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As TwitchPlaysPokemon taught us, it is possible in early generations to release pokemon with critical HM moves, making it possible to permanently 'lose' the game.

However, at a certain point in the series, you could no longer release such a pokemon, presumably to avoid getting 'stuck' in this manner.

When in the series was this rule of not being able to release an HM-knowing pokemon implemented?

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  • Well, this explains why I couldn't overwrite 'Strength' with a better move, and instead had to get rid of a move I wanted to keep. Which is pretty stupid, since it would have allowed me to remove 'Strength' if I had leveled up in a different location :( Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 21:52
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft: The inability to delete an HM move has been there from the start, but they added the Move Deleter in GSC to bypass that lock. The question, however, is about releasing a Pokémon with an HM move. Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 22:05
  • Could you provide an example of "losing" the game by releasing a Pokémon that knows a required HM move? As far as I know, all HMs can be used ad infinitum.
    – Nolonar
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 23:10
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    @Nolonar: If you're on Cinnabar Island and release all of your Pokémon that know or can learn Surf (including Kabuto/Omanyte), and you never got the Fly HM or any of the fishing rods, your only way out is to trade over a Surfing Pokémon from another game.
    – jwodder
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 23:47
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    @jwodder, kind of trivial, but don't forget to heal at the Cinnabar pokemon center so you can't whiteout/teleport/dig/escaperope out. Also, discarding all sellable items, balls, and money is an alternative to avoiding fishing rods.
    – Antimony
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 14:50

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This feature was implemented in Gen 3 (NOT Gen 2). In fact, you can find videos online of people getting stuck in Cianwood by releasing all their Surf-capable pokemon, much like Cinnabar in gen 1. I have also personally tested this on a real Game Boy.

Note that due to an oversight, it is possible to get stuck in D/P/Pt by trading away your Finneon to Meister if it's your only pokemon that knows Surf. You still can't release them though.

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