In July, I became a Pokémaniac, along with the rest of the world. Going out to catch Pokémon in ‘real life’ felt like a childhood dream come true. Every journey became twenty minutes longer so that I could hit up Pokéstops and add to my Pidgey and Drowsee collection (why are there so many Drowsees? The eternal Pokémon Go mystery).
I’d been playing purely for the fun of it, like a schmuck, until I spotted an article about Britain’s first full time Pokémon player. Sophia, from High Barnet, spotted a money-making opportunity to play the game and sell levelled-up accounts on eBay. Apparently, accounts above level 20 were going for £1000+.
I wanted a piece of that action. After all, Pokemon Trainer is in many ways a dream job description:
- You’re self-employed, with no bosses to answer to (just Pokémon)
- It gets you out of the house
- You get more exercise than you do whilst sat at a desk
- The real world has been horrible lately. Who wouldn’t prefer to work in Pokéland?
There was one flaw in the plan: quitting work to catch Pokémon was not an option for me given that I have bills and stuff. So I decided to take it on as a side-gig, and Pokémon-train as a second job instead. Could this be lucrative enough to put a dent in my dreaded credit card bill?
I knew that time was of the essence: Pokémon Go accounts weren’t going to be a saleable commodity for long. So I immediately registered two new accounts and set out to catch them all.
For the following week, I spent every spare second playing. Here is what it is like being a semi-professional Pokémon trainer.
If you pay attention, you can use Pokémon Go to notice a lot of things you’d never have seen otherwise. It turns out that there IS a park in Tufnell Park. I spotted a woman pushing a tiny dog in a full-sized pushchair. Every piece of street art, every landmark, every plaque, seems to be a Pokéstop. Who says video games aren’t educational?
You walk an absolute fuck-ton. I got 180,000 steps in a week (and some enormous blisters).
A cornerstone of my strategy was to find rare Pokémon to make my accounts more sell-able. I failed. You’d think consistently playing for hours and hours and hours would turn up some good stuff. Despite every gym on the block having a high-level Vaporeon or Snorlax, I found nothing of the sort. Zilch.
Like any normal job, Pokémon training has copious amounts of boring admin. I spent hours evolving Pidgeys for points and sending crap Pokémon back to the Professor. HOURS.
The Pokémon theme tune got stuck on repeat in my head. It would not budge. No matter what I did. I WANNA BE, THE VERY BESSST! THAT NO-ONE EVER WAS!
Apparently, if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I can tell you for a fact that this is BULLSHIT. It turns out that forcing yourself to do something that you once enjoyed for hours at a time is an ideal way to destroy your soul. By the end of the week, I thought I would vomit if I had to spend another second staring at my phone.
Having reached Peak Pokémon, I listed my accounts on eBay in a 24-hour auction and waited for the cash to roll in. By the time I went to bed, I had £25 worth of bids. That night, I dreamt about becoming a Pokémillionaire.
The next morning, my dream had been shot down in flames. eBay had sent me the following email:
My listings had been removed. All the steps; all the blisters; all the fucking Pidgeys and Drowsees: all for fucking nothing. £0. NOTHING. I suppose some things are just meant to remain as dreams.
(and if anyone is interested in buying a top-quality Level 17 Pokémon Go account with a bonus Pikachu, please do let me know…)