I miss you, old friend.

White: Hard-Mode Episode 12

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

It’s finally here, Episode 12 of White: Hard-Mode, or if I had to give it a title: “N’s Dragon.”

How long has it been since Episode 11? Long enough that I think I would feel physical pain from shame if I looked it up.

It’s no excuse, but it’s almost fitting that this long-delayed comic also features the return of Bruce, who’s been gone from the story for so long. I’ll touch more on that and other spoiler-y content later in this post, but first I’ll use this as a chance to fill you guys in on what’s been going on with me.

What I’ve been up to:

A little over a year later, and I’m still living in Los Angeles. I spent most of that first year writing scripts and trying to secure low level positions at studios, living off the savings I’d accrued from my old job. I had very little luck in the job category, turns out it’s hard to get those low level spots when they can just give them to student interns for free.

I was a little luckier with my writing, though. I was a finalist in a few contests, with my best placements probably being in the top 8 in the comedy category for the Los Angeles Screenplay Contest and the top 10 overall in Roadmap Writers Jumpstart Competition. At the start of 2019, a few studios even requested my script! Six months later, though, and I haven’t heard anything new. I’m not sure if that means no one was interested in my script, or if it’s sitting at the bottom of some intern’s “to-read” pile somewhere.

Eventually that savings burned out, and I needed to find real work again. So I’m back to land surveying for now. I’m lucky enough to have experience in an in-demand field, but goddamn am I starved to do something creative professionally. Oh well, I’ve just got to keep writing and getting stuff out there.

About the comic:

First of all, apologies for lying again about trying to keep this site updated with content. I’m just going to stop making promises all together, because I’m tired of jinxing it. I’ve talked before about how when I stress about disappointing people, I just try to ignore the problem, which creates a kind of guilt feedback loop that only makes things worse. Clearly I’m not over that.

Anyway, back to the good news, we’re back! With this update we’re officially in the endgame of the White storyline, by my measure there’s only two episodes left. Coincidentally, that would put us at a 14 episode season, just like the original Ruby: Hard-Mode. Total accident if I’m honest, but then again I feel like I remember someone saying everything happens for a reason…

If you’ve read the new episode (and if you haven’t, seriously, do it before reading further,) you know that not only is this episode the return of Bruce…it’s also the goodbye. While I take some liberties with the stories in these comics, for the most part I try to stay true to the run. I’m sure some of you are going to be upset about this turn of events, but the reality was Bruce could never reunite with Ruby. If you’ve followed these blogposts closely, you know that I played the FireRed run on an emulator on a laptop that was later stolen out of my college dorm. Bruce’s fate is kind of tied to my feelings about that time, in a way.

All in all this is kind of a dark episode, definitely being the low point in the season. I know it might be kind of a bummer to read after such a long hiatus. I came up with this plot years ago when I was in kind of a dark place, and it’s hard to say if I’d write the same story today. But it’s the story I set up, and I don’t believe in shifting course just before the end. I will admit I do love me some tragedy, though.

This is also the last episode with heavy focus on flashbacks and NPC characters. After this we’re back to Ruby for the rest of the story. We’ve set the stage and the mysteries have been revealed, and now we can push towards the conclusion.

It’s strange to think that some of you have been following these comics since Bruce was first introduced, almost 10 years ago, and some of you have probably been reading for even longer. I’m eternally grateful to have a patient audience for my dumb baby-game drama comics, and I hope you guys stick around for the ending, however long it takes.

Thank you as always for reading,


  • Love you Nuz. This chapter was, no bias, one of my favorites in the whole epic. Been here for 6 years and I’ll always check back in every couple months. Hope life goes well for you in the few years before the next update 🙂

  • Nuz you are the best. You started something incredible years ago, and now I can’t even play Pokémon without it being a nuzlocke run now. I’m sorry to hear about your unlucky streak with the film industry as of late, but as a certain Nuzleaf once told us, “Everything happens for a reason.” I’m glad your back and can’t wait to read your next comics. (But take your time cause even though we hate the wait, we hate making you feel bad even more) I hope you have luck in your future and here’s to another exciting comic in the future!!!!

