TAIPEI (REUTERS) – Mr. Chen San-yuan attracts attention as he crosses a suburb of Taipei, capital of Taiwan.
The reason why?
Attached to the front of his bike are 15 cell phones that Mr. Chen, 70, uses to simultaneously play the augmented reality game Pokemon Go.
The smartphone-based game requires players to "capture" animated characters that appear in real locations.
Known as Pokémon Grandpa, Mr. Chen's videos and his fan-like phone call circulating among "Pokestops" became viral on the Internet and made him a small celebrity in Tucheng district, where he lives.
"I used a cell phone and kept playing and playing," Chen said in a recent long-sleeved T-shirt and white pants to Reuters Television.
"After a month, there were three cell phones, six cell phones, nine cell phones, 12 and then 15," he said, crediting his grandson to introduce him to Pokémon Go in 2016.
Chen said his equipment costs more than $ 4,800 and spends about $ 300 a month in virtual currency to use in the game.
Playing on multiple phones allows him to reach higher levels in the game faster and capture rarer creatures, he said.
The pensioner said he sometimes plays all night thanks to the portable sized batteries that recharge the phones.
Chen's fellow players are amazed at his energy.
"He is able to take care of fifteen cell phones at once," said Shih Wun-sheng, 45. "From going out until coming home, Chen can stay energetic for six to seven hours, without feeling tired. That's really impressive.
Pokemon Go, developed jointly by Nintendo Co and Niantic Inc, has been the biggest success so far between games using so-called augmented reality where the digital characters are superimposed in the real world.