INTERVIEW: Diaries of Taiwan's Pokemon Addicts

INTERVIEW: Diaries of Taiwan's Pokemon Addicts

What you need to know

The News Lens International talks to a group of people caught chasing digital monsters around Taipei.

Love it or hate it, Pokémon Go has captured the minds (and thumbs) of millions around the world. In Taipei, the craze continues to grow and it is now typical to see hundreds of people gathered in public parks, happily pawing at their screens in impatient pursuit of the digital monsters.

The News Lens International interviewed 10 players to find out how the game is affecting their lives.

Name: Yang
Age: 24
Occupation: Cram school teacher
Gender: F
Number of Pokémon caught: 212

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
The minute I get up and the minute I go to bed.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
2-3 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
No.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
No.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
A different sense of achievement.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
A stranger showing off to me he/she caught a Pikachu.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Ponyta, because it’s very cool.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
Going out to buy milk at 1 am, [although] doesn’t really seem that crazy.

I keep the game on as long as I’m moving, so I don’t really keep track of the hours.

Name: Hu
Age: 23
Occupation: Patent engineer intern
Gender: M
Number of Pokémon caught: 197

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
After I brush my teeth in the morning and after jogging at night.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
2-3 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
No.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
I played around Zhongzheng district in Taipei City and walked around the traditional Japanese houses there. It was a nice experience and I got to know the area more.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
Nothing.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
Making new friends and sharing our experiences playing the game. I also forced my dog to take a walk with me.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Mewtwo, because it’s the strongest and coolest Pokémon.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
Bought a new phone and more power-banks.

I would be willing to rent a bus equipped with Wifi and charging outlets with other players to go around Taipei City.

Name: Jacob
Age: 25
Occupation: Office worker
Gender: M
Number of Pokemon caught: 302

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
After work and midnight at latest.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
4-6 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
Occasionally.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
Not yet.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
Chances of going on an adventure or having fun with family and friends.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
Being cheated into going to catch a rare Pokémon that didn’t exist and not getting angry.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Gengar, because it’s the cutest.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
Sprinting 500 meters to catch a Pokémon.

Q. The Pokémon you want to catch most?
A. Pikachu. It’s the only Pokémon I know.

Name: Darwin
Age: 26
Occupation: Office worker
Gender: M
Number of Pokémon caught: 297

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
Mostly after work.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
4-5 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
Only in my spare time.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
Not yet.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
Nothing actually, we all get excited about different things.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
Running into a long-lost elementary school classmate.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Articuno. If you have love for it, you will want to capture it.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
Running out the door in the middle of the night.

I keep the game on at work and catch the monsters if my phone vibrates.

Name: Tiffany
Age: 24
Occupation: Office worker (retail)
Gender: F
Number of Pokémon caught: 89

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
I play until I go to bed.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
5 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
I keep the game on at work and catch the monsters if my phone vibrates.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
I have been trying my luck at the usual locations I go to, but I have heard that there are a lot of monsters near Taipei 101 and Taipei City Hall. I plan to go there tomorrow.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
You can’t join in the discussion if you’re not playing.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
I think the most interesting part is that you can discuss the game with other players. I didn’t watch Pokémon as a kid, but you can always learn.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Pikachu. It’s the only Pokémon I know.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
I would be willing to rent a bus equipped with Wifi and charging outlets with other players to go around Taipei City.

I think it’s interesting how people are creating connections in the real world through a virtual game.

Name: Chan
Age: 24
Occupation: Administrative assistant
Gender: F
Number of Pokémon caught: 73

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
From the minute I wake up to before I go to bed.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
I keep the game on as long as I’m moving, so I don’t really keep track of the hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
I play during my commute to work, but not at work.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
I have mainly just expanded my usual routes and using my free time to play. Like on Sunday morning, I biked around the park near my home, and also took the bus to Xinyi district.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
Because there are a lot of people playing, so you can bond with people you know or aren’t that familiar with. It is also a window to understanding how the world is evolving.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
I have joined certain Line groups discussing catching Pokémon. I think it’s interesting how people are creating connections in the real world through a virtual game.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Pikachu. Because it’s the pronoun for Pokémon. I also want Snorlax because I think its round belly and its laziness is really cute.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
I would be willing to stay up late to occupy some 'gyms' when there are fewer people playing.

