Lasombra Files Episode 11: Ghost in the Shell
- Posted December 27th, 2012 at 18:45 EDT by Dane Smith
- 3 Comments
Welcome to the Lasombra Files, PSU’s weekly hit program. Follow the story of Lasombra and V as they try to stay alive in Shadow City, unraveling its secrets, while at the same time shining the spotlight on trophy hunters around the world and in our community.
I come to, coughing the dirt and bugs out of my mouth as I slowly get to my feet in the alley. Covered in dirt and blood, a scene out of Maximum Carnage glosses my eyes. What were once members of the Greek mafia were little more than pieces of meat lying on a butcher’s table, the building walls and cement ground acting as a canvas as if some sick artist took real-life painting a step too far. I help up V, as it is rare for anyone or anything to knock her out unless they were a cyborg, who gratefully wraps her arms around me as we limp out of the alleyway in a daze. Before we take five steps, a rush of bodies block the entrance, guns aimed at us in Episode 11: Ghost in the Shell. “Oh, now you have the back entrance guarded,” I say even more sarcastically, as usual. Our hands rise in the air again, showing off our blood-soaked clothing. Apparently, the painter didn’t know how to colour between the lines.
Occupation: English trainer
Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner.
Lasombra: When did you start gaming?
Ghost: I started my gaming endeavors about 22 years ago with the Commodore 64. For the time there were a lot of really interesting games on the C64 and there's something about the blue load up screen and load"*",8,1 I still find charming. Ghostbusters, Lazy Jones, Dan Dare, Arachnophobia, Paperboy and Strip Poker were my staples that I played often as I tried disk after disk of weird and crappy games.
Lasombra: How did you choose your PSN name?
Ghost: Ghost-Rhayne, the second word is a stylised variation of rain. Funnily enough, the h in rhayne is not only spoken silently in speech but written invisibly in the forums; ghost-rayne is VERY common there haha. It has a feeling of the eerie supernaturalness surrounding the idea of ghosts, and the depressive yet sometimes calming and beautiful nature of rain fall. Ultimately Ghost Rhayne was the name of one of the characters in a story I wrote over a decade ago. He was the antagonist of the story's protagonist, Soul Phoenix, both of who were diametrically opposite. (soul vs. ghost, rising phoenix vs. falling rain etc). I'm shifting over to my EU account though as I will be playing DUST 514 from that account. My EU PSN name is RokuShaKuBo, which means '6ft staff' in Japanese. The art of fighting with the rokushakubo is another hobby and passion of mine. I'm pretty good!
Lasombra: What motivated you to become a trophy hunter? What was your initial spark?
Ghost: I'm not really a rabid trophy hunter. Some games I'll plat just because I like the game so much. It's kind of like a homage to a great game. Some titles just deserve to be platted. Borderlands, Assassins Creed, Bioshock, these are such great IPs that I've have platted. There is an element of O.C.Dness in there too. I'm a completionist and have to keep that urge in check sometimes haha.
Lasombra: Are you a trophy hunter, platinum hunter, or a specific hunter? (Example: All GoW game hunter)
Ghost: No, not really. However, I tend to plat certain game franchises, or come close. I have almost platted the inFamous games, Dead Space and Assassin's Creed games (I hate the MP trophies though and am generally not as far along in AC as I am those other titles)
Lasombra: How many hours do you dedicate to trophy hunting?
Ghost: 0. It is all passively done. I'd rather just play for fun and have more time for other games than commit that time to the sometimes tedious grinding that some trophies can involve. I tend to get my completionist fix through the game rather than the trophies. For example, I want to do everything there is to do, see and collect in Assassin's Creed 3. That won't be represented to anyone else but me, but I still get that satisfaction. Often I unlock many trophies as I do this anyway.
Lasombra: What motivates you to go for that next trophy? How do you stay motivated after a long gaming session, particularly with grinding trophies?
Ghost: If anything it's seeing the percentage of completed trophies rise and seeing how close I can get to 100% without even really going out of my way to get there.
Lasombra: Have you ever gone through any burnout from your sessions?
Ghost: Yeah, getting to level 50 in Bioshock 2 multiplayer was painful sometimes. However, I enjoyed it to a large degree too. It was clunky and awkward but it had a certain charm to it. Oh yeah, finding the shards in inFamous was also a painfully laborious task, kind of soul destroying!
Lasombra: What is your proudest platinum? Why? Was it your hardest?
Ghost: I would say Bioshock 2. One of the trophies required you to get to level 50 in multiplayer. Suffice it to say that Bioshock MP wasn't exactly as polished as BF3 or CoD, so it was a bit of a chore. Still, somewhat fun, the MP aspect was quirky.
Lasombra: Do you have a trophy goal for the year? If so, how far are you along in it?
Ghost: No, no goals for trophies...It seems a lot of these questions may prove a bit boring being answered by a casual trophy hunter like myself haha!
Lasombra: Do you believe gamers should be allowed to make trophy hunting teams? Why or why not?
Ghost: I don't see there being an issue with people banding together to get trophies. We play together for fun; why not play together for trophies if that kind of thing is important to you. I know that I would be in some kind of group if I was an avid hunter. I helped a guy get trophies in Starhawk once, I didn't feel bad or anything, just helping a mate out. The way you get the trophy is of no concern when people see your count in your trophy card.
Lasombra: Do you think Sony should create a world database with every user’s PSN trophy info for all to see? Why or why not?
Ghost: I don't see there being an issue with that. Again, nothing that would really interest me as it's not what I'm about, but it could provide good motivation.
Lasombra: What tips do you have for someone trying to reach the next level and going after a difficult platinum?
Ghost: Grab a bottle of vodka and batten down the hatches till you get it! Sorry, that's all I got!
