Football stickers and Barbie outfits have kept collectors amused at home for generations, but one Lisburn enthusiast’s search for elusive Pokemon has spanned four continents.
Jamie Humphries got swept up in the augmented reality game when the colourful cartoon characters made a comeback in July in the form of the new Pokemon GO phenomenon.
It’s just a weekend trip to Melbourne, but I’ll stay as long as I need to get Kangaskhan
Since then, the 27-year-old Oxford graduate – who works for a computer software company in London – has tracked down all 142 of the creatures available to collect in Europe, as well one exclusive to East Asia and another one found only in the Americas.
With just a few days of his holiday entitlement days left, Jamie’s final destination is Melbourne Australia where he hopes to nab ‘Kangaskhan’ – becoming one of only a handful of enthusiasts known to have all 145 safely tucked away in their smartphones.
Jamie has done his research ahead of the Melbourne trip and reckons he will quickly pick up Kangaskhan’s trail, however, it was touch and go when he travelled the 12,000-mile round trip to Hong Kong in search of ‘Farfetch’d.’
“I only had 24 hours in Hong Kong,” he said.
“I landed about 1pm and set off looking for it about 3pm. I eventually found it at 5am after wandering about the streets of Hong Kong all that time. It was really interesting because there are loads of other players in Hong Kong – it’s really popular out there so until 3am I was going around with other players before they eventually left.”
Jamie added: “I was going to Singapore to visit a friend anyway, separate from all the Pokemon stuff, but when I was out there I took a day trip to Hong Kong to catch this bird. It is only available in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan so Hong Kong was the closest to Singapore.”
His near miss in the former British colony didn’t deter the former Wallace High School pupil and he was soon on the plane to the US for another adventure.
“I had a big space between projects so I had a bit of time off and was looking for something to do with my girlfiend Jenny. She plays the game as well, although not as much as I do. We had half an idea we wanted to go to New York anyway so we ended up going for four days and while we were there we caught the Pokemon (Tauros) we needed.
“It was easier in New York because we were there for four days and that one is more common than the Asian one. So as we were walking around anyway it just popped up for us. Compared to New York, Hong Kong was definitely a trial.”
Just weeks away from a 10,500-mile flight to Australia, Jamie’s preparing for all eventualities.
“I fly on the Thursday night, land on the Saturday morning and then fly back home again on Monday afternoon, so it’s just a weekend trip, but I’ll stay out as long as I need to get it.
“It should be alright but if it gets to Monday and I still haven’t caught it I’ll have to change my flights or something.”