School hasn’t started yet, but I will definitely play during class.

Name: Abby
Age: 21
Occupation: College student
Gender: F
Number of Pokémon caught: 300

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
When I wake up and before I go to bed. I also play on my way to and back from work, even making detours to catch more Pokémon.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
6-8 hours on the weekend, and 1-2 hours on weekdays.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
I keep the game on at work, but don’t really play it because you need to move to catch the monsters. Plus I’m afraid my boss will notice. School hasn’t started yet, but I will definitely play during class.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
I live near Jingan MRT Station, but I especially took a detour to Nanshijiao MRT Station to catch more Pokémon. On the same day, I started riding a YouBike from Nanjing Fuxing MRT Station and next thing I knew I had almost reached Minsheng Community. I plan to walk from Nanshijiao MRT Station to Dingxi MRT Station one day to catch more Pokémon and also for exercise.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
People who aren’t playing say the game is dangerous, but I think it’s a shame they are missing out on experiencing the game that brings back a lot of childhood memories.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
A classmate sent be a photo of 20 to 30 people catching Pokémon at a park. I thought it was unbelievable.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Snorlax and Starmie. The former because it’s cute and has strong abilities; the latter because it’s pretty and was my childhood favorite. Oh and Pikachu. I want a lot of Pikachus.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
If it guarantees I can catch some rare Pokémon, is within my ability, and won’t threaten my life, I would pretty much do anything.

I would be willing to go into the mountains or cemeteries or any other haunted place to catch Pokémon.

Name: David
Age: 23
Occupation: Grad student
Gender: M
Number of Pokémon caught: More than 700

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
8 or 9 am to around 2 am.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
5-6 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
I play when I’m not that busy at work and in class.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
Not yet.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
I think they are missing out on a trend. Even though the game will probably only be popular for one to two weeks, but the huge influence it has had globally is pretty obvious.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
A huge group of people was at Daan Forest Park around 9 to 10 pm last night. There were families, couples and people who were exercising.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Snorlax. I thought it was an especially interesting Pokémon when I watched the cartoon as a kid. It normally looks innocent and cute, but has mad skills when it gets angry. I like this type of Pokémon.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
I would be willing to go into the mountains or cemeteries or any other haunted place to catch Pokémon.

I would be willing to sacrifice time with my boyfriend.

Name: Sunny
Age: 21
Occupation: College student
Gender: F
Number of Pokémon caught: 54, not counting repeated Pokémon

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
When I wake up and before I go to bed.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
3-4 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
I don’t have any part time jobs at the moment, and school is still on summer vacation, but I will play in class once school starts.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
I went jogging around the sewer close to my home in Changhua to catch water type Pokemon.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
I think they are missing out on a common topic. After all, everyone around the world is talking about the game. I also think they are missing out on a way to recollect their childhood.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
I saw a group of people catching Pokémon in front of a temple around 10 pm.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Psyduck. Everyone has Psyduck. Except me.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
I would be willing to sacrifice time with my boyfriend.

I went out to take a walk to catch Pokemon around 8 to 9 pm one day. I normally don’t take walks.

Name: Cherry
Age: 21
Occupation: College student
Gender: F
Number of Pokémon caught: 54, not counting repeated Pokemon

1. What time each day do you start playing, and what time do you end?
When I wake up and before I go to bed.

2. In total, how many hours each day do you play?
Around 4 hours.

3. Have you been skipping class / playing during work at all?
School is still on summer vacation, but I will definitely be playing in class.

4. Have you been to places you haven’t been to before while playing Pokémon?
Yes.

5. What do you think people who don’t play are missing out on?
I think the main thing they are missing out on is the conversation. Everyone is talking about the game. You won’t understand what people are talking about if you’re not playing.

6. Most interesting thing that has happened to you so far while playing Pokémon?
I went out to take a walk to catch Pokemon around 8 to 9 pm one day. I normally don’t take walks. I found a lot of young people in the park that is usually filled with older people around that hour. If someone said that he or she caught a certain Pokemon, people would immediately look at their screen or start walking towards the person.

7. The Pokémon you want to catch most? Why?
Vulpix. Because it’s very cute.

8. Craziest thing you have done or are willing to do to catch Pokémon?
Catching Pokemon outside when it’s burning hot. And also playing the game on the backseat of bikes or scooters.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White