Sam Clark, 32, an electrical engineer and a dad to four children, claims to have spent “pretty much every waking hour” playing Pokémon GO since the app was released in the UK on July 6.
Thanks to his dedication to the game, Clark has been able to collect all 143 creatures that are available in the UK. The Briton was able to travel to many parts of Southampton and nearby Gosport in his effort to “catch them all.”
Congratulations to Sam Clark who collected all the Pokemon go characters in Southampton and Gosport https://t.co/IputjeJv8g— 103.9 Voice FM (@Voicefmradio) July 28, 2016
Being the top player in the game, however, has its price. During an interview with This Morning, Mr. Clark said that he has been on the receiving end of online attacks from “jealous” trolls since earning the reputation as the first Briton Pokemon Go player to have “caught them all,” the Mirror reports. The insults were varied, with some calling him a “jobless loser” and quite a few telling him that the children he claimed to have are “imaginary.”
“Everyone who plays the game is happy, this game was never designed to be a race, and I never claimed to be the first or thought I was.
“I’ve had people sending messages saying ‘No you weren’t’, it’s crazy. There are a lot of people out there, I’m sure if it is jealousy or just want to moan but I’ve been called all sorts.
“I’ve been called a ‘jobless loser’, ‘I’ve never worked a day’, ‘I must be outside all day’, ‘I’ve not got family,’ someone called my kids imaginary, it’s crazy.”
Sam, who runs an online community site called CyberJam Gaming, explained how the app works after the host revealed that his 4-year-old son Jack is fond of playing the game.
Asked if he had won anything by playing Pokémon GO, Sam said that he had “not really won anything, just better health.”
“It’s made me lose weight, get me out more and I’m taking the kids out more. It’s not really winning anything, it’s just personal, it’s getting me out there,” Sam explained.
Prior to the This Morning interview, Sam uploaded a YouTube video where he claimed that playing the augmented reality video game helped him lose two stone, which he says is something he had been struggling with for some time.
“I broke my neck in a car accident in 2008, which made me pile on weight, but the game has really encouraged me to get outdoors and shift it,” he said. “I can now get into a pair of jeans I haven’t been able to wear for six years.”
He has recently reached level 24, the highest among UK players. His secret? According to him, he achieved a higher level in a short amount of time by hunting down specific Pokémon rather than aiming to level up.
Sam has provided invaluable advice to fellow Pokémon GO players in meet-ups through his shop, Cyberjam Gaming. He also said that the game helped him cope with anxiety and gave him many good opportunities to make new friends.
“Some people don’t realise how sociable the game is – when you’re out and about, it’s easy to get chatting to other gamers,” he explained.
“The more people are playing in one place, the more Pokémon appear and the better it is. It really is such a good way to get outdoors, get fit and make friends.”
His wife Hayley is not playing the game, but is happy that Sam has found a hobby that he can enjoy with their four children.
“She likes the game, but she thinks I’m playing too much,” he admitted.
Clark added that he will continue playing Pokémon GO for fun even if he had already accomplished his main objective. He also said he hopes to lose more weight while continuing to play the game.
Are you a Pokémon GO player? If yes, has the game helped improved your life, either physically or mentally? What level are you now? How many Pokémon creatures have you caught so far? Feel free to talk about your experiences as a Pokémon GO player below.
[Photo by Olivia Harris/Getty Images]