cash in my two Rare Candies, and…




She also learns Hyper Beam, the most aesthetically awesome move in the game. Don’t @ me.

I discover I’ve actually left the Strength HM in the PC, so I pop back to Viridian City to pick it up… and discover another Rare Candy in there too. Grr.

Nonetheless, we finally achieve our goal, even with this guy trying to break the world by walking through a text box:

Sir? Sir! Reality is back this way, sir.

And so:

And I finally slept again.

Remembering something from earlier, I quickly nip over to Fuschia City and the Safari Warden’s house to bust out my fancy new HM for the first time, to find…


And with that, it’s finally time to take on Victory Road.

The trainers inside are varied, allowing me to give everyone in the team a run-out at some point, which five of them now sorely need to keep pace. One particularly tough Chansey necessitates uncorking Caster’s Hyper Beam for the first time, giving me a delightful burst of nostalgia from the visual FX and the beautiful noise. God help me, I do love this game.

Except the moving-boulders-around part. That’s absolutely tedious.

*move one square* TCHH-CHHHWWWUW *move one square* TCHH-CHHHWWWUW

At least there are plenty of useful items to pick up. And y’know what? I’m not gonna tell you what they are or show you where they’re hidden. I’ve given you stragglers enough hints. I let you know you could skip a whole dungeon. Step your game up.

The conversation on offer is, for some reason, more irritating than usual:

Oh, that’s why

And there are distractions aplenty:

Okay, but then we’re having a pokémon battle.

I also encounter the super-creepy move Substitute for the first time, with its weird placement of a walking-around sprite into a battle scene:

Look at that. That’s just wrong, isn’t it?

Someone also knew I was coming:

Finally, a little credit for literally saving the world about five times.

And of course, I come across another legendary figure:

Other than myself, of course.

…and I leave it be.

Like I said before, I want some postgame value here.

The rest is basically just battles and boulders. After pushing one through a hole, I discover a kind of fun glitch – if you drop through a hole on your bike, you land on your feet, but the adorable bike music keeps playing!

Do doo doo doo doo doooooooo, doodleoooooo!

Shortly after, I’m out of Victory Road!


And I’m on to the next challenge, Victory Incomprehensible Statue Maze.


And then, here I am.

A few more victories to go.

Chances are I’m gonna head back out to do some more grinding and shop for some vital items before I take on the big dogs, but for now, I’m leaving it there. Here’s the state of my healed-up team:

Remember when I was all pleased with myself for keeping it even and not overpowering anyone?
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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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