    Also I miss Space cat 😞

  • Man, can I get an F in the chat for my boi Bruce? Fuck you, Hydreigon you stupid three headed shit lizard.

    Anyways, Chapter 12 was a helluva read; I can’t believe White: Hard Mode is already wrapping up. It doesn’t seem like too long ago when I first started reading Pokemon: Hard Mode, but I guess it’s really been years, huh?

    Nuz, don’t worry about disappointing us with your seldom updates, your life comes first! I, and I’m sure many other people, only feel joy when we see a new blog post. That being said, I’d enjoy even little updates about your life and journey, regardless of whether they have to do with the comic or not. Five, ten minute little blog posts, y’know? It’s good just to hear from you and know you’re still doing alright. As an aspiring creative myself, I’m rooting for you! I know you’ll find a place for yourself in Los Angeles; keep fighting!

  • “We’re here to deliver a message”
    *sighs* “No, I haven’t watched Boruto yet”
    God damn your writing never fails to make me laugh, keep trying man I’m sure you can make it someday

  • If you someday want to make a XY Run, I think a Bruce baby could be given to ruby by Professor Sycamore, then we can have somekind of a Bruce-Ruby reunion and you can still stay true…

    By the way, thank you for the comics and for doing this job for almost ten years. I’m brazilian and I’m reading since then. I have to admite, you are the reason I’m almost 30 yo and I still love pokemon. Thank you Nuzlocke!

  • Happy to see you back! I gotta say that years later your humour never fails to make me laugh, and that’s a lot considering how much one’s taste in jokes can change in such a long time. Anyway, what I wanted to say was: keep it up, keep writing, you certainly have something to give to the world in your stories!

  • typo in panel 19, or the first one in the 2nd row after the title since that’s probably easier.
    You forgot an “if”.
    I haven’t actually finished it yet, but its starting off nice.

    Man, when’s the last time I’ve written a comment for this site?

  • I jumped into this comic really late into the game about 5 years ago and loved reading it the whole way through. I’ve changed a ton in those five years and there are a lot of things I’ve returned to and been perplexed as to how I found them enjoyable. You’re comic, though, is somehow just as wonderful to read now as it was back then, if not better. This shit has aged like a fine wine. I’m so grateful to you for making something I love so much. Just wanted to show some gratitude so that you know that people out here still love this comic and appreciate everything you do, regardless how long it takes.

  • Rip Bruce… So he died years ago before Ruby was teleported in Unova… So sad ! I hope He will be avenged !!

    I’ve been reading your comic for so long now… And we’re now close to discover the conclusion !! Keep it Good !

  • I think I saw your trip on /vp/! Sorry for calling you a hack, if that was you.
    And at last, the conclusion! I’ll be honest I almost gave up. Almost.
    I’ll drop an F for our man Bruce, and hope N at least drops a hint about what happened. I blame Bronius for not keeping his mouth shut. Seriously what danger could a Charizard do when they have something bigger at hand?
    Glad you’re still alive after all those years and you’ll always have my support

  • Glad to see you back, though I’m sorry finding work writing full-time didn’t pan out. You have a serious set of comedic chops on you, and it’s s shame no one picked that up for a project

  • Man, reading this chapter hurt then reading that after on it was even worse. Honestly, I’m just thankful you haven’t abandoned this series. I love it for both its heart and quirkiness. Also i wish you the best of luck with your irl endeavors man!

  • Fuck man, I’ve been reading your comics since high school and that was nearly ten years ago. Shit time flies, but it’s always great seeing an update from you! This chapter was extremely bittersweet to read, but understandable. RIP Bruce, a real one.

  • Nuz this episode was fantastic. So clever to see some of the storylines begin to thread together.

    And the illustrations are gorgeous; Hydreigion vs Bruce was incredible.

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  • It was great to see another episode after all this time. And I’m really happy that you’re sticking to the direction you started back then rather than twist it around now. Such a shame to see Bruce go out like that, I was quietly hoping he and Ruby would meet again but alas.

