Professional gamer is Singapore's first Pokemon master

He caught all of the 145 available virtual creatures by travelling the world

Singapore has its first Pokemon master - one who caught them all in the mobile game Pokemon Go.

Mr Chapman Sim, 31, caught all of the game's 145 available Pokemon on Wednesday by travelling around the world and walking up to 12 hours a day.

His month-long quest to be the very best ended with a last-minute decision to fly from Seattle to London last week just to capture one final Pokemon found only in Europe.

The goal of Pokemon Go, a mobile app, is to capture 145 different types of virtual creatures known as Pokemon. To make things challenging, some Pokemon are region-exclusives, which means they can be caught only in certain countries.

There are no official figures on how many players have caught all available Pokemon.

Mr Sim, a professional gamer, downloaded the app the day that the game was released for the first time on July 6, in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. As the game was launched in Singapore only a month later, he could not play it yet.

"The first time I played Pokemon Go was on Aug 1 when I was in Sydney," Mr Sim told The Straits Times in an e-mail interview. He got lucky and caught the Australian exclusive, the kangaroo-like Kangaskhan, while he was there.

Mr Sim in a screenshot with the Europe-exclusive Pokemon, Mr Mime, outside Westminster Abbey in London. He managed to catch all 145 types of Pokemon in four weeks.
Mr Sim in a screenshot with the Europe-exclusive Pokemon, Mr Mime, outside Westminster Abbey in London. He managed to catch all 145 types of Pokemon in four weeks. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHAPMAN SIM

TARGET: LEVEL 40

I will continue to play Pokemon Go in my free time because it is still my wish to reach Level 40. But when new content, like additional Pokemon, is released, you can bet that I will be going full steam ahead!

MR CHAPMAN SIM

Within two weeks, he had captured 137 different types of Pokemon. However, the remaining eight took him another two weeks, as they included those exclusive to North America and Europe and rare Pokemon .

Last month, app developer Terence Ho claimed to be the first Singaporean to capture all 145 Pokemon within only 10 days of the game's release here - and without stepping out of Singapore.

He said he got friends living overseas to log in for him to catch those region-exclusives, a move which the game developer, Niantic, considers as cheating.

Mr Sim, now learning Spanish for a month in Mexico, says he travels a lot for work covering or competing in gaming events. He caught the North American exclusive, Tauros, when he was in Seattle, Washington, last week for the Magic: The Gathering World Championship and caught another rare Pokemon, Lapras, in his hotel room.

All that remained was Mr Mime - but he had to cross the Atlantic first, as it was a Europe-exclusive.

"I called my mum and asked her if I should invest my 110,000 Delta miles and US$200 (S$271) for taxes just to complete my Pokedex," he said. "That's a value of at least $2,000 and I expected her to dissuade me. Surprisingly, she said that I should go, and that it was okay to be crazy once in a while and to always pursue my dreams."

He then booked a flight to London the next day, giving himself about 20 hours there to catch the Pokemon before returning to Seattle.

When he finally spotted it outside Westminster Abbey, he was so excited he asked a passer-by to take a screenshot for him.

"It was great and I felt that all my efforts were worth it," said Mr Sim.

He is still not done with the game, though, as he wishes to reach its highest level. "I will continue to play Pokemon Go in my free time because it is still my wish to reach Level 40," he said.

"But when new content, like additional Pokemon, is released, you can bet that I will be going full steam ahead!"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Professional gamer is S'pore's first Pokemon master'. Print Edition | Subscribe