Lasombra: Regardless of the system, what pre-trophy game would you auto-buy if it was released on the PS3 with trophy support?
Ghost: Easy, Valkyria Chronicles, all the way like a double rainbow.
Lasombra: Being Austrian, what is the gaming scene like in Austria? Is it seen as kids play or serious culture?
Ghost: I think the gaming scene here is pretty strong. About a month ago we had the annual Game City Expo at Rathaus, which is a historical building in the heart of the city. It went on for 3 days and each day it was packed full of people. All systems and demographics were accounted for, from casual games like Dance Central etc, as well as core games like Assassins Creed 3, ZombiU, DmC and many others. I think, more than a broad range of ages were present there. The fact that it is even an annual event shows that it is a serious part of the culture.
I think it was last year when Microsoft took over one of the central underground stations. The station is an intersection point between 2 busy lines and gets A LOT of thoroughfare on a daily basis. It was a Kinect blitz, with full wall posters everywhere. On the screens that usually played city related commercials, you had Disney Adventure and other games playing, and they had two 360s set up with Kinect for people to try. This would have cost MS a lot of money and further illustrates that the market here is no trivial thing.
Lasombra: Being bilingual in English and German, do you prefer your games to be in English or in German? Do you have the option? Is there a big difference between Austria German and Germany German?
Ghost: Oh gawd, ENGLISH!! Have you heard Solid Snake in a German dub? No? Count yourself lucky! I always prefer English and thankfully it is the default language when I boot up games because I have my PS3 set to English. I should play games in German though. While I am Austrian, I didn't grow up here and my German skills are only intermediate. However, I play games to relax, not to fry my brain after work by trying to translate what's being said. A few games that are dialog heavy (Skyrim, Fallout etc) are only in German. In these instances I import from the UK.
There is a difference between the Austrian and German variations of the language. Austrian German is spoken a lot softer than it is in Germany, and there are many words that are different. You could liken it to British and American English...The yanks say subway, the Brits say Underground etc. The language even changes between the different states in Austria. Vienna itself has a very interesting dialect which has its own form of pronunciation and variations on words and Viennese people have told me they can't understand people from Tirol or other regions.
Lasombra: As an English trainer, do you think video games can be useful for ESL learners trying to get better at English, if only reading English? Why do you think a company has not tried to cash in on this market?
Ghost: Yeah, for sure. Anything that exposes you to language is a great tool for learning, especially if the language you're learning is not the one natively spoken where you are. I think relaxing and having fun playing games, mixed with the exposure to new words and the practice of listening is a cool idea. I think the market is left untouched because there isn't a demand for it. There isn't a big outcry for ESL games, and people who want to learn English can do so by playing existing games in the language. What would be interesting would be a Home type game (application, where you could walk around and interact with a virtual environment and it would introduce you to vocab, like in the old Resident Evil games; "a few old books, nothing interesting") haha.
Lasombra: Is there a gaming rivalry between Germany and Austria, or does it start and end on the soccer field?
Ghost: To be honest I don't think the rivalry finds its way into gaming. The relationship between the two is similar to that of America vs. Canada and New Zealand vs. Australia. Perhaps on the competitive scene, but I'm not sure if Austria has any competitive games.
Lasombra: As a non-trophy gamer, what do you think of the new obsession with trophies/achievements this generation? Do you think it'll be a fad or a fundamental part of gaming as time goes forward?
Ghost: Oh I can fully understand the obsession! I have had a taste of that addiction. I have felt that urge to see 100%. I have 7 platinums so know how rewarding it is to earn one. Then you can put the game on the shelf and feel satisfied with a nice feeling of closure.
I think it will be a mainstay in gaming, but I think it will evolve and will mean more next generation. Sony dropped the ball with Home/Trophy integration. I mean a few items could be unlocked via trophies; Resident Evil 5 statues come to mind, but really, if you could pimp out your own personal space with items unlocked from trophies, I would be a plat fiend.
Lasombra: Will your life be consumed once DUST 514 arrives on the PS3?
Ghost: Well 2013 is part of that end-of-console twilight phase where you get the most beautiful tech pushing games. Bioshock Infinite, Aliens: Colonial Marines, God of War Ascension, Beyond: Two Souls, Metal Gear Rising and The Last Of Us will all be leeching my life's precious minutes away, but DUST 514 is something special for me and will be a staple of my gaming time.
DUST will consume healthy doses of my life for the next decade though I'm sure, which is why it excites me more than all other military FPS games. In 5 years time, when we have Black Ops 4 and MW 6 and gamers have prestiged 4 or 5 soldiers, my merc will have trained and developed over the years and gained versatility that will make him more valuable in a game that offers the truest war simulation found on any platform ever. The game's developers, CCP, recently said they have a minimum of 5 years of content planned for DUST 514. The mind boggles at what that content will involve, but we know that robotic mechs and a competitive arena that allows for spectators to bet on the clashing corporations will likely hit in 2013.
The clicking of boots break the silence as a female cop walks in front of the group, talking to us in a thick Chinese accent. Quickly, we find ourselves handcuffed again. A press pass means nothing to her, as we are searched and put in the back of a squad car. “So, nice honeymoon, eh V? If I knew Peru was going to be such a hot spot, I would have rented us a room in Stuttgart.” The squad car drives off, but the rush of getting arrested and getting the Boss’s blood pressure up to the point of him cracking is short lived, as it is rammed in Episode 12: Always be Nice. The car twirls and hits a light pole. As we lie in the backseat, dazed and confused and wondering why we became the top targets on the world’s reporter hit list, the doors are ripped opened and we are pulled out by a group of people in strange uniforms. Before the hood is put over my head, I can see those red eyes that appeared out of the darkness in the alleyway.
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