    Hope that things pick up for you irl. Hope to see the next two episodes out as you can put them together. Keep it up Nuz. Thank you for all the effort.

  • Ive been reading these comics since the beginning, i was 23 then and now im 32. There is no way im going to abandon reading these now. R.I.P. Bruce.

  • This update was freaking amazing. I loved it.
    BTW, Bruce met young Norman and Oak “40 years ago” or so and “20 years ago” young N… This means he’s travelled for 20 years?! Dammit, that’s such a long time!
    It’s very sad to see him go…
    Can’t wait for the next updates, BTW.

  • Can’t believe that the story continues. Been following the site for years. Wasn’t sure if we’d get any more updates. Sad to see Bruce go out like that but I can’t wait to find out how the story ends. Keep up the good work!

  • You’re a great story teller. I first stumbled upon yout site just as you were starting to write your 3rd Hard Mode run. I’ve enjoyed the series so fat and it will definitely be a bitter-sweet moment when it ends. This episode was stellar btw

  • Even with Bruce’s death, that was a really satisfying read. Glad to hear you had a fallback for a career but I hope things work out. Forgot that Firered was on an emulator but even without that, B/W wouldn’t let you transfer until after beating the E4 anyway so I was always wondering if and how Bruce would come back.

    Anyway, well done and along with everyone else, I’ll keep checking back for the next update.

  • I remember reading your Ruby Nuzlocke back in high school and holy shit, you’ve come a long way. The difference between seeing your early stick figures to your art now is night and day, not to mention how amazing your writing has gotten. I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say you don’t disappoint.

    Thanks for the ride so far, Nick! I hope things go well for you on your path.

  • Does nuzlocke.com have an rss feed?
    As a zoomer, I only now discover how amazing rss and i’m sick of refreshing this page would love to just see it pop up whenever it gets an update

  • I’m literally crying about Bruce right now. When I started up Fire Red for another run I called my Charmander Bruce. I had no idea how much of a connection I had to this character.

  • That was an incredible read. It’s frankly incredible to me how much your art and writing have improved since Ruby. This comic has gone from a stick figure parody comic to something that gives me goosebumps.

    It’s so bizarre to think about how long ago I started reading this comic, and how many times I’ve reread it now, waiting for each update. I’m sad to see Bruce go, but there’s something satisfying in having a conclusion to his story.

    Good luck with the career stuff, and thanks for making my day so much brighter.

  • Thanks for an update, I really didn’t expect to see another part of this comic again and it was a nice surprise. You still got it in ya dude, glad to see You back

  • I visited your website sometimes in hope of a follow-up episode, and HO BOY was I happy to see a new one !! I started Nuzlocke comics years ago and I wouldn’t mind wating another couple of years to see it finished : )
    Thanks for making this.
    Cheers from France

  • The episode teared me up a little. I come back every now and then and reread this, my favorite webcomic on the internet. It’s always a nice surprise when another page appears. I hope you do fine and can find a stable job out there man. Greetings from Spain, love your stuff.

  • I just started reading this series a week ago. I’ve heard of the nuzlocke multiple times and have even watched people play it on Twitch. When JaidenAnimations did a thing on her run of Ruby I loved the story of it. The achievements, the deaths. I had known about the origin of it for a while. So I finally chose to read the comic that started it. I will check frequently and the funny thing is that… when this series was started I hadn’t been born yet even. I can see how much of a writer you’ve grown over this and after just a week of reading this you should be sure. I’ll be waiting…

  • I just started reading this series a week ago. I’ve heard of the nuzlocke multiple times and have even watched people play it on Twitch. When JaidenAnimations did a thing on her run of Ruby I loved the story of it. The achievements, the deaths. I had known about the origin of it for a while. So I finally chose to read the comic that started it. I will check frequently and the funny thing is that… when this series was started I hadn’t been born yet even. I can see how much of a writer you’ve grown over this and after just a week of reading this you should be sure. I’ll be waiting…

  • Didn’t check on the comic untill today when I remembered it. Re-read it all, made me laugh as much as when i first read it. So good, Best wishes to you sir

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