Tom Currie, a 24-year-old Pokemon fan from New Zealand, recently quit his job so he could spend the next two months traveling all around the country to hunt all the Pokemon in the mobile game phenomenon Pokemon Go. Currie was working at a Hibiscus Coast cafe in Auckland when he decided that in order to become the best Pokemon Go hunter the world has ever seen he would need to quit and focus all his attention on the app. Every morning, he fills up his flask with coffee, packs his lunch and heads out looking for new Pokemon to collect.
He has already booked bus trips to various destinations around New Zealand, from Invercargill in the country’s South Island all the way up to Cape Reinga in North Island. When Newshub interviewed him two days ago, Tom had already managed to capture 90 of the 151 Pokemon released in the popular Nintendo app.
“I wanted to have an adventure,” Currie said. “I have been working for six years and I was desperate for a break. And Pokémon gave me the chance to live that dream.” He has been hunting the elusive creatures in augmented reality for little over a week and says the experience so far has been both exhilarating and exhausting. One more than one occasion he stayed up until 3 in the morning catching Pokemon, but he says he sleeps deeply now thanks to the many miles he walks every day.
Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten days, you’ve probably already heard about Pokemon Go. It has become the number one app both in the Apple iStore and the Android Market, with hundreds of millions of people actively using it. The mobile game allows users to find digital Pokémon hiding the real world, and walk long distances in certain directions to locate the elusive creatures, using GPS. They then attempt to capture them by throwing virtual pokeballs at them using their smartphones.
“It keeps track of how far you’ve walked and I’ve done around 50 km so far, and that’s with the actual game, walking away, slogging away,” Tom Currie said. “I’m level 20 at the moment, which was the highest I’d seen until I came to Christchurch, there’s some better players here.”
“There were about 100 people there hunting,” Tom said about his experience in Sumner, Chirstchurch, which has become a hot spot for Pokémon hunters. “And some of these people would usually be shut up at home and really reclusive. Hunting for Pokémon is bringing them into the real world. It was such a buzzy atmosphere, when someone spotted a rare Pokémon they would shout out to alert the crowd.”
Tom has so far managed to travel across New Zealand, hunting for Pokemon, on the cheap, sleeping on friends’ couches or in crowded backpacker dorms, but his epic journey has attracted a lot of attention in the country, and he says he has been approached by transportation companies offering to take him to remote destinations so he can catch even the most elusive Pokemon. “I want Mewtwo, it’s Pokémon number 150 [out of 151] and that is the end game for most people here,” he said.
While quitting your job to play a video game full time doesn’t seem like the most commendable thing to do, Tom Currie has been getting encouraging messages from all over the world, and even his mother supports him 100%. “Tom is a very spur-of-the-moment, independent kid, he always has been,” she said. “His nana and I don’t understand the game but I remember him loving it in his childhood. I am just glad he is out enjoying his life and seeing so much of New Zealand. I back him 100%.”